Finland in Europe

According to the work “Guide to Foreign and International Citations”, by the Journal of International Law and Politics (New York University School of Law):

“Finland’s Constitution was adopted March 1, 2000. Prior to that date, the country was governed by four Constitutional Acts: The Constitution Act of Finland (1919), the Parliament Act, and two ministerial liability acts. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land and is the source of all public power. It enshrines the fundamental principle that sovereign power lies with the Finnish people represented by the Parliament.

The state is organized on the basis of a separation of powers between the Government, Parliament, the President, and the courts. Executive power lies with the Government (valtioneuvosto) with certain duties carried out by the President (tasavallan presidentti). The President is elected directly by majority vote, with a second run-off election held if necessary, for a term of six years. The President must be a native Finnish citizen and is limited to two terms in office. The Prime Minister is elected by Parliament and appointed by the President. Other ministers are appointed by the President based upon nominations by the Prime Minister. The Government or Council of Ministers is made up of the Prime Minister (Pääministeri) and a maximum of seventeen Ministers (Ministeri). The Government is the decision-making body for governmental and administrative matters consisting of the Government plenary session and the ministries. Foreign policy is directed by the President in conjunction with the Government. The Government has the authority to forward proposals for legislation to the Parliament for enactment.

The legislative power lies with the Parliament (eduskunta). Finland has a unicameral Parliament consisting of 200 seats. Chapter Six of the Constitution provides that the principal duty of Parliament is to enact legislation. Members of Parliament are elected directly by popular vote to four-year terms, although the President, after consulting with Parliament, may order a new election prior to the end of that term if the Prime Minister so advises. Parliament may adopt Acts, which must be submitted to the President for ratification. Following signature by the President, the Act is published in the official statute book. Acts which are not ratified within three months, or which are vetoed by the President, are returned to the Parliament, and they may still enter into force if there is sufficient support in Parliament, provided that no further amendments are made.

Judicial power lies with the Courts (tuomioistuimet). Finland has a three-tiered hierarchical system of courts. Sixty-six first instance District Courts (käräjäoikeus) have jurisdiction to hear both civil and criminal matters in territorially limited districts. Their decisions may be appealed to one of six regionally organized Courts of Appeal (hovioikeus), which also have first instance jurisdiction over certain governmental and treason matters. The
highest court is the Supreme Court of Finland (korkein oikeus). Appeals from decisions of the Court of Appeal are heard only with leave of the Supreme Court, usually by a panel of five justices. Along with its judicial authority, the Supreme Court of Finland also has the power to request legislation modifying or interpreting current legislation. Administrative law cases are heard by Administrative Courts (hallinto-oikeus), appeals from decisions of which may be taken with leave to the Supreme Administrative Court (korkein hallinto-oikeus).

In addition, Finland has a network of Specialized Courts (erityistuomioistuin), arranged by subject matter jurisdiction.

These include, inter alia, Market Courts (markkinatuomioistuin), Labour Courts (työtuomioistuin) and Social Insurance Courts (vakuutusoikeus) dealing with such matters as entitlement to welfare benefits. The two principal law journals are Suomen asianajajaliiton äänenkannattaja and Lakimies: Suomalaisen lakimiesten yhdistyksen aikakauskirja.

The Constitution grants the autonomous Åland Islands very liberal executive and legislative powers. Legislative and executive powers are vested in the Provincial Legislative Assembly (Lagting/Maakuntapäivät) and the Provincial Government (Landskapsstyrelse/Maakuntahallitus). The official language of the Åland Islands is Swedish.”

Online Resources: Republic of Finland (

Description of Finland

The Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union describes finland in the following terms: [1] An independent state only since the 1917 Russian revolution, Finland was under effective Soviet domination from the end of World War II until the end of the Cold War, a term of its retention of some autonomy being its adoption of neutrality. Finland joined the Nordic Council and the United Nations in 1955, EFTA (of which it had previously been an associate) in 1986 and the Council of Europe in 1989, in each case deterred from more timely membership by fear of its eastern neighbour.

On the collapse of Soviet communism Finland applied in 1992 for membership of what was about to become the European Union, obtaining admittance in 1995, but remaining non-aligned. The economy, which had previously depended partly on barter trade with the Soviet Union, suffered badly in the early 1990s from Russia’s decline, but has since recovered well. The country is a participant in the first wave of the single currency.


Notas y References

  1. Based on the book “A Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union from Aachen to Zollverein”, by Rodney Leach (Profile Books; London)

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