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Last update: 17-08-2004
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Simplified and accelerated procedures - Finland

 

Order for payment procedures

1. Existence of an order for payment procedures

In Finland there is a special order for payment procedure. In these cases the defendant can be obliged to pay the claim to the plaintiff by a so-called default judgement.

1.1. Scope of procedure

a) What types of claims are eligible (e.g. only pecuniary claims, only contractual claims, etc.)?

The procedure is applied to all types of pecuniary claims which the parties concerned may specify by a contract between themselves.

b) Is there an upper limit regarding the value of the claim?

No. Any claims, whether large or small, can be processed in this procedure.

c) Is the use of that procedure optional or obligatory?

The procedure is voluntary.

d) Is the procedure available if the defendant lives in another Member State or in a third country?

It is not, in principle, a condition for application of the procedure that the defendant lives in Finland. However, a Finnish court must have jurisdiction in the processing of the case. For example under the Brussels I Regulation the forum is determined under the main rule so that a case involving demand for payment must be processed in a court of the defendant’s place of residence.

1.2. Competent court

In these cases a general court of first instance is competent. The name of this court is the local court. The local court which is competent under the main rule will be the local court of the defendant’s place of residence.

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In this procedure, the normal rules regarding competence of a court are applied (see “Jurisdiction of the courts – Finland”).

1.3. Formal requirements

a) Is the use of a standardised form obligatory? (If yes, where can that form be obtained?)

The application for a summons must be in writing and it must include specific details: the claim, the grounds (briefly), any claim for costs of the action, and the contact details for plaintiff and defendant. The application for a summons must be signed.

b) Do I have to be represented by a lawyer?

Neither the plaintiff nor the defendant need to use a lawyer but the use of a lawyer is always permitted.

c) In how much detail do I have to describe the reason for the claim?

The grounds for the claim must be identified so that it can be distinguished from other claims.

d) Do I have to present written evidence of the claim at issue? If yes, which documents are admissible as proof?

In a process involving demand for payment for an uncontested claim, no items of evidence need to be presented. The plaintiff must present adequate evidence of the claim only if the defendant contests if.

1.4. Rejection of application

In practice, an impediment to a default judgement is that the defendant, with reasonable cause, opposes the claim set out in the application for a summons, whereby the claim will no longer be uncontested. Other situations which may arise include the application for a summons being dismissed (mainly on the grounds that the local court in question does not have jurisdiction or that the plaintiff, despite being urged to do so, has failed to remedy defects in his application for a summons). In principle, it is also possible for the action to be immediately rejected by a judgement if the claim is clearly groundless or the claim has absolutely no basis in law. The court will not otherwise examine the validity of the claim.

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1.5. Appeal

There is no option for appeal for the plaintiff in a situation where the defendant does not regard the claim as uncontested and opposes it. The processing of the case will then continue as a normal civil case at the local court. However, the plaintiff may appeal against dismissal and other refusal of the claim.

1.6. Statement of opposition

This question has been framed for the sort of system in which the “default judgement / order to pay” is issued first and only then is the defendant given the opportunity to oppose. In Finland the plaintiff’s claim is first sent to the defendant and, if the defendant does not oppose the claims, a default judgement will be subsequently given.

The local court will urge the defendant to respond to the action in writing by a specific deadline. This deadline is set by the local court and is normally 2-3 weeks. This response must state whether the defendant opposes the claims, and must give justifications for such opposition. In addition, the reply may include notification of any items of evidence and claim for expenses. The defendant must also give his contact details and sign the rejoinder.

1.7. Effect of statement of opposition

If the defendant opposes the action within the deadline, the claim will no longer be undisputed, nor will it be possible to give a default judgement. The case will automatically be transferred for handling in the normal civil process.

1.8. Effect of lack of statement of opposition

a) What needs to be done in order to obtain an enforceable decision?

If the defendant does not contest the action within the deadline, a default judgement in accordance with the plaintiff’s claim will be issued. This is immediately enforceable as a legally valid judgement.

b) Is this decision final or is there still a possibility for the defendant to appeal against that decision?

The defendant cannot appeal to the court of appeal against a default judgement, but he has the option of applying to that court for “recovery” at the local court. “Recovery” means that the case will be returned for reprocessing to the local court which issued the default judgement. If no application for recovery is made, the default judgement will stand.

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Last update: 17-08-2004

 
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