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A claim for damages can be made when a charge is being processed. The claim for damages is usually processed together with the charge, but it can also be handled in separate judicial proceedings.
Where possible, the claim should be put forward during the pre-trial investigation. The police are obliged to inquire at that point whether the injured party has any claims. The prosecutor is usually obliged, at the request of the injured party, to put forward the claim for damages at the same time as he or she presses the charge. This obligation does not, however, exist in cases where the claim is unclear, etc.
The claim should be put forward in writing to the prosecutor or, if the case is already being heard in a court of law, to the court.
The claim for damages should be as specific as possible. The claim must specify the injury or damage incurred according to its type (e.g., property damage, personal injury, medical costs, etc.) as well as the amount of the damage.
Yes, if the conditions for receiving public legal aid are met. When these conditions are met, legal aid can be granted both for the pre-trial investigation and the judicial proceedings. In addition, crime victims can always be appointed an attorney who is paid from public funds when they are the injured parties in sex offences (Chapter 20 of the Penal Code) or when the offender is close to the victim and the case involves homicide or bodily injury as set out in Chapter 21, sections 1–6 of the Penal Code (e.g., attempted manslaughter or aggravated assault).
Any written evidence about the damage incurred or its amount should be attached to the claim. It is important, however, that you attach any medical certificates, expense receipts, etc. to the claim. The court will assess the adequacy of the evidence on a case-by-case basis. If there is insufficient evidence of the amount of damage incurred, the court will estimate its magnitude.
Application for enforcement of the judgment is made at an enforcement office, which will assist you in filling out the application. The application can also be sent by e-mail. The application form is available (in Finnish) at http://www.oikeus.fi/6558.htm (choose 'Ulosottoasiat', 'Ulosottohakemus - Tuomiota tai päätöstä edellyttävät asiat'). In addition to the application itself, the court judgment or an officially certified copy of it must be sent to the enforcement office. The application can be made as soon as the court has issued its judgment; there is therefore no need to wait until the decision is final.
Yes, applications are addressed to the State Treasury.
As a general rule, the only requirement is that the injury or damage was caused by a criminal offence. However, compensation for mental anguish, for example, is paid only when the cause is an aggravated violent offence, an offence against personal liberty or a sexual offence.
Not generally. Section 2.12 lists the types of injury or damage for which compensation is available in Finland.
The persons especially close to a person that has died are entitled to compensation for their own medical expenses and other necessary expenses as well as for loss of income. As a general rule, relationships between spouses and between a minor and a parent, for example, are regarded as especially close.
If a person liable for maintenance has died, the person entitled to maintenance or child support will receive compensation. The compensation then corresponds to the amount that this person would probably have received from the person that has died. Pensions under the various pension acts will be deducted from the compensation to be paid to the person entitled to maintenance.
In addition, a reasonable amount of compensation may be paid for funeral costs.
As a general rule, compensation is paid for an offence committed in Finland, so the nationality of the person entitled to the compensation has no relevance as such. The Finnish State does not, however, pay compensation, without special reason, to persons other than those permanently living in another EU Member State, if both the offender and the victim were staying in Finland temporarily and briefly at the time of the offence.
If the offence was committed outside Finland, compensation can be claimed from the Finnish State for personal injury and anguish only and subject to certain conditions.
One prerequisite is that the crime victim was a permanent resident of Finland at the time of the offence. If he/she was abroad, his/her stay abroad must have been because of work, study or a comparable reason to entitle him/her to compensation. Discretionary compensation may be paid in other cases, too, if it is deemed justified.
As a general rule, yes. If the offence has not been reported to the police and the police have not become aware of it in any other way, compensation will be paid only if there is a special reason for doing so.
The application can be submitted earlier. However, the State Treasury usually waits until the right of the applicant to receive damages from the person responsible for the injury or damage has been decided in the first instance or the decision not to prosecute the offender has been made. If the offender has not been charged within six months of the police becoming aware of the offence, the State Treasury may decide on the matter.
You can still apply for compensation (see sections 2.7 and 2.8). The accounts must show that the injury or damage was caused by a criminal act. Records of the pre-trial investigation by the police or the judgment are usually supplied as evidence. In their absence, other reliable accounts must be given. What is relevant is the assessment as to whether or not the facts concerning the commission of the offence can be regarded as reliable.
Compensation must be applied for in writing within three years of a final judgment in the compensation case. If the case has not been considered in a court of law, the application period is ten years from the commission of the offence. For a special reason, the State Treasury may admit also later applications into consideration.
There are no legal provisions on how to calculate the amount of compensation. Therefore, the State Treasury estimates compensation using uniform criteria, taking into account the particularities of each individual case. The State Treasury has indicative tables only for compensation related to pain and suffering as well as to permanent invalidity and handicap and cosmetic handicap. In these tables, the compensation levels are determined by reference to the degree of injury, such as the period of disability, the period of hospitalisation, the extent of treatment, etc. When estimating the amount of compensation, the State Treasury is not bound by the decision of the court on compensation.
The maximum amounts established in current Finnish law (for crimes committed after 1 January 2009) are the following:
Yes. Sums due to the person sustaining the injury or damage in accordance with other legislation are deducted from the compensation paid by the State. In addition, compensation received on the basis of an insurance policy is deducted. Damages payable by the offender are deducted only to the amount that has actually been paid.
Compensation paid from public funds can be adjusted if the person sustaining the injury or damage has in some way contributed to it. This is also the case if another circumstance external to the act giving rise to the injury or damage has contributed to the injury or damage.
An advance can be paid if the decision on a matter of compensation is delayed and the applicant is evidently entitled to a substantial compensation.
The State Treasury can provide you with further information (see section 2.20).
You can make the application yourself; if you need assistance, the State Treasury can help you. Reasonable compensation for the costs of a legal counsel will be paid from public funds if the applicant has been granted a trial free of charge in a court of law. Compensation for reasonable application costs can also be paid if the matter has not been considered in a court of law, but the applicant meets the criteria for a trial free of charge.
Sörnäisten Rantatie 13
P.O. BOX 68
FIN-00531 Helsinki, FINLAND
tel. +358 9 77 251
fax +358 9 772 58556
tel. +358 203-16116
tel. +358 800-97895
Last update: 16-06-2009