Problem-Solving Justice in Criminal and Civil Justice in Finland



Problem-solving justice as a concept has often been understood in relation to the criminal justice system. The best-known application of problem-solving justice is problem-solving courts. However, in Finland and the other Nordic countries, no courts could be described as problem-solving courts. As a theoretical concept, problem-solving justice is not very well known or used in research or in legal textbooks. Indeed, the core concept of problem-solving justice is quite unfamiliar in Finnish and in Nordic legal culture. That being said, problem-solving approaches in a broader sense are currently quite important in the law and conflict resolution mechanisms of Nordic countries. In the field of conflict resolution, there are many simultaneous and alternative problem-solving methods and ways to deal with conflicts. There are also many mediation systems, and research in the field of conflict resolution is dynamic. 
In the Nordic countries, the problem-solving approach is included in the whole criminal and civil law systems and procedural law. The attention and desired changes in legal policy from this perspective are less attached to the structure of the court system than in common law countries, and the idea of special courts has been rejected. It is unlikely that there will be specific problem-solving courts in the future in Finland or the other Nordic countries. Instead, as a theoretical concept, problem solving justice is useful in the Nordic context when we review and evaluate the functioning of the court and conflict resolution system. It is appropriate to understand the “problem solving justice” concept more widely than it has often been understood. In its wider meaning, it is not limited to the criminal justice system or to special problem-solving courts.  Instead we can use it in a broader sense to describe different conflict resolution systems and activities, the aim of which is based more on problem solving than on pure judicial decision making.


problem-solving justiceconflict resolutionmediation
  • Page/Article: 19-30
  • DOI: 10.18352/ulr.469
  • Published on 29 Jan 2019