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State-funded Legal Aid Act

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Issuer:Riigikogu
Type:act
In force from:14.01.2019
In force until:31.12.2020
Translation published:17.01.2019

Chapter 1 GENERAL PROVISIONS 

§ 1.  Scope of application of Act

  This Act sets out the types of legal aid granted by the state and the conditions of and procedure for obtaining such legal aid.

§ 2.  Purpose of Act

  The purpose of this Act is to ensure the timely and sufficient availability of competent and reliable legal services to all persons.

§ 3.  Application of Administrative Procedure Act

  The provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act apply to the administrative proceedings set out in this Act, taking account of the specifications provided for in this Act.

§ 4.  State legal aid

 (1) State legal aid means providing a natural person or a legal person with a legal service at the expense of the state on the grounds and in accordance with the procedure provided for in this Act.

 (2) Under this Act, state legal aid is granted to a natural person or a legal person in connection with proceedings in an Estonian court or administrative body or otherwise in the protection of their rights if deciding thereon is within the competence of an Estonian court, unless otherwise provided for in Chapter 7 of this Act.

 (3) The types of state legal aid include the following:
 1) appointed defence in criminal proceedings;
 2) representing a person in pre-trial proceedings in a criminal case and in court;
 3) defending a person in extrajudicial proceedings in a misdemeanour case and in court;
 4) representing a person in pre-litigation proceedings in a civil case and in court;
 5) representing a person in administrative court proceedings;
 6) representing a person in administrative proceedings;
 7) representing a person in enforcement proceedings;
 71) representing a person in judicial review proceedings;

[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2010]
 8) drawing up legal documents;
 9) other legal counselling or representing of a person.

§ 5.  Provider of state legal aid

 (1) State legal aid is provided by an advocate under the Bar Association Act, taking account of the specifications provided for in this Act.

 (2) The management of a law office ensures that explanations concerning the grounds of and procedure for obtaining state legal aid provided for in this Act are given to persons in need of state legal aid during the opening hours of the law office without charge.

Chapter 2 GROUNDS AND WAYS OF GRANTING STATE LEGAL AID 

§ 6.  Persons entitled to state legal aid

 (1) A natural person may receive state legal aid if the person is unable to pay for competent legal services due to the person’s financial situation at the time the person needs legal aid or if the person is able to pay for legal services only partially or in instalments or if the person’s financial situation does not allow for meeting basic subsistence needs after paying for legal services.

 (11) State legal aid is granted to a natural person who, at the time of submission of the application for state legal aid, is domiciled in the Republic of Estonia or another Member State of the European Union or is a citizen of the Republic of Estonia or another Member State of the European Union, except in the event specified in subsection (2) of this section. Determination of a domicile within the meaning of this Act is based on Article 62 of Regulation No 1215/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (OJ L 351, 20.12.2012, pp. 1–32). Legal aid will be granted to other natural persons only if this arises from an international obligation binding upon Estonia.

[RT I, 31.12.2014, 1 – entry into force 10.01.2015]

 (2) In criminal proceedings, a suspect or accused natural person who has not chosen a criminal defence counsel by agreement and in whose criminal case the participation of a criminal defence counsel is required by law (except in the events specified in § 441 and subsection 227 (5) of the Code of Criminal Procedure) or who applies for the participation of a criminal defence counsel will receive state legal aid regardless of their financial situation. In misdemeanour proceedings, a natural person subject to the proceedings who has not chosen a defence counsel by agreement and in whose misdemeanour case the participation of a defence counsel is required by law will receive state legal aid regardless of their financial situation.

[RT I, 21.06.2014, 11 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

 (22) In criminal proceedings, state legal aid is available to the injured party whose active legal capacity is limited, regardless of their economic situation, if:
 1) based on the circumstances, it can be presumed that the interests of the legal representative of the injured party are in conflict with the interests of the injured party;
 2) the minor injured party is separated from the family;
 3) the injured party is an unaccompanied minor for the purposes of the Act on Granting International Protection to Aliens.

[RT I, 06.01.2016, 5 – entry into force 16.01.2016]

 (23) In criminal proceedings, the victim of a criminal offence specified in § 237 of the Penal Code receives state legal aid regardless of their economic situation.

[RT I, 04.01.2019, 12 - entry into force 14.01.2019]

 (3) A non-profit association or foundation that has been entered in the list of non-profit associations and foundations entitled to income tax incentives or is equal thereto or that is insolvent and applies for state legal aid in the field of environmental protection or consumer protection, or there are other overriding public reasons for granting state legal aid, may receive state legal aid on the grounds and in accordance with the procedure provided for in this Act to achieve the goals and objectives specified in its articles of association, in order to prevent possible damage to the rights of a large number of people, which are protected by law.

 (4) In criminal proceedings, a suspect or accused legal person who has not chosen a criminal defence counsel by agreement and in whose criminal case the participation of a criminal defence counsel is required by law (except in the events specified in § 441 and subsection 227 (5) of the Code of Criminal Procedure) or who applies for the participation of a criminal defence counsel will receive state legal aid. In misdemeanour proceedings, a legal person that has not chosen a defence counsel by agreement and in whose misdemeanour case the participation of a defence counsel is required by law will receive state legal aid as a person subject to the proceedings.

[RT I, 21.06.2014, 11 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

 (5) In judicial review proceedings, a natural person specified in subsection (1) of this section may receive state legal aid regardless of the type of the case.

[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

§ 7.  Grounds for refusal to grant state legal aid

 (1) State legal aid will not be granted if:
 1) the applicant is able to protect their rights on their own;
 2) the applicant cannot have the right for the protection of which the applicant is applying for state legal aid;
 3) the applicant could bear the costs of legal services at the expense of their existing property that can be sold without any major difficulties, except at the expense of the assets specified in subsection 14 (2) of this Act;
 4) the costs of legal services do not presumably twice exceed the applicant’s average monthly income that is calculated on the basis of the average monthly income in the last four months preceding the submission of the application, from which taxes and compulsory insurance payments, amounts earmarked for fulfilment of a maintenance obligation arising from law and also reasonable housing and transport costs have been deducted;

[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2010]
 5) under the circumstances it is clearly unlikely that the applicant will be able to protect their rights;
 6) state legal aid is applied for in order to file a claim for non‑pecuniary damages and there are no overriding public reasons in the case;

[RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]
 7) the dispute is related to the business activities of the applicant and does not harm their rights that are unrelated to their business activities;
 8) state legal aid is applied for to protect a trademark, patent, utility model, industrial design or a layout-design of integrated circuits or another form of intellectual property, except rights arising from the Copyright Act;
 9) state legal aid is applied for in a case in which the applicant clearly has joint interests with a person who is not entitled to state legal aid;
 10) state legal aid is applied for to protect a right transferred to the applicant and there is reason to believe that the right was transferred to the applicant in order to receive state legal aid;
 11) provision of legal services is guaranteed to the applicant under a legal expenses insurance contract or compulsory insurance;
 12) the possible gains of the applicant upon adjudication of the case are unreasonably small in comparison with the estimated legal aid expenses of the state.

 (11) In addition to the ground for refusal specified in subsection (1) of this section, state legal aid will also not be granted for judicial review proceedings if the grounds for review are not indicated in the application for state legal aid or if, based on the grounds for review indicated, it is evident that the applicant is clearly unlikely to succeed in protecting their rights or if the term for submission of an application for review has expired. The Supreme Court does not have to give reasons for its refusal to grant state legal aid.

[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

 (2) State legal aid will not be refused on the ground specified in subsection (1) of this section if state legal aid is applied for in the case specified in subsection 6 (2) of this Act. State legal aid will not be refused on the basis of clauses (1) 1), 2), 5)–10) or 12) of this section if state legal aid is applied for in the case specified in subsection 6 (4) of this Act.

 (3) State legal aid may be granted without the restriction provided for in clause 1) of subsection (1) of this section if the assistance of an advocate is clearly necessary for the correct adjudication of the case in order to ensure the equality of the parties or due to the complexity of the case.

§ 8.  Manners of granting state legal aid

  State legal aid will be granted as follows:
 1) without the obligation to compensate for the state legal aid fee or state legal aid expenses;
 2) with the obligation to partially or fully compensate for the state legal aid fee and state legal aid expenses in a lump sum;
 3) with the obligation to partially or fully compensate for the state legal aid fee and state legal aid expenses in instalments.

Chapter 3 DECIDING GRANTING OF STATE LEGAL AID 

§ 9.  Applying for state legal aid

 (1) The granting of state legal aid will be decided on the basis of an application of a person.

 (2) [Repealed – RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 10.  Submission of application for state legal aid

 (1) An application for state legal aid in judicial proceedings as a party to proceedings in civil, administrative or misdemeanour cases will be submitted to the court conducting proceedings in the case or the court that would be competent to conduct proceedings in the case.

 (2) If an applicant would like to receive state legal aid for drawing up a statement of claim, an application in non-contentious application proceedings or an appeal in administrative court proceedings or misdemeanour proceedings, the applicant will submit an application to the court that is competent to hear the claim, application or appeal.

 (3) An application for state legal aid in the form of representation in pre-litigation proceedings in a civil case or extrajudicial proceedings in a misdemeanour case, preparation of a legal document or other legal counselling or representation is submitted to the county court of the applicant’s place of residence or seat or of the presumed place of provision of the legal service. If an applicant for state legal aid has no place of residence in Estonia, the applicant may submit an application to the county court in the territorial jurisdiction of which the applicant is staying.

[RT I, 28.11.2017, 1 - entry into force 01.01.2018]

 (31) An application for state aid in the form of representation in administrative proceedings is submitted to the administrative court of the place of residence or seat of the applicant or of the presumed place of provision of the legal service.

[RT I, 28.11.2017, 1 - entry into force 01.01.2018]

 (4) If the participation of a criminal defence counsel throughout criminal proceedings is not required and a suspect has not chosen a counsel but requests the participation of a criminal defence counsel, the suspect will submit an application for state legal aid to the investigative body or the Prosecutor’s Office.

 (5) If a person applies for state legal aid as an injured party in criminal proceedings, a civil defendant or a third party, the court conducting the proceedings or, in pre-trial proceedings in a criminal case, the county court competent to conduct proceedings in the given criminal case will decide the granting of state legal aid to the person.

[RT I 2007, 2, 7 – entry into force 01.02.2007]

 (51) If a person applies for state legal aid for judicial review proceedings, the Supreme Court will decide the granting of state legal aid to the person. An application for state legal aid may be submitted to the Supreme Court without the intermediation of an advocate.

[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

 (6) An application for state legal aid in the form of representation in enforcement proceedings will be submitted to the court competent to adjudicate an appeal against the activities of an enforcement officer conducting the enforcement proceedings.

 (7) If an application is submitted to a court whose jurisdiction does not include deciding the granting of state legal aid in the given case, the court will forward the application immediately to the competent court and notify the applicant thereof.

 (8) The court or another agency specified in subsections (1) to (6) of this section is also the authority competent to receive applications for procedural assistance within the meaning of Article 14 of Council Directive No. 2003/8/EC to improve access to justice in cross-border disputes by establishing minimum common rules relating to legal aid for such disputes (OJ L 026, 31.01.2003, pp. 41–47). The applicant will not be requested to have the application legalised or officially certified in another manner.

§ 11.  Granting state legal aid if defence counsel is required

 (1) A suspect who is a natural person and in whose criminal case the participation of a criminal defence counsel is required under § 45 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and who has not chosen a defence counsel by agreement is not required to submit an application to receive state legal aid in the criminal case.

 (2) In judicial misdemeanour proceedings, a natural person subject to proceedings, in whose misdemeanour case the participation of a defence counsel is required under subsection 19 (3) of the Code of Misdemeanour Procedure and who has not chosen a defence counsel by agreement, is not required to submit an application for state legal aid.

§ 12.  Application form and information contained in application

 (1) The following must be set out in an application for state legal aid:
 1) the name, address and personal identification code or, in the absence of the latter, the date of birth of the applicant, or the registry code of the applicant who is a legal person;
 2) a description of the problem for the resolution of which state legal aid is applied for;
 3) the type of state legal aid specified in subsection 4 (3) or § 34 of this Act, which is applied for;
 4) the reasons why state legal aid is necessary to protect the rights of the applicant;
 5) the extent of profit possibly received by the applicant upon adjudication of the case;
 6) the name of the provider of state legal aid from whom the applicant wishes to receive legal services if an advocate has granted their consent to the applicant for provision of state legal aid to the applicant in the given case;
 7) the language in which the applicant is able to communicate with the provider of state legal aid;
 8) [Repealed – RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 9) other relevant information.

 (2) If an application has been submitted in extrajudicial proceedings and the type of state legal aid specified in subsection 4 (3) of this Act which is applied for has not been indicated in the application, the application for state legal aid in the form of other legal counselling of the person will be deemed to be submitted.

 (3) The standard form of the application for state legal aid and a list of information to be specified therein will be established by a regulation of the minister responsible for the field, and the standard form of the application must be freely accessible to everyone on the website of the Ministry of Justice as well as in each court and law office.

 (4) In criminal proceedings, an application for the appointment of a criminal defence counsel submitted by a suspect who is a natural person must set out at least the information specified in clauses 1) and 7) of subsection (1) of this section and a reference to the criminal case in which participation of the criminal defence counsel is requested.

 (5) An application for state legal aid is submitted in Estonian.

[RT I, 28.12.2016, 14 – entry into force 07.01.2017]

 (6) An application can be submitted in English if legal assistance is applied for by a natural person whose place of residence is in another Member State of the European Union or who is a citizen of another Member State of the European Union or a legal person seated in another Member State of the European Union.

[RT I, 28.12.2016, 14 – entry into force 07.01.2017]

 (7) The processing authority organises the translation of an application submitted in another language widely used in Estonia.

[RT I, 28.12.2016, 14 – entry into force 07.01.2017]

 (8) If an application has other deficiencies that impede processing, the court will explain to the person the possibilities of receiving aid for the submission of an application in accordance with the requirements from the winner of the competition specified in subsection 31 (2) of this Act and, if the person requests it, submit the application to the winner of the competition for the purpose of submission in accordance with the requirements.

[RT I, 28.12.2016, 14 – entry into force 07.01.2017]

§ 13.  Documents annexed to application

 (1) An applicant who is a natural person must annex to an application for state legal aid a proper notice concerning their financial situation, which has been signed by the applicant and, if possible, other evidence characterising their financial situation A suspect in criminal proceedings who applies for the appointment of a criminal defence counsel or a child applying for legal aid in a case involving the maintenance support of the child does not need to annex a notice concerning their financial situation.
[RT I, 12.03.2015, 4 - entry into force 01.10.2015]

 (2) If a person’s domicile is not in Estonia, the person must annex to an application a notice the competent authorities of the state where the person is domiciled concerning their income and that of the members of their family during the last three years. If the notice cannot be submitted for reasons independent of the applicant, the granting of state legal aid may be decided without the notice.

 (3) A notice concerning the financial situation of an applicant for state legal aid must be submitted in writing in Estonian. On the conditions provided for in subsection 12 (5) of this Act, the notice may also be submitted in English.

 (4) A list of information contained in a notice concerning the financial situation of an applicant and the standard form of the notice will be established by a regulation of the minister responsible for the field. The standard form must be freely accessible to everyone on the website of the Ministry of Justice as well as in each court and law office. The minister responsible for the field may also establish requirements for documents submitted by the applicant, which set out the reasons for the application.

 (5) An applicant who is a legal person must annex to an application for state legal aid a copy of the memorandum of association or foundation resolution that has been submitted to the register in accordance with law and a copy of the registered articles of association, a copy of the registry card and an certified copy of the annual report of the previous financial year.

 (6) If an advocate has granted their consent to an applicant for state legal aid regarding provision of state legal aid to the applicant in the given case and the applicant wishes to receive legal services from the advocate, the consent of the advocate must be annexed to the application or the application must be submitted via the corresponding law office.

[RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

§ 14.  Assessment of financial situation of applicant

 (1) Upon assessing the financial situation of an applicant, the applicant’s assets and income and the assets and income of the family members who live together with the applicant, the number of dependants of the applicant, reasonable housing expenses and other relevant circumstances will be taken into account.

 (2) Upon assessing the financial situation of an applicant, property belonging to the applicant which, in accordance with law, cannot be subject to a claim for payment will not be taken into account. The housing or a necessary vehicle belonging to the applicant, which is used on a daily basis by the applicant and the family members who live together with the applicant, will not be taken into account if the number and value of the housing and vehicles equitably correlate to the size, driving needs and income of the family.

 (3) Where the applicant applies for State-funded legal aid to file a claim against a family member who lives together with the applicant, the income of that family member or any property that belongs to them is not taken into account when assessing the applicant’s financial situation.

 (4) The Tax and Customs Board will submit, at the request of a court, a notice concerning the income of an applicant for state legal aid and members of their family during the last year or a notice concerning the lack of information on the income of an applicant for state legal aid and members of their family. The format of the notice will be established by a regulation of the minister responsible for the field.

 (5) A court may request information from an applicant or other persons or agencies, including credit institutions, concerning the financial situation or solvency of the applicant for state legal aid and of the family members who live together with the applicant. A reply to an enquiry must be given within the term set by the court.

 (6) If an applicant fails to submit evidence-backed data concerning their personal status or financial situation or to answer questions asked or gives insufficient answers, the court will refuse to grant the person state legal aid to the extent not supported by evidence.

[RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

§ 15.  Deciding granting of state legal aid

 (1) An application for state legal aid submitted in the course of judicial proceedings will be adjudicated by an order of a court conducting the proceedings in accordance with the procedure provided for in the respective court procedure Act.

 (2) A county court or an administrative court will decide the granting of state legal aid on the basis of an application submitted in extrajudicial proceedings in a manner provided for in § 8 of this Act in accordance with the non-contentious application procedure provided for in the Code of Civil Procedure. In court, assistant judges may resolve issues relating to state legal aid.
[RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

 (3) The granting of state legal aid to a suspect or accused in criminal proceedings will be decided by the court, Prosecutor’s Office or investigative body who will issue an order to that effect. Upon appointment of a criminal defence counsel in criminal proceedings in all cases and in misdemeanour proceedings where the participation of a defence counsel is required, state legal aid will be granted to the applicant without determining the manner provided for in § 8 of this Act, and the state legal aid fee and state legal aid expenses will be compensated for in accordance with the procedure provided for in the Code of Criminal Procedure.

[RT I, 14.03.2011, 3 – entry into force 24.03.2011]

 (31) The provision of the injured party with state legal aid in an event specified in subsection 6 (22) of this Act is decided by an order the court, Prosecutor’s Office or investigative body.

[RT I, 06.01.2016, 5 – entry into force 16.01.2016]

 (4) If necessary, the court, Prosecutor’s Office or investigative body will set a term for the provision of state legal aid.

 (5) An order on granting state legal aid specifies the manner of granting state legal aid in accordance with § 8 of this Act and the compensation obligation of the recipient of state legal aid in accordance with § 16. A copy of the regulation will be sent to the Estonian Bar Association (hereinafter also Bar Association).
[RT I, 21.05.2014, 1 – entry into force 31.05.2014]

 (51) The procedure for sending state legal aid orders to the Bar Association via the e-file procedural information system (hereinafter e-file system) will be established by a regulation of the minister responsible for the field.

[RT I, 21.05.2014, 1 – entry into force 31.05.2014]

 (6) Annually by April 1, the investigative body and the Prosecutors’ Office submit to the minister responsible for the field a report on granting state legal aid in the previous year. The standard form for the reports will be approved by a regulation of the minister responsible for the field.

 (7) If an application for state legal aid was forwarded to a court or another agency by an agency of another Member State of the European Union that is competent to forward applications for legal aid, a transcript of the order made concerning the application for legal aid will also be sent to such agency.

[RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

 (8) An appeal against an order granting or refusing to grant state legal aid may be submitted in accordance with the procedure established in Acts regulating judicial proceedings. An order concerning the granting of state legal aid, which has been made in a civil or administrative case, can also be appealed against by the Bar Association.

[RT I, 28.12.2016, 14 – entry into force 07.01.2017]

§ 16.  Determining compensation obligation of recipient of state legal aid

 (1) If state legal aid is granted to a person with the obligation to partially or fully compensate for the state legal aid fee and state legal aid expenses, the person’s compensation obligation will be determined as a proportion or, if possible, as a specific amount, and it will be decided whether compensation will be paid in a lump sum or in instalments.

 (2) A court will determine the scope of the compensation obligation of a recipient of state legal aid and the procedure for compensation on the basis of the circumstances specified in subsections 14 (1) to (3) or 13 (5) of this Act, taking into account the nature of the case, the type of state legal aid applied for and the estimated time of providing state legal aid.

 (3) If state legal aid is granted to a person with the obligation to compensate for the state legal aid fee and state legal aid expenses in a lump sum, the court will, if possible, also determine the due date of compensation.

 (4) If state legal aid is granted to a person together with the obligation to compensate for the state legal aid fee and state legal aid expenses in instalments, the court will, if possible, also determine the size and due dates of the instalments.

 (5) If state legal aid is granted with the obligation to fully or partially compensate for the state legal aid fee and state legal aid expenses in a lump sum or in instalments, the court may require the recipient of state legal aid to make an advance payment for the full or partial performance of their compensation obligation. Upon failure to make the advance payment, state legal aid will not be granted to the person.

§ 17.  Continuity of state legal aid

 (1) A person who has received state legal aid retains the right to receive state legal aid if the case is transformed to another type of state legal aid provided for in subsection 4 (3) of this Act and the advocate appointed earlier will continue to provide state legal aid to the person, except in the case provided for in subsection (2) of this section. The court, the investigative body or the Prosecutor’s Office who decided the granting of state legal aid may, on the basis of the request of the advocate providing state legal aid or on its own motion, at any time reassess, in accordance with the procedure provided for in this Act, whether the grounds of granting state legal aid to the applicant which are provided for in this Act continue to exist and, if the grounds for granting state legal aid have ceased to exist, terminate the granting of state legal aid to the person.

[RT I, 21.06.2014, 11 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

 (2) If state legal aid has been granted to a person in criminal proceedings and the criminal proceedings are terminated due to the absence of the elements of a criminal offence in the case and misdemeanour proceedings are commenced instead, the person must, in order to continue to receive state legal aid, submit within ten days and in accordance with the procedure provided for in this Act an application for state legal aid to be granted in accordance with subsection 10 (3) of this Act. Until the court reviews the person’s application, the advocate appointed earlier will continue providing state legal aid to the person in the case.

[RT I, 21.06.2014, 11 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

 (3) A person who has received state legal aid in judicial proceedings as a party to the proceedings has the right to receive state legal aid also in proceedings regarding an appeal against an order or judgment in the same case or in compulsory enforcement proceedings.

 (4) The court conducting proceedings or the court competent to hear an appeal against the activities of an enforcement officer conducting enforcement proceedings may, on its own motion, in all stages of proceedings reassess in accordance with the procedure provided for in this Act whether the grounds for granting state legal aid to an applicant which have been provided for in this Act continue to exist and, if the grounds for granting state legal aid cease to exist, terminate the granting of state legal aid to the person. The court must verify the existence of the prerequisites for granting state legal aid if legal aid is requested for representation in enforcement proceedings more than one year after the entry into force of the order or judgment made in the case.

 (5) In the event of the reassessment provided for in subsections (1) and (4) of this section, the court has the right to demand, if necessary, that the recipient of state legal aid submit a new notice concerning their financial situation and to request information concerning the financial situation or solvency of the recipient of state legal aid and of their family members from the Tax and Customs Board, credit institutions and other persons or agencies.

 (6) If the granting of state legal aid is terminated on the basis of subsections (1) and (4) of this section, the advocate who has provided state legal aid will be released from the obligation to provide state legal aid and the court will determine, on the basis of the application of the advocate, the amount of the state legal aid fee for the advocate and the extent of compensation for state legal aid expenses. Simultaneously, the court will determine the obligation of the recipient of state legal aid to fully or partially compensate for the amount paid to the advocate in accordance with the procedure provided for in § 25 of this Act.

 (7) A court or another competent agency may suspend payment of the instalments ordered by way of state legal aid or alter the amount and the term for payment of the instalments in accordance with the procedure provided for in § 188 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Section189 of the Code of Civil Procedure will be followed upon termination of granting procedural assistance.

[RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

§ 18.  Appointment of provider of state legal aid

  [RT I, 21.06.2014, 11 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

 (1) At the request of the court, the Prosecutor’s Office or the investigative body, the Bar Association will promptly appoint an advocate to provide state legal aid. The advocate appointed by the Bar Association must promptly assume the obligation to provide state legal aid and organise their activities in such a manner that it would be possible for the advocate to participate in procedural steps on time.

[RT I, 21.06.2014, 11 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

 (11) The procedure for submission of a request to the Bar Association by the court, the Prosecutor’s Office or the investigative body via the e-file system will be established by a regulation of the minister responsible for the field.

[RT I, 21.06.2014, 11 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

 (2) The court, the Prosecutor’s Office or the investigative body does not have the right to make an agreement with the advocate on the provision of state legal aid or to appoint an advocate to provide state legal aid.

[RT I, 21.06.2014, 11 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

 (3) Upon provision of state legal aid, the authorisation of an advocate to represent or protect a recipient of state legal aid is certified by the confirmation of the advocate that the advocate has been appointed to provide state legal aid. In case of doubt, confirmation concerning the appointment of the advocate may be requested from the Bar Association.

[RT I, 21.06.2014, 11 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

§ 181.  Information system of state legal aid

 (1) The information system of state legal aid is a database maintained for the purpose of organisation of the provision of state legal aid, which forms a part of the state information system and the purpose of which is:
 1) electronic administration of data for appointment of a provider of state legal aid;

[RT I, 22.03.2013, 9 – entry into force 01.04.2013]
 11) electronic administration of payment of fees and compensation of expenses by way of state legal aid;

[RT I, 22.03.2013, 9 – entry into force 01.04.2013]
 2) enabling the electronic availability of the data of the members of the Bar Association;
 3) ensuring easier availability of the state legal aid service;
 4) obtaining a statistical overview of provision of the state legal aid service.

 (2) The controller of the information system of state legal aid is the Estonian Bar Association. The Board of the Estonian Bar Association will establish the statutes of the information system of state legal aid.
[RT I, 14.03.2011, 3 – entry into force 24.03.2011]

§ 19.  Refusal of advocate to provide state legal aid

 (1) If an advocate has commenced providing legal services in accordance with the procedure for provision of state legal aid, the advocate will continue providing legal services until the final adjudication of the case, unless otherwise provided by law. If the recipient of state legal aid applies for the protection of an interest that is in conflict with law or if the alleged claim of the recipient of state legal aid is not based on law or if there is no procedural possibility to protect the rights and interests of the recipient of state legal aid, the provision of state legal aid will be restricted to substantiation of the aforementioned circumstances in writing to the recipient of state legal aid by the advocate.

[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

 (2) In the event of the occurrence of the circumstances specified in § 44 of the Bar Association Act and also if their interests or the interests of their spouse or close relative or a close relative of their spouse in the same case are in conflict with the interests of the recipient of state legal aid, an advocate will not provide state legal aid to the person and is required to refuse to provide legal services or immediately terminate the provision of the legal services already commenced.

 (3) With the consent of the Board of the Bar Association or if the advocate is released from the professional confidentiality obligation in accordance with the procedure provided for in subsection 45 (5) of the Bar Association Act, an advocate may terminate the provision of state legal aid on the grounds provided for in subsection 44 (5) of the Bar Association Act. If the recipient of state legal aid is not at fault for termination of the provision of state legal aid or if the participation of an advocate in the proceedings is required by law, the Board of the Bar Association will, without delay, appoint a new advocate to provide state legal aid.

[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

 (4) If an advocate terminates the provision of legal services on the basis of subsection (2) of this section and the advocate was aware or should have been aware of the circumstances precluding the provision of legal services at the time of commencing the provision of legal services, the advocate will not be receive a fee for provision of state legal aid.

 (5) If an advocate terminates the provision of legal services on the basis of subsection (3) of this section, the advocate will be paid a fee for the work performed in the provision of state legal aid. The said fee will be included in the compensation obligation of the recipient of state legal aid. A recipient of state legal aid will not be released from compensating for the state legal aid fee and state legal aid expenses relating to the provision of legal services terminated on the basis of subsection (3) of this section.

§ 20.  Change of provider of state legal aid

 (1) By agreement between an advocate providing state legal aid and the recipient of state legal aid, legal services in the same case may be provided to the person by another advocate who grants their consent for the transfer of the obligation to provide state legal aid to such person. The new provider of state legal aid will be appointed on the basis of an order of the court, the Prosecutor’s Office or the investigative body in accordance with the procedure provided for in § 18 of this Act. In such an event, the court, the Prosecutor’s Office or the investigative body will decide the amount of the state legal aid fee and state legal aid expenses that will be compensated to the former provider of state legal aid.

[RT I, 21.06.2014, 11 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

 (2) If, under this Act, a provider of state legal aid is unable to continue to provide legal services to a recipient of state legal aid, the provider of state legal aid will submit an application for the appointment of a new provider of state legal aid to the court, the Prosecutor’s Office or the investigative body. The new provider of state legal aid will be appointed in accordance with the procedure provided for in § 18 of this Act.

[RT I, 21.06.2014, 11 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

 (3) Upon exclusion of an advocate providing state legal aid from the Bar Association or their disbarment or upon suspension of the professional activities or long-term incapacity for work or the death of an advocate, and in other events provided by law, the Bar Association will appoint a new provider of state legal aid at the request of the former provider of state legal aid or the recipient of state legal aid or on the basis of an order of the court, the Prosecutor’s Office or the investigative body or on its own motion in accordance with the procedure provided for in § 18 of this Act.

[RT I, 21.06.2014, 11 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

 (31) The court will, at the request of the recipient of legal aid or on its own motion, remove an advocate from the provision of state legal aid by an order if the advocate has demonstrated incompetence or negligence. The court may request the submission of clarifications from the recipient of state legal aid and the advocate beforehand. The court will forward the order concerning the removal of the advocate from the provision of state legal aid to the Bar Association for the commencement of proceedings of its court of honour and, if necessary, for the appointment of a new provider of state legal aid.

[RT I, 21.06.2014, 11 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

 (4) If the provider of state legal aid is changed, the new provider of state legal aid will continue providing the person with legal services from where the former provider of state legal aid finished. The state legal aid fee will be paid to the former provider of state legal aid according to the work performed and the state legal aid expenses borne thereby will be compensated for.

Chapter 4 PAYMENT OF STATE LEGAL AID FEE TO ADVOCATE AND COMPENSATION FOR STATE LEGAL AID EXPENSES 

§ 21.  State legal aid fee and state legal aid expenses

 (1) The state legal aid fee is a fee paid to an advocate for provision of state legal aid.

 (2) State legal aid expenses are the necessary costs incurred by an advocate or the management of a law office upon provision of state legal aid by the advocate.

 (3) The bases for calculation of fees payable for provision of state legal aid, the procedure for payment and rates of the fees, and the extent of and procedure for compensation for expenses relating to provision of state legal aid (hereinafter procedure for fees and expenses) will be established by the minister responsible for the field, taking into account the amount of funds allocated for such purpose from the state budget, an estimate of the volume of state legal aid and having heard the opinion of the board of the Bar Association beforehand. During the budgetary year, the minister responsible for the field may alter the bases for the calculation of the fees payable for the provision of state legal aid, the procedure for payment, the rates of fees and the extent of and procedure for compensation for expenses.

[RT I, 22.06.2016, 21 – entry into force 01.08.2016]

 (31) [Repealed – RT I, 22.06.2016, 21 – entry into force 01.08.2016]

 (32) If the state budget has not been passed by the beginning of the budgetary year, the Ministry of Justice will allocate one twelfth of the relevant expenses in the budget for the previous year to the Bar Association for covering state legal aid fees and state legal aid expenses each month until the state budget is passed.

[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

 (33) The procedure for submission of documents via the e-file for the purpose of identification of the fees and expenses to be compensated by way state legal aid will be established by a regulation of the minister responsible for the field.

[RT I, 22.03.2013, 9 – entry into force 01.01.2014]

 (4) The requirement to maintain the confidentiality of persons who request an advocate to provide legal services and of the amount of the fee paid for legal services, as provided for in subsection 45 (1) of the Bar Association Act, does not apply to the provision of state legal aid.

§ 22.  Determination of amount of state legal aid fee and extent of compensation for state legal aid expenses

 (1) In order to determine the amount of the state legal aid fee and the extent of compensation for the state legal aid expenses, the advocate will submit to the court, Prosecutor’s Office or investigative body who decided on granting state legal aid an application that must set out:
 1) the fee payable and the necessary costs incurred subject to compensation on the basis of the procedure for fees and expenses specified in subsection 21 (3) of this Act together with the calculations, taking into account the provisions of subsection (5) of this section;
 2) the justified steps taken in the course of provision of state legal aid, the justified time spent for the taking the steps, the date of taking each step and the time of commencement and completion of a step if the state legal aid fee is calculated as an hourly fee;
 3) the justified steps taken in the course of provision of state legal aid and the date of taking each step if the state legal aid fee is calculated as a flat fee;
 4) the grounds for the time spent, the steps taken and the necessity and justification of the expenses incurred.

[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

 (2) The documents certifying the expenses incurred by the advocate or the management of the law office will be annexed to the application if the court, investigative body or the Prosecutor’s Office cannot verify the incurred expenses by electronic means. The minister responsible for the field may establish coefficients applicable upon calculation of the fee, which fully or partially cover the expenses of state legal aid.

[RT I, 22.06.2016, 21 – entry into force 01.08.2016]

 (3) An advocate will submit an application provided for in subsection (1) of this section at the end of each procedural step in the pre-trial proceedings of cases concerning offences and at the end of the proceedings in each court instance or at least three months after adjudication of an application submitted for determining the amount of the state legal aid fee and the extent of compensation for state legal aid expenses. If state legal aid is provided in enforcement proceedings, upon drawing up a legal document, in the course of legal counselling a person or representing a person in any other way, the application will be submitted after termination of provision of legal aid.
[RT I 2009, 67, 460 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

 (4) The form of the application provided for in subsection (1) of this section will be established by the Board of the Bar Association. An advocate will submit the application specified in subsection (1) of this section by electronic means, except in the events and in accordance with the procedure established by the minister responsible for the field. The minister responsible for the field may establish specific requirements and a procedure for the applications and the submission thereof by electronic means.

[RT I, 14.03.2011, 3 – entry into force 24.03.2011]

 (5) The use of the application form and compliance with the procedure for the submission thereof is mandatory for advocates. An application will not be reviewed if a non-standard application is submitted for determining the amount of the state legal aid fee and the extent of compensation for the state legal aid expenses, the application does not set out all the information required in accordance with subsection (1) of this section or the application is not submitted in accordance with the procedure in force.

[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

 (6) The amount of the state legal aid fee and the extent of compensation for the state legal aid expenses will be determined on the basis of the procedure for fees and expenses specified in subsection 21 (3) of this Act which was in force at the time of taking the step that served as the basis for payment of the corresponding fee or compensation for the expenses.

[RT I, 22.06.2016, 21 – entry into force 01.08.2016]

 (7) The court, Prosecutor’s Office or investigative body that decided the granting of state legal aid will verify whether the application submitted by an advocate is correct and justified and determine on the basis of the application of the advocate the justified time spent for provision of state legal aid, the justified steps taken for provision of state legal aid and the justified fee payable to the advocate for provision of state legal aid and the necessary expenses incurred upon provision of state legal aid to be compensated. The aforementioned will be determined on the basis of the application of the advocate at the end of the pre-trial or pre-litigation proceedings of cases and at the end of the proceedings in each court instance or at least three months after the adjudication of the application submitted for determining the amount of the state legal aid fee and the extent of compensation for state legal aid expenses. In order to determine the information provided in this subsection, the court, investigative body or Prosecutor’s Office may request additional clarifications or documents from the advocate.
[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

§ 23.  Procedure for determination of state legal aid fee and state legal aid expenses

 (1) If state legal aid is granted in the course of judicial proceedings, the court conducting the proceedings will determine the state legal aid fee and state legal aid expenses in a judgment made in the case or an order terminating the proceedings, or the state legal aid fee and state legal aid expenses will be determined in accordance with the procedure for the determination of procedural expenses provided for in the Code of Civil Procedure.

 (2) Outside judicial proceedings, the county court or the administrative court will determine the state legal aid fee and state legal aid expenses in proceedings on petition.
[RT I, 21.05.2014, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2015]

 (3) The investigative body or the Prosecutor’s Office will determine the state legal aid fee and state legal aid expenses in accordance with the procedure provided for in the Code of Criminal Procedure.

 (4) In accordance with Acts regulating judicial proceedings, the Bar Association has the right to appeal against a court decision made in an administrative or civil case regarding determining the amount of state legal aid and the extent of compensation of state legal aid expenses.

[RT I, 28.12.2016, 14 – entry into force 07.01.2017]

§ 24.  Payment of state legal aid fee and state legal aid expenses

 (1) The Bar Association will organise payment of the state legal aid fee and state legal aid expenses to an advocate who has provided state legal aid on the basis of a decision or an order of an investigative body or the Prosecutor's Office. In the event of doubt, the Board of the Bar Association is required to verify whether the state legal aid fee and state legal aid expenses are justified. In order to assess whether the state legal aid fee and state legal aid expenses are justified, the Bar Association has the right to demand clarifications from the advocate, the recipient of state legal aid, the court, the investigative body, the Prosecutor’s Office, and to examine the records of the case. The decision of the court or the order of the investigative body or the Prosecutor’s Office will not release the advocate from liability for the submission of false or clearly unjustified information in an application for determining the amount of the state legal aid fee and the extent of compensation for the state legal aid expenses.

[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

 (2) An advocate will not request remuneration for the provision of state legal aid from the person to whom the advocate provided legal services in the given case.

Chapter 5 COMPENSATION FOR STATE LEGAL AID FEE AND STATE LEGAL AID EXPENSES 

§ 25.  Compensation for state legal aid fee and state legal aid expenses

 (1) After termination of the provision of a person with legal services a court will, in accordance with the procedure provided for in § 23 of this Act, determine the obligation of the recipient of state legal aid to fully or partially compensate the state for the fee and expenses paid to the advocate to the justified and necessary extent thereof.

[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

 (2) Upon deciding on the granting of state legal aid, the court will determine the exact scope of the compensation obligation of the recipient of state legal aid and establish a detailed procedure for compensation, taking into account the scope of the compensation obligation determined in accordance with § 16 of this Act and the procedure for compensation and the advance payment required of the recipient.

 (3) In the event of significant changes in the financial situation or solvency of a recipient of state legal aid, the court may, at the request of the recipient of state legal aid or the Ministry of Finance or a governmental authority within its area of government, amend the scope of the compensation obligation of the recipient of state legal aid or the procedure for compensation determined before provision of legal services, taking into account the circumstances specified in subsections 14 (1)-(3) or 13 (5) of this Act.

 (4) A person who has received state legal aid in criminal and misdemeanour proceedings will compensate for the state legal aid fee and state legal aid expenses in accordance with the procedure provided for in the Code of Criminal Procedure.

§ 26.  Collection of state legal aid fee and state legal aid expenses

 (1) A judgment or order ordering a person to pay the state legal aid fee and state legal aid expenses will be sent by the court to the authority designated by a directive of the minister responsible for the field.

[RT I, 28.12.2011, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2012]

 (2) A person who has received state legal aid and is required to compensate for the state legal aid fee and state legal aid expenses under this Act or a person who has been ordered by a court to pay the legal aid expenses because the party in whose favour a judgment was made received state legal aid must comply with the judgment or order within the term provided for therein. If the judgment or order does not set out a term for compliance therewith, the judgment or order must be complied with within 15 days as of the entry into force thereof.

 (3) The authority designated by a directive of the minister responsible for the field may forward the judgment or order specified in subsection (1) of this section for enforcement if the obligated person has failed to comply with the judgment or order within the term provided for therein or, if no term has been specified, within 15 days after the entry into force of the judgment or order.

[RT I, 28.12.2011, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2012]

§ 27.  Release from obligation to compensate for state legal aid fee and state legal aid expenses

 (1) A recipient of state legal aid does not need to compensate for the state legal aid fee or state legal aid expenses and an advance payment paid for the performance of the compensation obligation will be refunded to the recipient as follows if:
 1) in the adjudication of a civil case, the opposing party is ordered to pay the legal expenses in full or in part – to the extent the legal expenses are borne by the opposing party;
 11) a representative was appointed to the person in non-contentious civil proceedings on petition without the person’s request;

[RT I, 28.12.2016, 14 – entry into force 07.01.2017]
 2) the administrative court grants the person’s appeal in full or in part – to the extent the appeal is granted;
 3) the administrative court terminates proceedings in the case in connection with the approval of a compromise;

[RT I, 23.02.2011, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2012]
 4) the administrative authority grants the person’s intra-authority appeal in full or in part – to the extent the intra-authority appeal is granted.

 (2) A person who has received state legal aid in criminal or misdemeanour proceedings is released from the obligation to compensate for the state legal aid fee and state legal aid expenses on the grounds and in accordance with the procedure provided for in Chapter 7 of the Code of Criminal Procedure or § 23 and subsection 38 (1) of the Code of Misdemeanour Procedure.

 (3) A recipient of state legal aid will not be released from the obligation to compensate for the state legal aid fee and state legal aid expenses on the conditions provided for in subsection (1) of this section to the extent in which the fee paid to the advocate and the necessary costs compensated to the advocate were caused by the failure of the recipient of state legal aid to appear, without a legal impediment, when summoned by the court or administrative authority or failure of the recipient of state legal aid to comply with a demand of the court or administrative authority if appearing or compliance with the demand is mandatory in accordance with law.

§ 28.  Compensation obligation upon improvement of financial situation

 (1) If a recipient of state legal aid was fully or partially released from compensation for the state legal aid fee and state legal aid expenses, except on the grounds provided for in subsections 27 (1) or (2) of this Act, and the recipient’s financial situation or solvency improves significantly within five years after terminating the provision of state legal aid, the court that decided the granting of state legal aid will, on the basis of an application of the Ministry of Finance or an authority within the area of government of the Ministry of Finance designated by the minister responsible for the field, demand that the person compensate for the state legal aid fee and state legal aid expenses in a lump sum or in instalments.

 (2) Compensation for the state legal aid fee and state legal aid expenses will not be required if the estimated costs of collection exceed or are equal to the collectable amount or more than three years have passed since the claim for the compensation of the state legal aid fee and state legal aid expenses fell due.

 (3) The Ministry of Finance or an authority within the area of government of the Ministry of Finance designated by the minister responsible for the field has the right to request supplementary evidence or information from persons that received state legal aid and credit institutions concerning the improvement of their financial situation or solvency within five years after terminating the provision of state legal aid. An inquiry must be replied to within a reasonable term determined by the Ministry of Finance or an authority within the area of government of the Ministry of Finance designated by the minister responsible for the field.

§ 29.  Compensation obligation upon submission of false information

 (1) The court that decided on the granting of state legal aid will, on the basis of an application of the Ministry of Finance or an authority within the area of government of the Ministry of Finance designated by the minister responsible for the field, order payment of the state legal aid fee and state legal aid expenses in full extent from a person who has knowingly submitted false information upon application for state legal aid and who, upon submission of correct information, would not have been fully or partially released from the obligation to compensate for the state legal aid fee and state legal aid expenses.

 (2) Besides the state legal aid fee and state legal aid expenses, the court will order that a person who submitted false information pay an interest of six per cent per year on the amount of the overdue state legal aid fee and state legal aid expenses calculated as of the payment of the fee and compensation for the costs to the provider of state legal aid.

Chapter 6 FINANCING OF AND ADMINISTRATIVE SUPERVISION OVER STATE LEGAL AID 

[RT I, 13.03.2014, 4 - entry into force 01.07.2014]

§ 30.  Principles of financing state legal aid

 (1) Provision of state legal aid is financed from funds allocated for it from the state budget.

 (2) The state ensures that sufficient funds are allocated for provision of state legal aid.

 (3) The Bar Association ensures that funds earmarked for provision of state legal aid are kept separately from the other assets of the Bar Association.

§ 31.  Supporting accessibility of legal advice

  [RT I, 28.12.2016, 14 – entry into force 07.01.2017]

 (1) In order to improve access to legal advice in general, the state supports, within the limits of the funds allocated in the state budget, the winner of the competition specified in subsection (2) of this section in order to ensure the provision of the persons in need of aid with high-quality legal aid.

 (2) The Ministry of Justice organises a public competition for distributing the aid. A contract will be awarded to the winner of the competition for up to five years. There can be one winner or multiple winners.

 (3) The minister responsible for the field will, by a regulation, establish:
 1) the target group and fields of law of legal advice;
 2) the conditions of and procedure for the competition of distribution of aid for legal advice;
 3) requirements for applications and applicants;
 4) requirements for legal aid to be supported and for the organisation of granting such aid;
 5) the self-financing portion of a person who needs legal aid supported from the state budget;
 6) requirements for reports to be submitted by the recipient of the aid.

 (4) The Ministry of Justice exercises supervision over compliance with the requirements established on the basis of subsection (3) of this section and the contract concluded with the recipient of aid. If the recipient of aid fails to perform their duties, the Ministry of Justice may make a precept to them and impose on them a penalty payment of up to 10 000 euros in accordance with the procedure established in the Substitutive Enforcement and Penalty Payment Act for the purpose of ensuring that the precept is complied with. The Ministry of Justice may recover aid used for a purpose other than the intended purpose back to the state budget.

[RT I, 28.12.2016, 14 – entry into force 07.01.2017]

§ 32.  Reporting and administrative supervision over activities of Bar Association

  [RT I, 13.03.2014, 4 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

 (1) Not later than by April 1 the Bar Association will submit to the Ministry of Justice an annual overview of provision of state legal aid in the previous year and payment of state legal aid fees and state legal aid expenses to advocates.

 (2) The specific conditions for the use of funds allocated for the provision of state legal aid may be established by a regulation of the minister responsible for the field.

 (3) Not later than by April 1 the Ministry of Finance or an authority within the area of government of the Ministry of Finance designated by the minister responsible for the field will submit to the Ministry of Justice an annual overview of the collection of state legal aid fees and state legal aid expenses from persons with the compensation obligation. The procedure for the submission of overviews will be established by a regulation of the minister responsible for the field.

 (4) Upon exercising supervision over the proper performance of functions arising from this Act by the Bar Association, the Ministry of Justice has the right to:
 1) receive documents from the Bar Association concerning the use of funds allocated for provision of state legal aid and payment of state legal aid fees and state legal aid expenses;
 2) carry out inspection of the economic activities of the Bar Association in order to verify the expediency and purposefulness of the use of the funds allocated for provision of state legal aid;

[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2010]
 3) receive other information from the Bar Association necessary for exercising supervision over the legality and efficiency of the use of funds allocated for provision of state legal aid.

Chapter 7 INTERNATIONAL LEGAL AID 

§ 33.  Granting state legal aid in connection with proceedings regarding civil case in court of Member State of European Union and other body resolving disputes

 (1) An Estonian citizen or a person residing in Estonia on the basis of a residence permit who complies with the requirements of subsection 6 (1) of this Act may receive the state legal aid provided for in clauses 4 (3) 4) and 7) to 9) in connection with proceedings regarding their civil case in a court of a Member State of the European Union or in another body resolving disputes until legal aid is asked from a competent body of the corresponding Member State of the European Union.

 (2) If state legal aid is granted in a dispute specified in subsection (1) of this section, this Act will apply, taking into account the specifications provided for in this Chapter.

 (3) An application for the receipt of state legal aid on the basis of subsection (1) of this section will be submitted to the Harju County Court.

 (4) An application and the documents annexed thereto may be submitted in Estonian or in English.

[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

§ 34.  Translation assistance in connection with civil proceedings in court of member state of European Union and another body resolving disputes

 (1) In addition to the state legal aid provided for in § 33 of this Act, an Estonian citizen or a person residing in Estonia on the basis of a residence permit who complies with the requirements of subsection 6 (1) of this Act may receive translation assistance upon application for legal aid in disputes specified in subsection 33 (1) of this Act in a Member State of the European Union where the competence of a court or another body resolving disputes includes the adjudication of their civil case.

 (2) The translation assistance specified in subsection (1) of this section means the translation of an application for legal aid submitted to a body processing applications for legal aid in a Member State of the European Union and the necessary documents justifying the application and annexed thereto into a foreign language in which the relevant bodies of the corresponding Member State process the applications for legal aid.

§ 35.  Forwarding of applications for legal aid

  [RT I, 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

 (1) In order to receive state legal aid in connection with civil proceedings in a court of a Member State of the European Union or another body resolving disputes, an application may be submitted to a competent body of the European Union or via the Harju County Court. The provisions of § 193 of the Code of Civil Procedure apply to the forwarding of applications for state legal aid via the Harju County Court.

 (2) [Repealed – RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

 (3) [Repealed – RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

 (4) [Repealed – RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

 (5) [Repealed – RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

 (6) [Repealed – RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

§ 36.  State legal aid in enforcement proceedings regarding official document of foreign state

 (1) A person specified in subsection 6 (1) of this Act may receive state legal aid specified in clause 4 (3) 7) of this Act in accordance with the procedure provided for in this Act in connection with enforcement in Estonia of an official document of a foreign state, which is recognised in Estonia.

 (2) An application for the receipt of state legal aid on the basis of subsection (1) of this section will be submitted in accordance with subsection 10 (3) of this Act.

 (3) An application and the documents annexed thereto may be submitted in Estonian or English.

§ 37.  Granting State-funded legal aid for recourse to the European Court of Human Rights

 (1) An Estonian citizen or a person residing in Estonia on the basis of a residence permit who meets the requirements of subsection 1 of § 6 of this Act may, in accordance with the rules provided by this Act, be granted State-funded legal aid for lodging an application with the European Court of Human Rights until they become eligible to apply for legal aid from the European Court of Human Rights, provided the alleged violation of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms or of its Additional Protocols which are binding on Estonia that serves as the reason for the application has been committed by the Estonian State.

 (2) An application for the grant of State-funded legal aid under subsection 1 of this section is filed in accordance with subsection 3 § 10 of this Act.

 (3) The district court refuses to grant State-funded legal aid under subsection 1 of this section if the court finds that the application would not be admissible under Article 35 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
[RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

§ 371.  Granting of state legal aid based on Council Regulation (EC) No 4/2009 on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and cooperation in matters relating to maintenance obligations

 (1) Upon granting state legal aid in proceedings carried out on the basis of Council Regulation (EC) No. 4/2009 on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and cooperation in matters relating to maintenance obligations the provisions of this Act regulating the granting of state legal aid apply only insofar as the Regulation does not provide otherwise.

 (2) The functions of the central authority provided for in the regulation specified in subsection (1) of this section are performed by the Ministry of Justice.

 (3) If on the basis of the regulation specified in subsection (1) of this section translation assistance needs to be granted to an entitled person, the court will appoint, above all, a sworn translator to provide translation assistance. The provisions of this Act applicable to advocates apply to translators, taking into account the specifics of translation assistance.

[RT I, 14.03.2011, 2 – entry into force 18.06.2011]

§ 372.  Granting of state legal aid based on the Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance

 (1) Upon granting state legal aid in proceedings carried out on the basis of the Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance (OJ L 192, 22.07.2011, pp. 51–70), the provisions of this Act regarding the granting of state legal aid apply only insofar as the Convention does not provide otherwise.

 (2) The functions of the central authority provided for in the regulation specified in subsection (1) of this section are performed by the Ministry of Justice.

[RT I, 31.12.2014, 1 – entry into force 10.01.2015]

Chapter 8 IMPLEMENTATION OF ACT 

§ 38.  Application of Act to undertakings whose area of activity includes provision of legal services

 (1) A person who complies with the requirements of subsection 23 (1) of the Bar Association Act, regarding whom the circumstances specified in clauses 27 (1) 1)-3) and 5)-7) of the Bar Association Act do not exist and who, after completion of a nationally recognised curriculum of academic legal studies and immediately prior to joining the Bar Association, has provided, for at least three consecutive years, legal services as a self-employed person registered in the commercial register or through a company whose areas of activity include provision of legal services and in which the person is a shareholder, will be admitted to the Bar Association as a senior assistant to a sworn advocate, if the person has passed the examination of a senior assistant to a sworn advocate. An application to be admitted to the Bar Association on the basis of this section will be submitted to the Board of the Bar Association not later than by 1 September 2005.

 (2) A person admitted to the Bar Association in accordance with this section may provide legal services and act as the management of a law office on the same grounds as a sworn advocate.

 (3) A person specified in subsection (1) of this section who has passed the examination of a senior assistant to a sworn advocate will lose the right to provide legal services and act as the management of a law office if the person does not pass the examination of a sworn advocate within two years as of joining the Bar Association. The examination of a sworn advocate cannot be taken before one year has passed after admitting the person as a member of the Bar Association as a senior assistant to a sworn advocate.

 (4) A person who has become a member of the Bar Association in accordance with subsection (1) of this section will, not later than within two months after becoming a member of the Bar Association, submit to the registrar of the commercial register an application for the transformation of the company through which the person provides legal services into a company of advocates. The provisions of subsection 54 (1) of the Bar Association Act apply to the company being transformed as of 1 January 2007. A senior assistant of a sworn advocate who has become a member of the Bar Association in accordance with subsection (1) of this section is deemed to be equal to a sworn advocate within the meaning of § 54 of the Bar Association Act.

 (5) A person who applies for admission to the Bar Association in accordance with subsection (1) of this section will, within six months after becoming a member of the Bar Association, bring its activities into compliance with § 821 of the Bar Association Act.

 (6) The provisions of § 48 of the Bar Association Act concerning the professional liability insurance of advocates apply to a person who acts as the management of a law office and has become a member of the Bar Association in accordance with this section as of 1 January 2006.

 (7) State fees will not be charged for entry in the commercial register of the amendments made on the basis of this section.

§ 381.  Specifications of application of fees and expenses procedure

  If the amount of the state legal aid fee or the extent of compensation of the state legal aid expenses has not been established regarding payment of the fee payable for state legal aid provided or payment of compensation for state legal aid expenses incurred before 1 August 2016, the establishment thereof will be subject to the procedure for fees and expenses established on the basis of the wording of subsection 21 (3) of this Act that entered into force on 1 August 2016.

[RT I, 22.06.2016, 21 – entry into force 01.08.2016]

§ 382.  Application of Act to contracts supporting access to legal advice

  Subsection 31 (4) of this Act does not apply to contracts supporting access to legal advice, which have been awarded before the entry into force of the provision.

[RT I, 28.12.2016, 14 – entry into force 07.01.2017]

§ 383.  Renewal of contracts supporting access to legal advice

  The minister responsible for the field may renew contracts supporting access to legal advice, which are in force at the time of entry into force of this section, until a contract has been awarded to the winner of a new competition.

[RT I, 28.12.2016, 14 – entry into force 07.01.2017]

§ 39. – § 48. [Omitted from this text.]

§ 49.  Entry into force of Act

 (1) This Act will enter into force on 1 March 2005.

 (2) Sections 33-35 of this Act will enter into force on 30 November 2004, except in the part where state legal aid is applied for in extrajudicial proceedings. This Act applies to applications for state legal aid in extrajudicial proceedings in international disputes as of 30 May 2006.

Issuer:Riigikogu
Type:act
In force from:01.01.2024
In force until: In force
Translation published:18.12.2023

Chapter 1 GENERAL PROVISIONS  

§ 1.  Scope of application of this Act

 (1) This Act lays down the types of legal aid granted by the State and the conditions of and rules for obtaining such aid.

 (2) Applications for State-funded legal aid in matters of international protection are subject to special rules provided by § 252 of the Act on Granting International Protection to Aliens.
[RT I, 06.08.2022, 1 – entry into force 16.08.2022]

 (3) Applications for State-funded legal aid in matters of international protection are subject to special rules provided by § 66 of the Obligation to Leave and Prohibition of Entry Act.
[RT I, 06.08.2022, 1 – entry into force 16.08.2022]

§ 2.  Purpose of this Act

  The purpose of this Act is to ensure the timely and sufficient availability of competent and reliable legal services to all persons.

§ 3.  Application of the Administrative Procedure Act

  The provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act apply to the administrative proceedings provided for by this Act without prejudice to special rules provided by this Act.

§ 4.  State-funded legal aid

 (1) State-funded legal aid means providing a legal service to a natural or legal person at the expense of the State on the grounds and in accordance with the rules provided by this Act.

 (2) Under this Act, State-funded legal aid is granted to a natural or legal person in connection with proceedings in an Estonian court or administrative body or otherwise for protection of their rights where deciding on those rights is within the power of an Estonian court, unless otherwise provided by Chapter 7 of this Act.

 (3) The types of State-funded legal aid are:
 1) appointed defence in criminal proceedings;
 2) representing a person in pre-trial and in judicial proceedings in a criminal case;
 3) defending a person in out-of-court and judicial proceedings in a misdemeanour case;
 4) representing a person in pre-trial proceedings in a civil case and in court;
 5) representing a person in proceedings before the administrative courts;
 6) representing a person in administrative proceedings;
 7) representing a person in enforcement proceedings;
 71) representing a person in proceedings for review of a judicial decision that has entered into effect;

[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2010]
 8) drawing up legal documents;
 9) other legal advice or representation.

§ 5.  Provider of State-funded legal aid

 (1) State-funded legal aid is provided by an attorney on the basis of the Bar Association Act without prejudice to special rules provided by this Act.

 (2) The owner of the law office ensures that an explanation of the grounds of and rules for obtaining State-funded legal aid that are prescribed by this Act are provided to persons in need of such aid during the opening hours of the law office without charge.

Chapter 2 GROUNDS AND METHODS OF GRANTING STATE-FUNDED LEGAL AID  

§ 6.  Persons entitled to State-funded legal aid

 (1) A natural person may receive State-funded legal aid if the person is unable to pay for competent legal services due to their financial situation at the time they need legal aid or where the person is able to pay for legal services only partially or in instalments or where their financial situation does not allow for meeting basic subsistence needs after paying for legal services.

 (11) State-funded legal aid is granted to a natural person who, at the time of filing the application for such aid, is domiciled in the Republic of Estonia or another Member State of the European Union or is a citizen of the Republic of Estonia or another Member State of the European Union, except in a situation mentioned in subsection 2 of this section. Determination of domicile within the meaning of this Act is based on Article 62 of Regulation No 1215/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (OJ L 351, 20.12.2012, pp 1–32). Legal aid is granted to other natural persons only where this arises from an international obligation binding on Estonia.

[RT I, 31.12.2014, 1 – entry into force 10.01.2015]

 (2) In criminal proceedings, an individual suspect or accused who has not arranged their own defence counsel (except in situations mentioned in § 441 and in subsection 5 of § 227 of the Code of Criminal Procedure) and in whose criminal case the participation of such counsel is required by law or who applies for the participation of counsel receives State-funded legal aid regardless of their financial situation. In misdemeanour proceedings, a natural person subject to the proceedings who has not arranged their own counsel and in whose misdemeanour case the participation of counsel is required by law receives State-funded legal aid regardless of their financial situation.

[RT I, 21.06.2014, 11 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

 (22) In criminal proceedings, State-funded legal aid is available to a victim of limited active legal capacity regardless of their financial situation, where:
 1) based on the circumstances, it can be presumed that the interests of the victim’s statutory representative are in conflict with those of the victim;
 2) the underage victim has been separated from their family;
 3) the victim is an unaccompanied minor for the purposes of the Act on Granting International Protection to Aliens.

[RT I, 06.01.2016, 5 – entry into force 16.01.2016]

 (23) In criminal proceedings, the victim of a criminal offence defined by § 237 of the Penal Code receives State-funded legal aid regardless of their financial situation.

[RT I, 04.01.2019, 12 – entry into force 14.01.2019]

 (3) A non-profit association or foundation that applies for State-funded legal aid in the field of environmental protection or consumer protection in pursuit of the aims stated in its articles of association may receive such aid on the grounds and in accordance with the rules provided by this Act where it has been entered in the list of non-profit associations and foundations entitled to income tax incentives or belongs to an equivalent category and is insolvent, or where another overriding public interest for granting such aid is present to prevent possible harm to rights that are held by a large number of people and that are protected by law.

 (4) In criminal proceedings, a corporate suspect or accused receives State-funded legal aid if it has not arranged its own defence counsel (except in situations mentioned in § 441 and in subsection 5 of § 227 of the Code of Criminal Procedure) and the participation of such counsel is required by law in the criminal case, or if the suspect or accused applies for such participation. In misdemeanour proceedings, a legal person receives State-funded legal aid where it is the person subject to proceedings and has not arranged its own defence counsel and where the participation of such counsel is required by law in the misdemeanour case against the person.

[RT I, 21.06.2014, 11 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

 (5) In proceedings for review of a judicial decision that has entered into effect, a natural person mentioned in subsection 1 of this section may receive State-funded legal aid regardless of the type of the case.

[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

§ 7.  Grounds for refusal to grant State-funded legal aid

 (1) State-funded legal aid is not granted where:
 1) the applicant is able to protect their rights on their own;
 2) the applicant cannot have the right for whose protection they are applying for the aid;
 3) it is possible for the applicant to bear the costs of legal services by selling items of property that they own and that can be sold without major difficulties, with the exception of property mentioned in subsection 2 of § 14 of this Act;
 4) estimated costs of legal services do not exceed two times the applicant’s average monthly income – calculated based on average monthly income in the last four months preceding the filing of the application, from which taxes and compulsory insurance payments, amounts earmarked for fulfilment of a statutory maintenance obligation and also reasonable housing and transport costs have been deducted;

[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2010]
 5) under the circumstances it is evident that the applicant is unlikely to be able to protect their rights;
 6) the aid is applied for in order to file a claim for non‑pecuniary damages and there is no compelling public interest in the case;

[RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]
 7) the dispute is related to the business activities of the applicant and does not harm their rights that are unrelated to their business activities;
 8) the aid is applied for to protect a trademark, patent, utility model, industrial design or integrated circuit layout or another form of intellectual property, with the exception of rights arising under the Copyright Act;
 9) the aid is applied for in a case in which the applicant clearly has joint interests with a person who is not entitled to such aid;
 10) the aid is applied for to protect a right assigned to the applicant and there is reason to believe that the right was assigned to the applicant in order to be granted such aid;
 11) provision of legal services is guaranteed to the applicant under a legal costs insurance contract or compulsory insurance;
 12) the benefits that might accrue to the applicant from the case are unreasonably small in comparison with the estimated expenditure of the State for legal aid.

 (11) For proceedings for review of a judicial disposition that has entered into effect, State-funded legal aid is not granted, in addition to the grounds for refusal mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, if the grounds for review have not been stated in the application for such aid or where, based on the grounds for review that are stated, it is evident that the applicant is clearly unlikely to succeed in protecting their rights or where the time limit for filing a petition for review has expired. The Supreme Court is not required to state the reasons for its refusal to grant the aid.

[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

 (2) State-funded legal aid is not refused on the grounds mentioned in subsection 1 of this section where it is applied for in a situation mentioned in subsection 2 of § 6 of this Act. The aid is not refused under clauses 1, 2, 5–10 or 12 of subsection 1 of this section where it is applied for in a situation mentioned in subsection 4 of § 6 of this Act.

 (3) State-funded legal aid may be granted without the restriction provided by clause 1 of subsection 1 of this section where it is evident that, for the just disposition of the case, the assistance of an attorney is needed in order to ensure equality of the parties or due to complexity of the case.

§ 8.  Methods of granting State-funded legal aid

  State-funded legal aid is granted as follows:
 1) without the obligation to compensate for the fee for or costs of such aid;
 2) with the obligation to partially or fully compensate for the fee for or costs of such aid by a lump-sum payment;
 3) with the obligation to partially or fully compensate for the fee for or costs of such aid in instalments.

Chapter 3 DECIDING THE GRANTING OF STATE-FUNDED LEGAL AID  

§ 9.  Applying for State-funded legal aid

 (1) The granting of State-funded legal aid is decided on a person’s application.

 (2) [Repealed – RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 10.  Filing an application for State-funded legal aid

 (1) An application for State-funded legal aid in judicial proceedings as a party to proceedings in a civil, administrative or misdemeanour case is filed with the court that conducts proceedings in the case or that would have the power to conduct such proceedings.

 (2) Where the applicant seeks State-funded legal aid for drawing up a statement of claim, a petition under the action-by-petition procedure or a complaint under the administrative court procedure or an appeal against a decision made in misdemeanour proceedings, they file their application with the court that has the power to consider the court claim, petition, complaint or appeal.

 (3) An application for State-funded legal aid in the form of representation in pre-action proceedings in a civil case or in out-of-court proceedings in a misdemeanour case, of creation of a legal document or other legal advice or representation is filed with the district court that serves the locality in which the applicant has their residence or seat or in which the legal service is expected to be provided. Where the applicant has no place of residence in Estonia, they may file their application with the district court in whose judicial district they are staying.

[RT I, 28.11.2017, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2018]

 (31) An application for State-funded legal aid in the form of representation in administrative proceedings is filed with the administrative court that serves the locality in which the applicant has their residence or seat or in which the legal service is expected to be provided.

[RT I, 28.11.2017, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2018]

 (4) Where, in criminal proceedings that do not require the participation of defence counsel for their entire duration, the suspect who has not arranged such counsel of their choosing seeks the participation of counsel in proceedings, the suspect files their application for State-funded legal aid with the investigative body or the Prosecutor’s Office.

 (5) Where a person applies for State-funded legal aid in criminal proceedings as the victim, civil defendant or third party, the provision of such aid to the person is decided by the court that conducts the proceedings or, during pre-trial proceedings in the criminal case, the district court that would have the power to conduct proceedings in that case.

[RT I 2007, 2, 7 – entry into force 01.02.2007]

 (51) Where a person applies for State-funded legal aid for proceedings to review a judicial disposition that has entered in to effect, the provision of legal aid to the person is decided by the Supreme Court. The application may be filed with the Supreme Court without the intermediation of an attorney.

[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

 (6) An application for State-funded legal aid in the form of representation in enforcement proceedings is filed with the court that would have the power to dispose of an appeal against the actions of the enforcement agent conducting the proceedings.

 (7) Where an application has been filed with a court that does not have the power to decide on the granting of State-funded legal aid in the given case, the court forwards the application without delay to the competent court and notifies this to the applicant.

 (8) The court or other authority mentioned in subsections 1–6 of this section is also the authority competent to receive applications for financial aid within the meaning of Article 14 of Council Directive No. 2003/8/EC to improve access to justice in cross-border disputes by establishing minimum common rules relating to legal aid for such disputes (OJ L 026, 31.01.2003, pp. 41–47). The applicant may not be required to have the application legalised or officially certified by any other method.

§ 11.  Granting State-funded legal aid where defence counsel is required

 (1) An individual suspect in whose criminal case the participation of defence counsel is required under § 45 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and who has not arranged their own counsel is not required to file the application for the grant of State-funded legal aid in that case.

 (2) In judicial proceedings in a misdemeanour case, the individual subject to the proceedings in whose misdemeanour case the participation of defence counsel is required under subsection 3 of § 19 of the Code of Misdemeanour Procedure and who has not arranged their own counsel is not required to file the application for the grant of State-funded legal aid.

§ 12.  Application form and information contained in the application

 (1) The following must be stated in the application for State-funded legal aid:
 1) the name, address and personal identification number (or, where the applicant does not possess such a number, their date of birth) or the corporate applicant’s registration number;
 2) a description of the problem for whose resolution the aid is applied for;
 3) the type of such aid mentioned in subsection 3 of § 4 or § 34 of this Act, which is applied for;
 4) the reasons why such aid is needed in order to protect the applicant’s rights;
 5) the extent of the benefits that might accrue to the applicant from the case;
 6) the name of the provider of such aid from whom the applicant wishes to receive legal services – where the attorney concerned has granted their consent to providing the aid to the applicant in the case;
 7) the language in which the applicant is able to communicate with the provider of the aid;
 8) [Repealed – RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 9) other relevant information.

 (2) Where the application has been filed outside judicial proceedings and is unclear as to which type of State-funded legal aid mentioned in subsection 3 of § 4 of this Act is applied for, the application is deemed to be filed for the purpose of obtaining such aid in the form of provision of other legal advice to the applicant.

 (3) The standard form of the application for State-funded legal aid and a list of information to be stated in the application are enacted by a regulation of the Minister in charge of the policy sector, and the form must be freely accessible to everyone on the website of the Ministry of Justice as well as in each court and law office.

 (4) In criminal proceedings, an application filed by an individual suspect for appointment of a defence counsel must state at least the information mentioned in clauses 1 and 7 of subsection 1 of this section and a reference to the criminal case in which the counsel is to participate.

 (5) An application for State-funded legal aid is filed in Estonian.

[RT I, 28.12.2016, 14 – entry into force 07.01.2017]

 (6) An application may be filed in English where legal aid is applied for by a natural person whose place of residence is in another Member State of the European Union or who is a citizen of another Member State of that Union, or by a legal person that has its seat in such a Member State.

[RT I, 28.12.2016, 14 – entry into force 07.01.2017]

 (7) The proceedings authority organises the translation of an application filed in another language widely used in Estonia.

[RT I, 28.12.2016, 14 – entry into force 07.01.2017]

 (8) Where an application has other defects that prevent its consideration, the court explains to the person the possibilities of receiving aid for filing the application in accordance with the requirements from the winner of the competition mentioned in subsection 2 of § 31 of this Act and, where this is requested by the person, transmits the application to the winner for being filed in accordance with the requirements.

[RT I, 28.12.2016, 14 – entry into force 07.01.2017]

§ 13.  Documents annexed to the application

 (1) An individual applicant must annex to an application for State-funded legal aid a notice that meets the requirements, describes their financial situation and has been signed by the applicant as well as, where this is possible, other evidence to characterise that situation. The notice is not required where the application is filed by a suspect who applies for appointment of a defence counsel in criminal proceedings, or by a child who applies for legal aid in a case concerning their maintenance payments.

 (2) Where a person’s domicile is not in Estonia, the person must annex to the application a notice issued by the competent authorities of the state in which the person has their domicile concerning their income and that of the members of their family for the last three years. Where the notice cannot be filed for reasons independent of the applicant, the granting of State-funded legal aid may be decided without the notice.

 (3) The notice concerning the financial situation of the applicant for State-funded legal aid is filed in writing in the Estonian language. On conditions provided for by subsection 6 of § 12 of this Act, the notice may also be filed in English.
[RT I, 01.03.2023, 1 – entry into force 01.05.2023]

 (4) The list of information to be stated in the notice concerning the financial situation of the applicant and the standard form of the notice are enacted by a regulation of the Minister in charge of the policy sector. The standard form must be freely accessible to everyone on the website of the Ministry of Justice as well as in each court and law office. The Minister in charge of the policy sector may also enact requirements for documents filed by applicants to justify their applications.

 (5) A corporate applicant must annex to the application for State-funded legal aid a copy of the memorandum of association or foundation resolution that was filed with the register and that meets the requirements of the law and a copy of the registered articles of association, a copy of the registry card and a certified copy of the annual report of the previous financial year.

 (6) Where an attorney has granted their consent to the applicant for State-funded legal aid regarding provision of such aid to the applicant in the case and the applicant wishes to receive legal services from the attorney, the attorney’s consent must be annexed to the application or the application must be filed through the corresponding law office.

[RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

§ 14.  Assessing the financial situation of the applicant

 (1) When the applicant’s financial situation is assessed, their property and earnings as well as the property and earnings of any family members who live together with the applicant, the number of the applicant’s dependants, reasonable expenditures on residence and other relevant circumstances are taken into account.

 (2) When assessing the financial situation of the applicant, property items belonging to the applicant are not taken into account if, by law, they cannot be levied upon. Similarly, any residence or vehicle that is needed, belongs to the applicant and is used on a daily basis by the applicant and their family members who live together with the applicant is not taken into account where the number and value of such residences or vehicles is in fair correspondence to the size, transportation needs and earnings of the family.

 (3) Where the applicant applies for State-funded legal aid to file a claim against a family member who lives together with the applicant, the income of that family member or any property that belongs to them is not taken into account when assessing the applicant’s financial situation.

 (4) Where this is required by the court, the Tax and Customs Board presents a notice concerning the income of the applicant for State-funded legal aid, and of members of their family, during the last year or a notice concerning the lack of information on such income. The form of the notice is enacted by a regulation of the Minister in charge of the policy sector.

 (5) The court may require the applicant for State-funded legal aid or any other persons or agencies, including credit institutions, to provide information concerning the financial situation or solvency of the applicant and of their family members who live together with the applicant. A reply to an enquiry must be given within the time limit set by the court.

 (6) Where an applicant has not filed substantiated information concerning their personal status or financial situation or replied to the questions that have been put to them, or has provided replies that are insufficient, the court does not grant State-funded legal aid to the applicant to the extent that has not been substantiated.

[RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

§ 15.  Deciding the granting of State-funded legal aid

 (1) An application for State-funded legal aid filed in the course of judicial proceedings is disposed of by an order of the court conducting the proceedings in accordance with the rules provided by the law governing the relevant type of judicial procedure.

 (2) The granting of State-funded legal aid on an application filed outside judicial proceedings is decided by the district court or the administrative court by a method provided for by § 8 of this Act in accordance with the action-by-petition procedure provided by the Code of Civil Procedure or the rules provided by the Code of Administrative Court of Procedure. In court, matters pertaining to State-funded legal aid may be decided by an assistant judge.
[RT I, 22.12.2020, 34 – entry into force 01.01.2021]

 (3) The granting of State-funded legal aid to a suspect or accused in criminal proceedings is decided by an order of the court, the Prosecutor’s Office or the investigative authority. On appointment of a defence counsel in criminal proceedings in all cases – and in misdemeanour proceedings where the participation of a defence counsel is required – legal aid is granted to the applicant without selecting a method provided by § 8 of this Act, and the fee for and costs of such aid are compensated for in accordance with the rules provided by the Code of Criminal Procedure.

[RT I, 14.03.2011, 3 – entry into force 24.03.2011]

 (31) Provision of State-funded legal aid to the victim in a situation mentioned in subsection 22 of § 6 of this Act is decided by order of the court, of the Prosecutor’s Office or of the investigative authority.

[RT I, 06.01.2016, 5 – entry into force 16.01.2016]

 (4) Where this is needed, the court, Prosecutor’s Office or investigative body sets a time limit for the provision of State-funded legal aid.

 (5) An order on granting State-funded legal aid specifies the method of granting the aid in accordance with § 8 of this Act and the recipient’s compensation obligation in accordance with § 16. A copy of the order is sent to the Estonian Bar Association (hereinafter also Bar Association).
[RT I, 21.05.2014, 1 – entry into force 31.05.2014]

 (51) The rules for transmitting State-funded legal aid orders to the Bar Association via the eFile procedural information management system (hereinafter, eFile system) are enacted by a regulation of the Minister in charge of the policy sector.

[RT I, 21.05.2014, 1 – entry into force 31.05.2014]

 (6) Annually by April 1, the investigative authority and the Prosecutors’ Office present, to the Minister in charge of the policy sector, a report on the granting of State-funded legal aid in the previous year. The form for the report is approved by a regulation of the Minister in charge of the policy sector.

 (7) Where an application for State-funded legal aid was forwarded to the court or other authority by an authority of another Member State of the European Union that is competent to forward applications for legal aid, a copy of the order rendered concerning the application is also sent to such an authority.

[RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

 (8) An interim appeal against a court order granting or refusing to grant State-funded legal aid may be filed in accordance with the rules laid down in statutes regulating judicial proceedings. An interim appeal against an order which has been entered in a civil or administrative case and by which such aid is granted may also be filed by the Bar Association.

[RT I, 28.12.2016, 14 – entry into force 07.01.2017]

§ 16.  Determining the compensation obligation of the recipient of State-funded legal aid

 (1) Where State-funded legal aid is granted to a person with the obligation to partially or fully compensate for the fee for and costs of such aid, the person’s compensation obligation is determined as a proportion or, where possible, as a specific amount, and a decision is made on whether the compensation is to be paid as a lump sum or in instalments.

 (2) Based on circumstances mentioned in subsections 1–3 of § 14 or subsection 5 of § 13 of this Act, the court determines the scope of the compensation obligation and the rules governing payment of the compensation, taking into account the nature of the case, the type of State-funded legal aid applied for and the estimated time of provision of the aid.

 (3) Where State-funded legal aid is granted to a person with the obligation to compensate the fee for and costs of such aid by a lump-sum payment, the court, where possible, also determines the due date of compensation.

 (4) Where State-funded legal aid is granted to a person with the obligation to compensate the fee for and costs of such aid in instalments, the court, where possible, also determines the amounts of the instalments and the due dates of payment.

 (5) Where State-funded legal aid is granted with the obligation to fully or partially compensate the fee for and costs of such aid by a lump-sum payment or in instalments, the court may require the recipient to make an advance payment that fulfils their compensation obligation in its entirety or in part. In the event of failure to make the advance payment, the aid is not granted to the person.

§ 17.  Continuity of State-funded legal aid

 (1) A person who has been granted State-funded legal aid retains the right to receive such aid when the case is transformed into another type of legal aid provided for by subsection 3 of § 4 of this Act and the previously appointed attorney continues providing the aid to the person, except in a situation provided for by subsection 2 of this section. The court, the investigative authority or the Prosecutor’s Office who decided the granting of the aid may, on an application of the attorney providing the aid or of its own motion, at any time reassess, in accordance with the rules provided by this Act, whether the grounds of granting State-funded legal aid to the applicant which are provided by this Act continue to be present and, where the grounds for granting such aid are no longer present, terminate the granting of the aid to the person.

[RT I, 21.06.2014, 11 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

 (2) Where State-funded legal aid has been granted to a person in criminal proceedings and those proceedings are terminated due to absence of the elements of a criminal offence in the case, with misdemeanour proceedings being commenced in their place, the person must, in order to continue receiving the aid, within ten days and following the rules provided by this Act, file an application for the grant of such aid in accordance with subsection 3 of § 10 of this Act. Until the court disposes of the application, the previously appointed attorney continues providing the aid to the person in the case.

[RT I, 21.06.2014, 11 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

 (3) A person who has been granted State-funded legal aid in judicial proceedings as a party to proceedings has a right to receive such aid also in proceedings regarding an appeal against an order or judgment in the same case or in compulsory enforcement proceedings.

 (4) The court conducting proceedings or the court that would have the power to dispose of an appeal against the actions of the enforcement agent conducting enforcement proceedings may, of its own motion, at any stage of proceedings reassess, in accordance with the rules provided by this Act, whether the grounds for granting State-funded legal aid to an applicant that have been provided by this Act continue to be present and, where the grounds for granting such aid are no longer present, terminate the granting of the aid to the person. Where, more than one year after the entry into effect of the disposition rendered in the case, State-funded legal aid in the form of representation in enforcement proceedings is applied for, the court must verify the presence of all prerequisites for granting such aid.

 (5) In the event of the reassessment provided for by subsections 1 and 4 of this section, the court has a right to require, where this is needed, the recipient of State-funded legal aid to file a new notice concerning their financial situation and the Tax and Customs Board, credit institutions as well as any other persons or authorities to provide information concerning the financial situation or solvency of the recipient and of their family members.

 (6) Where the granting of State-funded legal aid is terminated under subsections 1 and 4 of this section, the attorney who has been providing the aid is released from the obligation to provide legal aid in the case and the court determines, on an application of the attorney, the amount of the fee due to the attorney and the extent to which they are to be compensated for the costs incurred in relation to providing the aid. Simultaneously, following the rules provided by § 25 of this Act, the court determines the recipient’s obligation to fully or partially compensate the amount payable to the attorney.

 (7) The court or other competent authority may suspend payment of instalments ordered under the rules of State-funded legal aid or modify the amount or due date for such payments in accordance with the rules provided by § 188 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Section 189 of the Code of Civil Procedure is followed when the granting of financial aid is terminated.

[RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

§ 18.  Appointment of provider of State-funded legal aid

  [RT I, 21.06.2014, 11 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

 (1) When instructed to do so by the court, by the Prosecutor’s Office or by the investigative authority, the Bar Association promptly appoints an attorney to provide State-funded legal aid. The attorney appointed by the Association undertakes to provide the aid without delay and to organise their work such that it would be possible for them to participate in procedural operations at the proper time.

[RT I, 21.06.2014, 11 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

 (11) The rules for transmitting the instructions issued by the court, the Prosecutor’s Office or the investigative authority to the Bar Association via the eFile system is enacted by a regulation of the Minister in charge of the policy sector.

[RT I, 21.06.2014, 11 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

 (2) The court, the Prosecutor’s Office or the investigative authority does not have a right conclude an agreement for provision of State-funded legal aid with an attorney on or to appoint an attorney who is to provide such aid.

[RT I, 21.06.2014, 11 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

 (3) When providing State-funded legal aid, the attorney’s authority to represent or defend the recipient of such aid is proved by the attorney’s declaration that they have been appointed to provide the aid. In case of doubt, the Bar Association may be required to certify the attorney’s appointment.

[RT I, 21.06.2014, 11 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

§ 181.  State-funded Legal Aid Information System

 (1) The State-funded Legal Aid Information System of is a database maintained for the purpose of organising the provision of such aid, which forms a part of the State’s information system and whose purpose is:
 1) electronic management of information for appointing providers of the aid;

[RT I, 22.03.2013, 9 – entry into force 01.04.2013]
 11) electronic management of the payment of fees and compensation for costs of the aid;

[RT I, 22.03.2013, 9 – entry into force 01.04.2013]
 2) providing for electronic availability of information concerning members of the Bar Association;
 3) ensuring speedy availability of the service of State-funded legal aid;
 4) obtaining a statistical overview of provision of the service of State-funded legal aid.

 (2) Constitutive regulations of the State-funded Legal Aid Information System are enacted by the Minister in charge of the policy area.
[RT I, 22.12.2020, 34 – entry into force 01.07.2021]

§ 19.  Refusal by attorney to provide State-funded legal aid

 (1) Where an attorney has commenced the provision of legal services in accordance with the rules of State-funded legal aid, the attorney continues providing those services until final disposition of the case, unless otherwise provided by law. Where the recipient of the aid seeks protection of an interest that is contrary to law or where the alleged claim of the recipient is not based on law or where there is no procedural possibility to protect the recipient’s rights and interests, provision of the aid is limited to the attorney’s substantiating the aforementioned circumstances in writing to the recipient.

[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

 (2) Where a circumstance mentioned in subsection 4 of § 44 of the Bar Association Act is present, the attorney may not provide State-funded legal aid to the person and is required to refuse to provide legal services or, without delay, terminate the provision of any legal services already commenced; the same applies if, in the case, the interests of the attorney or those of their spouse or registered partner or close relative or of a close relative of their spouse or registered partner are in conflict with the interests of the recipient of the aid.
[RT I, 06.07.2023, 6 – entry into force 01.01.2024]

 (3) With the consent of the Board of the Bar Association or where they have been released from the professional confidentiality obligation in accordance with the rules provided by subsection 5 of § 45 of the Bar Association Act, an attorney may terminate the provision of State-funded legal aid on the grounds provided by subsection 5 of § 44 of the Bar Association Act. Where the recipient is not at fault for termination of provision of the aid or where the law requires participation of an attorney in the proceedings, the Board of the Bar Association, without delay, appoints a new attorney to provide the aid.

[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

 (4) Where an attorney terminates the provision of legal services under subsection 2 of this section and the attorney was aware or should have been aware of the circumstances precluding the provision of legal services at the time of commencing to provide them, the attorney does not receive a fee for providing State-funded legal aid.

 (5) Where an attorney terminates the provision of legal services under subsection 3 of this section, the attorney is paid a fee for the work performed to provide State-funded legal aid. The fee is included in the compensation obligation of the recipient. The recipient is not exempted from compensating the fee for and costs of aid that relate to the provision of legal services terminated under subsection 3 of this section.

§ 20.  Change of provider of State-funded legal aid

 (1) By agreement between the attorney providing State-funded legal aid and the recipient of that aid, legal services in the case may be provided to the recipient by another attorney who grants their consent to being assigned the obligation to provide the aid. The new provider is appointed by order of the court, of the Prosecutor’s Office or of the investigative authority in accordance with the rules provided by § 18 of this Act. In such a situation, the court, the Prosecutor’s Office or investigative authority decides the amount of the fee for and costs of the aid that are to be compensated to the former provider.

[RT I, 21.06.2014, 11 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

 (2) Where, under this Act, the provider of State-funded legal aid is unable to continue to provide legal services to the recipient of the aid, the provider files an application with the court, the Prosecutor’s Office or the investigative authority for a new provider to be appointed to the recipient. The new provider is appointed in accordance with the rules provided by § 18 of this Act.

[RT I, 21.06.2014, 11 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

 (3) Where the attorney providing State-funded legal aid is excluded from the Bar Association or disbarred or where their professional activities are suspended or in the event of their long-term incapacity for work or their death, as well as in other situations provided for by law, the Bar Association, in accordance with the rules provided by § 18 of this Act, appoints a new provider of aid on an application of the former provider or of the recipient, or under an order of the court, of the Prosecutor’s Office or of the investigative authority, or of its own motion.

[RT I, 21.06.2014, 11 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

 (31) Where the attorney providing State-funded legal aid has demonstrated incompetence or negligence, the court makes an order – on an application of the recipient or of its own motion – by which it removes the attorney from the case. The court may, before making the order, require the recipient and the attorney to file explanations. The court transmits the order concerning removal of the attorney from the case to the Bar Association for commencement of proceedings before the Ethics Tribunal and, where this is needed, for appointing a new provider.

[RT I, 21.06.2014, 11 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

 (4) Where the provider of State-funded legal aid changes, the new provider continues provision of legal services to the person from the point reached by the former provider. The fee for the aid is paid to the former provider according to the work they have performed and the costs they incurred in relation to providing the aid are compensated to them.

Chapter 4 STATE-FUNDED LEGAL AID: PAYMENT OF FEES AND COMPENSATION FOR COSTS TO ATTORNEYS 

§ 21.  Fee and costs of State-funded legal aid

 (1) ‘Fee for State-funded legal aid’ means a fee that is paid to an attorney for provision of State-funded legal aid.

 (2) ‘Costs of State-funded legal aid’ means necessary costs that are incurred by the attorney or the owner of the law office in relation to providing such aid.

 (3) The basis for calculation of fees payable for provision of State-funded legal aid, the rules for payment and rates of the fees, and the extent of and rules for compensation for costs relating to provision of such aid (hereinafter rules for fees and costs) are enacted by the Minister in charge of the policy sector, taking into account the amount of funds allocated for this purpose from the State budget, an estimate of the volume of the aid and having heard the opinion of the Board of the Bar Association beforehand. During the budgetary year, the Minister in charge of the policy sector may modify the basis for calculation of fees payable for provision of the aid, the rules for payment and rates of the fees and the extent of and rules for compensation for costs.

[RT I, 22.06.2016, 21 – entry into force 01.08.2016]

 (31) [Repealed – RT I, 22.06.2016, 21 – entry into force 01.08.2016]

 (32) Where the State budget has not been passed by the beginning of the budgetary year, the Ministry of Justice allocates one twelfth of the relevant expenditure in the budget for the previous year to the Bar Association for covering the fees for and costs of State-funded legal aid each month until the State budget is passed.

[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

 (33) The rules for the filing of documents by eFile to determine the amount of the fee for State-funded legal aid and the extent of the costs that were incurred in relation to providing the aid and that are to be compensated are enacted by a regulation of the Minister in charge of the policy sector.

[RT I, 22.03.2013, 9 – entry into force 01.01.2014]

 (4) The requirement – provided by subsection 1 of § 45 of the Bar Association Act – to maintain as confidential the fact of the person’s having approached an attorney and the amount of the fee paid for legal services, does not apply to the provision of State-funded legal aid.

§ 22.  Determining the amount of the fee for State-funded legal aid and the extent of compensation for the costs incurred in relation to providing such aid

 (1) In order to determine the amount of the fee for State-funded legal aid and the extent of compensation for the costs incurred in relation to providing such aid, the attorney makes an application to the court, the Prosecutor’s Office or the investigative authority that conducted the proceedings in which the aid was provided or, in other situations, to the court that decided on the granting of the aid, in which the attorney states:
[RT I, 01.03.2023, 1 – entry into force 01.05.2023]
 1) the fee payable and the necessary costs that have been incurred and are to be compensated under the rules for fees and costs mentioned in subsection 3 of § 21 of this Act together with the relevant calculations, having regard to the provisions of subsection 5 of this section;
 2) justified operations carried out in the course of providing the aid, justified time spent on carrying out these operations, the date of carrying out each operation and the time of commencement and completion of the operation – where the fee is calculated based on an hourly rate;
 3) justified operations carried out in the course of providing the aid and the date of carrying out each operation – where the fee is a flat fee;
 4) reasons for the time spent, the operations carried out as well as the need for and justification of the costs incurred.

[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

 (2) Where the court, investigative authority or the Prosecutor’s Office cannot verify, by electronic means, the costs that have been incurred by the attorney or the owner of the law office, documents certifying those costs are annexed to the application. The Minister in charge of the policy sector may enact coefficients applicable to calculation of the fee which fully or partially cover the costs of State-funded legal aid.

[RT I, 22.06.2016, 21 – entry into force 01.08.2016]

 (3) An attorney files the application provided for by subsection 1 of this section in judicial proceedings in every judicial instance and, in pre-trial proceedings in a criminal case and in out-of-court proceedings in a misdemeanour case, within three months following the carrying out of the State-funded legal aid operation but not later than at the end of the respective proceedings. Where other types of such aid are provided, the application is filed within three months following the termination of their provision.
[RT I, 22.12.2020, 34 – entry into force 01.01.2021]

 (4) The form of the application provided for by subsection 1 of this section is established by the Board of the Bar Association. An attorney files the application mentioned in subsection 1 of this section by electronic means, except in situations and in accordance with the rules enacted by the Minister in charge of the policy sector. The Minister may enact detailed requirements as well as rules for the applications and the method of their filing.

[RT I, 14.03.2011, 3 – entry into force 24.03.2011]

 (5) Use of the application form and compliance with the rules for its filing is mandatory for attorneys. An application for determining the amount of the fee for and costs of State-funded legal aid is dismissed if it does not follow the form, does not state the particulars required under subsection 1 of this section or has not been filed according to the rules.

[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

 (6) The amount of the fee for and costs of State-funded legal aid are determined on the basis of the rules for fees and costs mentioned in subsection 3 of § 21 of this Act which were in force at the time when the operation that constitutes the ground for payment of the corresponding fee or compensation for the costs was performed.

[RT I, 22.06.2016, 21 – entry into force 01.08.2016]

 (7) The court, the investigative authority or the Prosecutor’s Office verifies whether the application filed by the attorney is correct and justified and, based on the application, determines the justified time spent providing State-funded legal aid, the justified operations carried out for this purpose and the justified fee payable to the attorney for provision of the aid, as well as the necessary costs that have been incurred in relation to such provision and that are to be compensated. The above is determined on the attorney’s application in judicial proceedings in every judicial instance – as well as in pre-trial proceedings in a criminal case and in out-of-court proceedings in a misdemeanour case – within three months following the filing of the application with the court, the Prosecutor’s Office or investigative authority that is to dispose of it, but not later than at the end of the corresponding proceedings. In the event of provision of other types of State-funded legal aid, the amount of the fee for and compensation for costs of such aid is determined within three months following the filing of the application.
[RT I, 01.03.2023, 1 – entry into force 01.05.2023]

§ 23.  Rules for determining the fee for and costs of State-funded legal aid

 (1) Where State-funded legal aid is granted in the course of judicial proceedings, the court that deals with the case determines the fee for and costs of the aid in the judgment or order given in the case or leaves these to be determined in accordance with the rules for determination of case costs that are provided by the Code of Civil Procedure.
[RT I, 22.12.2020, 34 – entry into force 01.01.2021]

 (11) The order by which the fee for, and costs of, the provision of State-funded legal aid are determined but which does not dispose of the case on its substance may be entered, in any judicial instance, by a single member of the court sitting as a panel who is not a lay judge.
[RT I, 01.03.2023, 1 – entry into force 01.05.2023]

 (2) Outside judicial proceedings, the fee for and costs of State-funded legal aid are determined by the district court under the action-by-petition procedure or by the administrative court in accordance with the rules provided by the Code of Administrative Court Procedure.
[RT I, 22.12.2020, 34 – entry into force 01.01.2021]

 (3) The investigative authority or the Prosecutor’s Office determines the fee for and costs of State-funded legal aid in accordance with the rules provided by the Code of Criminal Procedure.

 (4) Under the rules provided by statutes regulating judicial proceedings, the Bar Association has a right to appeal a judicial disposition entered in an administrative or civil case regarding determination of the amount of the fee for State-funded legal aid and the extent of compensation for costs incurred in relation to providing such aid.

[RT I, 28.12.2016, 14 – entry into force 07.01.2017]

§ 24.  Payment of the fee for and costs of State-funded legal aid

 (1) The Bar Association arranges payment of the fee for and costs of State-funded legal aid to the attorney who has provided that aid on the basis of the corresponding judicial disposition or order of the investigative authority or of the Prosecutor's Office. In the event of doubt, the Board of the Bar Association is under the obligation to verify whether the fee for and costs of the aid are justified. In order to assess whether the fee and costs are justified, the Bar Association has a right to require explanations from the attorney, the recipient of the aid, the court, the investigative authority, the Prosecutor’s Office, and to acquaint itself with the materials of the case. The judicial disposition or the order of the investigative authority or of the Prosecutor’s Office does not discharge the attorney from liability for filing false or clearly unjustified particulars in the application for determining the amount of the fee and the costs of the aid.

[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

 (2) The attorney may not charge a fee for providing State-funded legal aid to the person to whom they provided legal services in the case.

Chapter 5 COMPENSATING THE FEE FOR AND COSTS OF STATE-FUNDED LEGAL AID 

§ 25.  Compensating the fee for and costs of State-funded legal aid

 (1) When provision of legal services to the recipient of State-funded legal aid has ended, the court, in accordance with the rules provided by § 23 of this Act, determines the obligation of the recipient to fully or partially compensate to the State the fee and costs that were paid to the attorney, to the extent that these were justified and necessary.

[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

 (2) When deciding on the granting of State-funded legal aid, the court specifically fixes the scope of the recipient’s compensation obligation and lays down detailed rules for paying the compensation, taking into account the scope of the compensation obligation determined in accordance with § 16 of this Act, the rules for compensation and the advance payment charged to the recipient.

 (3) In the event of significant changes in the financial situation or solvency of the recipient of State-funded legal aid, the court may – taking into account the circumstances mentioned in subsections 1–3 of § 14 or in subsection 5 of § 13 of this Act – on an application of the recipient or of the Ministry of Finance or of an authority of the executive branch that falls in the Ministry’s area of government, change the scope of the recipient’s compensation obligation or the rules for payment that were laid down before the provision of legal services.

 (4) A person who has received State-funded legal aid in criminal or misdemeanour proceedings compensates the fee for and costs of such aid in accordance with the rules provided by the Code of Criminal Procedure.

§ 26.  Collection of the fee for and costs of State-funded legal aid

 (1) A judgment or order directing a person to pay the fee for and costs of State-funded legal aid is sent by the court to the authority designated by an administrative decree of the Minister in charge of the policy sector.

[RT I, 28.12.2011, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2012]

 (2) A person who has received State-funded legal aid and is required under this Act to compensate for the fee for and costs of such aid, or a person who has been directed by the court to pay legal aid costs because the party in whose favour judgment was given had received such aid must comply with the disposition by the due date stated in it. Where the disposition does not state the due date for compliance, it must be complied with within 15 days following its entry into effect.

 (3) The authority designated by an administrative decree of the Minister in charge of the policy sector may refer a disposition mentioned in subsection 1 of this section for enforcement if the obligated party has not complied with the disposition by the due date stated in it or, where no due date has been specified, within 15 days following its entry into effect.

[RT I, 28.12.2011, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2012]

§ 27.  Exemption from the obligation to compensate the fee for and costs of State-funded legal aid

 (1) A recipient of State-funded legal aid is not required to compensate the fee for or costs of such aid and any advance payment made towards fulfilment of the compensation obligation is refunded to the recipient as follows where:
 1) when the civil case is disposed of, the opposing party is ordered to pay case costs in full or in part – insofar as those costs are to be borne by that party;
 11) a representative was appointed to the person in action-by-petition proceedings in a civil case without the person’s having made the corresponding motion;

[RT I, 28.12.2016, 14 – entry into force 07.01.2017]
 2) the administrative court grants the person’s complaint in full or in part – to the extent the complaint was granted;
 3) the administrative court terminates proceedings in connection with a compromise having been approved in the case;

[RT I, 23.02.2011, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2012]
 4) the administrative authority grants the person’s challenge in full or in part – to the extent the challenge was granted.

 (2) A person who has received State-funded legal aid in criminal or misdemeanour proceedings is exempted from the obligation to compensate the fee for and costs of such aid on the grounds and in accordance with the rules provided by Chapter 7 of the Code of Criminal Procedure or § 23 and subsection 1 of § 38 of the Code of Misdemeanour Procedure.

 (3) A recipient of State-funded legal aid is not exempted from the obligation to compensate the fee for and costs of such aid in situations provided for by subsection 1 of this section insofar as the fee paid and the necessary costs compensated to the attorney were caused by the failure of the recipient to appear, without a lawful impediment, when summoned by the court or administrative authority or by the intentional or negligent failure of the recipient to comply with a direction of the court or administrative authority – where appearing or compliance with the direction was mandatory under the law.

§ 28.  Compensation obligation on improvement of financial situation

 (1) Where a recipient of State-funded legal aid was fully or partially exempt from compensating the fee for and costs of such aid – with the exception of exemptions on grounds provided by subsection 1 or 2 of § 27 of this Act – and the recipient’s financial situation or solvency improves significantly within five years following termination of the provision of such aid, the court that decided the granting of the aid requires the recipient, on an application of the Ministry of Finance or an authority within the area of government of the Ministry of Finance designated by the Minister in charge of the policy sector, to compensate that fee and those costs as a lump sum or in instalments.

 (2) Compensation of the fee for and costs of State-funded legal aid is not required where the estimated costs of collection exceed or are equal to the amount to be collected or where more than three years have passed since the claim for compensation of that fee and those costs fell due.

 (3) The Ministry of Finance or an authority within the area of government of the Ministry of Finance designated by the Minister in charge of the policy sector has a right to require supplementary evidence or information from the person who received State-funded legal aid, and from credit institutions, concerning the improvement of the person’s financial situation or solvency within five years following termination of the provision of such aid. Any inquiry must be replied to within a reasonable time limit determined by the Ministry of Finance or an authority designated by the Minister in charge of the policy sector within the area of government of the Ministry of Finance.

§ 29.  Compensation obligation following the filing of false information

 (1) On an application of the Ministry of Finance or an authority designated by the Minister in charge of the policy sector within the area of government of the Ministry of Finance, the court that decided the granting of State-funded legal aid orders a person who has knowingly filed false information when applying for such aid or who, had they filed truthful information, would not have been fully or partially exempted from the obligation to compensate for the fee for and costs of such aid, to pay that fee and those costs in full.

 (2) In addition to the fee for and costs of State-funded legal aid, the court orders the person who filed false information to pay interest at the rate of six per cent per year on the outstanding amount of that fee and those costs, calculated from the time that the fee was paid and the costs were compensated to provider of the aid.

Chapter 6 FINANCING OF AND ADMINISTRATIVE OVERSIGHT OVER STATE-FUNDED LEGAL AID  

[RT I, 13.03.2014, 4 - entry into force 01.07.2014]

§ 30.  Principles of financing State-funded legal aid

 (1) Provision of State-funded legal aid is financed from funds allocated for it from the State budget.

 (2) The State ensures that sufficient funds are allocated for provision of State-funded legal aid.

 (3) The Bar Association ensures that funds earmarked for provision of State-funded legal aid are kept separately from the other assets of the Bar Association.

§ 31.  Supporting accessibility of legal advice

  [RT I, 28.12.2016, 14 – entry into force 07.01.2017]

 (1) In order to improve access to legal advice in general, the state supports, within the limits of the funds allocated in the State budget, the winner of the competition mentioned in subsection 2 of this section in order to ensure the provision of the persons in need of aid with high-quality legal aid.

 (2) The Ministry of Justice organises a public competition for distributing the aid. A contract is awarded to the winner of the competition for up to five years. There can be one winner or multiple winners.

 (3) The Minister in charge of the policy sector enacts, by a regulation:
 1) the group to which legal advice is targeted and the areas of law;
 2) the conditions of and rules for the competition for distribution of support for legal advice;
 3) requirements for applications and applicants;
 4) requirements for legal aid to be supported and for arrangements for the granting of such aid;
 5) the portion self-funded by a person who needs legal aid supported from the State budget;
 6) requirements for reports to be filed by recipient of the support.

 (4) The Ministry of Justice exercises oversight over compliance with the requirements established under subsection 3 of this section and over performance of the contract concluded with the recipient of support. Where the recipient fails to perform their duties, the Ministry of Justice may issue an enforcement notice to the recipient and impose a non-compliance levy of up to 10,000 euros in accordance with the rules provided by the Substitutional Performance and Non-Compliance Levies Act for the purpose of ensuring that the notice is complied with. The Ministry of Justice may reclaim, into the State budget, any support that has been used for a purpose that was not intended.

[RT I, 28.12.2016, 14 – entry into force 07.01.2017]

§ 32.  Reporting and administrative oversight of the actions of the Bar Association

  [RT I, 13.03.2014, 4 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

 (1) Not later than by April 1 the Bar Association files with the Ministry of Justice an annual overview of the provision of State-funded legal aid in the previous year and of the payment of the fees and costs of such aid to attorneys.

 (2) Specific conditions for the use of funds allocated for the provision of State-funded legal aid may be enacted by a regulation of the Minister in charge of the policy sector.

 (3) Not later than by April 1 the Ministry of Finance or an authority designated by the Minister in charge of the policy sector within the area of government of the Ministry of Finance files with the Ministry of Justice an annual overview of the collection of fees and costs of State-funded legal aid from persons subject to the compensation obligation. The rules for the filing of the overview are enacted by a regulation of the Minister in charge of the policy sector.

 (4) When exercising administrative oversight of the proper performance of functions arising from this Act by the Bar Association, the Ministry of Justice has a right to:
 1) receive documents from the Bar Association concerning the use of funds allocated for provision of State-funded legal aid and concerning the payment of fees for and costs of State-funded legal aid;
 2) carry out an inspection of the economic activities of the Bar Association in order to verify the use of the funds allocated for provision of State-funded legal aid has been expedient and whether the purpose of the funds has been respected;

[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2010]
 3) receive from the Bar Association any other information that is needed for exercising oversight over the lawfulness and efficiency of the use of funds allocated for provision of State-funded legal aid.

Chapter 7 INTERNATIONAL LEGAL AID  

§ 33.  Granting State-funded legal aid in connection with proceedings regarding a civil case before a court of a Member State of the European Union or any other dispute resolution body

 (1) An Estonian citizen or a person residing in Estonia on the basis of a residence permit who meets the requirements of subsection 1 of § 6 of this Act may receive the State-funded legal aid provided for by clauses 4 and 7–9 of subsection 3 of § 4 in connection with proceedings regarding their civil case before a court of a Member State of the European Union or any other dispute resolution body until the making of an application for legal aid to a competent body of the corresponding Member State of the European Union.

 (2) Where State-funded legal aid is granted in a dispute mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, this Act applies without prejudice to special rules provided by this Chapter.

 (3) An application for State-funded legal aid under subsection 1 of this section is filed with Harju District Court.

 (4) The application and any documents annexed to it may be filed in Estonian or in English.

[RT I 2009, 1, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

§ 34.  Translation assistance in connection with civil proceedings before a court of a member state of the European Union or any other dispute resolution body

 (1) In addition to the State-funded legal aid provided for by § 33 of this Act, an Estonian citizen or a person residing in Estonia on the basis of a residence permit who meets the requirements of subsection 1 of § 6 of this Act may receive translation assistance for applying for legal aid in a dispute mentioned in subsection 1 of § 33 of this Act in a Member State of the European Union whose court or other dispute resolution body is competent to dispose of their civil case.

 (2) The translation assistance mentioned in subsection 1 of this section means the translation of an application for legal aid – as well as the necessary documents justifying the application and annexed to it – to be filed with a body dealing with such applications in a Member State of the European Union into a foreign language in which the relevant bodies of the Member State dispose of such applications.

§ 35.  Forwarding of applications for legal aid

  [RT I, 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

 (1) To be granted State-funded legal aid in connection with civil proceedings before a court or any other dispute resolution body of a Member State of the European Union, an application may be filed with the competent body of the European Union or via Harju District Court. The provisions of § 193 of the Code of Civil Procedure apply to the forwarding of applications for State-funded legal aid via Harju District Court.

 (2) [Repealed – RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

 (3) [Repealed – RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

 (4) [Repealed – RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

 (5) [Repealed – RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

 (6) [Repealed – RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

§ 36.  State-funded legal aid in enforcement proceedings regarding official document of foreign state

 (1) A person mentioned in subsection 1 of § 6 of this Act may receive State-funded legal aid mentioned in clause 7 of subsection 3 of § 4 of this Act in accordance with the rules provided by this Act in connection with enforcement in Estonia of an official document of a foreign state, which is recognised in Estonia.

 (2) An application for the grant of State-funded legal aid under subsection 1 of this section is filed in accordance with subsection 3 of § 10 of this Act.

 (3) An application and the documents annexed thereto may be filed in Estonian or English.

§ 37.  Granting State-funded legal aid for recourse to the European Court of Human Rights

 (1) An Estonian citizen or a person residing in Estonia on the basis of a residence permit who meets the requirements of subsection 1 of § 6 of this Act may, in accordance with the rules provided by this Act, be granted State-funded legal aid for lodging an application with the European Court of Human Rights until they become eligible to apply for legal aid from the European Court of Human Rights, provided the alleged violation of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms or of its Additional Protocols which are binding on Estonia that serves as the reason for the application has been committed by the Estonian State.

 (2) An application for the grant of State-funded legal aid under subsection 1 of this section is filed in accordance with subsection 3 § 10 of this Act.

 (3) The district court refuses to grant State-funded legal aid under subsection 1 of this section if the court finds that the application would not be admissible under Article 35 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
[RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

§ 371.  Granting State-funded legal aid based on Council Regulation (EC) No 4/2009 on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and cooperation in matters relating to maintenance obligations

 (1) On granting State-funded legal aid in proceedings carried out on the basis of Council Regulation (EC) No 4/2009 on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and cooperation in matters relating to maintenance obligations the provisions of this Act regulating the granting of such aid apply only insofar as the Regulation does not provide otherwise.

 (2) The functions of the central authority designated by the Regulation mentioned in subsection 1 of this section are performed by the Ministry of Justice.

 (3) Where the Regulation mentioned in subsection 1 of this section requires the granting of translation assistance to an entitled person, the court appoints, above all, a sworn translator to provide the assistance. The provisions of this Act applicable to attorneys apply to translators, taking into account the specifics of translation assistance.

[RT I, 14.03.2011, 2 – entry into force 18.06.2011]

§ 372.  Granting of State-funded legal aid based on the Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance

 (1) Where State-funded legal aid is granted in proceedings conducted under the Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance (OJ L 192, 22.07.2011, pp 51–70), the provisions of this Act regarding the granting of such aid apply only insofar as the Convention does not provide otherwise.

 (2) The functions of the central authority designated by the Regulation mentioned in subsection 1 of this section are performed by the Ministry of Justice.

[RT I, 31.12.2014, 1 – entry into force 10.01.2015]

Chapter 8 IMPLEMENTATION OF THIS ACT  

§ 38.  Application of this Act to undertakings that provide legal services

 (1) A person who meets the requirements of subsection 1 of § 23 of the Bar Association Act, regarding whom the circumstances mentioned in clauses 1–3 and 5–7 of subsection 1 of § 27 of the Bar Association Act are absent and who, after completion of a nationally recognised curriculum of academic legal studies and immediately prior to joining the Bar Association, has provided, for at least three consecutive years, legal services as a self-employed person registered in the Commercial Register or through a company which provides legal services and in which the person is a shareholder, is admitted to the Bar Association as a senior assistant attorney-at-law once they have passed the corresponding examination. An application for admission to the Bar Association under this section is filed with the Board of the Bar Association not later than by 1 September 2005.

 (2) A person admitted to the Bar Association under this section is entitled to provide legal services and own a law office on the same grounds as an attorney-at-law.

 (3) A person mentioned in subsection 1 of this section who has passed the examination of senior assistant attorney-at-law loses the right to provide legal services and own a law office if the person does not pass the examination of attorney-at-law within two years following their joining of the Bar Association. The examination of attorney-at-law cannot be taken before one year has passed after the person’s having been admitted to the Bar Association as a senior assistant attorney-at-law.

 (4) Not later than within two months after becoming a member of the Bar Association, the person who became a member of the Bar Association in accordance with subsection 1 of this section files an application with the Registrar of the Commercial Register for transforming the company through which the person provides legal services into an attorney-owned company. The company to be transformed is subject to the provisions of subsection 1 of § 54 of the Bar Association Act as of 1 January 2007. A senior assistant attorney-at-law who has become a member of the Bar Association in accordance with subsection 1 of this section is deemed to be equal to attorney-at-law within the meaning of § 54 of the Bar Association Act.

 (5) A person who applies for admission to the Bar Association in accordance with subsection 1 of this section must, within six months after becoming a member of the Bar Association, bring their activities into compliance with § 821 of the Bar Association Act.

 (6) The provisions of § 48 of the Bar Association Act concerning the professional liability insurance of attorneys apply to a person who owns a law office and has become a member of the Bar Association in accordance with this section after 1 January 2006.

 (7) Statutory fees are not charged for entry of amendments made under this section in the Commercial Register.

§ 381.  Special rule concerning application of the rules on fees and costs

  Where the amount of the fee for State-funded legal aid or the extent of compensation for the costs incurred in relation to providing such aid has not been established with respect to the aid provided before 1 August 2016, the determination of that fee and those costs is subject to the rules on fees and costs that were established under the version of subsection 3 of § 21 of this Act that entered into force on 1 August 2016.

[RT I, 22.06.2016, 21 – entry into force 01.08.2016]

§ 382.  Application of this Act to contracts supporting access to legal advice

  Subsection 4 of § 31 of this Act does not apply to contracts to support access to legal advice which have been awarded before the entry into force of that provision.

[RT I, 28.12.2016, 14 – entry into force 07.01.2017]

§ 383.  Renewal of contracts supporting access to legal advice

  The Minister in charge of the policy sector may renew a contract to support access to legal advice which is valid at the time of entry into force of this section until the awarding of a corresponding contract to the winner of a new competition.

[RT I, 28.12.2016, 14 – entry into force 07.01.2017]

§ 39. – § 48. [Omitted from this text.]

§ 49.  Entry into force of this Act

 (1) This Act enters into force on 1 March 2005.

 (2) Sections 33–35 of this Act enter into force on 30 November 2004 with the exception of the part that concerns applications for State-funded legal that are filed outside judicial proceedings. As of 30 May 2006, this Act applies to applications for State-funded legal aid that are filed outside judicial proceedings in international disputes.
[RT I, 04.01.2019, 12 – entry into force 14.01.2019]

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