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PLEA BARGAINING AS AN EXAMPLE OF THE RECENT CHANGES IN THE FINNISH CIRIMINAL PROCEDURAL PARADIGM

Laura Ervo
Keywords: Conflict resolution, criminal proceedings, plea bargaining, material truth, party autonomy, procedural truth, sanction mechanism ,

Abstract

In Finland, a government bill on plea bargaining is now at the parliament. In Estonia, Norway, Denmark, Germany and Latvia they have adopted similar systems already. In Sweden and Iceland plea bargaining is not possible. As a procedural instrument, plea bargaining is something quite new in Europe, and in the Baltic and in the Nordic countries. How does it fit into our systems and into our way of thinking? If we look at the current trends in criminal proceedings fairness, procedural justice, conflict resolution, negotiated law, pragmatically acceptable compromise, procedural truth, party autonomy, court service, communication and interaction are good examples of the topics which are currently being discussed. All these examples indicate that the criminal jurisdiction has become more communal. It has even been said that criminal proceedings have recently become closer civil proceedings, which seems to be quite true. Still, efficiency plays a major role in European adjudication thanks to economic crisis and lack of resources. How to understand the role of plea bargaining in this set? At least the legislator has pointed out the efficiency, the appropriate allocation of resources and the simplifying the criminal proceedings when suggesting adopting the plea bargaining in Finland. The novelty has not been put into
philosophical context or into the systemic context of criminal proceedings. It looks like the legislator adopts some single instruments from the foreign legal orders if they seem to fit well into legislators’ puzzle to intensify the proceedings and to save the state money.
However, there seem to be more coherent trends behind all of that as well – namely, the change of paradigm.