The plaintiff must prove those matters which support the action, while the defendant must in turn prove those matters to which he or she refers. The party who fails to present evidence carries the risk that the matters which he or she presents will remain unproven.
An admitted fact does not need to be proven. In addition, a generally acknowledged fact, or one which is ex officio known to the court, need not be proven. Naturally, the presentation of counterevidence is permitted.
In this respect the law merely contains a provision whereby the court must, after having carefully considered all the facts which have arisen, decide what is to be regarded as the truth in the case. Finland applies the so-called “theory of free evaluation of evidence”, and so it is a matter of presenting adequate evidence to the court.
In practice the interested parties must themselves obtain the evidence to which they wish to refer. The law in fact also permits the court to decide to obtain items of evidence on its own initiative. It may not however order a new witness to be examined or a document to be presented on its own initiative and against the joint will of both parties concerned, if the case in question is one which is amenable to out-of-court settlement.
In certain cases, such as paternity cases, it is also the obligation of the court to ensure that all necessary reports are obtained.
The taking of evidence takes place at the main hearing.
The court may deny such a request inter alia when the evidence is irrelevant or the case has in this respect already been proven, as well as where the interested party makes the request for presentation of evidence at too late a stage.
The modes of proof consist of the hearing of interested parties, witnesses and experts; the presentation of written evidence and expert statements; and inspection.
There is no difference between the evaluation of the oral hearing of a witness or expert and that of the written statement of an expert. A witness on the other hand may not give a written statement.
No. The court has free discretion when evaluating evidence.
As a rule, a witness may not refuse to give evidence.
For example, the spouse, fiancé(e) and direct ascending or descending relatives of an interested party have the right to refuse to give evidence. In addition, the law includes various other situations where a witness has the right or the obligation to refuse to give evidence.
A witness who without lawful cause refuses to give evidence may be obliged under threat of a fine to fulfil his or her obligation. If despite this the witness does not consent to give evidence, the court may order him or her to be detained until he or she consents to give evidence.
It is up to the discretion of the court whether (for example) a person under 15 years of age or a mentally disturbed person can be heard as a witness.
Certain groups of persons may not give evidence in matters relating to their position of trust; these include doctors and attorneys.
As a general rule, the examination of a witness is started by the party who named him or her. Following this, the opposing party has the right to examine the witness. Subsequently, the court and the interested parties may put questions to the witness.
A witness can be heard using videoconferencing or other suitable applicable technical data communication method providing an audiovisual link between those taking part in the session, if the court considers this to be appropriate. It is possible to follow this procedure when for example a witness has been prevented from arriving at the court, or if his or her attendance would incur unreasonable costs, or if the witness is aged under 15. In certain situations a witness can also be examined over the phone.
The law does not contain direct instructions for such a case. The court must, using its discretion, decide what significance such evidence will have.
Yes. Interested parties may be freely heard in the intention to present evidence, and in a civil case they may be heard under oath regarding facts which are of special significance in resolving the case. A statement of an interested party given in evidence will be evaluated on the same criteria as a statement issued by a witness.
Last update: 09-05-2005