Reader ‘s opinion Legal protection does not apply to practically all Finns

The solution could be compulsory legal expenses insurance for all, which the state would pay for the poor in part or in full.

Tuula Linna and Antti Tapanila raised an important issue in their paper (HS Guest Pen 17.4.): in today’s Finland, only the richest can afford to pay their own costs. However, many middle-income people have legal expenses insurance and the poor can get state legal aid.

The problem is that these groups exclude a large number of people who do not have the resources to defend their rights but who are not entitled to legal aid. These Finns have virtually no legal protection, so I do not think that Finland can be considered a state governed by the rule of law.

One example of the weakness of the current system is that the right to state legal aid depends on the party’s ability to pay at any given time, while the right to insurance compensation depends on whether the legal expenses insurance was valid at the time the dispute arose. For example, if an unemployed person gets a job during the legal process, he or she may lose legal aid and thus the opportunity to defend his or her rights in the event that he or she could not have afforded legal expenses insurance.

The solution could be compulsory legal expenses insurance for all, which the state would pay for the poor in part or in full. This arrangement would replace the current legal aid system and could therefore be implemented in a cost-neutral manner.

Henrik Kahanpää

M.Sc., Helsinki

Reader opinions are speeches written by HS readers, selected and delivered by HS editorial. You can leave a comment or learn about the principles of writing at www.hs.fi/kirjtamielipidekirjoitus/.

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