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The Insurance Court - a special court of law

The Insurance Court is an independent and impartial special court of law dealing with income security matters.

The Insurance Court Act constitutes the legal basis for the Court's activities. In the Court's application of the law the Administrative Judicial Procedure Act applies. Business can be conducted with the Insurance Court either in Finnish or in Swedish. It is also possible to use the Saame language under the conditions prescribed in the Language Act.

Matters dealt with by the Insurance Court

The Insurance Court has jurisdiction in matters concerning for example a person's right to earnings-related pension, national pension, unemployment benefit, wage security, housing allowance, financial aid for students and disability benefits paid by the Social Insurance Institution of Finland. The Court also deals with matters concerning benefits according to the Health Insurance Act, rehabilitation, right to compensation on the grounds of occupational accidents and diseases, criminally caused injuries, military injuries or military accidents.

The Insurance Court is the only court of law where it is possible to appeal in all these matters. However, the Court's jurisdiction does not include matters concerning vehicle or household insurance, or any other private insurance matters.

The appeals system in income security matters

Matters concerning income security are generally dealt with in two phases. In general, appeals concerning decisions made by institutions and companies granting different benefits are to be made to the appeals boards dealing with such matters. Appeals against decisions by these boards are to be made to the Insurance Court, which is the supreme appeals body. Its decisions are not subject to appeal. However, in certain cases concerning occupational accidents and diseases it is possible to make a request for a leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Furthermore, in certain cases fulfilling the legally established prerequisites the Insurance Court may repeal its own final decisions, or final decisions made by the appeals boards.

Organization of the Insurance Court

The Court's activities are lead by a Chief Justice. A Management Board consisting of the Chief Justice, the heads of departments, i.e. the Senior Judges, and the Secretary General in charge of the administrative and office services unit assists the Chief Justice in the preparation of matters concerning for example administration and appointments.

The Insurance Court has three departments. Department 1 mainly deals with matters concerning occupational accidents and diseases, criminally caused injuries, financial aid for students and military injuries. Department 2 mainly deals with matters concerning pensions on the basis of private employment, national pensions and general housing allowance. Department 3 mainly deals with matters concerning pensions on the basis of public employment, as well as unemployment security, disability benefits and health insurance.

Court members participating in the decision-making

Depending on the group and the kind of case at hand three or five court members participate in the decision making. All of them are subject to the legal responsibility of a judge. They have given a judicial responsibility oath or a solemn declaration.

The cases to be decided are presented by a referendary. In legal matters the decision making body consists of the chairman, two legally trained members of which one is an insurance court judge and the other one the referendary. In case a medical investigation may have an impact on the settlement of the case, a physician, who is a part time public service employee of the Insurance Court, replaces the referendary as member of decision making body. In addition to these persons two experts appointed by the Government on a secondary job basis participate in the decision making concerning earnings-related pensions, the accident insurance, unemployment security, wage security and military injury.

 
Published 24.2.2014