Appeals, SOLVIT and complaints
In Finland, a party opposing a decision issued by the authorities may request to have it amended by lodging an appeal with the administrative court. An amendment can be requested for a decision of an authority that has not become final. As a rule, the party concerned by the decision in question has the right of appeal.
When issuing their decision, the authority must indicate how and where an appeal can be lodged. For some decisions, a rectification must first be requested from the authority that issued the decision (request for rectification), after which a party dissatisfied with the decision on the request for rectification can lodge an appeal with the administrative court.
The administrative court shall decide whether the decision of the authority being appealed against is lawful.
As a rule, a party opposing a decision issued by the administrative court may appeal to have it amended by lodging an appeal with the Supreme Administrative Court, provided that the Supreme Administrative Court grants the leave to appeal. The Supreme Administrative Court is the highest administrative court, which investigates and settles appeals and applications for the leave to appeal regarding the decisions of administrative courts. The Supreme Administrative Court’s decisions are final, i.e. no appeals against them can be lodged with any other courts of law in Finland.
SOLVIT network solves problems encountered by enterprises and citizens in cooperation with authorities within the EU/ETA area. A problem can be suspected of originating from a misapplication of legislation, insufficient decision-making, or, for example, incorrect harmonisation of EU legislation in the EU country in question.
Problem must be such that it crosses borders (for example, a Finnish enterprise and an authority from another EU country) and evidence must be provided in order to solve it, such as decisions submitted by an authority. Problem could include trade barriers (e.g. technical trade barriers such as standards, technical regulations and various inspection, testing or certification requirements) or it may be related to other areas of the single market legislation (e.g. the entry into the market for goods and services).
SOLVIT is a free of charge service that does not replace the official appeal procedure or offer legal assistance if an issue has been brought before a court. Problems are solved by means of unofficial cooperation between authorities. An authority is offered an opportunity to voluntarily correct any shortcomings in their operation.
In case of structural problems, the aim is to have the other member state change their legislation. The objective of SOLVIT is to solve problems as quickly as possible; the deadline is ten weeks. SOLVIT is not suitable for replacing the operation of other problem-solving networks, such as national appeal procedures, services of the Parliamentary Ombudsman, problem-solving situations between companies, or consumer disputes.
A complaint can be filed with the authority supervising administrative complaints if an authority or civil servant has acted unlawfully or not fulfilled their obligations.
A complaint can also be filed directly with the Parliamentary Ombudsman of Finland or the Chancellor of Justice, the highest overseers of legality who primarily have identical tasks and powers. Both of these oversee the legality of the activities of the authorities and civil servants.
A complaint can be filed with the Parliamentary Ombudsman of Finland or the Chancellor of Justice if a party suspects that an authority or civil servant has not complied with the law or fulfilled their obligations, or that basic rights have not been fulfilled appropriately. The Parliamentary Ombudsman of Finland or the Chancellor of Justice will investigate a complaint if it gives reason to suspect that an authority has acted unlawfully or not fulfilled their obligations, or if they otherwise see that it is relevant. Investigating a complaint is free of charge for the party filing the complaint.
The Parliamentary Ombudsman of Finland and the Chancellor of Justice will not both investigate a single case at the same time. As a rule, a complaint will be investigated by the overseer who first received it.
The authority that settles a complaint will indicate in its decision whether the object of the complaint acted lawfully in its view. However, the complaint resolution will not change the authority’s decision or provide any right to receive compensation for loss.
Administrative Procedure Act (434/2003) - Legally binding only in Finnish and Swedish, pdf
Administrative Judicial Procedure Act (808/2019) - Legally binding only in Finnish and Swedish, pdf
Act on the Parliamentary Ombudsman of Finland (197/2002) – Not available in English
Act on the Chancellor of Justice (193/2000) – Not available in English