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Litigation Finland, Courts in Finland

Litigation in Finland

Updated on Friday 05th June 2015

What are the types of Courts in Finland?

The Finnish judicial system is formed by the district courts, the appellate courts, the Supreme Court, the administrative courts, the Supreme Administrative Court, the Market Court, the Labor Court, the Insurance Court and the High Court of Impeachment.

What are the responsibilities of the Courts in Finland?

The Finnish Supreme Court (Korkein oikeus) is considered the last instance in criminal, civil and commercial cases. Also the decisions taken by the courts of appeal and land courts, and some decisions of the Insurance Court and Market Court can be appealed against to the Supreme Court. The president and the members of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President and cannot be less than 15.

There are six appellate courts (Hovioikeudet ), established in Helsinki, Kouvola, Kupio, Rovaniemi, Turku and Vaasa. The decisions taken by the first instance courts can be appealed in front of these courts. Also decisions related to treason or offences in public office can be taken at the appellate courts.

The Finnish district courts (käräjäoikeus) are first instance courts in civil cases, criminal cases and petitionary matters. There are 27 district courts in Finland.

The judicial supervision of administrative acts is made by the administrative courts (Korkein Hallinto-Oikeus) and the Supreme Administrative Court. There are eight regional administrative courts in Finland located in Helsinki, Hämeenlinna, Kouvola, Kuopio, Oulu, Rovaniemi, Turku and Vaasa.

The Supreme Administrative Court (Korkein Hallinto-Oikeus) is the last instance court in administrative related cases and it is formed by the President and twenty Justices and a few temporary Justices. 

The Market Court is hearing cases related to the public procurement, competition and the market law.

The Labor Court is hearing cases related to conflicts provided by the collective agreements or collective civil servants' agreements or out of the Act on Collective Civil-Servant Agreement or the Collective Agreements Act.

The Insurance Court is dealing with income security matters and it’s a special and independent court of law.

The High Court of Impeachment is hearing cases related to a member of the Supreme Court or the Supreme Administrative Court, the Government or the Chancellor of Justice, the Parliamentary Ombudsman or the President of the Republic.

What are the responsibilities of the Arbitration Court in Finland?

The arbitration process can be initiated only if there is an agreement signed between the parties or if the articles of association stipulate that this version is available.

Besides the short period of time necessary to reach a verdict, there are many other advantages of the arbitration such as the flexibility of the process (the parties may designate the procedure and the members of the arbitration committee according to their wishes), the permanent character of the decision (arbitral award is final and cannot be appealed only if there are any procedural defects), the confidentiality (details regarding the arbitrations process cannot be disclose to third parties).

Because of the above characteristics the arbitration is the preferred method of resolving business dispute by many entrepreneurs.

How long does litigation in Finland take?

The litigation can take very long time in Finland, that’s why many claimants involved in business litigations are advised to use the service of the arbitration courts. Usually an arbitration trial takes around six weeks from the moment of depositing the request.

The legal trials can take years, especially if there are any appeals to the original decisions.