The legislation currently in force in Finland does not contain procedural regulations that depend on the size of the sum claimed by the plaintiff. However, a suitable mode of procedure may be ordered for a case on the basis of its nature. The case will go through all the different stages of full legal proceedings only if there are grounds for this and the parties concerned desire this. The case may, for example, be resolved by a single judge, without an oral preparatory session or in an entirely written procedure. Non-contentious civil cases also have their own specific procedure. Uncontested claims are processed in the simple procedure described above.
As stated above, the amount of money involved in the claim has no effect. The different forms of procedure are determined on the basis of the qualitative content of the case.
Since in Finland there is no separately regulated, special procedure separate from the other proceedings, the case must be evaluated in the light of whether a specific procedural provision is mandatory in the case in question. Generally, the decision on form of the procedure is made once the court has heard the interested parties. An oral hearing must be organised in the case if the interested parties demand this. However, the local court will decide whether the nature or extent of the case means that it can be resolved by a single judge rather than by a panel of judges.
A contested civil case may be transferred for processing in the normal civil process.
No forms have been drafted at the national level. In certain local courts forms which have been drafted for specific matters are in use: generally, this involves an application form and a rejoinder form. Use of forms is not compulsory.
The court’s registries will give advice in matters relating to the procedure if necessary.
If the case is uncontested, no items of evidence will be required at all. If a purely written procedure is used, only written evidence will be involved. There are no special provisions stating that special norms for presentation of evidence are to be applied to small sums receivable.
It is possible for a case to be resolved without oral proceedings, solely on the basis of written material. Non-contentious cases will always be resolved in this way. A contested case can be resolved on the basis of written preparation alone, if the nature of the case is such that a main hearing need not be held to resolve it and if the interested parties do not oppose the resolution of the case by the written procedure.
There are no special provisions governing the content of judgements regarding small claims.
There are tabulated cost tariffs for cases regarding uncontested claims and the rent of residential accommodation. In these cases the main rule is that the plaintiff may obtain from the unsuccessful defendant only the amount of legal costs which appears in the cost table. In other cases, no special cost provisions exist.
Last update: 17-08-2004