District courts

District courts deal with criminal, civil and petitionary matters. In civil matters, a district court issues an impartial decision in a dispute between private persons or companies.  In criminal matters, the court passes a judgment in a case concerning a punishable act such as theft, driving while intoxicated or assault. Divorce and debt adjustment matters are examples of petitionary matters.

There are 20 district courts in Finland. The district courts have altogether approximately 1,900 employees. The head of a district court is called the Chief Judge of the District Court and the other judges are District Judges. In addition to judges, there are office personnel, process servers and Trainee District Judges working at the district courts.

The general qualification requirements for a District Judge are a higher academic degree in law, just mind, Finnish citizenship, and the knowledge and skills required in the tasks of a judge. The office personnel often have upper secondary or lower third level education. The educational background of process servers varies. Court training refers to the one-year training system that provides induction into judicial tasks. The official title of a court trainee is Trainee District Judge. A person having a Master of Laws degree may be appointed as a Trainee District Judge. Judicial apprentices (court notaries) shall give the judge’s solemn affirmation. After having completed the training, a Trainee District Judge may apply for the honorary title of Master of Laws with court training.

The district courts have a very important role in society. The right to protection under the law, one of the fundamental rights under the Constitution of Finland, means that every person has the right to have his or her case dealt with appropriately and without undue delay by a legally competent court of law.  In Finland, everyone has the right to a fair trial.

Published 2014-12-03 at 14:58, updated 2021-06-29 at 13:29