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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 156510 Find in a Library
Title: Trial Costs in the New Lower Court Proceedings: A Study of Lower Court Practice (From Research Report Summaries 1994, P 34- 37, 1995)
Author(s): K Ervasti
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 4
Sponsoring Agency: National Research Institute of Legal Policy
Helsinki , FI-00531
Publication Number: 126
Sale Source: National Research Institute of Legal Policy
POB 444
Pitkansillanranta 3 A
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: Finland
Annotation: This study considered lower court records and questionnaire findings to evaluate the effect of court reform on court practices and trial costs in Finland.
Abstract: In December 1993, lower court procedures were changed and new provisions in the Code of Judicial Procedure relative to compensating trial courts entered into force. The purpose of the reform was to establish the principle that the party losing a civil case should be required to pay trial costs of the winning party. To determine how the reform changed court practices with respect to trial costs, trial documents were collected from 298 cases dealt with through simplified proceedings and 84 cases dealt with through expanded proceedings. Questionnaires from 70 judges were received, and individual judges, attorneys, and debt collection agency representatives were also interviewed. Simplified proceedings resulted in an increase in trial costs that courts ordered in uncontested debt cases. Legal practice generally followed goals set for the reform in that the party who lost the case was ordered to pay trial costs incurred by the winning party, in both simplified and expanded proceedings. About 80 percent of judges regarded the new provisions as very clear, clear, or relatively clear. Almost 90 percent of judges said that, in most of their decisions in both simplified and expanded proceedings, trial costs had been ordered paid in full. Even so, most responding judges said that they had not ordered trial costs paid without exception according to the winning party's request in simplified proceedings where the defendant had not responded. Instead, judges either reduced trial costs as reasonable or ordered trial costs paid on the basis of a schedule of costs that had been agreed upon. Most problems revealed in questionnaire responses were due to tension between the reasonableness principle and the full payment principle.
Main Term(s): Foreign courts
Index Term(s): Civil proceedings; Court costs; Court procedures; Court reform; Finland; Foreign criminal codes; Trial courts; Trial procedures
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