State legal aid offices
The state legal aid offices of the legal aid and public guardianship districts provide various kinds of advocacy services for persons entitled to legal aid. The Public Legal Aid Attorneys of the legal aid offices are independent and impartial when representing a client in court.
As of 1 January 2019, legal aid offices also provide financial and debt counselling services to private individuals and to self-employed persons and entrepreneurs engaged in small-scale business activities. The service is provided by financial and debt counsellors.
There are 23 legal aid offices (inclusive of the Legal Aid and Public Guardianship Office of Åland), and they are located usually in the same municipalities as the district courts. The legal aid offices may have branch offices, where necessary. The number of attorneys employed by the offices is around 220. In addition, the offices employ approximately the same number of office staff. The number of financial and debt counsellors working at the legal aid offices is around 140.A client may turn to any legal aid office, but usually it is easiest to use the nearest one.
Legal aid offices are headed by Leading Public Legal Aid Attorneys. Administratively, the legal aid offices function under the legal aid and public guardianship districts. There are six such districts, and each of them is headed by the Director of Legal Aid and Public Guardianship District.
The districts are the Legal Aid and Public Guardianship District of Southern Finland, the Legal Aid and Public Guardianship District of Eastern Finland, the Legal Aid and Public Guardianship District of Southeastern Finland, the Legal Aid and Public Guardianship District of Southwestern Finland, the Legal Aid and Public Guardianship District of Western and Inland Finland, and the Legal Aid and Public Guardianship District of Northern Finland.
Around 50,000 legal aid cases are dealt with at the legal aid offices each year.