Ministry of Justice (Finland)
|Annual budget||€ 899 million (2015)|
The Ministry of Justice (Finnish: oikeusministeriö, Swedish: justitieministeriet) is one of the 12 ministries in the Finnish Government. Headed by the Minister of Justice, it is responsible for "maintaining and developing order and legal safeguards and overseeing the structures of democracy and the fundamental rights of citizens" in Finland. The drafting of the most central laws, the functioning of the judicial system and the enforcement of sentences also belong to the jurisdiction of the ministry.
The ministry and its administrative sector are headed by the Minister of Justice, assisted by the Permanent Secretary.
The Ministry of Justice has three departments:
- Law Drafting Department
- Department of Judicial Administration
- Criminal Policy Department
Units, separate from the three abovementioned departments, are the following:
- the Unit for Democracy, Language Affairs and Fundamental Rights
- the Media and Communications Unit
- the Administrative Unit
- the Economy Unit
- the Information Management Unit
- the Internal Audit Unit
- the Management Support
The administrative sector of the ministry consists of the courts, Criminal Sanctions Agency and several other offices and boards (below):
- Legal Register Centre
- Office of the Bankruptcy Ombudsman
- Office of the Data Protection Ombudsman
- National Council for Crime Prevention
- Safety Investigation Authority
- European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control (HEUNI, affiliated with the Unites Nations)
- Office of the Ombudsman for Children
- Ombudsman for Equality
- Office of the Non-discrimination Ombudsman
Law Drafting Department
The task of the Law Drafting Department is to promote the aims and the operational concept of the Ministry of Justice by means of legislation. Legislative drafting is one of the Ministry's main tasks.
The drafters are responsible for the entire life cycle of the project, starting from the preliminary work to the education and follow-up during the implementation phase. A considerable amount of the Department's work concerns the legislative cooperation within the EU as well as other international collaboration in addition to the national projects.
In addition to the projects within the Ministry and the Department, the Law Drafting Department takes part in the preparation of the other Ministries' projects and answers for the general development and guidance relating to legislative drafting in the Government. One important duty is to give statements on draft statutes prepared by the other Ministries. The Unit for General International and EU Matters provides legal counselling in EU matters and assists the management of the Ministry in EU and international matters.
The Department's Unit for Legislative Inspection revises bills prepared by the Ministry of Justice and draft decree proposals with little general significance.
Department of Judicial Administration
The Department of Judicial Administration partakes in the development and strategical planning of legal protection policy. The Department is in charge of the performance management of and operational preconditions for the courts, legal aid, guardianship services, the Consumer Disputes Board, and the Bankruptcy Ombudsman, as well as those relating to the authority functions of the Legal Register Centre. This includes the administrative structures of the organisations and their operations, employer and personnel management, facility management, and personnel training. The department is also responsible for the Enforcement Service's operational preconditions and the strategic planning and guidance of its operations.
The Department acquires sector-independent ICT services within its sector from the Legal Register Center and makes yearly sector-specific service agreements with the LRC.
The Department of Judicial Administration is responsible for statute drafting within its sector and for the operational preconditions of the Judicial Appointments Board. It also partakes in international collaboration related to its sector. The Department monitors conventions and statutes on collaboration in international administration of justice and performs the central authority functions of the Ministry in accordance with them. The Unit for International Administration of Justice provides bureaus within the Ministry's administrative branch with guidance and training and supports them in the daily preparation of legal aid documents.
The Department develops and consolidates the administrative branch's participation in civilian crisis management.
Department of Criminal Policy
The Department of Criminal Policy is responsible for the strategic planning and development of criminal policy and crime prevention, including the duties of the secretariat of the National Council for Crime Prevention, the development of the position of crime victims, and the development of anti-corruption measures.
The Department is responsible for the development of the criminal sanction system and the preparation of legislation pertaining to it, for the operational guidance of the Criminal Sanctions Agency and the prosecution service, and for law drafting and monitoring the enforcement of legislation concerning the Criminal Sanctions Agency and the prosecution service.
Furthermore, the Department answers for international crime prevention cooperation within its sector and coordinates legal policy research.
Unit for Democracy, Language Affairs and Fundamental Rights
The Unit for Democracy, Language Affairs and Fundamental Rights is responsible for promoting citizen participation and for the duties assigned to the Ministry of Justice in the Election Act, the Act on Political Parties and the Language Act. The Unit also oversees the enforcement, planning and monitoring of duties concerning fundamental rights policy, as well as the cultural autonomy of the Sami people and the coordination of Sami matters.
In the beginning of 2015, the national and international duties relating to the promotion of equality and non-discrimination in accordance with the new Non-Discrimination Act, along with the Advisory Board for Ethnic Relations and all running projects related to the duties, were transferred from the Ministry of the Interior to the Unit for Democracy, Language Affairs and Fundamental Rights at the Ministry of Justice.
Other representatives and organs affected by the reform were the Ombudsman for Equality and the National Discrimination and Equality Tribunal, the Ombudsman for Children and the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman, as they were transferred to the Ministry of Justice and placed under the performance guidance of the Unit for Democracy, Language Affairs and Fundamental Rights.
Media and Communications Unit
The Media and Communications Unit is responsible for managing and developing the external communication of the Ministry of Justice. The aim of the Media and Communications Unit is to support the work of the Ministry and promote the goals of legal policy.
The Administrative Unit is responsible for the personnel administration and general administration, except for duties managed by other departments or units and duties that were transferred to the Government Administration Department on 1 March 2015. The Unit also takes care of certain separate tasks, such as the processing of applications for pardon, the maintenance of the electronic legislative database, and the publication of the Statute Book of Finland.
The Economy Unit is in charge of the general guidance, preparation and development of the operations and finances of the administrative branch of the Ministry of Justice, one of its central tasks being the preparation of the budget for the Ministry's administrative branch.
Information Management Unit
The Information Management Unit supports the management and development of the Ministry's and its administrative branch's operations and oversees the joint information management services. The Unit is responsible for consolidating the performance management of the Legal Register Centre, for the performance management tasks relating to the Legal Register Centre's data system functions, as well as for the acquisition of the administrative branch's IT services that are not restricted to a given sector.
Internal Audit Unit
The Internal Audit Unit supports the Ministry's management in developing internal control and provides information on the adequacy and sufficiency of the internal control within the administrative branch.
The Management Support assists the management of the Ministry in strategic preparation, development of the Ministry's management systems and is in charge of the preparations and secretarial duties related to the directors' meetings.