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Forms and terminology


Application form for a restraining order and contact details form (In Finnish)
Legal aid application form
Police online services
Compensation application for criminal damages to the State Treasury


A plaintiff is a victim of crime, i.e. the person or party subject to the crime.

A crime where the prosecution rests with the plaintiff is usually a less serious crime, which the prosecutor does not have the right to prosecute unless the plaintiff, i.e. the victim, requests punishment or it is considered necessary in terms of general interest. Most crimes are crimes that are subject to official prosecution, which means that the prosecutor can prosecute regardless of the victim’s wishes.

An advisor is an attorney, who is a lawyer or solicitor, who ensures the implementation of their client’s legal security and may assist their client at trial. Lawyers at the government’s legal aid offices, private law firm lawyers and authorised and competent lawyers may operate as attorneys.

Conditional imprisonment is a punishment in which the convicted is not imprisoned, but he/she can complete his/her punishment in freedom. Conditional imprisonment may be issued if the offender is sentenced to up to two years of imprisonment for one or more crimes. The court shall order the duration of the parole. If the person is sentenced to imprisonment again during this time, the previous conditional imprisonment can also be changed to be completed in prison.

Unconditional imprisonment is a punishment issued by the Court of Justice, which is completed in imprisonment. In some cases, unconditional imprisonment can also be changed to community service.

A preliminary investigation is carried out in a criminal case, and it is usually carried out by the police. Sometimes the prosecutor also participates in the preliminary investigation. During the investigation, it is clarified what has happened, who has been involved and what damage has been caused by the crime. Information on criminal Procedure.

The preliminary investigation report is a report prepared from the material collected during the preliminary investigation.

A summons is an invitation to court or a request to respond to an application for a summons.

An application for a summons is a document, which is used to initiate the court proceedings. The application for a summons shall state e.g. the demands and their reasons, as well as who the demands concern.

The summoner
is an official working for the district court, who serves the summons to the recipient.

The Court of Appeal is where you can appeal against the district court’s verdict. The decision of the Court of Appeal can be further appealed to the Supreme Court, if it grants a leave of appeal. Information on criminal Procedure.

Justifiable defence is the use of force against another person in order to defend for yourself, when it is considered necessary. If justifiable defence is not considered to be exaggerated, any damage caused by justifiable defence is not punished.

The complainant is the person that initiates the court proceedings.

A written procedure is an alternative to the oral procedure of a criminal case’s court proceedings in case of less serious crimes. The case is settled in the district court office, without the involved parties being present. It requires that the offender is over 18 years and he/she has admitted to the offence during the preliminary investigation, and both parties give consent to the procedure.

The Supreme Court is the highest legal level, where the parties of a criminal case can appeal if the Supreme Court grants a leave of appeal. The Supreme Court is the so-called precedent court. The verdict of the Supreme Court cannot be appealed against. Information on criminal Procedure.

Compensation claims for criminal damage can be presented to the person who has committed a crime. Usual claims for compensation include, e.g. the replacement of stolen, lost or broken property, physical pain, psychological suffering and loss of earnings.

An interrogation is an event usually arranged at a police station, where the parties or witnesses involved in the crime are questioned in order to clarify a criminal case and resulting damages.

An examination record is a document, which is prepared about the questioning and which is signed by the person who was questioned, the interrogator and the witness of the questioning.

The chairman of the district court is a legally competent district court judge.

The district court
is the lowest level court, where criminal, dispute and application cases are handled. Information on criminal Procedure.

Legally valid means a permanent and a final verdict, which cannot be appealed.

A lay member of the district court is an ordinary citizen, who operates as a layman judge in the district court. He/she has the same authority as a professional judge when deciding on the verdict. A lay member of the district court is mainly used in more serious criminal cases.

A restraining order can be ordered by the court, if a person considers to be threatened or disturbed by another person. A person ordered with a restraining order cannot contact the protected person in any way.

A psychiatric examination is carried out on the prosecuted person, on which basis it is considered whether he/she has been able to understand the consequences of his/her actions, i.e. to what extent is he/she criminally accountable. The examination is carried out in a psychiatric hospital and the trial is suspended for the duration of the examination.

A counsel is an attorney, who is a lawyer or solicitor, who ensures the implementation of his/her client’s legal security and may assist his/her client at trial. Lawyers of the government’s legal aid offices, private law firm lawyers and authorised and competent lawyers may operate as attorneys.

Legal aid is legal advice or assistance provided by a state official in court. The person’s income and wealth affect the entitlement of legal aid. If the person has a legal security insurance, the costs of a lawyer are primarily covered with the insurance policy.

A legal security insurance is a voluntary insurance policy, which can often be attached to a home or farm insurance policy. The victim of a crime can cover the costs incurred for using an attorney in a criminal case with a legal security insurance, subject to certain conditions.

A hidden crime is a crime, which does not reach the knowledge of police or other authorities.

An advocate is an attorney of a person suspected of a crime.

The main hearing is the session carried out at the Court of Justice, where the case is orally handled.

The punishment provision process refers to a fine, which the police issues for an offence and which the prosecutor confirms.

The limitation period of a crime is the time by which criminal consequences can be ordered for a crime. Different crimes have different limitation periods from two (2) years to twenty (20) years. The more serious the crime is, the longer the limitation period is. For example, an assault that is more serious than simple assault will expire in five (5) years and aggravated assault will expire in twenty (20) years. Such crimes, which have a punishment of life sentence, do not ever expire.  The limitation period starts to run from the time when the crime was committed or when knowledge of it was gained. The prosecutor must prosecute within the limitation period. Before that the police must have time to investigate the crime.

A crime report is a report that a victim of crime or someone else makes to the police about a crime they have come aware of.

The Criminal Code is a law, which lists all the offences that are determined as crimes in Finland together with their characteristics.

The Criminal Procedure is a chain, which involves preliminary investigation, consideration of charges, prosecution and the implementation of a punishment. The criminal procedure begins with a report of an offence.

Criminal liability means that a person can be prosecuted for a crime and he/she can be sentenced a punishment. For example, an offender under the age of 15 cannot be ordered a punishment for a crime, but he/she shall be liable to compensate for damages caused by his/her actions.

ROL is an abbreviation for the Criminal Procedure Act.

A sexual crime
is a crime referred to in Chapter 20 of the Criminal Code of Finland, such as rape or sexual exploitation.

Mediation is an optional or parallel approach to handle a criminal case. In mediation, the parties involved in the criminal case meet and the crime that has taken place as well as its consequences are handled at the lead of mediators. The aim of the negotiations is to reach an agreement that both parties are satisfied with. In many cases, mediation can lead to a trial being completely avoided. Participation in mediation is free and voluntary.

A trial held behind closed doors means that contrary to normal practice, the trial is not public.

A brief preliminary investigation may be carried out by the police in simple and clear cases, for which the law has not set out punishments of more than six months of imprisonment.

An oral process is the most common method to handle violent crimes in court, where both parties are questioned personally.

A criminally unaccountable person is unable to understand cause-effect relationships and the consequences of actions. An offender can be left unpunished or his/her punishment may be reduced on the basis of criminal unaccountability. The Court of Justice decides on criminal accountability. The decision usually requires a psychiatric examination to be carried out.

A criminally accountable person
over the age of 15 understands the impact of his/her actions and its consequences, and therefore, he/she can be punished for the crime he/she has committed. If he/she is under 15 years old or is otherwise unable to understand the impact and consequences of his/her actions, he/she is criminally unaccountable, in which case he/she cannot be punished for the crime. If he/she is considered to be partly criminally unaccountable, the punishment may be reduced.

The consideration of charges is the prosecutor’s assessment of the person suspected of the crime and whether there is enough evidence for prosecution. Charges must be pressed when there are probable causes supporting the suspect of crime being guilty. The prosecutor, who is a government official, handles the consideration of charges. Information on criminal Procedure.

An accused person is over the age of 15, who defends him-/herself in court against criminal claims. The term usually used for the accused person is the defendant.

The prosecutor is a government official, who is responsible for ensuring that a crime leads to legal consequences. He/she shall deliver the application for a summons to the district court, and therefore will also accuse the suspect of the crime in court.

The decision of non-prosecution is the prosecutor’s justified decision to not press charges in a criminal case. Such reasons are, for example, if there is not enough evidence or the crime is minor or it has, e.g. expired according to law. Handling such a criminal case ends, if the victim of the crime does not use his/her so called subsidiary prosecution right, in which case he/she can personally press charges against the suspect of the crime.

A witness is a person, who can be questioned during the preliminary investigation or at trial. A witness has the obligation to truthfully tell everything he/she knows about what has happened. The victim of the crime may also be questioned for witness purposes.

The victim of crime has a subsidiary prosecution right, which means that he/she can personally take the case to the district court for handling, if the prosecutor has made the decision of non-prosecution. In this case the victim is also subject to a larger risk of costs. If the case is lost, he/she may be responsible for his/her lawyer cost and the other party’s lawyer costs. Before using your own prosecution right, you should consult a legally trained professional.

A support person is a support person for the victim of crime, who assists and supports him/her throughout the criminal procedure. More information about RIKU’s support persons.

A verdict is the court’s decision, which states the details of the parties involved, the witnesses and experts, the convicted and those entitled to compensation, as well as the amounts and the sentences.

An intentional act has been committed due to negligence or carelessness. In this case, the offender has not paid sufficient attention when committing the act, when damages have occurred. Such an act can also be punishable.

An order of non-disclosure means that the domicile and address information of a person with such an order cannot be disclosed from the Population Register Centre to others than certain authorities. A person who feels threatened may request an order of non-disclosure to be issued by the magistrate.

An investigator is usually the police, who is investigating the criminal case.

The head of investigations is usually a person under whose management and leadership investigators operate when investigating a crime. He/she is usually an official who has the right to arrest, most commonly a liutenant level police.

A claims letter is a document, which e.g. the victim of crime uses to inform the district court about his/her claims for damages caused by a crime.

Compensation for damages is an amount of money or other remuneration, which the offender pays the victim to compensate for caused damages. If you intentionally or negligently cause damages to another person, as a general rule, you are responsible for compensating these damages.

The defendant is accused, when the prosecutor has decided to press charges. The accused person is called the defendant in court.

A crime that is subject to official prosecution is a a crime, which the police can investigate and the prosecutor can prosecute against, even if the plaintiff does not demand punishment. Most crimes are crimes that are subject to official prosecution. Some less serious crimes are offences in which the prosecution rests with the plaintiff, in which case the police may only investigate if the plaintiff has reported it to the police, or the prosecutor, and demands punishment. If the plaintiff cancels his/her punishment demands during the preliminary investigation, the police will stop the investigations. If it is considered necessary, the prosecutor has the right to prosecute for certain crimes, even if the plaintiff has not demanded punishment. Examples of such cases include domestic violence crimes.

General interest means the interest of the entire society.

Private interest means the interest of an individual.