The Insurance Court, which is part of the Finnish court system, is a special court dealing with all kinds of social security matters – for example, it has jurisdiction in matters concerning the right to compensation under the statutory accident insurance on the grounds of workplace injuries or occupational diseases. Private insurance companies administer the statutory accident insurance and if the insured is not satisfied with the decision, he or she can lodge an appeal to the Employment Accidents Appeal Board from where the case can be appealed to the Insurance Court. Generally, the decisions of the Insurance Court are not appealable; however, in certain cases involving occupational accidents and diseases it is possible to appeal to the Supreme Court, provided that the Supreme Court grants leave to appeal.
The most important function of the Supreme Court is to set precedent. During the past two years the Supreme Court has granted several leaves to appeal in occupational accident and disease-related matters. In these cases the Supreme Court has overruled decisions of the Insurance Court and ordered the insurers to indemnify.
The common denominator in these precedent cases is that the Insurance Court did not accept the causality between the accident and the injury, whereas the Supreme Court came to the opposite conclusion.
The Finnish Bar Association is perturbed by the divergent interpretations of causality in occupational injury and disease-related cases. According to the association, the same medical and other proof of causality would lead to a different outcome in the Insurance Court from in ordinary courts. This is problematic in matters where the Insurance Court has final jurisdiction over the matter.
For further information on this topic please contact Matti Komonen or Herman Ljungberg at Hammarström Puhakka Partners, Attorneys Ltd by telephone (+358 9 474 2207), fax (+358 9 474 2247) or email ([email protected] or [email protected]).