The Finnish judicial system comprises the independent courts, the advocates, the public legal aid system and the prosecution service. The enforcement authorities and the Criminal Sanctions Agency, which are responsible for enforcing the court decisions, are also part of the Finnish judicial system. Even though the police are not part of the judicial system, they are responsible for conducting the pre-trial investigation, which is the first stage in the judicial investigation of an offence.
The courts exercise judicial power independently. They decide in each case what is in accordance with the law. Political actors, such as political parties, Parliament, public administration or any other outside party may not intervene in their decision-making.
The police have the right to impose fines. Most of the sentences are imposed as fines without a court decision.
Finland's court system is divided by region and by competence of the courts.
Finland has 20 district courts, which deal with criminal cases, civil cases and petitionary matters in the first instance. Their decisions can be appealed against to one of Finland's five courts of appeal. A decision of a court of appeal can be appealed against to the Supreme Court provided that the Supreme Court grants a leave to appeal.
Finland has six regional administrative courts, which consider appeals against decisions by authorities and legal disputes between the authorities in the first instance. In addition, the autonomous Åland Islands have a separate administrative court. A decision of an administrative court can be appealed against to the Supreme Administrative Court.
The Market Court, the Labour Court and the Insurance Court consider matters coming under their own special fields. A decision of the Market Court can be appealed against to the Supreme Administrative Court or the Supreme Court. Decisions of the Labour Court and the Insurance Court cannot be appealed against, except for a small number of accident insurance decisions made by the Insurance Court.