On the Situation of Law-enforcement Law in Estonia

Author:Mait Laaring
Mait Laaring
Adviser to the Chancellor of Justice
On the Situation of
Law-enforcement Law
in Estonia*1
1. Introduction
Of the elements of the special part of Estonian administrative law, law-enforcement law has been one of
the most controversial and debated areas in the past decade. This is due to the protracted and still ongoing
law-enforcement law reform, particularly that involving the Order Protection Act (OPA), developed and
adopted in the course of that reform.*2
Law-enforcement law regulates the activity of the state in the performance of one of its most basic and
important functions—the immediate and mainly preventive assurance of a group of legal rights that can be
summed up as public order—and, accordingly, exists at least in its most elementary form in every legal sys-
tem. Estonia is no exception to this rule: in our legal order, law-enforcement law existed—fragmentarily and
inconsistently, but indisputably—in the form of the Police Act and some state supervision acts addressing
various specialist elds already at the time of the restoration of our national independence.*3 However, this
legal foundation was in dire need of amendment and supplementation in accordance with the principles
of a state based on the rule of law.*4 Preparations for the complete reformation and harmonisation of the
law-enforcement law were already underway in the late 1990s, hand in hand with the development of the
acts that form the general part of Estonian administrative law. Since then, the concept for the OPA draft has
gone through several fundamental changes.*5
1 The article is based on the talk ‘Ohutõrje- e. korrakaitseõiguse olukorrast Eestis’ (or ‘On the situation of threat-countering
or law-enforcement law in Estonia’) given by the author at the conference At the Sources of Modern Public Administration—
Sources, Developments and Perspectives in Estonia and Germany, held on 24– 25 October 2013 in the assembly hall of the
University of Tartu within the framework of Academica—the German–Estonian Academic Week. A video recording of the
talk, in Estonian, is available at http://www.uttv.ee/naita?id=18306 (most recently accessed on 31.1.2014).
2 Korrakaitseseadus. – RT I, 22.3.2011, 4 (in Estonian).
3 For an overview of the principles and structure of Estonian law-enforcement law in the 1990s, see, for example, I. Koolmeister,
K. Orion. Haldussund kehtivas õiguses [‘Enforcement of administrative legislation as regulated by the law in force’]. –
Juridica 1998/8, p. 382 ff. (in Estonian). For one possible interpretation of the problems and bases of this legal model,
see, for example, M. Ernits. Preventiivhaldus kui tulevikumudel [‘Proactive administration as a future model’]. – Riigikogu
Toimetised 17 (2008), p. 156 ff. (in Estonian).
4 See also M. Niemeier. Nõuded õigusriiklikule politseiõigusele – proportsionaalsuse põhimõte ja Euroopa õigus [‘Require-
ments for police law: The principle of proportionality and European law’]. – Juridica 2004/7, p. 461 ff. (in Estonian).
5 See, for example, KorS-i eelnõu (eelnõu nr 49 SE I) seletuskiri [‘Explanatory memorandum on the draft Act of Order Pro-
tection (draft 49 SE I)’], pp. 6Е7. Available at http://www.riigikogu.ee/?page=eelnou&op=ems&emshelp=true&eid=9350
2&u=20120331103845 (in Estonian) (most recently accessed on 31.1.2014).

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