Mediation in criminal and civil cases
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health leads, steers and monitors the mediation services in criminal and civil cases at national level.
Mediation in criminal and civil cases is a free-of-charge public service where volunteer mediators mediate between the parties to a crime or a dispute and assist them in the negotiations. The purpose of mediation is to discuss the mental and material harm suffered by the victim and agree on measures to redress the harm. Mediation is a procedure either parallel or supplementary to the criminal process. A key objective is to prevent recidivism.
Provisions on mediation in criminal and civil cases laid down by law
Provisions on mediation in criminal and civil cases are laid down by law. The Advisory Board on Mediation in Criminal Cases, appointed by the Government, monitors, outlines and promotes the national and international mediation activities and development. The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) is responsible for organising mediation across the country.
The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL):
- concludes service provision contracts with municipalities and third-sector operators;
- guides and supervises the mediation offices;
- organises training for the personnel;
- allocates the state reimbursement for organising mediation services to the mediation offices;
- compiles statistics on mediation in criminal and civil cases, monitors and studies mediation, and coordinates its development at national level.
“The Advisory Board on Mediation in Criminal Cases appointed a working group to review the current practices of mediation in cases of domestic and intimate partner violence. The report “Mediation of domestic violence crimes – Current situation and development proposals” was published in January 2019 (the abstract is in English).”
Mediation services in mediation offices
Mediation services are available in mediation offices. Mediation is always voluntary and free-of-charge for clients. Typical cases in mediation are property crimes, criminal damage and assaults, although mediation can be used even in minor disputes.
The objective of mediation is to discuss the crime or dispute at hand, the parties’ experiences and emotions concerning it and agree on ways to compensate for the damages or reach a settlement that both parties can accept.
- Act on Conciliation in Criminal and Certain Civil Cases 1005/2005 (Finlex)
- Government Decree on Conciliation in Criminal and Certain Civil Cases 267/2006 (available in Finnish and Swedish in Finlex)
- Mediation in criminal and civil cases (in Finnish) (THL)
- Contact details for the mediation offices (in Finnish) (THL)
Possible transfer of mediation services to the administrative branch of the Ministry of Justice in 2024
On 25 February 2020, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health set up a project to examine the possibilities to transfer the mediation services in criminal cases and in certain civil cases from the administrative branch of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health to that of the Ministry of Justice.
The project steering group proposes in its report (2021) that the mediation services be transferred to the administrative branch of the Ministry of Justice. The mediation services would be connected to legal aid and public guardianship services and provided by the National Legal Aid and Guardianship Authority that may be established.