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Fundamental rights - Finland

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National courts

National Human Rights Institutions


Specialised Human Rights Bodies


National courts

District Courts handle criminal, civil and petitionary matters. A decision by a court of first instance can usually be submitted for the consideration of a higher court. A decision by a District Court can be appealed to the Court of Appeal. A decision by the Court of Appeal can, in turn, be appealed to the Supreme Court if the Supreme Court grants leave to appeal.

Administrative Courts handle appeals concerning decisions by authorities. A decision by an Administrative Court is appealed to the Supreme Administrative Court.

Special courts include the Market Court, the Labour Court, the Insurance Court and the High Court of Impeachment.

The contact information of the courts can be found on the following websites:

In FinnishLink opens in new window Contact
Link opens in new window Details in English

National Human Rights Institutions

In the beginning of 2012, a functionally autonomous and independent centre for human rights was established under the auspices of the Office of the Parliamentary Ombudsman. The role of the Centre for Human Rights is to distribute information and promote education, training, research and cooperation in the field of fundamental and human rights. The Centre will prepare reports on the implementation of fundamental and human rights as well as take initiatives and issue statements to promote these rights. The Centre for Human Rights will also participate in international efforts to promote fundamental and human rights.The Centre for Human Rights does not deal with complaints or other individual cases which fall under the remit of the highest legal supervisory body.


Finnish Parliamentary Ombudsman

The Parliamentary Ombudsman can be contacted if it is suspected that authorities or officials have not complied with the law or fulfilled their obligations. For example, it is illegal to violate fundamental rights. Anyone can complain to the Ombudsman. The complaint may relate to a matter concerning the complainant, but it is also possible to complain on behalf of another person or jointly with others. The Ombudsman investigates the complaint if there are reasons to believe that an authority has acted illegally. Complaints are investigated free of charge. As part of the investigation, the Ombudsman hears the person or the authority targeted by the complaint. In addition, he requests reports and statements from various authorities and can, if necessary, order inspectors from his office to conduct investigations. Complaints are investigated free of charge.

Of the various measures available to the Ombudsman, the most severe is a criminal prosecution of malfeasance. As an alternative to this, the Ombudsman can issue an official reprimand to the official concerned. In most cases, he expresses his view as to how the procedure followed has been illegal or involved negligence and issues a reminder about correct procedure. The Ombudsman can also make a proposal for remedying the error And draw the attention of the Council of State to shortcomings that he has observed in legal provisions or regulations.

The Office of the Parliamentary Ombudsman

Visiting address: Arkadiankatu 3, Helsinki
Postal address: FIN-00102 Parliament

Homepage: Link opens in new window
E-mail: Link opens in new
Tel: + 358 9 4321
Fax: + 358 9 432 2268

The Chancellor of Justice

The Chancellor of Justice can be contacted in a matter that directly concerns the complainant or in any other matter, should the complainant believe that authorities, officials or other persons or bodies performing public functions have acted incorrectly or neglected their obligations, or that a member of the Bar has neglected his or her obligations. In addition, anyone who believes that a fundamental right or human right guaranteed under the Constitution has not been observed can contact the Chancellor of Justice. Legally trained personnel process the complaints and obtain any necessary supplementary documentation. The complainant is usually provided with an opportunity to file a reply to the respondent. The complainant will then receive a written decision by mail. The services of the Office of the Chancellor of Justice are free of charge to the complainant.

If it is found that a procedure was illegal or incorrect, the Chancellor of Justice can issue a reprimand to the official or instructions on the proper procedure for future reference. in more serious cases, he can order charges to be brought against the official. If he deems it necessary, the Chancellor of Justice has the power to propose that provisions or instructions be amended, a court ruling be annulled or some other extraordinary appeal be made. An investigation carried out by the Chancellor of Justice may in itself result in the authority or official correcting their own error.

The Office of the Chancellor of Justice

Visiting address: Snellmaninkatu 1, Helsinki
Postal address: PO Box 20, 00023 GOVERNMENT

Homepage: Link opens in new window
E-mail: Link opens in new
Tel: + 358 295 162 902
Fax: + 358 9 1602 3975
Communication: Link opens in new

Specialised Human Rights Bodies

Commissioner for Children

The following duties of the Ombudsman for Children are laid down by law:

  • Monitoring the welfare of children and young people and the implementation of their rights
  • Influencing decision-makers from a child’s perspective
  • Maintaining contacts with children and young people and conveying information received from them to decision-makers
  • Conveying information concerning children to professionals working with children, authorities and the public
  • Developing cooperation between those responsible for child policy
  • Promoting the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The Office of the Ombudsman for Children

Address: Liberdenkatu 58 A, 40100 Jyväskylä

Homepage: Link opens in new window
E-mail: Link opens in new

Tel: + 358 295 666 850
Fax: + 358 14 337 4248

Equality body

Equal Status Ombudsman

The Ombudsman for Equality is responsible for: supervising compliance with the Act on Equality between Women and Men and the prohibition of discrimination and discriminatory job advertising, in particular; promoting the objective of the Act by means of initiatives, advice and guidelines; providing information about the Equality Act and its application; and monitoring the implementation of equality between women and men in different sectors of society. In addition, the Ombudsman for Equality supervises the implementation of the protection of gender minorities against discrimination.

Office of the Ombudsman for Equality

Postal address: PO Box 22, 00023 GOVERNMENT
Visiting address: Hämeenantie 3, Helsinki

Homepage: Link opens in new window
E-mail: Link opens in new
Tel: + 358 295 666 840 telephone advice:
+ 358 295 666 842 (Monday to 9-11 and 13-15, pe 9-11)
Fax: + 358 9 1607 4582

Equality Ombudsman

The Equality Ombudsman promotes equality and lacks discrimination. The delegate is an independent and independent authority.

On grounds of age, origin, nationality, language, religion or belief, opinion, political activity, trade union, family relationship, state of health, disability, sexual orientation or other, a person responsible for the age, origin, nationality, nationality, religion, belief, opinion, political activity, union, family status, disability, sexual orientation or other related person. The delegated tasks also include promoting the conditions, rights and status of groups that are at risk of discrimination, such as foreigners. In addition, the Ombudsman supervises the removal of foreign nationals and acts as a national human trafficking agent.

In practice, the work of the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman is for example counselling, the identification of individual cases, the promotion of reconciliation, training, the collection of information, legislation and the engagement of public authorities, as well as legal assistance. The tasks and rights of the Ombudsman are enshrined in the Non-Discrimination Link opens in new windowAct and the Act Link opens in new windowon the Ombudsman for Equality.

Discrimination on grounds of gender or gender identity is dealt with by the Ombudsman for Equality.

Office of the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman

Postal address: PO Box 24, 00023 GOVERNMENT

Visiting address: Helsinki, Finland, Finland, Finland, Finland, Finland, Finland, Finland, Finland,

Homepage: Link opens in new window
E-mail: Link opens in new

Tel: + 358 295 666 80.
Client service: + 358 295 666 817 (in working days 10-12, during summer)
Fax: + 358 295 666 829
Communication: + 358 295 666 813 or + 358 295 666 806

Data protection body


  • monitors compliance with data protection law and other laws relating to the processing of personal data;
  • promote awareness of risks, rules, safeguards, obligations and rights in relation to the processing of personal data
  • carry out studies and inspections;
  • impose administrative sanctions for breaches of the Data Protection Regulation
  • adopt opinions on legislative and administrative reforms on the protection of individuals’ rights and freedoms with regard to the processing of personal data;
  • issue opinions on offences concerning the processing of personal data;
  • supervises the handling of credit and corporate credit data;
  • deals with requests for provisions relating to the rights of the data subject and other aspects of the processing of personal data relating to the processing of personal data;
  • receive notifications from data protection officers
  • Receive notifications of personal data breaches;
  • draw up a list of when a data protection impact assessment is required;
  • assess the ex ante consultation on the processing of high risk data;
  • adopt codes of conduct and standard contractual clauses
  • encourages the introduction of certification, the accreditation of a certification body and the withdrawal of issued certificates;
  • cooperate with other EU DPAs in the framework of the Single Window environment;
  • take part in the activities and decision-making of the European Data Protection Board and refer matters to the European Data Protection Board where appropriate.

Office of the Finnish Data Protection Ombudsman

Postal address: PO Box 800, FI-00520 Helsinki

Visiting address: Helsinki, Finland, Finland, Finland, Finland, Finland, Finland, Finland, Finland,

Homepage: Link opens in new windowHttp://
E-mail: Link opens in new

Tel: + 358 2956 66700 telephone advice:
+ 358 2956 66777 (Monday) (from 9 to 16, in summer)


Legal aid

The purpose of legal aid is to give individuals the possibility to obtain professional legal assistance fully or partly at the expense of the state. Legal aid covers all legal matters. However, legal aid is usually not granted if the applicant has legal expenses insurance that covers the expenses of the case in question. In criminal proceedings, the defendant is under certain circumstances entitled to a public defender paid for by the state, regardless of his or her financial status. The victim of serious violent crime or sexual crime can be provided with a trial counsel at the expense of the state, regardless of his or her income. Legal aid is not available to companies or corporations. In matters pending abroad, legal aid covers the costs of legal advice.

In court proceedings, legal aid is offered by Public Legal Aid Attorneys, Advocates and other lawyers; in other matters, legal aid is provided by Public Legal Aid Attorneys, Who work in State Legal Aid Offices. These Offices are normally located in the same municipalities as the District Courts. The contact information of the State Legal Aid Offices can be found at Link opens in new window

Refugee Advice Centre

The Refugee Advice Centre is an NGO that provides legal aid and advice to asylum seekers, refugees and other foreigners in Finland. The Centre also works to promote the position of asylum seekers, refugees and other immigrants in Finland and follows the asylum and refugee policy of the European Union.

Address: Kaisaniemenkatu 4 A, 6.floor, 00100 Helsinki

Homepage: Link opens in new windowHttp://
E-mail: Link opens in new

Tel: + 358 9 2313
9300 Fax + 358 9 2313 9310

This is a machine translated version of the content. The owner of this page accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever with regard to the quality of this machine translated text.

Last update: 21/08/2019