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Terminology of Finnish legal proceedings

District Court roles and terminology

Claimant = a person bringing legal action against someone; a plaintiff.
Defendant = a person against whom claims are being made.
Client = an expression used by lawyers to refer to a person that they are assisting or representing.
Legal counsel/attorney = a lawyer assisting a client in legal proceedings and representing the client in issues relating to the proceedings.
Party = a person involved in a legal case.
District Judge = a judge at a District Court (a general court of first instance) presiding over preparatory and main hearings and making a decision on the case.
District Court Secretary = an official at a general court of first instance attending preparatory and main hearings to keep record; does not speak in court.

Application for a summons = a document in which a claimant makes claims against a defendant, used to bring a case to District Court.
Summons = an order issued by a District Court to a defendant to respond to an application for a summons within a specific period.
Defence = a brief (i.e. a formal letter) through which a defendant generally objects to the claims presented against them.
Written submission = a brief (i.e. a formal letter) often used to respond to any requests for further clarification issued by the court.
Taking of evidence = presenting documentation or hearing from a person that has some bearing on resolving a dispute.
Notice of intent to appeal = notification given by the losing party to the District Court of their intent to appeal against the court’s decision.