About legal aid

The costs of the trial

The trial does not incur costs in the case the prosecutor pursues. In some cases, expenses may arise mainly from the legal assistant's expenses. Legal counsel may be necessary if you have claims for damages. Especially in violent crimes, the assistant's expenses can usually be covered by state funds, either in whole or in part, or from legal protection insurance.

Additional reading:

Riku.fi: Covering attorneys's expenses

Sexual crimes and domestic violence cases

When it is a sexual crime or violence committed by a close person (apart from mild assault), and you have claims in the case pursued by the prosecutor, it is possible that the court will assign you a legal assistant for the preliminary investigation and the trial, regardless of your income.

The situation is always considered on a case-by-case basis. In these situations, the assistant's fee is paid from state funds. In this case, you can turn to any private lawyer or other licensed lawyer. He obtains an assistant order from the court. It is good to note that the appointment of an assistant can be influenced by how long the relationship between the parties in the criminal case has lasted and whether it is still valid.

If an assistance order from state funds for a victim of a sexual crime or domestic violence is not possible, you can apply for legal aid from the legal aid office. Getting legal aid is affected by income and wealth. Generally, low-income people can get it. In this case, the legal assistant's fee is paid, depending on income, either partially or entirely from state funds.

Legal aid can be obtained at all stages of the case

Legal aid can be obtained at all stages of the case, and it includes, among other things, advice and assistance in court proceedings. As an assistant, you can choose a public legal assistant working in the state legal aid office, a private lawyer or another licensed lawyer. Legal aid is not provided if the victim has legal protection insurance covering the handling of the case, which must be used primarily. In this case, any private lawyer or other licensed lawyer can be used as an assistant.

A prerequisite for legal protection may be that the victim has claims for damages or punishment in connection with the criminal case. It can also be a condition that the matter is disputed, i.e. the victim has a different view of the incident or related demands than the other party.

Legal security insurance does not cover the assistant's costs related to the preliminary investigation

Legal security insurance does not cover the assistant's costs related to the preliminary investigation. In insurance, there is usually a deductible, which the victim has to pay himself if he does not get legal help for the deductible portion due to his income and wealth. The assistant can find out if his fee can be reimbursed from state funds or insurance.

Ways of getting public legal aid

You can book an ap­point­ment or ask for advice from your local office. For a list of legal aid offices, please visit the website oikeus.fi.

Prepare in advance when applying for legal aid

Be prepared to present the information/documents regarding your income and expenses as well as your assets:

  • type of residence, ownership, possible agreements on ownership
  • the decision to end cohabitation, eviction, etc.
  • the need and financial possibilities for a temporary/new form of housing
  • written notes and evidence of possible interventions by e.g. the police or social services
  • income, financial situation and the possibility of getting free help; you can also choose from the private side if legal aid does not offer appointments
  • child maintenance, visitation and maintenance agreements
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