“Regular Powers are No Longer Enough” – Checks and Balances in Declaring a State of Emergency according to the Constitution of Finland

Scandinavian Studies in Law 70:215–232 (2024)
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Abstract

In this article, we analyze how the checks-and-balances principle in the Finnish Constitution regarding the declaration of the state of emergency. We first discuss the basic principles of the separation of powers and checks and balances, and explicate how these principles are relevant to declaring a state of emergency (section 2). We then move on to analysing the Finnish legal order, de lege lata, regarding the declaration of the state of emergency, both on the level of the Constitution and on the level of the Emergency Powers Act (section 3). This section elaborates the role of the legislative branch in checking the executive and the authority of the executive(s) in declaring a state of emergency. By means of our theoretical discussion and legal analysis, we will evaluate critically the declaration requirement’s political entailments for the Finnish legal system and propose some changes for the future, de lege ferenda (section 4). This evaluation critically assesses the present legislation regarding the declaration and its recent practice during COVID-19 pandemic.

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Tuukka Brunila
University of Turku

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