Fitting the Estonian Notions of Contractual and Non-contractual Obligations under the European Private International Law Instruments

Author:Irene Kull - Maarja Torga
Position:Professor of Civil Law LL.M.,University of Tartu - Lecturer of Civil Law, University of Tartu
Pages:61-68
 
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JURIDICA INTERNATIONAL XX/2013
Irene Kull Maarja Torga
Professor of Civil Law LL.M., Lecturer of Civil Law
University of Tartu University of Tartu
Fitting the Estonian Notions of
Contractual and Non-contractual
Obligations under the European
Private International Law
Instruments*1
1. Introduction
After the entry into force of the Estonian Law of Obligations Act*2 (LOA) in 2002, Estonian courts have
been faced with the need to distinguish among various contractual and non-contractual obligations, of
which some, such as the non-contractual obligation related to the public promise to pay (LOA, §1009) or the
obligation to present a thing (LOA, §1014), were previously not even known in Estonian substantive law of
obligations. Although the distinctions among various obligations in Estonian substantive law have become
clearer and clearer as the case law has evolved, it is still unclear how the Estonian notions of contractual
and non-contractual obligations should t within the framework of the private international law instru-
ments applicable in the Estonian courts.*3 So far, the characterisation of contractual and non-contractual
obligations has attracted undeservedly little attention in Estonian literature on private international law*4,
although such disputes are at the heart of international trade and commerce.
The need to deal with the problem of characterising contractual and non-contractual matters became
more pressing when the Republic of Estonia joined the European Union, in 2004. It is well known that the
terms found in the European private international law instruments should be interpreted autonomously
and independently of any national laws in order to guarantee that such instruments are applied uniformly
1 The article has been written with the support of grant project ETF9301.
2 Võlaõigusseadus. – RT I 2001, 81, 487; RT I 8.7.2011, 2 (in Estonian). English text available at http://www.just.ee/23295
(most recently accessed on 1.4.2013).
3 These instruments may be international conventions, European private international law regulations or the Estonian Pri-
vate International Law Act. For the latter act, see rahvusvahelise eraõiguse seadus [‘Private International Law Act’]. – RT I
2002, 35, 217; 2009, 59, 385 (in Estonian). English text available at http://www.just.ee/23295 (most recently accessed on
1.4.2013).
4 For a general reference, see I. Nurmela. Rahvusvaheline eraõigus [‘Private International Law’] Tallinn: Juura 2005, pp. 113–151
(in Estonian).

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