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Legal Finnish terms for everyday use

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When learning Finnish, knowing some basic legal terms can be particularly useful, whether you are navigating through contracts, reading local news, or trying to understand rules and regulations. Here are some fundamental legal Finnish terms that you might come across in everyday use, along with their definitions and example sentences:

Laki means “law” in Finnish. It can refer to a single act or statute, or to law in a more general sense.
Suomessa on tiukat alkoholin myyntiä koskevat lait.

Sopimus is a “contract” or “agreement” between two or more parties.
Allekirjoitin vuokrasopimuksen uudesta asunnostani eilen.

Oikeus can refer to “justice,” “right,” or “court” depending on the context. As a legal term, it often refers to the judicial system or someone’s legal rights.
Kaikilla on oikeus ilmaiseen koulutukseen Suomessa.

Rikos means “crime.” It is an act punishable by law.
Poliisi tutkii rikosta, joka tapahtui keskustassa viime yönä.

Tuomio is a “sentence” or “judgment” handed down by a court, typically after a finding of guilt.
Tuomio annettiin eilen, ja syytetty sai kaksi vuotta vankeutta.

Asianajaja is an “attorney” or “lawyer,” a person who practices law and can represent clients in court.
Konsultoin asianajajaa ennen kuin teen minkäänlaisia päätöksiä.

Syyttäjä is a “prosecutor,” an attorney who conducts the case against a defendant in a criminal court.
Syyttäjä valmisteli syytekirjelmän huolellisesti.

Puolustus refers to the “defense,” or the arguments, facts, and points of law presented on behalf of the defendant.
Puolustus väitti, että todisteet olivat riittämättömiä.

Lainkäyttö means “administration of justice,” or the act of applying or upholding the law.
Lainkäyttö Suomessa on tunnetusti oikeudenmukaista ja tehokasta.

Valitus is an “appeal” or “complaint.” In legal terms, it refers to the process by which a case is brought before a higher court for review of a lower court’s decision.
Hän teki valituksen tuomion korjaamiseksi.

Sakko defines a “fine,” a monetary charge as a penalty for an offense.
Jos ajat ylinopeutta, saatat saada sakon postissa.

A todistaja is a “witness,” someone who can give a first-hand account of something heard, seen, or experienced.
Oikeudenkäynnissä on tärkeää, että todistajat kertovat totuuden.

A kanne is a “lawsuit” or “legal action” where a plaintiff brings a case against a defendant before a court.
Uhrin perhe nosti kanteen lääkäriä vastaan väärästä hoitotoimenpiteestä.

Understanding these basic legal Finnish terms will help you gain better insight into legal discussions and documents. While they may seem daunting at first, regular exposure and usage will help you to become more familiar with them in a real-world context. Remember, as with any language learning process, practice makes perfect!

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