Finland

The legal aid in the incoming Hague cases (the child abducted to Finland) is regulated by the Child Custody and Right of Access Act (Laki lapsen huollosta ja tapaamisoikeudesta, 361/83). The section 41 of that act rules:

Section 41 — Free legal aid and costs incurred by the return of a child (186/1994)

(1)   In a case relating to the return of a child and a case relating to the recognition and enforcement of a decision on child custody and right of access given in a State that is a Contracting State in the European Convention, the applicant shall, upon request, be granted cost free proceedings without liability to compensate the State, even if cost free proceedings were otherwise not allowable.
(2)   When a court orders the return of a child or asserts that a decision on child custody is enforceable, it may at the same time, upon the request of the applicant, obligate the opposing party to compensate the applicant for the costs incurred by the return of the child.
(3)   If the opposing party loses a case referred to in paragraph (1), he shall be obligated to compensate the Ministry of Justice for the costs incurred in the case in accordance with the same principles as provided for the compensation of legal costs to the parties to a case. Compensation may be not required or it may be reduced, if the liability would otherwise be unreasonable in view of the financial circumstances of the party concerned.

This means that in the Hague cases, where the child has been abducted to Finland, applicants always receive free legal aid in Finland.

Legal aid includes e.g. the fees and reimbursements for an attorney, translation and interpretation costs and handling charges. These are regulated by the legal aid act (Oikeusapulaki 257/2002). Please note that if the applicant loses his/her case in the court, it is possible (although in practice this has happened rarely) that the court decides that the applicant needs to pay the legal costs of the other party. This could happen e.g. in situations where the evidence provided to the court proves that the applicant has actually consented to the move.

to the top Last modification 19.05.2015