You are here:

Finland / Supreme Court / KKO:2016:38; S2015/754; 1234

A, B and C v E

Deciding Body type:
National Court/Tribunal
Deciding Body:
Supreme Court
Type:
Decision
Decision date:
31/05/2016

Key facs of the case: 

In a case concerning child maintenance obligations, the children (A, B and C), who lived in Germany, and the father (E), who lived in Finland, disagreed on the question whether Finnish or German law was applicable in the case. The court of first instance had decided, by an intermediate judgment, that Finnish law was applicable. The court had also given instructions for appeal against the decision. The appeal court did not change the decision of the first-instance court. The children appealed further to the Supreme Court. In a precedent case KKO:2007:74 the Supreme Court had held that the question of applicable law is usually decided at the preparatory stage of the proceedings. Therefore, such a decision is not an intermediate judgment, as prescribed in Chapter 24, section 6:2, of the Code of Judicial Procedure, but a procedural decision, under Chapter 25, section 1:3, of the Code of Judicial Procedure, which is not subject to appeal because appeal against such a decision is not specifically provided.

Outcome of the case: 

The issue of applicable law can only in exceptional cases be resolved by an intermediate judgment or a decision which is subject to separate appeal. This was not the situation in the present case because the further hearing of the case had not become unnecessary owing to the decision on applicable law. The relevant provisions in the Code of Judicial Procedure had not changed since the precedent case KKO:2007:74. The court of first instance should not have decided the question of applicable law by an intermediate judgment and should not have issued instructions for appeal against the decision. The appeal court should not even have considered the question of applicable law. The matter was referred back to the court of first instance.The Supreme Court also found that the right to an effective remedy was not restricted, because the parties in the case can take up the question of applicable law in connection with an appeal against the final decision in the case.