The citizens’ initiative to allow legal killing of barnacle geese was handed over to the Parliament in August 2019. Photo: Parliament of Finland

Law drafting

Legislation is drafted in the ministry whose sphere of authority covers the matter. Finalised legislative motions (government proposals) are issued to the Parliament, which will review it on the basis of the committee report. The President of the Republic will confirm the bill approved by the Parliament and it will be published in the Finlex Data Bank.

Commencement of legislative drafting

The drafting of a bill begins with a legislative drafting initiative, which may be a statement in the Government Programme, the commencement of drafting of an EU instrument requiring national implementation, the result of a minister's or ministry's own initiative on the basis of the monitoring of implementation and impacts, or the result of a citizens' initiative. 

The Finnish Government website explains how the Government works, and gives information on initiatives and pending decisions, the Government Programme, the State Budget and also provides links to ministry websites. The Regulatory drafting and development projects and legislation on the Government page provides information about the projects of the Government and ministries and working groups appointed by them. The Participate in discussions and influence preparations (Osallistu keskusteluun ja vaikuta valmisteluun) list shows the rounds of statements and hearings updated in the project management services of ministries. Ministry websites offer also information about pending legislative projects. 

Information packages on major legislative initiatives – the LATI service –  contain information on key legislative initiatives. The packages are compiled by the specialists of the Library of Parliament and cover the period both before and during the parliamentary process. They include news, comparative legal material, literature and research concerning the initiative in question as well as the opportunities for citizens to participate in the initiative. 

Information about pending citizens’ initiatives is available on Kansalaisaloite.fi under Selaa kansalaisaloitteita. Concluded citizens’ initiatives are also listed as well as initiatives that have been accepted into parliamentary procedure. Citizens’ initiatives submitted to the Parliament and their processing information are available on the Parliament’s page Citizens’ initiative.

Online services

Influence legislative drafting online

Citizens can influence different stages of legislative drafting through the online services developed by the Ministry of Justice.

Kansalaisaloite.fi. is the online service for the initiative stage of legislative drafting. The online services for the preparatory and basic drafting stages are Otakantaa.fi and Lausuntopalvelu.fi. For the statement procedure stage, the online service is Lausuntopalvelu.fi

Citizens’ intiatives in Finland

At least 50,000 Finnish citizens who are eligible to vote can submit an initiative to Parliament for the enactment of legislation.

A citizens’ initiative can propose the enactment or drafting of new legislation. It can also concern the amendment or repeal of existing legislation. An initiative in the form of a bill must contain the proposed legal text. An initiative must confine itself to a particular matter and must present justifications. The initiative must concern a matter within the scope of the legislative powers of Parliament.

Citizens’ initiatives can be submitted, supported or browsed in the Kansalaisaloite.fi service. Supporting a citizens’ initiative is as important as submitting one.

Before submitting a citizens’ initiative, it is worthwhile to review the valid legislation. It is also recommended to at least scan through Lainlaatijan opas (Legal drafter’s guide), although citizens’ initiatives are subject to only minor form and content requirements.

Participate in discussions and surveys

Discuss and comment during the preparatory and basic drafting stages. Information and views of the objective of the matter to be handled are collected in the preparatory stage. It is also assessed whether there is a need to launch the legislative drafting project. The basic drafting stage starts with the legislative drafting project assignment and ends when the draft government proposal is completed (Government proposal draft). Ministries, for example, enter preparatory and basic drafting matters to the Otakantaa.fi service to provide an opportunity for citizens and stakeholders to discuss the matters.

Completed discussions, inquiries and their content are archived on the project’s own pages.

Submit your opinion and make a difference

Give a statement on the draft of the government proposal during the statement procedure stage.

After the basic drafting process, the stakeholders and citizens are asked to provide statements on the draft of the government proposal. The objective of the statements and hearings is to clarify different views, impacts and practical implementation possibilities concerning the prepared matter. Lausuntopalvelu.fi is an online service for both requesting and giving statements.

Once the statement procedure stage is over, the statements are compiled and summaries of the statements are published. A summary of the hearing during legislative drafting, received feedback and impacts of the feedback on the legislative proposal will be included in the legislative proposal justifications. The justifications also explain, for example, which parts of the proposals were not feasible and why.

​Enacting legislation in the Parliament

Enacting legislation is the Parliament's most important task. The Parliament can enact or amend legislation on the basis of a government proposal, a Member's motion or a citizens’ initiative. In the parliamentary debate, the bill is sent to the committee which prepares a report on the bill. The bill is considered in the Parliament on the basis of the committee reports.

Documents, minutes and directories generated during the Parliament consideration and parliamentary work are parliamentary documents. They are available as printed parliamentary document series at the Library of Parliament.

Electronic versions of the parliamentary documents are available in the Parliament’s search service starting from the 1980 parliamentary sessions. Older parliamentary documents can be retrieved and downloaded through the Digitised parliamentary documents 1907–2000 service (Digitoidut valtiopäiväasiakirjat 1907−2000).

Online services