The public prosecutor brings a charge against the suspect and makes a demand for his or her punishment. For more information on the duties of the prosecutors, please see the prosecutor pages.


The defendant, or the accused, is the person against whom the prosecutor brings a charge. The district court will note in the summons whether the defendant must arrive to the trial in person or whether the defendant may appoint an attorney to be present in his or her stead. The defendant is, however, always entitled to be present in person in the trial, if he or she so wishes.

Injured party

The injured party means the victim of the offence or a person incurring damage because of the offence. The injured party may claim compensation from the perpetrator. In most cases the prosecutor presents the claims for compensation on behalf of the injured party and therefore it is not always necessary that he or she is present in person. The injured party is summoned to the main hearing, if this is considered necessary. The prosecutor often wishes that the injured party be heard for the purpose of giving evidence, especially when the case concerns violent crime. In that case, the injured party will be paid the same compensation for appearing at court as a witness. In other events, the injured party may arrive on a voluntary basis. When the injured party is being heard in court, he or she is under the obligation to keep to the truth.


A witness is a person whose observations or expertise are used for determining the course of events. The duty of the witness is to recount what he or she certainly remembers of the events and his or her own observations. The witness is not on the side of either party and thereby should not take the interests of either party into account when giving testimony. A witness may refuse to testify, if the defendant is a close relative. However, the summons to appear in court must always be obeyed. The witness will be compensated for the loss of income arising from the appearance in court and for travel costs; an allowance will also be paid.

The court sees to it that the parties and witnesses are served with the summonses and other notices well in advance of the hearing.

Published 19.6.2018