Covering attorney expenses
There are no costs for the actual trial, if it has been initiated by the prosecutor. In some cases, costs may arise mainly from attorney costs. An attorney may be necessary, if the victim has claims for compensation of damages. Sometimes it is good to have an attorney already during the preliminary investigation, but preferably no later than when the preliminary investigation is completed. Particularly in violence crimes, the costs of an attorney can be covered partly or in full by an insurance or with state resources.
Victim Support Finland advises victims of crime in these matters on an individual case-by-case basis. A contact request can be submitted with the form below. Victim Support Finland also serves in these matters on the Lawyer’s phone-based advice at 0800 161 177 Mon – Thurs at 17-19.
Legal expenses insurance
If the victim has a legal expenses insurance (often included with a home insurance policy). It may cover the expenses of an attorney. In this case, any private solicitor or another authorised lawyer may be used as an attorney. In this case, the services of legal aid office advisors are not available.
First of all, you should check the legal security terms from the insurance company. It may be a precondition for legal security that the victim has compensation or punishment demands concerning the criminal case. It may also be required that the case is disputed, i.e. the victim has a different view on the events or related claims as the defendant.
Insurance policies usually have a personal excess, which the victim must pay him-/herself. Later, the excess of the insurance policy can be claimed from the State Treasury, if other compensation is due to be paid from there. If the victim has a low income, and in this respect, is entitled to general legal aid, he/she can apply for legal aid in terms of the excess. A legal security insurance policy does not cover the expenses of an advisor related to preliminary investigations.
Governmental legal aid
Legal aid means that a citizen can obtain an advisor, who is partly or fully paid by the government, for handling a legal matter. Legal aid covers all legal affairs.
The person’s income and wealth impact the entitlement of legal aid. Usually it is available to people with a low or average income. In this case the remuneration of an attorney is paid, depending on income, either partly or in full by the government.
Legal aid can be applied for at any state legal aid office. The applicant’s financial situation will be determined there. Legal aid includes e.g. Legal guidance and assistance. A public attorney working at a governmental legal aid office, a private solicitor or another authorised lawyer can be chosen as an attorney. Legal aid is available at all stages of the case.
Legal aid is not provided, if the victim has a legal security insurance, which covers the handling of the case, as this must be primarily used. If, however the victim would be entitled to an advisor fully paid by the government, according to the legal aid office’s calculation formula, he/she may apply for legal aid for the amount of the policy’s excess. The legal aid offices are usually located in the same municipalities as the district courts.
A government-paid advisor – regardless of income
If the victim has claims in a case driven by the prosecutor, the court may grant him/her an attorney for the preliminary investigation and trial regardless of his/her income. This is possible if it is a case of a sexual crime or violence committed by a relative (excluding minor assault). The law also applies to other crimes on life, health and freedom, when it is considered justifiable on the basis of the gravity of the crime, personal conditions and other factors. This may become applicable e.g. in case of a disabled, elderly or young person.
In these situations, the advisor’s remuneration is paid by the state. In this case, any private solicitor or authorised lawyer may be turned to. He/she shall obtain the advisor order from the Court of Justice. The Court of Justice may grant an advisor already for the preliminary investigations.
More information about legal aid, as well as an electronic application and legal aid calculator can be found here.