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Code of Civil Procedure

Content

Code of Civil Procedure - content
Issuer:Riigikogu
Type:act
In force from:01.01.2024
In force until:31.05.2024
Translation published:22.12.2023

Code of Civil Procedure1

Passed 20.04.2005
RT I 2005, 26, 197
Entry into force 01.01.2006

Amended by the following legal instruments (show)

PassedPublishedEntry into force
15.06.2005RT I 2005, 39, 30801.01.2006
consolidated text on paper RTRT I 2005, 49, 395
15.12.2005RT I 2005, 71, 54901.01.2006
26.01.2006RT I 2006, 7, 4204.02.2006
14.06.2006RT I 2006, 31, 23501.09.2006
11.10.2006RT I 2006, 48, 36018.11.2006
15.11.2006RT I 2006, 55, 40501.01.2007
23.11.2006RT I 2006, 55, 41201.01.2007
06.12.2006RT I 2006, 61, 45701.01.2007
24.01.2007RT I 2007, 12, 6625.02.2007
25.01.2007RT I 2007, 16, 7701.01.2008
17.01.2008RT I 2008, 7, 5201.01.2009
09.04.2008RT III 2008, 16, 10509.04.2008
11.06.2008RT I 2008, 28, 18015.07.2008
19.06.2008RT I 2008, 29, 18901.07.2008
10.12.2008RT I 2008, 59, 33001.01.2009
20.05.2009RT I 2009, 30, 17701.07.2010
21.05.2009RT I 2009, 30, 17801.10.2009
18.11.2009RT I 2009, 59, 38501.01.2010
18.11.2009RT I 2009, 60, 39501.07.2010
15.12.2009RT III 2009, 60, 44015.12.2009
16.12.2009RT I 2009, 67, 46001.01.2010
09.12.2009RT I 2009, 68, 46310.01.2010
20.01.2010RT I 2010, 8, 3501.03.2010
22.04.2010RT I 2010, 19, 10101.06.2010
22.04.2010RT I 2010, 20, 10301.07.2010
22.04.2010RT I 2010, 22, 10801.01.2011, enters into force on the date that has been determined in the Decision of the Council of the European Union regarding the abrogation of the derogation established in respect of the Republic of Estonia on the basis provided for by paragraph 2 of Article 140 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, Council Decision 2010/416/EU of 13 July 2010 (OJ L 196, 28.07.2010, pp. 24–26).
12.05.2010RT I 2010, 26, 12814.06.2010
17.06.2010RT I 2010, 38, 23101.07.2010
17.11.2010RT I, 06.12.2010, 105.04.2011
25.11.2010RT I, 21.12.2010, 131.12.2010
16.12.2010RT I, 30.12.2010, 201.01.2011
27.01.2011RT I, 23.02.2011, 101.09.2011
17.02.2011RT I, 14.03.2011, 218.06.2011
12.04.2011RT I, 21.04.2011, 1612.04.2011 – judgment of the Supreme Court en banc declares the first sentence of subsection 1 of § 183 of the Code of Civil Procedure to be unconstitutional and invalid insofar as it excludes the provision, in a civil case to Estonian private legal persons who do not meet the criteria stated in this provision, of financial aid by which they would be, partially or fully, exempted from paying the statutory fee on filing an appeal in the case.
14.04.2011RT I, 21.04.2011, 1714.04.2011 – judgment of the the Supreme Court en banc declares clause 3 of subsection 2 of § 182 of the Code of Civil Procedure to be unconstitutional and invalid insofar as it excludes the provision, to natural persons, in proceedings that concern their economic or professional activity and are unrelated to their rights that fall beyond the scope of such activity, financial aid by which they would be, partially or fully, exempted from paying the statutory fee on filing an appeal in the case.
01.11.2011RT I, 10.11.2011, 501.11.2011 – judgment of the Constitutional Review Chamber of the Supreme Court declares clause 3 of subsection 2 of § 182 of the Code of Civil Procedure to be unconstitutional and invalid insofar as it excludes the provision, to natural persons, in proceedings that concern their economic or professional activity and are unrelated to their rights that fall beyond the scope of such activity, financial aid by which they would be, partially or fully, exempted from paying the statutory fee on applying to the court for relief.
07.12.2011RT I, 28.12.2011, 101.01.2012
06.06.2012RT I, 29.06.2012, 301.01.2013, in part 01.07.2012
14.06.2012RT I, 04.07.2012, 101.08.2012
14.11.2012RT I, 06.12.2012, 101.01.2013
05.12.2012RT I, 21.12.2012, 101.03.2013, in part 01.01.2013
13.03.2013RT I, 22.03.2013, 901.04.2013, in part 01.01.2014
20.03.2013RT I, 05.04.2013, 115.04.2013
26.09.2013RT I, 09.10.2013, 128.10.2013
11.12.2013RT I, 23.12.2013, 101.01.2014, in part 01.01.2020
21.01.2014RT I, 31.01.2014, 601.02.2014, in part 01.04.2014 and 01.07.2014
04.02.2014RT I, 06.02.2014, 1304.02.2014 - judgment of the Supreme Court en banc declares subsection 2 of § 125¹ of the Courts Act and subsection 8 of § 174 of the Code of Civil Procedure to be unconstitutional and invalid insofar as it allows the costs of a civil case to be determined by a law clerk.
19.02.2014RT I, 13.03.2014, 301.01.2018, in part 23.03.2014 and 01.01.2016
26.03.2014RT I, 11.04.2014, 101.10.2014
07.05.2014RT I, 21.05.2014, 101.01.2015, in part 31.05.2014
11.06.2014RT I, 21.06.2014, 801.01.2015, in part 01.07.2014
12.06.2014RT I, 21.06.2014, 1101.07.2014
26.06.2014RT I, 03.07.2014, 3926.06.2014 - order of the Supreme Court en banc declares: /1./ subsection 8 of § 174 of the Code of Civil Procedure, under which an assistant judge may determine case costs in civil proceedings, to be unconstitutional and invalid; /2./ the version of subsection 3 of § 175 of the Code of Civil Procedure in force from 1 January 2006 to 31 December 2008 to have been unconstitutional; /4./ subsection 4 of § 175 of the Code of Civil Procedure to be contrary to the Constitution and invalid.
19.06.2014RT I, 29.06.2014, 10901.07.2014, position titles of Ministers replaced under subsection 4 of § 107³ of the Government of the Republic Act
19.11.2014RT I, 06.12.2014, 101.01.2016
10.12.2014RT I, 30.12.2014, 101.01.2015
10.12.2014RT I, 31.12.2014, 110.01.2015
18.02.2015RT I, 12.03.2015, 501.07.2015
18.02.2015RT I, 19.03.2015, 129.03.2015
18.02.2015RT I, 19.03.2015, 329.03.2015
14.01.2016RT I, 22.01.2016, 701.02.2016
01.02.2016RT I, 02.02.2016, 701.02.2016 - judgment of the Supreme Court en banc declares subsection 3 of § 178 of the Code of Civil Procedure to be contrary to the Constitution and invalid
16.02.2016RT I, 10.03.2016, 101.07.2016
16.02.2016RT I, 10.03.2016, 220.03.2016
07.06.2016RT I, 22.06.2016, 2101.08.2016
07.12.2016RT I, 21.12.2016, 201.01.2017
07.12.2016RT I, 21.12.2016, 101.03.2018
15.12.2016RT I, 28.12.2016, 1407.01.2017
05.04.2017RT I, 20.04.2017, 115.01.2018
02.05.2017RT I, 03.05.2017, 2202.05.2017 - judgment of the Supreme Court en banc declares the third sentence of subsection 8 of § 172 of the Code of Civil Procedure to be contrary to the Constitution and invalid insofar as it does not allow the State to be ordered to bear out-of-court costs where the decision is made not to impose an entrepreneurial disqualification for the duration of proceedings on a person who has not received financial aid in the case.
10.05.2017RT I, 26.05.2017, 105.06.2017
07.06.2017RT I, 26.06.2017, 1706.07.2017, in part 01.01.2018
14.06.2017RT I, 04.07.2017, 101.01.2018
14.06.2017RT I, 04.07.2017, 401.06.2023 - enters into force simultaneously with entry into force of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court and the Agreement on the establishment of a Nordic-Baltic regional division of the Unified Patent Court with regard to Estonia (announcements of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – RT II, 04.03.2023, 3 and RT II, 04.03.2023, 4)
09.05.2018RT I, 31.05.2018, 210.06.2018, in part 01.01.2019
16.05.2018RT I, 31.05.2018, 301.01.2019
21.11.2018RT I, 07.12.2018, 217.12.2018
20.02.2019RT I, 13.03.2019, 215.03.2019
20.02.2019RT I, 19.03.2019, 229.03.2019
20.02.2019RT I, 19.03.2019, 429.03.2019, in part 01.04.2019
21.02.2019RT I, 19.03.2019, 801.04.2019; the words "arbitral agreement" are replaced throughout the law by the words "arbitration agreement" in the appropriate case form
10.06.2020RT I, 20.06.2020, 130.06.2020
16.12.2020RT I, 31.12.2020, 210.01.2021
16.12.2020RT I, 04.01.2021, 401.02.2021
17.02.2021RT I, 03.03.2021, 104.03.2021
10.03.2021RT I, 22.03.2021, 101.04.2021
24.03.2021RT I, 09.04.2021, 119.04.2021
22.11.2021RT I, 08.12.2021, 101.01.2022
22.11.2021RT I, 10.12.2021, 101.09.2022, in part 01.07.2023
08.12.2021RT I, 22.12.2021, 201.01.2022
13.04.2022RT I, 05.05.2022, 101.02.2023
18.05.2022RT I, 08.06.2022, 101.11.2022
01.06.2022RT I, 20.06.2022, 101.07.2022
26.10.2022RT I, 10.11.2022, 120.11.2022
07.12.2022RT I, 23.12.2022, 101.02.2023, in part 01.06.2024
18.01.2023RT I, 03.02.2023, 101.09.2023
25.01.2023RT I, 10.02.2023, 101.04.2023
25.01.2023RT I, 10.02.2023, 220.02.2023
08.02.2023RT I, 01.03.2023, 101.05.2023
22.02.2023RT I, 11.03.2023, 321.03.2023
20.06.2023RT I, 06.07.2023, 601.01.2024

Part 1 GENERAL PROVISIONS 

Chapter 1 GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF PROCEDURE 

§ 1.  Administration of justice in civil cases

  Unless otherwise provided by law, civil procedure is followed when considering a civil case. A civil case is a case that stems from a private-law relationship.

§ 2.  Purpose of civil procedure

  The purpose of civil procedure is to guarantee that the courts deal with civil cases justly, within a reasonable period of time and with lowest possible costs.

§ 3.  Right of recourse to the courts

 (1) The court accepts the civil case when a person has applied to the court for relief in accordance with the rules provided by law in relation the person's presumed right or interest that is protected by law.

 (2) In situations prescribed by law, the court also accepts the civil case when a person has applied to the court for relief in order to protect a right or interest that is presumed to be held by another person or the public and that is protected by law.

 (3) In situations prescribed by law, the person must have completed the relevant pre-action proceedings before approaching the court for assistance.

§ 4.  Free exercise of procedural rights

 (1) The court opens proceedings in a civil case only if the court claim, application or petition has been filed in accordance with the rules provided by law. In situations provided for by law, the court opens a civil case of its own motion.

 (2) In action-by-claim proceedings, the principal parties determine the subject matter of the dispute and the course of proceedings, and decide on the filing of motions, applications or appeals.

 (3) The principal parties may end action-by-claim proceedings by concluding a judicial compromise. The claimant may abandon the request for relief that they have filed and the defendant may accept the relief sought against them (admit the court claim).

 (4) During the course of proceedings, the court must strive to the best of its abilities to achieve the resolution of the entirety or a part of the case by compromise – or otherwise by agreement of the principal parties – provided this is reasonable in the court’s view. To achieve this aim, the court may, among other things, present a draft compromise agreement to the parties or summon the parties to appear before the court in person, or propose that the parties resolve their dispute out of court or approach a conciliator for assistance. Where, in the view of the court – considering the circumstances of the case and the course of the proceedings – this is necessary in the interests of resolution of the case, it may order the parties to undertake conciliation proceedings as provided for by the Conciliation Act.
[RT I 2009, 59, 385 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

§ 5.  Dealing with the case based on submissions of the parties

 (1) The court claim is dealt with on the facts produced and motions or applications made by the parties, based on the relief sought.

 (2) The principal parties have equal rights and opportunities to present reasons for the relief that they seek, and to refute or object to what has been brought before the court by the opposing party. A party determines, on its own, the facts that it offers in support of the relief that it seeks as well as the items of evidence it uses to prove those facts.

 (3) Unless otherwise prescribed by law, the court itself ascertains the facts and arranges the taking of the evidence that is needed in action-by-petition cases. In action-by-claim cases, the court ascertains facts and arranges the taking of evidence strictly in situations provided for by law.

§ 6.  Law applicable at the time of proceedings

  A procedural operation in a civil case is performed following the law in force at the time the operation is performed.

§ 7.  Administration of justice based on the principle of equality

  In the administration of justice in a civil case, the principal parties, as well any other parties, are equal before the law and the court.

§ 8.  Law applicable to proceedings

 (1) When conducting proceedings, the court follows Estonian laws of civil procedure.

 (2) In the absence of a statutory provision regulating the procedural relationship, the court applies the provision that regulates a relationship similar to the one under dispute.

 (3) Where there is no statutory provision to regulate a relationship similar to the relationship under dispute, the court follows the general concept of fairness. A person’s fundamental rights and freedoms may be circumscribed strictly where the law provides for this possibility.

Chapter 2 COURTS DEALING WITH CIVIL CASES 

§ 9.  Subject matter jurisdiction

 (1) Civil cases are dealt with by district courts, circuit courts of appeal and the Supreme Court.

 (2) Unless otherwise provided for by law, a civil case may, by agreement of the principal parties, be submitted for resolution to an arbitral tribunal.

 (3) Unless otherwise provided by law, a higher court may not consider the civil case before it has been considered by the court that, in the judicial hierarchy, is located directly below the higher court.

§ 10.  Limitation of subject matter jurisdiction: extra-territorial persons

  Subject matter jurisdiction of the courts of the Republic of Estonia does not extend to:
 1) members of foreign diplomatic representations established in the Republic of Estonia, their family members and private servants, to the extent prescribed by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (RT II 2006, 16);
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 2) members of consular posts, to the extent prescribed by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (RT II 2006, 16);
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 3) any persons not mentioned in clauses 1 or 2 of this section, where this is provided for by a treaty, a generally recognised principle of international law or a statute.

§ 11.  Subject matter jurisdiction: district courts

 (1) District courts deal with all civil cases as courts of first instance.

 (11) A district court does not deal with civil cases related to European patents and to European patents with unitary effect, with the exception of civil cases related to patents of either type that, in accordance with the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (OJ C 175, 20.6.2013, p. 1–40), fall outside the jurisdiction of the Unified Patent Court.
[RT I, 04.07.2017, 4 – entry into force 01.06.2023 – enters into force simultaneously with the entry into force of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court and the Agreement on the establishment of a Nordic-Baltic regional division of the Unified Patent Court with regard to Estonia (announcements of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – RT II, 04.03.2023, 3 and RT II, 04.03.2023, 4)]

 (2) Where this expedites the consideration of cases or otherwise renders such consideration more effective, the law may provide that certain types of case are to be dealt with strictly by certain district courts.

§ 12.  Subject matter jurisdiction: circuit courts of appeal

  A circuit court of appeal considers appeals filed against the dispositions rendered in civil cases by the district courts within its judicial circuit – based on appeals against those dispositions. The circuit court of appeal also deals with other cases placed within its jurisdiction by law.

§ 13.  Subject matter jurisdiction: the Supreme Court

  The Supreme Court considers the dispositions rendered in civil cases by the circuit courts of appeal – based on appeals against those dispositions. The Supreme Court also considers petitions for the review of judicial dispositions that have entered into effect and, in situations provided for by law, designates the court that has subject matter jurisdiction to dispose of the case, and deals with other cases placed within its jurisdiction by law.

§ 14.  Validity of procedural operations

 (1) The court may perform procedural operations and, among other things, hold the trial or hearing, outside of its judicial district.

 (2) The validity of a procedural operation is not affected by the fact that, based on the court’s internal division of tasks, the operation should have been performed by another judge or judicial panel.

 (3) In situations provided for by law, a procedural operation to be performed by a collegial judicial panel may also be performed by a single judge acting on a delegation from the panel. The judge to act on the delegation is a member of the panel who possesses the authority to perform the operation. The panel may vary the order made by the judge acting on the delegation.

§ 15.  Judicial assistance between courts in performing a procedural operation

 (1) When dealing with civil cases, courts provide assistance to one another to perform procedural operations. A court requests assistance from another court first and foremost where performance of the operation in the other court would facilitate proceedings, save time for the parties to proceedings and for the court, or reduce case costs.

 (2) The court that requests judicial assistance addresses its request to the court within whose judicial district the procedural operation is to be performed.

 (3) The court that received the request for assistance (the court acting under the domestic letter of request) may not refuse its assistance unless it would be illegal to perform the operation. Where the request has been addressed to a court that does not have jurisdiction in the matter, that court transmits it to the appropriate court.

 (4) The court that presented the domestic letter of request does not cover the costs of the procedural operation. The court that performed the operation presents information concerning the costs to the court that presented the request, and such costs are deemed to be costs of the case that is being dealt with.

 (5) Unless otherwise provided by law or treaty, an Estonian court provides judicial assistance for performing a procedural operation at the request of a foreign court if, under Estonian law, the requested operation is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Estonian court and is not prohibited by law. A procedural operation may also be performed or a document issued according to foreign law, provided this is needed for proceedings in the foreign State and does not harm the interests of the parties to proceedings.

 (6) The provisions of this Code apply to the provision of assistance for the taking of evidence in Estonia under request from a court of a Member State of the European Union and to the provision of such assistance in a Member State of the European Union under request from an Estonian court insofar as this has not been otherwise provided for by Regulation (EU) 2020/1783 of the European Parliament and of the Council on cooperation between the courts of the Member States in the taking of evidence in civil and commercial matters (taking of evidence) (recast) (OJ L 405, 02.12.2020, pp. 1–39).
[RT I, 10.02.2023, 2 – entry into force 20.02.2023]

 (7) The rights afforded to and duties imposed on the Member States by the Regulations adopted under point (c) of Article 61 of the Treaty Establishing the European Community for the purpose of regulating cross-border judicial cooperation in civil cases are, respectively, exercised and performed by the Ministry of Justice.

Chapter 3 JUDICIAL PANEL 

§ 16.  Judicial panel dealing with the civil case in the district court

 (1) In the district court, civil cases are dealt with by a judge sitting alone.

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

§ 17.  Judicial panel dealing with the civil case in the circuit court of appeal

 (1) Unless otherwise prescribed by law, civil cases are dealt with in the circuit court of appeal by a panel of three judges on a collegial basis.

 (2) Where a case is to be considered under the procedure for appeals, the Chief Judge of the circuit court of appeal has a right to include, in the judicial panel of the circuit court of appeal to deal with the case, a district judge of the same judicial circuit provided the judge consents. The included judge may not act as the presiding or reporting judge in the case.

§ 18.  Judicial panel dealing with the civil case in the Supreme Court

 (1) Unless otherwise prescribed by law, civil cases are dealt with in the Supreme Court by a panel of at least three judges on a collegial basis.

 (2) Where fundamentally differing opinions concerning the interpretation and application of the law arise in the judicial panel of the Supreme Court dealing with the civil case, the case is referred to the full panel of the Court’s Civil Chamber. The panel may also refer the case to the full panel of the Civil Chamber if, in the panel’s view, this is needed in order to harmonise and develop the Chamber’s case-law or if the majority of the panel wishes to change the prevailing opinion of the Chamber concerning application of the law.
[RT I, 19.03.2015, 1 – entry into force 29.03.2015]

 (3) A hearing of the full panel of the Supreme Court’s Civil Chamber is convened and presided over by the Chief Judge of the Chamber or, in their absence, by the longest-serving member of the Chamber or, in the case of equal length of service, by the most senior member.

 (4) A hearing of the full panel of the Supreme Court’s Civil Chamber is competent to act if more than two thirds of the members of the Chamber are in attendance.

§ 19.  Special Panel of the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court en banc

 (1) Where a judicial panel of the Supreme Court that deals with the civil case deems it necessary to derogate, in the interpretation of law, from the latest opinion of another Chamber or of the Special Panel or where this is needed to ensure uniform application of the law, the case is referred to the Special Panel by an order.
[RT I, 19.03.2015, 1 – entry into force 29.03.2015]

 (2) The Special Panel of the Supreme Court is convened by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

 (3) The Special Panel of the Supreme Court includes:
 1) the Chief Justice of the Court as the presiding judge;
 2) two justices from the Court’s Civil Chamber;
 3) two justices from the Chamber whose opinion concerning the application of the law is contested by the Civil Chamber.

 (4) The civil case is referred to the Supreme Court en banc where:
 1) the Civil Chamber – by a majority of its full panel – adopts an opinion that differs from the legal principle or opinion concerning the application of the law that has so far been followed by the Supreme Court en banc;
 2) the Civil Chamber – by a majority of its full panel – takes the view that, for the uniform application of the law, it is essential that the case be disposed of by the Supreme Court en banc;
 3) disposing of the case presupposes disposing of a matter to be considered under the Constitutional Review Procedure Act.

 (5) A case referred to the Special Panel of the Supreme Court or the Supreme Court en banc is reported to the relevant formation of the Court by a member of the Civil Chamber at the direction of the Chief Justice of the Chamber.
[RT I, 19.03.2015, 1 – entry into force 29.03.2015]

 (6) When applying the law, it is mandatory for the Chambers of the Supreme Court that participated in the Special Panel to follow the decision of the Panel until a different decision is made by the Special Panel or the Supreme Court en banc. When applying the law, it is mandatory for the Chambers and special panel formations of the Court to follow the opinion of the Supreme Court en banc, unless a different opinion has been adopted by the latter.

§ 20.  Members of the judicial panel to dispose of the case

 (1) Where the composition of the judicial panel changes during the proceedings, the case is heard anew from the beginning. Where the previous panel has taken and examined evidence, the new panel is not required to repeat this, unless the principal parties make the corresponding motion.

 (2) Where proceedings are presumed to continue over a lengthy period of time, the Chief Judge of the court considering the case may enlist a judge of that court to participate in those proceedings as a stand-by judge. The stand-by judge is present when the case is considered and replaces the judge dealing with the case if the latter is prevented from performing their duties.

 (3) Motions filed with the court after a disposition has been rendered in the case, primarily motions to rectify errors in the disposition, motions to enter a supplemental disposition, to limit the extent to which the disposition is made public, to enforce the disposition without delay, to dismiss an application or to terminate proceedings in the case are not required to be disposed of by the judge who rendered the disposition.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 21.  Confidentiality of deliberations

 (1) In addition to the judges deciding the case, the court may permit a person who attends at the court as part of their legal education or a person employed by the court as an adviser – as well as a judicial candidate who is with the court as part of their continued education and whose impartiality the court has no reason to doubt – to be present at the court’s deliberations and votes.

 (2) No judge or other person mentioned in subsection 1 of this section may disclose anything of the discussions held during the deliberations. The duty to maintain the confidentiality of deliberations applies indefinitely.
[RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

§ 22.  Voting in collegial judicial panels and judges’ dissenting opinions

 (1) A collegial judicial panel resolves any differences of opinion concerning the civil case by voting.

 (2) A member of the judicial panel does not have right to refuse to vote or to abstain. Where a series of issues is voted on, the member whose vote on a previous issue represented the minority position may not refuse to vote.

 (3) Where the vote is a tie, the way the presiding judge voted decides the matter.

 (4) A judge whose vote represents the minority position may file a dissenting opinion. A dissenting opinion that is included with the judicial disposition is made public together with the disposition.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 221.  Powers of assistant judges and other court officials when dealing with civil cases

 (1) In situations provided for by law, a civil case may, instead of a judge, also be dealt with by an assistant judge.

 (2) The provisions of subsections 2–4 of § 595 of this Code apply to the powers of assistant judges and to their recusal.

 (21) The recusal of law clerks is governed by provisions of this Code concerning the recusal of judges.
[RT I, 21.06.2014, 8 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

 (3) An assistant judge or other court official vested with the relevant power by the rules of the court may also make an order preparing the case for disposition – or any other case management order that cannot be appealed – including an order by which consideration of the court claim, motion, application, representation or appeal is provisionally refused and an order by which a time limit is set or extended.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

Chapter 4 CIRCUMSTANCES PRECLUDING PARTICIPATION IN PROCEEDINGS 

§ 23.  Judge’s duty to self-recuse

  A judge may not conduct proceedings in the civil case and must self-recuse in the following situations:
 1) the case is one in which they are a party to proceedings or a person against whom a claim may be filed as a result of the proceedings;
 2) the case concerns their spouse, registered partner or cohabitee, or a sister, brother or direct blood relative of the spouse, registered partner or cohabitee – even where the marriage, registered partnership or permanent cohabition has ended;
[RT I, 06.07.2024, 6 – entry into force 01.01.2024]
 3) the case concerns a person who is the judge’s direct blood relative or other close person as defined in subsection 1 of § 257 of this Code;
 4) the case is one in which they are or have been a representative or adviser of a party to proceedings or in which they participated or had a right to participate as a statutory representative of a party to the proceedings;
 5) the case is one in which they have been examined as a witness or have provided an opinion as the expert;
 6) they have participated in rendering a disposition in the case – in the pre-action procedure, in the preceding judicial instance or in arbitration proceedings;
 7) in the presence of any other circumstances that cast a doubt on their impartiality.
[RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

§ 24.  Recusal of the judge on a corresponding motion by a party to proceedings

 (1) In a situation provided for by § 23 of this Code, a party to proceedings may make a motion to recuse the judge.

 (2) A motion to recuse the judge is filed with the court to which the judge whose recusal is sought belongs.

 (3) The motion must substantiate the grounds for recusal.

§ 25.  Loss of right to recuse the judge

 (1) In a situation provided for by clause 7 of § 23 of this Code, a party to proceedings may not make a motion to recuse the judge if they have taken part in the trial or hearing in the case or, after having learned the name of the judge, have filed a substantive motion or application with the court without filing a motion for recusal.

 (2) In a situation mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, a party to proceedings may make a motion to recuse the judge also at a later stage in the proceedings, provided that the ground for recusal arose after performance of the procedural operation or provided that the party learned of the ground after the procedural operation had been performed. The motion must substantiate the relevant circumstances.

 (3) A motion to recuse the judge is dismissed if it is filed in the same circumstances as a previous motion that has already been disposed of.

§ 26.  Disposing of a motion to recuse the judge

 (1) Where the judge or judicial panel against whom a motion to recuse them has been made considers the motion to be justified, they enter an order by which they recuse themselves.

 (2) Where the judge does not self-recuse or does not express an opinion concerning the motion to recuse them, the motion is disposed of by an order of the judicial panel on which the judge sits. The judge to be recused does not participate in deciding the issue. If the vote is a tie, the judge is deemed to have been recused.

 (3) Where a motion is made to recuse the entire judicial panel dealing with the case or the judge sitting alone and the panel or judge does not to recuse themselves, the matter of recusal is disposed of by the Chief Judge of the court. Where the motion is made to recuse all judges of the court, the case is disposed of by the Chief Judge of the court of the following judicial instance.

 (4) Where a motion is made to recuse the judicial panel of the formation of the Supreme Court dealing with the case, the motion is disposed of by that panel.

 (5) If the judge does not self-recuse following a motion for their recusal, they must without delay notify their opinion concerning the ground for recusal to the court or judge that has the authority to decide on the recusal.

§ 27.  Recusal without a corresponding motion

 (1) Where the judge finds that a circumstance mentioned in clauses 1–6 of § 23 of this Code is present that constitutes grounds for their recusal, the judge makes an order by which they recuse themselves.

 (2) Where the judge finds that a circumstance mentioned in clause 7 of § 23 of this Code is present that constitutes grounds for their recusal, the judge, following the rules provided by subsections 2–5 of § 26 of this Code, applies to the judicial panel or Chief Judge of the court to be recused.

 (3) Unjustified refusal to administer justice is not permitted.

§ 28.  Operations of the judge whose recusal is sought

 (1) After the motion to recuse the judge has been filed and before it is disposed of, the judge may only perform procedural operations that cannot be postponed and that do not have a determining impact on the disposition to be rendered in the case.

 (2) Where it is manifest that the motion to recuse the judge is unjustified, the judge may continue the proceedings regardless of the fact that a motion has been filed to recuse them, but may not, before the motion has been disposed of, enter a disposition that terminates proceedings in that judicial instance. Where the motion is granted, any procedural operations performed during continuation of the proceedings are rendered void.

§ 29.  Replacing the judge

 (1) The judge who has been recused is replaced at the earliest opportunity.

 (2) Where the judge or the entire judicial panel is recused, the case is considered by another judge or panel of the same court. Where the judge cannot be replaced in the court that deals with the case, the case is referred to another court of the same judicial instance through the court that is directly above them in the judicial hierarchy.

§ 30.  Relying on grounds for recusal in an appeal

  An appeal filed with the higher court may seek the setting aside of the disposition rendered in the case – on the ground that the judge should have been recused – only if the motion to recuse them was made to the lower court at the proper time or if the ground for recusal became known after the case had been disposed of by that court.

§ 31.  Recusal of the expert, interpreter or translator

 (1) The expert, interpreter or translator must self-recuse – and a party to proceedings may recuse any expert, interpreter or translator whose assistance has been enlisted in the proceedings – where any grounds mentioned in § 23 of this Code are present. Previous participation in the case as an expert or a witness does not constitute a ground for recusal.

 (2) A motion to recuse the expert, interpreter or translator is made to the court that appointed the expert or enlisted the assistance of the interpreter or translator before the expert is questioned or the procedural operation that requires the presence of the interpreter or translator begins.

 (3) A motion to recuse the expert, interpreter or translator that is made after the questioning of the expert has commenced or the procedural operation that requires the presence of the interpreter or translator has begun, or that is made more than 15 days after having learned the name of the expert, interpreter or translator is considered only if the party making the motion substantiates to the court that they were prevented by a valid reason from informing the court at an earlier time of the existence of the ground for recusal.

 (4) The motion must substantiate the grounds for recusal.

 (5) The court considering the case disposes of the motion to recuse an expert, interpreter or translator by an order. Where the motion is made at the trial or hearing, the court hears the views of the person whose recusal is sought and of the parties to proceedings.

 (6) An appeal filed with a higher court may seek the setting aside of a disposition – on the ground that the expert, interpreter or translator should have been recused – only if the motion to recuse them was made to the lower court at the proper time or if the ground for recusal became known after the case had been disposed of by that court.

Chapter 5 WORKING LANGUAGE OF THE COURT 

§ 32.  Working language of the court

 (1) Judicial proceedings and clerical business at the court are conducted in the Estonian language.

 (2) The record of proceedings at the trial or hearing and at any other procedural operation is kept in the Estonian language. The court may, where this is needed for accurate rendition of the testimony or statement given at the trial or hearing in a foreign language, in addition to their translation into the Estonian language, also incorporate them in the record in the language in which they were given.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) Under paragraph 2 of Article 57 of Regulation (EU) 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, p. 1–32), the Republic of Estonia accepts translations of forms into the English language.
[RT I, 31.12.2014, 1 – entry into force 10.01.2015]

§ 33.  Foreign-language documents in judicial proceedings

 (1) Where the court claim, petition, motion, application, appeal or objection that a party to proceedings has filed with the court is not in the Estonian language, the court requires the person who filed the document to provide its Estonian translation by the due date set by the court. Where an item of documentary evidence that has been produced to the court by a party to proceedings is not in the Estonian language, the court requires the person who produced the item to provide its Estonian translation by the due date set by the court unless translation of the item is unreasonable considering its substance or volume and the other parties to proceedings do not object to accepting the evidence in a language other than Estonian.

 (2) The court may require a translation made by a sworn translator to be provided or caution the translator regarding the liability that attaches to a knowingly false translation.
[RT I, 23.12.2013, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2020]

 (3) If the translation is not filed by the due date, the court may disregard the court claim, petition, motion, application, appeal, objection or item of documentary evidence.

 (4) The court arranges translation of a judicial disposition into a foreign language for a party to proceedings strictly where the party so requests and provided the party does not have a representative in the proceedings and has been granted financial aid for bearing translation costs. To a person mentioned in subsection 4 of § 34 of this Code, the court arranges translation of the judicial disposition on the Republic of Estonia’s account regardless of whether the person has a representative or has been granted financial aid.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (5) The translation, into the English or French language, of a request lodged under § 6811 of this Code with the European Court of Human Rights and the translation of the Court’s disposition concerning the request into Estonian is arranged by the Supreme Court on the State’s account.
[RT I, 26.06.2017, 17 – entry into force 06.07.2017, subsection 5 is applied from the day of entry into force, in respect of Estonia, of Protocol 16 to the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.]

§ 34.  Participation of interpreter or translator in proceedings

 (1) Where a party to proceedings is not proficient in the Estonian language and does not have a representative in the proceedings, the court, where this is possible, enlists the assistance of an interpreter or translator in the proceedings on a motion of the party or of its own motion. The enlisting of such assistance is not required if the party’s representations are understandable for the court and for the other parties to proceedings.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) Where it is not possible for the court to enlist the assistance of an interpreter or translator without delay, the court makes an order by which it directs the party to proceedings who needs the interpreter or translator to secure, within the period determined by the court, the assistance of an interpreter or translator – or of a representative who has sufficient knowledge of Estonian. Failure to comply with the requirement does not preclude the court from disposing of the case. Where the person who does not comply is the claimant, the court may dismiss the court claim.

 (3) Before the interpreter or translator proceeds to interpret or translate in the proceedings, they are cautioned regarding the liability that attaches to false interpretation or translation, and the interpreter or translator signs the relevant acknowledgment.
[RT I, 23.12.2013, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2014]

 (4) The assistance of an interpreter or translator must be ensured in proceedings for placing a person in a secure institution and in proceedings for establishing a legal guardianship for a person.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (5) No interpreter or translator is enlisted in the proceedings for a party’s contractual representative or adviser.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 35.  Enlisting the assistance of an interpreter or translator for a deaf, mute or deaf-mute party to proceedings

  Where a party to proceedings is a deaf, mute or deaf-mute person, the course of the proceedings is relayed to them in writing, or the assistance of an interpreter or translator is enlisted in the proceedings.

§ 36.  Oath and signed acknowledgement of a person not proficient in the Estonian language

 (1) A person who is not proficient in the Estonian language pronounces the oath or provides signed acknowledgement of having been cautioned of their liability in a language in which they are proficient.

 (2) Signed acknowledgement is provided on the Estonian-language text of the oath or caution that is translated to the person at first hand before they sign.

Chapter 6 PUBLICITY OF PROCEEDINGS 

§ 37.  Publicity of judicial hearings

 (1) The hearing of the case in court is public unless otherwise prescribed by law.

 (2) The court may restrain a person who has expressed disregard for the court – as well as a minor, in order to protect their interests – from attending a public hearing of the case.

§ 38.  Declaring proceedings closed to the public

 (1) The court declares the proceedings closed to the public – in part or in their entirety – of its own motion or on a motion of a party to proceedings, where this is manifestly needed:
 1) in order to protect national security or public order – first and foremost, to protect a State secret or classified information of a foreign State or information intended for an authority’s internal use;
[RT I 2007, 16, 77 – entry into force 01.01.2008]
 2) in order to protect the life, health or freedom of a party to proceedings, a witness or any other person;
 3) in order to protect the private life of a party to proceedings, a witness or any other person – unless the interest in the publicity of proceedings prevails over the interest in protecting the private life;
 4) in order to maintain the confidentiality of adoption;
 5) in the interests of a minor or of a person with an intellectual disability – first and foremost, to examine the person;
 6) to protect a business or other similar secret – unless the interest in the publicity of proceedings prevails over the interest in protecting the secret;
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 7) to examine a person obligated by law to maintain the confidentiality of another person’s private life or of a business secret, if the law allows the person to disclose the secret in the proceedings;
 8) in order to protect the confidentiality of messages transmitted by post, telegraph, telephone or any other means available to the public.

 (2) In a situation that is not mentioned in subsection 1 of this section but in which it is manifest that objective administration of justice would otherwise be jeopardised – or in which the closing of proceedings to the public offers a significantly higher likelihood of convincing the principal parties to terminate proceedings by a compromise or of reconciling them by any other means – the court may declare the proceedings so closed, in part or in their entirety, of its own motion or on a motion of a party to proceedings.

 (3) In situations listed in clauses 2, 3 and 6–8 of subsection 1 of this section, the court does not declare the proceedings closed to the public in part or in their entirety if this is opposed by the person for the protection of whose interests the declaration should be granted.

§ 39.  Permitting a person to attend a trial or hearing closed to the public

  The court may permit a person to attend a trial or hearing closed to the public if they have a justified interest in doing so or if their attendance is manifestly in the interests of the administration of justice. The consent of the parties to proceedings is not required.

§ 40.  Rules for declaring the proceedings closed to the public

 (1) The matter of declaring the proceedings closed to the public in part or in their entirety is considered at a hearing closed to the public, provided that this is required by a party to proceedings or provided the court deems it necessary.

 (2) The order by which the proceedings are declared closed to the public in part or in their entirety is made public. The order may be pronounced in a hearing closed to the public if it is presumed that public pronouncement of the order could significantly disturb order at the trial or hearing.

§ 41.  Parties to proceedings and persons attending the trial or hearing: duty of confidentiality

 (1) At the trial or hearing closed to the public, the court cautions the parties to proceedings and any other persons present in the courtroom that they are not allowed to disclose anything concerning the matters or documents discussed at the trial or hearing insofar as this is needed to protect a right or interest mentioned in § 38 of this Code.

 (2) Where this is necessary to protect a right or interest mentioned in § 38 of this Code, the court may, by an order and in addition to what has been provided for by subsection 1 of this section, caution a person who is present at the trial or hearing closed to the public to maintain the confidentiality of a fact that the person has learned at that trial or hearing or from a document relevant to the case.

 (3) The court may also – where proceedings have not been declared closed to the public but their confidentiality is manifestly needed to protect a right or interest mentioned in § 38 of this Code – make an order by which it requires the parties to proceedings and any other persons present in the courtroom to maintain the confidentiality of a fact that they have learned in the course of proceedings in the case.

 (4) A person required to maintain the confidentiality may file appeal the order made concerning the duty mentioned in subsections 2 and 3 of this section.

 (5) [Repealed – RT I, 07.12.2018, 2 – entry into force 17.12.2018]

§ 42.  Relaying or recording the trial or hearing

 (1) Notes may be taken at a public trial or hearing provided this does not interfere with the proceedings. The trial or hearing may be photographed, filmed or audio recorded – or a radio, television or other broadcast of it made – strictly with the prior permission of the court.

 (2) In a trial or hearing closed to the public, the court may only permit the taking of notes.

 (3) The court may remove from the courtroom, and impose a fine on, any person who violates the provisions of subsection 1 or 2 of this section.

Chapter 7 MEASURES TO ENSURE COMPLIANCE IN CIVIL PROCEEDINGS 

§ 43.  Order at the trial or hearing

 (1) The court maintains order at the trial or hearing and arranges for enforcement of any orders made for this purpose, including orders imposing a fine or a short-term custodial sentence. The parties to proceedings and any other persons present in the courtroom must unconditionally comply with the court’s directions.

 (2) The duty to maintain order that is provided for by this Chapter – together with the rights that this entails – also applies to a judge who acts under a domestic letter of request or a delegation of the judicial panel or performs a procedural operation outside the trial or hearing.

§ 44.  Limiting the number of persons present at the trial or hearing

  The court may control the number of persons present at the trial or hearing if the courtroom has become overcrowded and this interferes with consideration of the case.

§ 45.  Removing a person from the trial or hearing and imposing other measures to persons

 (1) The court may remove, from the trial or hearing, a party to proceedings or their representative or adviser, or a witness, expert, interpreter, translator – or any other person present – who fails to comply with a direction given to ensure order at the trial or hearing, acts in a manner that shows a lack of propriety and disrespect of the court or of another party to proceedings.

 (2) The court may remove from the proceedings a representative or adviser of a party to proceedings or restrain the person from making representations if they are not able to conduct themselves, and speak, in the court in accordance with the requirements, including due to inadequate language proficiency, or have, in the course of judicial proceedings, shown themselves to be dishonest, incompetent or irresponsible – also if they have, in bad faith, obstructed the court in its efforts to conduct the proceedings in a just and expeditious manner and with the lowest possible costs or have repeatedly failed to comply with the directions of the court.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) Where a party to proceedings or their representative is removed from the trial or hearing, proceedings in the case may be continued as if the party or representative left the trial or hearing of their own volition. A party’s representative is considered to have left the trial or hearing also where, under subsection 2 of this section, they have been removed from, or restrained from making representations in, the proceedings.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (4) The court may impose a fine or a short-term custodial sentence of up to seven calendar days on a person who conducts themselves in the manner mentioned in subsection 1 of this section or on a party to proceedings or the party’s representative or adviser who has, in bad faith, obstructed the court in its efforts to conduct the proceedings in a just and expeditious manner and with the lowest possible costs or has repeatedly failed to comply with the directions of the court.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (5) When the court applies the provisions of subsections 1–4 of this section regarding the representative of a party to proceedings and the party is not present at the trial or hearing or other procedural operation, the court notifies the application of the provisions to the party and invites them to select a new representative by the time set by the court. Where the person to whom the provisions are applied is an attorney, the court also informs the Estonian Bar Association or another professional association of which the attorney is a member.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (6) Where the conduct, in court, of a party to proceedings or of another person shows the elements of a criminal offence, the court transmits a crime report to the Prosecutor's Office or the police. Where this is needed, the court arrests the person by making the corresponding order.

§ 46.  Imposition of fines

 (1) In situations that are provided for by this Code and in which the court may impose a fine, the fine may be imposed in the amount of up to 3,200 euros unless otherwise prescribed by the Code. In determining the amount of the fine, the court takes into consideration the person’s pecuniary situation and other circumstances.
[RT I 2010, 22, 108 – entry into force 01.01.2011]

 (11) Instead of or in addition to a minor, the fine may be imposed on their parents or legal guardians. Instead of an adult of limited active legal capacity, the fine may be imposed on their guardians. No fine is imposed on minors under 14 years of age or on persons of limited active legal capacity.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) A person may be given a fine only after they have been issued the corresponding warning, unless prior warning is not possible or reasonable.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) A fine imposed on a person for non-performance of a duty does not release the person from performing the duty. If the duty is not performed after imposition of the fine, a new fine may be imposed.

 (4) A copy of the order by which a fine was imposed is served without delay on the person fined or on their representative.

§ 47.  Short-term custodial sentence and forcible bringing-in

 (1) The court may, by order and in situations prescribed by law, impose a short-term custodial sentence in civil proceedings provided it has issued a warning to the person that such a sentence may be imposed.

 (2) In a situation where collection of the fine is impossible, it may be converted into a short-term custodial sentence of up to three months. Conversion of the fine into the custodial sentence may be provided for already by the order that imposes the fine. Upon substitution of a fine by short-term custodial sentence the provisions of § 72 of the Penal Code and § 201 of the Code of Enforcement Procedure apply. If the person fined pays the fine, they are released from short-term custodial sentence.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) The short-term custodial sentence is served – according to the requirements provided for by the Imprisonment Act – at the jail or prison that serves the area in which the court that made the order has its seat or the locality in which the sentenced person has their residence.
[RT I, 03.03.2021, 1 – entry into force 04.03.2021]

 (4) In situations where this is prescribed by law, the court may make an order by which it directs the police to forcibly bring the person in, provided the court has issued a warning to the person that they may be so brought in.

 (5) To enforce the order to forcibly bring a person in, the person may be arrested for up to 48 hours before the beginning of the trial or hearing. Unless otherwise provided by this Code, forcible bringing-in is governed by the provisions of subsections 3–5 of § 139 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

§ 48.  Appealing the order imposing a fine or short-term custodial sentence

  A person who has been given a fine or short-term custodial sentence may appeal the order by which the fine or sentence was imposed and which is mentioned in this Chapter. The order of the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal against the order of the district court imposing the fine cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.
[RT I, 19.03.2019, 2 – entry into force 29.03.2019]

Chapter 8 RECORDS OF PROCEEDINGS 

§ 49.  Making a record of proceedings at the procedural operation

 (1) A record is made of proceedings at the trial or hearing and, in situations provided for by law, also at other procedural operations. The same applies to procedural operations performed by the court under a delegation from the judicial panel or a domestic letter of request.
[RT I 2006, 7, 42 – entry into force 04.02.2006]

 (2) A record is made of proceedings at the trial or hearing, or at other procedural operations, by the judicial hearing clerk – or other court official authorised to do so by the rules of the court – or by the judge. Where the record is made by the judicial hearing clerk or other court official, the clerk or official enters the particulars mentioned in clauses 6–9 of subsection 1 and in subsection 2 of § 50 of this Code in the record strictly according to the summary stated by the judge.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) At the hearing before the Supreme Court, a record is made of proceedings insofar as the Court considers this necessary.

§ 50.  Particulars in the record of proceedings

 (1) The record of proceedings at a procedural operation must reflect the material stages of the operation and any other circumstances material to disposing of, or to or a potential appeal in, the case. The record states:
 1) the time and location of performance of the procedural operation, and a brief description and number of the case;
 2) the name of the court considering the case and the names of the judges, of the person making the record, and of any interpreters or translators;
 3) the type of the case;
 4) information concerning the presence in court of the parties to proceedings and of their representatives, and of any witnesses and experts;
 5) information on whether or not the procedural operation is open to the public;
 51) agreement on the law applicable to consideration of the case;
[RT I, 10.03.2016, 1 – entry into force 01.07.2016]
 6) any representations, motions or applications made by the parties to proceedings;
 7) any admission or abandonment of or compromise on the court claim;
 8) the substance of the relief sought and objections made by the principal parties and by other parties to proceedings – to the extent this is not reflected in written documents filed with the court;
 9) the main substance of any statements provided by the parties to proceedings under oath, of the testimony of any witnesses, the oral replies of the expert and the particulars of any inspections;
 10) any directions given or dispositions made by the court during the trial or hearing;
 11) the time the judicial disposition will be made public;
 12) any waivers of appeal against the disposition;
 13) the date of signing the record.

 (2) On a motion of a party to proceedings, a circumstance raised or opinion stated in the case is noted in the record of proceedings. The court may, by order, deny the motion where it is manifest that the circumstance or opinion is of no relevance to the case.

 (3) A procedural document that is annexed to the record of proceedings and to which a reference is included in the record is deemed to be equivalent to a record made of the proceedings.

§ 51.  Creating a record of proceedings

 (1) A record of proceedings at the trial or hearing is made in typewritten form or recorded on a digital data medium such that its reproducibility in writing is ensured. Initially, such a record may also be made at the trial or hearing by another method such as by the taking of notes or by dictation, yet the record must be converted into the form mentioned in the first sentence of this subsection by the time it is signed.

 (2) Technical requirements for digital records of proceedings, for the filing of objections to such records and for the signing of the same are enacted by an order of the Minister in charge of the policy sector.
[RT I 2006, 7, 42 – entry into force 04.02.2006]

§ 52.  Recording a procedural operation

 (1) A trial or hearing is audio recorded.
[RT I, 31.05.2018, 2 – entry into force 01.01.2019]

 (11) Recording the trial or hearing may be dispensed with if:
 1) it comes to light before the trial or hearing or in the course of its progress that recording is technically impossible;
 2) the trial or hearing is held outside court premises;
 3) the trial or hearing is held without the attendance of a principal party and the court dismisses the court claim, postpones consideration of the case or disposes of the case by the written procedure or by a default judgment;
 4) the hearing is held to pronounce a judicial disposition;
 5) it is a hearing before the Supreme Court.
[RT I, 31.05.2018, 2 – entry into force 01.01.2019]

 (12) The trial or hearing or other procedural operation may be initially recorded in its entirety or in part on audio, video or other data media. In such a situation, the record of proceedings is created without delay after the trial or hearing or performance of other procedural operation.
[RT I, 31.05.2018, 2 – entry into force 01.01.2019]

 (2) With respect to the recorded testimony of witnesses, experts and parties to proceedings as well as of recorded results of an inspection, the record of proceedings only includes a note referring to these unless, in the course of the proceedings, a principal party requests – or the court deems it necessary – that a record be made of the main substance of such recordings.

 (3) The recording is included in the case file.

§ 53.  Filing objections against the record of proceedings and rectification of the record

 (1) Formulations noted in the record of proceedings to reflect any statements provided by the parties to proceedings under oath, the testimony of witnesses and the opinion and responses of the expert are immediately stated at the trial or hearing, unless the person who provided it and the parties who participated in the trial or hearing agree to waive the stating of such formulations at that time and the court does not consider it necessary either. Rectifications are made to the record based on the objection of the person, provided the court sustains that objection. An objection that the court overrules is noted in the record or annexed to it.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) Parties to proceedings have a right to acquaint themselves with the record of proceedings and make motions to rectify the same within three working days following its signing. The court, having signed the record, notifies the parties of the time of signing it and transmits it to them electronically without delay, provided the parties have provided their e-mail addresses to the court.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) Where, in a situation mentioned in subsection 2 of this section, a party to proceedings makes a motion to substantively rectify the record of proceedings, the court invites the other parties to proceedings to make their submissions on the issue. Where this is needed, the court holds a hearing to dispose of the motion. The absence of a party to proceedings from the hearing does not preclude disposing of the motion.

 (4) Where the court agrees with the motion mentioned in subsection 2 of this section to rectify the record of proceedings, the court rectifies the record. An objection that the court overrules is noted in the record or annexed to it.

 (5) Where the substance of the record of proceedings is a recording, the person whose testimony was recorded may, without delay, acquaint themselves with the recording and make objections to it. If the court sustains the objection, the statement, testimony or response is recorded in its new wording. If the court overrules the objection, the substance of the objection is recorded.

 (6) When making a record of proceedings at a procedural operation, the court explains the rights provided for by subsections 1–5 of this section to the persons entitled to file objections to the record.

 (7) The record of proceedings states the particulars concerning presentation of the record or recording, or concerning the waiving of the corresponding right, as well as concerning approval of the particulars in or the filing of objections to the record.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 54.  Signing the record of proceedings

 (1) The record of proceedings is signed by the judge. Where a procedural operation involves a collegial judicial panel, the record of proceedings is signed by the presiding judge. Where the record was made by the judicial hearing clerk or other authorised official, it is also signed by that person.

 (2) Where the presiding judge is unable to sign the record of proceedings, another member of the judicial panel signs the record in their stead. Where the judge who was sitting alone when the procedural operation was performed is unable to sign the record, that was created by the judicial hearing clerk or other authorised official, the signature of the official who made the record is sufficient. The reason for not signing is stated in the record.

 (3) In any other respects, the signing of the record of proceedings is governed by the provisions of § 441 of this Code.
[RT I, 21.05.2014, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2015]

§ 55.  Probative value of the record of proceedings

  Violation of procedural rules applicable at the trial or hearing or any other procedural operation at which a record was made of the proceedings can be proved only by relying on the record. The sole objection that can be filed against the record is that of falsification.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

Chapter 9 CASE FILE 

§ 56.  Case file in a civil case

 (1) For each civil case, the court keeps a case file in the Judicial Information System in which it includes, in chronological order, all procedural documents as well as any other particulars relevant to the case from all judicial instances. In situations provided for by law, any other property objects relevant to the proceedings are also deemed to be part of the file.

 (2) The digital case file of the civil case comprises documents and particulars that have been recorded in the eFile system through the Judicial Information System or any other database interfaced with the eFile system. The case file contains a list kept to reflect the property objects deemed part of the file.

 (3) A document – or any annex to it – sent to the court is deemed to have been included in the case file, or removed from it, when the court has entered the corresponding note in the Judicial Information System. Where it is not possible to save the document in the file, it may be included in the latter in the form of a digital data medium or as a paper document, with the corresponding note being recorded in the file. Items of evidence are included in the file on the grounds provided by subsection 4 of § 238 of this Code.

 (4) Any paper documents that have been transmitted to the court are scanned and saved in the Judicial Information System under the relevant proceedings as an electronic document. The System automatically logs the time when the document was saved and the particulars of the person saving it. The documents that are saved in the System are equivalent to paper copies of original documents.

 (5) Unless otherwise determined by the court, any paper documents mentioned in subsections 3 and 4 of this section are preserved, at the office of the court with which they were filed, until the disposition that concludes proceedings in the case enters into effect.
[RT I, 10.02.2023, 1 – entry into force 01.04.2023]

§ 57.  Digital case file

  [Repealed – RT I, 10.02.2023, 1 – entry into force 01.04.2023]

§ 571.  Impossibility of keeping a digital case file

  Where, due to a failure of the technical systems required to work on the digital case file – or to any other extraordinary circumstances – it is impossible to work on the file, as well as where, due to the location at which the procedural operation is carried out or to the urgency of creating a procedural document, it is temporarily not possible to carry out the operation or create the document in the digital form, the file or a part of the file is worked on in paper form. When the extraordinary circumstances are no longer present, the paper file or any document that is part of the paper file is added to the Judicial Information System without delay.
[RT I, 10.02.2023, 1 – entry into force 01.04.2023]

§ 58.  Archiving the case file

 (1) When the disposition by which the proceedings were concluded has entered into effect, the district court that dealt with the case archives the case file.

 (2) The case file and the procedural documents included in it are preserved after conclusion of the proceedings strictly for as long as is necessary in the interests of the parties to proceedings or of other persons, or in the public interest.

§ 59.  Acquainting oneself with the case file

 (1) The parties to proceedings have a right to acquaint themselves with the case file and to obtain copies of procedural documents in the file.

 (11) The court may restrict the right of a party to proceedings to acquaint itself with the case file and to obtain copies of the file where it is manifest that this would be contrary to a compelling interest of another party or any other person. Restrictions may not be imposed if the party is a principal party to action-by-claim proceedings.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (12) The court may restrict the right of a party to proceedings to acquaint itself with the audio recording of the trial or hearing if the trial or hearing was declared closed to the public in its entirety or in part or if it involved compromise negotiations.
[RT I, 31.05.2018, 2 – entry into force 01.01.2019]

 (2) During action-by-claim proceedings, persons other than the parties to proceedings are only authorised to acquaint themselves with the case file and to obtain copies of procedural documents in the file with the consent of the principal parties. A representative of the competent authority of the State may acquaint themselves with the file and obtain copies of procedural documents with the permission of the Chief Judge of the court dealing with the case, even without the consent of the parties, provided the authority substantiates its legally relevant interest to do so.

 (3) Where proceedings in the case have been concluded with a disposition that has entered into effect, a person other than the parties to proceedings may acquaint themselves with the case file and obtain copies of procedural documents with the permission of the district court that dealt with the case, even without the consent of the principal parties, provided the person substantiates a legitimate interest to acquaint themselves with the documents and obtain a copy. The person may not acquaint themselves with the file of a case in which proceedings were closed to the public.

 (4) In an action-by-petition case, a person other than the parties to proceedings may – unless otherwise prescribed by law – acquaint themselves with the case file and obtain a copy of a procedural document strictly with the permission of the court that dealt with or is dealing with the case provided the person substantiates a legitimate interest to do so. The person may acquaint themselves with procedural documents pertaining to adoption only with the permission of the adoptive parent and of the full-age child.

 (5) A person may acquaint themselves with electronic procedural documents and documents recorded on digital or other data media under subsections 1–4 of this section only by a method that guarantees the integrity of the medium. An electronic copy, printout or extract of a procedural document may also be obtained.

 (51) A note is made in the case file concerning the fact that the party to proceedings or their representative acquainted themselves with the file.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (52) Any State secrets and any classified information of foreign States is kept, in the court dealing with the case, in an envelope or volume that is separate from the case file, according to the requirements for processing such secrets or information or any classified data media. On a motion of a party to proceedings or their representative, a data medium that is used in the case as an item of evidence, contains a State secret or classified information of a foreign State and is not included in the case file, is presented – in accordance with the rules provided by the State Secrets and Classified Information of Foreign States Act – to the party or their representative to acquaint themselves with that medium. A note concerning presentation of the medium is recorded in the particulars of the case in the Judicial Information System.
[RT I, 10.02.2023, 1 – entry into force 01.04.2023]

 (6) An order by which a person is denied permission to acquaint themselves with the case file is made by the judge or assistant judge. The order may be appealed. The order entered by the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 60.  Reconstituting the case file

 (1) Where the file of the civil case has perished or been lost due to other reasons, the court may reconstitute the file on a petition of a party to proceedings or of its own motion.

 (2) In proceedings for reconstitution of the case file, the court requires the parties to proceedings to file detailed information and documents or copies of documents concerning the case.

 (3) When reconstituting the case file, the court uses any preserved parts of the file, documents – or copies of documents – issued in the case prior to the loss of the file, as well as any other relevant evidence.

 (4) The court may examine, as witnesses, any persons who were present at the procedural operations, as well as persons who were members of the judicial panel considering the case or persons who enforced the judgment.

 (5) The reconstitution of a case file that has been lost is decided by the court in action-by-petition proceedings by an order.

 (6) A case file that has been lost is reconstituted in its entirety or in the part that the court deems necessary to reconstitute. If the file is reconstituted, the judicial disposition that concluded proceedings in the case – or the order by which the proceedings were terminated or the case was dismissed – must be reconstituted if such a disposition or order was entered in the case.

 (7) Where the information and documents that have been collected are not sufficient to reconstitute the case file that has been lost, the court enters an order by which it terminates the proceedings to reconstitute the file.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (8) In a case concerning reconstitution of a case file that has been lost, the petitioner is exempted from the payment of court costs.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 601.  eFile system: management of procedural information

 (1) The eFile system for the management of procedural information (hereinafter, ‘eFile system’) is a database that is part of the State Information System, that is kept for processing procedural information and personal data in civil proceedings and whose purpose is:
 1) to provide an overview of civil cases that the courts are dealing with;
 2) to reflect information concerning operations performed in the course of civil proceedings;
 3) to facilitate organisation the work of the courts;
 4) to ensure the collection of judicial statistics required to make policy decisions in the field of justice;
 5) to facilitate electronic transmission of information and documents.

 (2) The following particulars are recorded in the database:
 1) particulars concerning civil cases that are being considered or have been completed;
 2) information concerning operations performed in the course of civil proceedings;
 3) digital documents in situations provided for by this Code;
 4) particulars concerning the proceedings authority, parties to proceedings and persons participating in the proceedings;
 5) judicial dispositions.

 (3) The eFile system is established and its constitutive regulations are enacted by the Government of the Republic. The Government of the Republic may, by regulation, enact the time, requirements and rules for transition to the eFile system.

 (4) The Ministry of Justice is the controller of the eFile system. The processor of the system is the person appointed by the Minister in charge of the policy sector.

 (5) The Minister in charge of the policy sector may issue regulations to organise the operation of the eFile system.
[RT I 2009, 67, 460 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

§ 61.  Powers of the Minister in charge of the policy sector concerning the case file

  The Minister in charge of the policy sector enacts, by regulation, the time of and rules for transition to the mandatory keeping of digital case files, the technical requirements for the keeping of and acquaintance with such files as well as for the preservation of electronic documents. The Minister in charge of the policy sector enacts, by regulation, specific requirements for archiving the case file – among other things, concerning the period during which the file and the procedural documents are to be preserved, concerning acquaintance with the archived file and procedural documents as well as concerning destruction of the file.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

Chapter 10 PROCEDURAL TIME LIMITS 

§ 62.  Calculation of procedural time limits

 (1) Unless otherwise provided for by law, the calculation of procedural time limits is governed by the provisions of the Act on the General Principles of the Civil Code on the calculation of time limits and due dates.

 (2) Where a time limit has been set for performance of a procedural operation, the operation may be performed until 24:00 on the last day within the limit. If the operation must be performed in the court’s premises, the end of the court’s working day is deemed to be the end of the time limit.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 63.  Beginning of the time limit set by the court

  The running of a time limit set by the court begins on the day following the day of service of the document by which the limit is set, unless otherwise stated when setting it. Where service of the document is not required, the time limit begins to run from reception of notification concerning the setting the limit.

§ 64.  Amending the time limit

 (1) Where a valid reason is present, the court may, on substantiated motion or of its own motion, extend the time limit that it has set. The time limit may be extended on more than one occasion only with the consent of the opposing party.

 (2) Procedural time limits, whether provided by law or set by the court, may be reduced by mutual agreement of the principal parties. The agreement on reducing the time limit is presented to the court in writing or stated in the record of proceedings.

§ 65.  Calculating the time limit when the document has been sent to the wrong court

  [RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
Where a document sent by a party to proceedings is received by a court that, in terms of territorial jurisdiction or judicial instance, is not the right court, the document is transmitted to the right court. If the procedural document reached the former court at the proper time, the time limit for performance of the procedural operation is deemed to have been complied with.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 66.  Consequences of failure to perform the procedural operation at the proper time

  Where the procedural operation has not been performed at the proper time, the party to proceedings does not have a right to perform the operation at a later time, unless the court reinstates the time limit that was provided by law or extends one that was set by the court, or agrees to consider the court claim, petition, motion, application, item of evidence or objection filed by the party by virtue of subsection 1 of § 331 of this Code. This applies regardless of whether or not the party has been warned of such consequences.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 67.  Reinstating a procedural time limit provided by law

 (1) Where a party to proceedings has not observed a procedural time limit provided by law, the court reinstates the time limit on the party’s motion, provided the party had a valid reason for not observing the limit and provided non-observance of the limit precludes performing the procedural operation or entails other negative consequences for the party.

 (2) A motion to reinstate the time limit may be made within 14 days following the day on which the impediment mentioned in subsection 1 of this section ceased to apply but not later than within six months following the end of the limit that was not observed.

§ 68.  Deciding on reinstatement of the time limit

 (1) A motion to reinstate the time limit is filed in the form that applies to the procedural operation that was to be performed. The motion states the circumstances that constitute the ground for reinstatement and substantiates these. The motion is filed with the court in which the operation should have been performed.

 (2) The procedural operation for whose performance the motion to reinstate the time limit is made must be performed simultaneously with the filing of the motion.

 (3) The court disposes of the matter of reinstating the time limit by an order.

 (4) The order by which the district court or circuit court of appeal decided not to reinstate the time limit may be appealed. The order of the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal against the order of the district court cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (5) Where the time limit is reinstated, proceedings return to the stage they had reached before non-observance of the limit.

 (6) Before deciding on reinstatement of the time limit, the court may, by order, suspend enforcement proceedings or permit these to be continued only against provision of security, or invalidate an enforcement operation.

Part 2 TERRITORIAL JURISDICTION 

Chapter 11 GENERAL PROVISIONS 

§ 69.  Territorial jurisdiction: definition

 (1) ‘Territorial jurisdiction’ means the right and duty of the person to exercise their procedural rights before a specific court. Territorial jurisdiction is regular, optional or exclusive.

 (2) Regular jurisdiction determines the court with which a court claim may be filed against the person and at which other procedural operations may be performed in their respect – unless the law provides that the claim may be filed with or the operation performed at another court.

 (3) Optional jurisdiction determines the court with which – in addition to regular jurisdiction – a court claim may be filed against the person and at which other procedural operations may be performed in their respect.

 (4) Exclusive jurisdiction determines the sole court that may be approached to dispose of the civil case. Territorial jurisdiction in action-by-petition cases is exclusive unless otherwise provided by law.

§ 70.  International jurisdiction

 (1) The provisions on international jurisdiction serve to determine situations in which the case may be dealt with by Estonian courts.

 (2) Unless otherwise provided by law or treaty, Estonian courts have jurisdiction over the case if they are authorised to dispose of it by the provisions on subject matter and territorial jurisdiction or by an agreement on jurisdiction.

 (3) International jurisdiction is not exclusive unless otherwise provided by law or treaty.

 (4) The provisions of this Code concerning international jurisdiction apply strictly insofar as has not been provided for otherwise by a treaty or the following Regulations of the European Union:
 1) Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council;
 2) Council Regulation (EU) 2019/1111 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility, and on international child abduction (recast) (OJ L 178, 02.07.2019, p. 1–115);
[RT I, 10.11.2022, 1 – entry into force 20.11.2022]
 3) Council Regulation (EC) No 4/2009 on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and cooperation in matters relating to maintenance obligations (OJ L 7, 10.1.2009, p. 1–79);
[RT I, 31.12.2014, 1 – entry into force 10.01.2015]
 4) Regulation (EU) No 650/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and acceptance and enforcement of authentic instruments in matters of succession and on the creation of a European Certificate of Succession (OJ L 201, 27.7.2012, p. 107–134);
[RT I, 10.03.2016, 2 – entry into force 20.03.2016]
 5) Regulation (EU) No 655/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a European Account Preservation Order procedure to facilitate cross-border debt recovery in civil and commercial matters (OJ L 189, 27.6.2014, p. 59–92).
[RT I, 26.06.2017, 17 – entry into force 06.07.2017]

§ 71.  Agreement on jurisdiction

  In situations and in accordance with the rules prescribed by law, the parties may conclude an agreement on jurisdiction. An agreement on jurisdiction is an agreement to have the dispute disposed of in a specific court.

§ 72.  Special jurisdiction of Harju District Court

 (1) Where, under regular provisions, the case does not fall under the jurisdiction of Estonian courts or where such jurisdiction cannot be established and a treaty or the law does not make other provision for the matter, the case is dealt with by Harju District Court provided that:
 1) under a treaty, the case must be disposed of in the Republic of Estonia;
 2) the claimant, petitioner or applicant is a citizen of the Republic of Estonia or has a residence in Estonia, and it is not possible for them to use a legal remedy in a foreign State or they cannot be expected to do so;
 3) the case is closely connected to Estonia for any other reason and it is not possible for the person to use a legal remedy in a foreign State or they cannot be expected to do so.

 (2) Harju District Court also considers the case if it falls under the jurisdiction of Estonian courts but it is not possible to determine the specific court. This applies also if Estonian jurisdiction has been agreed upon without specifying the court that is to dispose of the case.

§ 73.  Territorial jurisdiction determined by the court

  Territorial jurisdiction is determined by the Chief Judge of the higher-instance court – on a motion of a party to proceedings or at the request of the court that received the motion – if:
 1) the court that properly holds such jurisdiction cannot exercise judicial authority in the case;
 2) having regard to the boundaries of the judicial districts of the different courts, it is not clear which of them has jurisdiction in the case;
 3) several courts have decided that the case is outside their jurisdiction, but one of those courts could consider the case.

§ 74.  Cases that fall under the jurisdiction of several courts and the venue or the trial or hearing

  [RT I, 01.03.2023, 1 – entry into force 01.05.2023]

 (1) Where the case falls under the jurisdiction of several Estonian courts at the same time, the initiating party has a right to choose the court with which to file the court claim, application or petition. In such a situation, the case is dealt with by the court with which the document was filed first.
[RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

 (2) Where the court claim has been filed in the locality of the defendant’s residence or seat, or according to exclusive jurisdiction, the trial or hearing is held in the courthouse that is closest to the defendant’s residence or seat or the place according to which exclusive jurisdiction was determined, lies. Having regard to the interests of the parties to proceedings, the court may hold the trial or hearing in another courthouse.
[RT I, 01.03.2023, 1 – entry into force 01.05.2023]

 (3) In an action-by-petition case, the hearing is held, as a rule, in the courthouse that is closest to the place according to which jurisdiction is determined, lies. Having regard to the interests of the parties to proceedings, the court may hold the trial or hearing in another courthouse.
[RT I, 01.03.2023, 1 – entry into force 01.05.2023]

§ 75.  Verification of jurisdiction

 (1) The court that receives the court claim, application or petition verifies whether, under the provisions on international jurisdiction, the court claim, application or petition may be filed with Estonian courts. After this, the court verifies whether the case falls under the territorial jurisdiction of the court with which it was filed.

 (2) If the case does not fall under the territorial jurisdiction of the court with which it was filed, that court sends it to the court that has jurisdiction over the case – with the exception of the situation where the court finds that, under the rules on international jurisdiction, the case does not fall under the jurisdiction of Estonian courts.

 (3) Already before filing the court claim, application or petition, the person may apply to the court for an order on whether or not the case falls under the court’s jurisdiction. In such a situation, the draft of the intended court claim, application or petition as well as any other documents that are material for a determination on jurisdiction must be added to the application. Where this is needed, the court may invite the presumed defendant or any other parties to proceedings to state their opinion on how the application should be disposed of, and hear them.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (31) An order that is mentioned in subsection 3 of this section and by which the court finds that the case does not fall under its jurisdiction may be appealed by the applicant. The order made by the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (4) The higher-instance court does not verify or change territorial jurisdiction on any basis other than consideration of an appeal filed against a court order concerning jurisdiction, or against an order by which the court claim, application or petition is rejected or dismissed or proceedings in the case are terminated. Where the jurisdiction of Estonian courts under the rules of international jurisdiction was challenged in the district court, the higher-instance court may also verify such jurisdiction on the basis of any other appeal.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 76.  Transferring the case according to territorial jurisdiction

 (1) Where, after it has accepted the court claim, application or petition, the court ascertains that the case does not fall under its territorial jurisdiction, it enters an order by which the case is transferred in accordance with the rules on jurisdiction. Where the case falls under the jurisdiction of several courts, the court transfers it to the one selected by the claimant, applicant or petitioner.

 (2) The order mentioned in subsection 1 of this section may be appealed. The order made by the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.

 (3) When the time limit for appealing its order has expired, the court transfers the case to the court that – under the rules on jurisdiction – is the proper court to deal with the case. Where an appeal was filed against the order, the court transfers the case when the appeal has been denied.

 (4) The court that receives the case must consider it. Jurisdictional disputes between the courts are not allowed.

§ 77.  Changing the territorial jurisdiction of the case

  Where the court’s acceptance of the court claim, application or petition is not tainted by error, it disposes of the case on its substance even if the circumstances based on which jurisdiction was determined subsequently change.

§ 78.  Filing the court claim with the courts of different States

 (1) Where, before the court claim was filed with an Estonian court, a court claim that was filed between the same principal parties and that is substantially the same has been accepted by a competent foreign court, the Estonian court accepts the claim provided the other requirements for accepting it have been met and its jurisdiction does not stem from a treaty or a European Union Regulation mentioned in subsection 4 of § 70 of this Code – but suspends proceedings if it may be presumed that the foreign court will render its disposition within a reasonable time and the disposition will be recognised in the Republic of Estonia.
[RT I, 31.12.2014, 1 – entry into force 10.01.2015]

 (11) The time at which the court claim – for the purposes of subsection 1 of this section – was filed with the Estonian court is deemed to be the time when the claim, or the application mentioned in subsection of § 75 of this Code – as well as an application or petition mentioned in subsection 2 of § 160 of the Act on the General Part of the Civil Code – reached the court, or the time of performance of another operation. This applies only if the court claim has subsequently been served on the opposing party.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) The court claim is deemed to have been accepted by the foreign court when that court has performed its first procedural operation regarding the case.

 (3) The court resumes the proceedings that were suspended on the grounds mentioned in subsection 1 of this section in accordance with the rules provided by § 361 of this Code if the foreign court has not rendered a disposition within a reasonable time or where it becomes manifest that the disposition that has been or is to be rendered is unlikely to be recognised in the Republic of Estonia.

 (4) Once the foreign court’s disposition that must be recognised in the Republic of Estonia is presented to the court, the court makes an oder by which it terminates the proceedings. The order may be appealed.

 (5) The provisions of subsections 1–4 of this section apply, accordingly, to the filing of petitions under the action-by-petition procedure with the courts of several countries.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

Chapter 12 REGULAR JURISDICTION 

§ 79.  Personal jurisdiction

 (1) A court claim against a natural person may be filed in the locality of the person’s residence and, against a legal person, in the locality of its seat.

 (2) Where the residence of a natural person is not known, the court claim against them may be filed in the locality of their last known residence.

§ 80.  Jurisdiction in relation to citizens of the Republic of Estonia who reside in a foreign State

 (1) A court claim against a citizen of the Republic of Estonia who resides in a foreign State and is covered by the principle of extraterritoriality or against such a citizen who is a civil servant working in a foreign State may be filed in the locality of the person's last residence in Estonia.

 (2) Where a person mentioned in subsection 1 of this section has never resided in Estonia, the court claim against them may be filed with Harju District Court.

§ 81.  Jurisdiction in relation to the Republic of Estonia and to municipalities

 (1) A court claim against the Republic of Estonia or a municipality may be filed in the locality of the seat of the State or municipal authority whose actions have caused the claim to be envisaged.

 (2) Where the State authority mentioned in subsection 1 of this section cannot be determined, the court claim is filed with Harju District Court. Where the municipal authority mentioned in subsection 1 of this section cannot be determined, the claim is filed in the locality of the seat of the municipal executive.

 (3) The claimant may also file the court claim mentioned in subsection 1 or 2 of this section in the locality of their residence or seat.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 82.  Jurisdiction in bankruptcy proceedings

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

Chapter 13 OPTIONAL JURISDICTION 

§ 83.  Jurisdiction by locality in which the person is present

  A court claim for pecuniary relief against a natural person may be filed also in the locality of their presence, provided the person will be present in the locality for a longer period of time due to an employment or service relationship, studies or for other similar reasons.

§ 84.  Jurisdiction by locality where certain activities are conducted

  A court claim related to the defendant’s economic or professional activities may also be filed in the locality where these activities are conducted.

§ 85.  Jurisdiction by locality of the legal person’s seat

  A membership-based legal person – including a company – or a member or shareholder of such a person may file a court claim related to the membership of or holding in the person against the person’s member, partner or shareholder also in the locality in which the person has its seat.

§ 86.  Jurisdiction by locality where property is present

  [RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (1) Where a person has their residence or seat in a foreign State, a court claim for pecuniary relief against them may be filed also in the locality in which the property concerned by the relief sought is situated, or in which any other property of the person is situated.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) Where property has been recorded in a public register, the court claim mentioned in subsection 1 of this section may be filed in the locality in which the register has its seat.

 (3) Where the property is a claim that arose under the law of obligations, the court claim mentioned in subsection 1 of this section may be filed in the locality of the debtor’s residence or seat. Where the claim is secured by an item of property, the court claim may be filed in the locality in which the item is situated.

§ 87.  Jurisdiction over court claims to enforce claims secured by a mortgage or encumbered with a real encumbrance

  A court claim to enforce a claim secured by a mortgage or encumbered with a real encumbrance or related to any other similar claim may also be filed in the locality of the item of immovable property, provided that the debtor is also the owner of the registered immovable encumbered by by the mortgage or real encumbrance.

§ 88.  Jurisdiction over court claims that stem from apartment ownership rights

  A court claim against an apartment owner that arises from a legal relationship related to apartment ownership rights may also be filed with in the locality where the item of immovable property in which the rights are held is situated.
[RT I, 13.03.2014, 3 – entry into force 23.03.2014]

§ 89.  Jurisdiction by locality of the contract’s performance

 (1) A court claim that stems from a contract or seeks to declare the contract void may also be filed in the locality where the place of performing the contested contractual obligation lies.

 (2) Where a contract concerns the sale of an item of movable property, the place of performance, for the purposes of subsection 1 of this section, is deemed to be the place where the item was or had to be delivered to the buyer or, in the case of a contract for a service, the place where the service was provided or had to be provided. In any other situation, the debtor’s place of business or, where the debtor does not have one, the place where the debtor has their residence or seat is deemed to be the place of performance of the obligation for the purposes of subsection 1 of this section.

 (3) The provisions of subsection 2 of this section apply insofar as the parties have not agreed otherwise.

§ 90.  Jurisdiction by locality of the consumer’s residence

  A consumer may file a court claim that stems from a contract or from a relationship mentioned in §§ 35, 46 or 52, in subsection 4 of § 208, in §§ 379 or 402, in subsection 4 of § 635 or in §§ 709, 734 or 866 of the Law of Obligations Act as well as a court claim arising under any other contract concluded with an undertaking that has its seat or a place of business in Estonia in the locality in which the consumer has their residence. This does not apply to court claims that stem from haulage contracts.

§ 91.  Jurisdiction over court claims that stem from insurance contracts

 (1) A policyholder, beneficiary or any other person entitled to claim performance from the insurer under an insurance contract may also file a court claim that stems from the insurance contract against the insurer in the locality in which the person has their residence or seat.

 (2) Where the contract is for liability insurance, or for insurance of a construction work or of an item of immovable property – or of movable property together with the construction work or the immovable property – the court claim against the insurer may also be filed in the locality in which the act that caused the harm was performed or the event that caused the harm occurred, or in which the harm was caused.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 911.  Jurisdiction over court claims that stem from agreements on intellectual property rights

  A court claim that stems from an agreement on the transfer of any material subject to copyright, related rights or industrial property rights, or from a licence agreement, or seeks to declare the agreement void may also be filed with Harju District Court.
[RT I, 19.03.2019, 4 – entry into force 01.04.2019]

§ 92.  Jurisdiction by locality of the employee’s residence or workplace

  An employee may file a court claim that stems from their employment contract also in the locality of their residence or workplace.

§ 93.  Jurisdiction over court claims that stem from a bill of exchange or a cheque

  A court claim that stems from a bill of exchange or a cheque may also be filed in the locality in which the bill of exchange or cheque was redeemed.

§ 94.  Jurisdiction over court claims that stem from the unlawful causing of harm

  A court claim for compensation for unlawfully caused harm may also be filed in the locality in which the act that caused the harm was performed or the event that caused the harm occurred, or in which the harm was caused.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 95.  Jurisdiction over court claims that stem from maritime claims, rescue work or rescue contracts

 (1) A court claim that stems from one or several maritime claims mentioned in the Law of Maritime Property Act may also be filed in the locality where the defendant’s ship is present or where the ship’s home port is situated.

 (2) A court claim that stems from rescue work or a rescue contract may also be filed in the locality where such work was carried out.

§ 96.  Jurisdiction over court claims concerning decedents’ estates

 (1) A court claim that seeks a declaration concerning identification of the person as an heir or beneficiary of the decedent, or by which the heir or beneficiary seeks relief against possessor of the estate, or that stems from a legacy or an inheritance contract or seeks the allocation of a compulsory portion or division of the estate may also be filed in the locality in which the decedent had their residence at the time of their death.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) Where the decedent was a citizen of the Republic of Estonia but at the time of death had no residence in Estonia, the court claim mentioned in subsection 1 of this section may also be filed in the locality of the decedent’s last residence in Estonia. If the decedent never had a residence in Estonia, the claim may be filed with Harju District Court.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 97.  Court claim against co-defendants and several court claims against the same defendant

 (1) A court claim against several defendants may be filed by the claimant in the locality in which a co-defendant of the claimant's choice has their residence or seat.

 (2) Where, by virtue of the same fact, several court claims may be filed against a single defendant, such claims may also be filed with a court with which could otherwise accept only one or several of the claims.

§ 98.  Jurisdiction over counterclaims and court claims by a third party with an independent claim

 (1) A counterclaim may be filed with the court with which the court claim was filed, provided that the requirements for filing the counterclaim are met, the counterclaim is not subject to exclusive jurisdiction and the law does not provide for cases of this type to be considered strictly by a certain district court or by certain district courts. This also applies in situations where, under regular provisions, the counterclaim should be filed with a foreign court.
[RT I, 19.03.2019, 4 – entry into force 01.04.2019]

 (2) A third party with an independent claim may file its court claim with the court that is considering the original court claim.

§ 981.  Jurisdiction in bankruptcy proceedings

  [Repealed – RT I, 04.01.2021, 4 – entry into force 01.02.2021]

Chapter 14 EXCLUSIVE JURISDICTION 

§ 99.  Jurisdiction by locality where the item of immovable property is situated

 (1) The locality in which the item of immovable property is situated determines where the court claim is to be filed provided the relief sought by the claim is:
 1) recognition of the existence or absence of ownership rights, of a limited property right or of any other encumbrance imposed on the property under the law of property, or any other relief related to an interest in the property;
 2) determination of the boundaries, or division, of the property;
 3) the granting of protection to possession of the property;
 4) related to apartment ownership rights and provided for under the law of property;
 5) related to compulsory enforcement concerning the property;
 6) related to a lease or commercial lease contract – or any other contract concluded for use of the property under the law of obligations – or related to the validity of such a contract.

 (2) A court claim related to a real servitude, real encumbrance or right of pre-emption is filed in the locality where the servient or encumbered item of immovable property is situated.

§ 100.  Seeking cessation of using a standard term

 (1) A court claim to cease using an unfair standard term or, for the person recommending its use, to cease recommending such use and to withdraw the corresponding recommendation (§ 45 of the Law of Obligations Act) is filed with the court that serves the locality in which the defendant has their place of business or, where the defendant does not have one, with the court that serves the locality in which the defendant has their residence or seat. If the defendant has no place of business, residence or seat in Estonia, the court claim is filed with the court in whose judicial district the standard term was used.
[RT I, 05.04.2013, 1 – entry into force 15.04.2013]

 (2) The provisions of this Code concerning the court claim to cease using a standard term also apply in a situation provided for by subsection 21 of § 45 of the Law of Obligations Act.
[RT I, 05.04.2013, 1 – entry into force 15.04.2013]

§ 101.  Jurisdiction over cases concerning the setting aside of a decision of a body of the legal person and the granting of a declaration recognising the decision as void

  A court claim to set aside the decision of a body of the legal person or to grant a declaration recignising such a decision as void is filed in the locality where the legal person has its seat.

§ 102.  Jurisdiction over matrimonial cases

 (1) A matrimonial case is a civil case that deals with a court claim that seeks:
 1) the granting of a divorce or termination of registered partnership contract;
 2) annulment of the marriage or registered partnership contract;
 3) the granting of a declaration as to the existence or absence of marriage or registered partnership contract;
 4) division of community property or any other relief related to the pecuniary relationship between the spouses or registered partners;
 5) any other relief sought by one spouse from the other in relation to the marital relationship or by a registered partner from the other partner in relation to their registered partnership.
[RT I, 06.07.2024, 6 – entry into force 01.01.2024]

 (2) Estonian courts may consider the matrimonial case if:
 1) at least one of the spouses or registered partners is a citizen of the Republic of Estonia or was a citizen at the time of contracting the marriage or concluding the registered partnership contract;
 2) the residence of both spouses or registered partners is in Estonia;
 3) the residence of one spouse or registered partner is in Estonia, except where it is manifest that the judgment to be given would not be recognised in any country of whose citizenship the spouses or registered partners hold.
[RT I, 06.07.2024, 6 – entry into force 01.01.2024]

 (3) In a matrimonial matter to be dealt with by Estonian courts, the court claim is filed in the locality of the spouses’ or registered partners’ joint residence or, where the spouses or partners do not have a joint residence, in the locality of the defendant’s residence. Where the defendant’s residence is not in Estonia, the claim is filed in the locality in which the principal parties’ common underage child resides or, where the parties do not have such a child, in the locality of the claimant’s residence.
[RT I, 06.07.2024, 6 – entry into force 01.01.2024]

 (4) Where the property of an absentee has been placed under conservatorship due to the fact that the person is missing, or where a legal guardian has been appointed to a person of limited active legal capacity or where a person has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment, the court claim for divorce or termination of registered partnership contract against them may also be filed in the locality of the claimant’s residence.
[RT I, 06.07.2024, 6 – entry into force 01.01.2024]

§ 103.  Jurisdiction over filiation and maintenance cases

 (1) A filiation case is a civil case that deals with a court claim that seeks the ascertainment of filiation or that contests a parent’s entry in the record of the child’s birth or in the Population Register.
[RT I 2009, 30, 177 – entry into force 01.07.2010]

 (2) Estonian courts may consider the filiation case if at least one of the principal parties is a citizen of the Republic of Estonia or has their residence in Estonia.

 (3) In a filiation matter that falls to be dealt with by Estonian courts, the court claim is filed in the locality of the child’s residence. If the child’s residence is not in Estonia, the claim is filed in the locality of the defendant’s residence. If the defendant’s residence is not in Estonia, the claim is filed in the locality of the claimant’s residence.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (4) The provisions of subsections 2 and 3 of this section also apply to maintenance cases. A maintenance case is a civil case that deals with a court claim that seeks:
 1) performance of the parent’s statutory maintenance obligation in respect of an underage child;
 2) performance of a maintenance obligation between parents;
 3) performance of a maintenance obligation between spouses;
 31) performance of a maintenance obligation between registered partners;
[RT I, 06.07.2024, 6 – entry into force 01.01.2024]
 4) performance of any other statutory maintenance obligation.

§ 1031.  Jurisdiction in bankruptcy proceedings

  A court claim related to bankruptcy proceedings or to the bankruptcy debtor’s estate is filed with the court that declared the bankruptcy.
[RT I, 04.01.2021, 4 – entry into force 01.02.2021]

Chapter 15 AGREEMENT ON JURISDICTION 

§ 104.  Agreement on jurisdiction

 (1) Where the court’s jurisdiction is prescribed by an agreement between the principal parties and the dispute relates to the economic or professional activities of both parties – or to those of one party while the other party is the State, a municipality or another public legal person – or if both parties are public legal persons, the court may assume jurisdiction and consider the case.

 (2) An agreement on jurisdiction may also be concluded in a situation where the residence or seat of one or both of the parties is not in Estonia.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection 1 of this section, an agreement on jurisdiction is valid also where:
 1) it has been concluded after the dispute arose;
 2) jurisdiction was agreed upon for the event that, after conclusion of the agreement, the defendant moves their residence or transfers their place of business or seat to a foreign State, or where the defendant’s residence, place of business or seat is not known at the time of filing the court claim.

 (4) Jurisdiction that has been agreed upon is exclusive unless the principal parties have agreed otherwise.

§ 105.  Jurisdiction in situations where the defendant participates in proceedings without raising any objections

  Where the defendant responds to the court claim without contesting the court’s jurisdiction and also where the defendant does not respond to the claim but participates in the trial or hearing without contesting such jurisdiction, the district court may, internationally as well as among Estonian courts, assume jurisdiction and consider the case.

§ 106.  Where the agreement on jurisdiction is void

 (1) An agreement on jurisdiction is void where:
 1) it is contrary to the provisions of subsection 1 of § 104 of this Code;
 2) it does not relate to a specific legal relationship or a dispute arising from such a relationship;
 3) it has been concluded in a form that is not reproducible in writing;
 4) exclusive jurisdiction for filing the court claim is prescribed by law;
 5) one of the parties has been deprived of the jurisdiction of Estonian courts contrary to the principle of good faith.

 (2) In a situation mentioned in clause 4 of subsection 1 of this section, the court may not assume jurisdiction and consider the case even when proceedings take the course described in § 105 of this Code.

§ 107.  Change of territorial jurisdiction during proceedings

  The court of first instance may, by order, transfer the case to another court of first instance if the parties make a joint motion to that effect before the first hearing or, under the written procedure, before expiry of the time limit for filing their submissions.

Chapter 16 TERRITORIAL JURISDICTION IN ACTION-BY-PETITION CASES 

§ 108.  Expedited order-for-payment procedure

  Cases dealt with under the expedited order-for-payment procedure – with the exception of cases of European orders for payment filed under Regulation no. 1896/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council creating a European order for payment procedure (OJ L 399, 30.12.2006, pp. 1–32) are disposed of by the Haapsalu Courthouse of Pärnu District Court.
[RT I, 08.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2022]

§ 109.  Declaring a person legally dead and establishing their time of death

 (1) Estonian courts may declare a person legally dead and determine the time of their death if:
 1) the missing person was a citizen of the Republic of Estonia when they were last heard of, or at the time had their residence in Estonia;
 2) there is another legally relevant interest for Estonian courts grant the declaration and determine the time of death.

 (2) The petition to declare a person legally dead and determine the time of their of their death is filed in the locality of the missing person’s last residence. Where the person is missing on account of the loss of a ship registered in Estonia, the petition is filed in the locality in which the ship’s home port lies.

 (3) In a situation not mentioned in subsection 2 of this section, the petition to declare a person legally dead or determine the time of their death is filed in the locality of the petitioner’s residence or seat. If the petitioner’s residence or seat is not in Estonia, the petition is filed with Harju District Court.

 (4) The motion to amend the time of death or to revoke the declaration of legal death is filed with the court that determined the time of death or declared the person legally dead.

§ 110.  Legal guardianship cases

 (1) A legal guardianship case is a case in which the court is petitioned to appoint a legal guardian to a person, as well as any other case related to legal guardianship. Estonian courts have subject matter jurisdiction in the case if:
 1) the person in need of legal guardianship – or the ward – is a citizen of the Republic of Estonia, or has their residence in Estonia;
 2) the person in need of legal guardianship – or the ward – needs the protection of Estonian courts due to another reason, including situations where the person’s property is situated in Estonia.

 (2) Where the legal guardianship may be established by Estonian as well as by foreign courts and where a guardian has already been appointed in the foreign State – or proceedings for such an appointment are pending – the appointment of a guardian in Estonia is not required, provided that the decision of the foreign court can be presumed to benefit from recognition in Estonia and not appointing a guardian in Estonia is in the person’s interests.

 (3) A guardianship case is dealt with by the court in whose judicial district the person in need of guardianship has their residence.

 (4) Appointing a legal guardian to a child before the child’s birth is dealt with by the court in whose judicial district the mother has her residence.

 (5) Where the court is petitioned to create a legal guardianship for siblings whose residences are or or who are present in the judicial district of several courts, the guardian is appointed by the court in whose judicial district the residence of the youngest child is situated. Where, in such a situation, guardianship proceedings are already pending before the court, the guardianship case is dealt with by that court.

 (6) If the person in need of guardianship has no residence in Estonia or if the residence cannot be established, the case may be dealt with by the court in whose judicial district the person – or their property – requires protection, or by Harju District Court.

 (7) A matter relating to the ward or their property is dealt with by the court that appointed the legal guardian. The matter may also be dealt with, where a valid reason is present, by the court in whose judicial district the ward has their residence or where the person’s property is situated.

§ 111.  Placing a person in a secure institution

 (1) The case in which the court is petitioned to place a person in a secure institution is dealt with by the court that appointed the legal guardian to, or that deals with the case concerning the creation of legal guardianship for, the person. In any other situations, the case is dealt with by the court in whose judicial district the secure institution is situated. The case may also be dealt with by the court that imposed interim protection measures.
[RT I, 23.02.2011, 1 – entry into force 01.09.2011]

 (2) In a situation mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, the provisions of subsections 1 and 2 of § 110 of this Code apply.

 (3) Interim protection measures may be imposed during the proceedings by any court in whose judicial district the measures need to be applied.

 (4) Other matters related to a person’s placement in a secure institution, including matters of suspension or termination or changing the period of the placement, are dealt with by the court that rendered the disposition under which the person was placed in the institution.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 112.  Placing an absentee’s property under conservatorship

 (1) Cases of placing an absentee’s property under conservatorship are dealt with by the court in whose judicial district the absentee has their residence.

 (2) Where the absentee has no residence in Estonia, the case is dealt with by the court in whose judicial district the property whose placement under conservatorship is sought is situated.

 (3) Other cases related to placing an absentee’s property under conservatorship, including cases of discharging the conservatorship and changing the guardian or varying the conservator’s duties, are dealt with by the court that appointed the conservator.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 113.  Adoption

 (1) An adoption case may be dealt with by Estonian courts if the adoptive parent, one of the spouses wishing to adopt or the child is a citizen of the Republic of Estonia or has their residence in Estonia.

 (2) A petition concerning the adoption is filed in the locality in which the adoptive child has their residence. If the child has no residence in the Republic of Estonia, the petition is filed with Harju District Court.

 (3) A case in which a declaration of invalidity is sought regarding an adoption is dealt with by the court that decided on the adoption.

§ 114.  Extending the active legal capacity of a minor

 (1) A case filed to extend the active legal capacity of a minor may be dealt with by Estonian courts if the minor is a citizen of the Republic of Estonia or has their residence in Estonia.

 (2) A petition to extend the active legal capacity of a minor or a motion to revoke the extension is filed in the locality in which the minor has their residence. If the minor has no residence in Estonia, the petition is filed with Harju District Court.

§ 115.  Ascertaining a person’s filiation and contesting the entry identifying the parent after the parent has passed away

  Where a person seeks to ascertain filiation from a parent who has passed away or where a person contests the entry identifying a parent in the record of the birth of the child or in the Population Register after the person identified as the parent has passed away, the corresponding petition is filed with the court in whose judicial district the parent from whom filiation is to be ascertained or who is identified in the contested entry had their last residence. Where the last residence of the person was outside Estonia or is unknown, the petition is filed with Harju District Court.
[RT I 2009, 30, 177 – entry into force 01.07.2010]

§ 116.  Other action-by-petition cases in family matters

 (1) Unless otherwise provided by law or dictated by the nature of the case, action-by-petition cases in family matters that are not mentioned in this Subchapter are, accordingly, governed by the provisions of § 110 of this Code.

 (2) An action-by-petition case that relates to the legal relationship between spouses, divorced spouses, registered partners or former registered partners is dealt with by the court in whose judicial district the spouses or partners have their common residence, or last had a common residence.
[RT I, 06.07.2024, 6 – entry into force 01.01.2024]

 (3) Where, in a situation mentioned in subsection 2 of this section, the spouses or registered partners had no common residence in Estonia or where neither of the spouses or registered partners currently has their residence in the judicial district in which they last had a common residence, the case is dealt with by the court in whose judicial district the spouse or registered partner whose rights would be circumscribed by the order sought has their residence. If the residence of that spouse or registered partner is not in Estonia, or cannot be established, the case is dealt with by the court in whose judicial district the petitioner has their residence.
[RT I, 06.07.2024, 6 – entry into force 01.01.2024]

 (4) Where territorial jurisdiction cannot be determined under subsections 2 or 3 of this section, the case is dealt with by Harju District Court.

 (5) Interim protection measures in an action-by-petition case in a family matter may be applied by any court in whose judicial district such measures need to be applied.

§ 117.  Imposition of conservation measures on decedents’ estates

 (1) Estonian courts may impose conservation measures on a decedent’s estate located in Estonia regardless of the country whose law is applicable to the succession of the estate or of the country whose public authority or official is empowered under regular jurisdiction rules to conduct proceedings concerning the inheritance.

 (2) Conservation measures are imposed by the court in whose judicial district the succession opens. Where the succession opens in a foreign State and the decedent’s estate is located in Estonia, conservation measures may be imposed by the court in whose judicial district the estate is located.

§ 118.  Territorial jurisdiction in unknown rightholder cases

 (1) The petition to declare a security instrument invalid is filed with the court in whose judicial district the place where the instrument is to be redeemed lies or, where no such place has been provided for, in accordance with regular jurisdiction as applicable to the issuer of the security.

 (2) The petition to initiate unknown rightholder proceedings to preclude the rights of the owner of the item of immovable property is filed by possessor of the immovable following the provisions of § 124 of the Law of Property Act with the court in whose judicial district the property is situated.

 (3) In a situation provided for by § 13 of the Law of Maritime Property Act, the petition to initiate unknown rightholder proceedings to preclude the rights of the ship’s owner is filed by the entitled party with Harju District Court.

 (4) The petition to initiate unknown rightholder proceedings to preclude the rights of an unknown mortgagee (§ 331 of the Law of Property Act) is filed by the owner of the encumbered item of immovable property with the court in whose judicial district the property is situated. The petition to initiate unknown rightholder proceedings to preclude the rights of the maritime mortgagee or the pledgee is filed with Harju District Court – following § 59 of the Law of Maritime Property Act – by the owner of the encumbered ship, or of the pledged property that has been encumbered with a registered movable-property security interest.
[RT I 2009, 30, 178 – entry into force 01.10.2009]

§ 119.  Territorial jurisdiction in action-by-petition cases that relate to a private legal person

  [RT I, 21.06.2014, 8 – entry into force 01.01.2015]
Action-by-petition cases – with the exception of registration cases – that are related to the activities of a company, non-profit association or foundation, including cases related to the appointment of a substitute member of the management board or supervisory board, of an auditor, of the person to carry out a special audit or of a liquidator, as well as cases related to determining the amount of compensation payable to the company’s shareholders are dealt with by Tartu District Court.
[RT I, 01.03.2023, 1 – entry into force 01.05.2023]

§ 120.  Cases concerning apartment ownership rights and co-ownership rights

  Action-by-petition cases that concern apartment ownership rights or co-ownership rights are dealt with by the court that serves the locality in which the immovable property is situated.

§ 1201.  Cases concerning access to a public road and obligatory acquiescence with utility works and with artificial recipients of land improvement systems

  [RT I, 31.05.2018, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2019]
Cases concerning access to a public road and obligatory acquiescence with utility works and with artificial recipients of land improvement systems are dealt with by the court that serves the locality in which the immovable property from which access to the public road is sought is situated or which is to be served by the land improvement system’s artificial recipient whose construction is sought or on which the utility work is located.
[RT I, 31.05.2018, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2019]

§ 121.  Cases concerning recognition of foreign judicial dispositions, declaring such dispositions enforceable and enforcing them

  [RT I, 19.03.2019, 8 – entry into force 01.04.2019]
Unless otherwise provided for by law or treaty, a petition to recognise and grant a declaration of enforceability for a foreign judicial disposition, a motion to refuse to recognise or enforce, or suspend enforcement of the disposition, or any other motion or application in enforcement proceedings is filed in the locality of the residence or seat of the debtor, or with the court in whose judicial district enforcement proceedings are intended to be pursued.
[RT I, 19.03.2019, 8 – entry into force 01.04.2019]

§ 1211.  Cases seeking a declaration of enforceability for an agreement reached as a result of conciliation proceedings

  An agreement reached as a result of conciliation proceedings mentioned in subsection 1 of § 14 of the Conciliation Act is declared enforceable by the court in whose judicial district the proceedings were conducted.
[RT I 2009, 59, 385 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

§ 1212.  Cases seeking recognition of and a declaration of enforceability for a decision of an arbitral tribunal

 (1) A petition to recognise and grant a declaration of enforceability for a decision of an arbitral tribunal made in Estonia or for a decision of a foreign arbitral tribunal, as well as any motions for refusal to recognise or enforce the decision, are filed with Pärnu District Court.

 (2) Unless otherwise provided for by law or treaty, a motion to suspend the enforcement of the decision of a foreign arbitral tribunal as well as any other motions in enforcement proceedings are filed in the locality of the residence or seat of the debtor, or with the court in whose territorial jurisdiction enforcement proceedings are intended to be pursued.

 (3) If one of the parties to the arbitration agreement is a consumer, the petition to recognise and grant a declaration of enforceability for the arbitral decision – or a motion to refuse to recognise or enforce the decision – is filed with the court in whose judicial district the venue of arbitration proceedings is located.
[RT I, 19.03.2019, 8 – entry into force 01.04.2019]

Part 3 VALUE OF CIVIL CASE, CASE COSTS AND SECURITY 

Chapter 17 VALUE OF CIVIL CASE 

§ 122.  Value of the civil case

 (1) ‘Value of the civil case’ means the value of the court claim or the value of the action-by-petition case.

 (2) The value of the court claim is the usual value of that which is sought by the court claim.

 (3) The value of the action-by-petition case is the usual value of that which is petitioned in the case, or the usual value of the operation performed of the court’s own motion.

 (4) Case costs are not taken into account when determining the value of the civil case.

§ 123.  Time that constitutes the point of reference for calculating the value of the civil case

  The point of reference for calculating the value of the civil case is the time of filing the court claim, application or petition.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 124.  Value of the court claim where monetary relief is sought

 (1) Where the court claim seeks a monetary payment, its value is determined by the amount claimed. For an amount claimed in a foreign currency, the value of the court claim is determined by converting the amount into euros using the daily exchange rate of the European Central Bank applicable at the time of filing the claim.
[RT I 2010, 22, 108 – entry into force 01.01.2011]

 (2) Where the claimant seeks, from the defendant, the performance of a non-monetary obligation and also requests assessment of the amount of compensation for harm payable in the event of non-performance, the value of the court claim is determined by the amount requested as compensation for harm.

 (3) The provisions of subsection 1 of this section also apply when petitions for expedited order-for-payment proceedings are filed under the action-by-petition procedure.

§ 125.  Value of the court claim seeking declaratory relief

  The value of the court claim seeking declaratory relief is determined by the value of the benefit that the claimant presumably becomes entitled to if the claim is granted. Where the value of the benefit cannot be determined, the relief sought is deemed to be non-pecuniary.

§ 126.  Value of the court claim where the relief sought relates to an item of property or a right

 (1) In a dispute concerning recovery of an item of property from a certain person’s possession or transfer of ownership of the item or any other dispute concerning ownership or possession of the item, including where the dispute concerns rectification of a mistaken owner entry in the Land Register, the value of the court claim is determined by the value of the item. Unless otherwise provided by law, this applies regardless of whether the case is disposed of on the basis of a contract or of a non-contractual legal relationship,.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) The value of a court claim in a dispute relating to a right is determined by the value of the right.

 (21) [Repealed – RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.07.2012]

 (3) In a dispute concerning the securing of a claim or the security interest that has been created as collateral for the claim, the value of the court claim is determined by the amount of the claim. Where the value of the property object that is subject to the security interest is lower than the value of the claim, the value of the object determines the value of the court claim.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.07.2012]

§ 127.  Value of the court claim in a dispute relating to a real servitude

  The value of the court claim in a dispute related to or stemming from a real servitude is determined by the value of the servitude for the dominant item of immovable property. Where the amount by which the real servitude reduces the value of the servient item is higher than the servitude’s value for the dominant item, the amount by which the value of the servient item is reduced is deemed to be the value of the court claim.

§ 128.  Value of the court claim related to a contract for use

  The value of the court claim in a dispute relating to the validity or duration of a lease contract, commercial lease contract or other similar contract for use is the sum total of the user fees payable for the time – of not more than one year – under dispute. Where the dispute relates to the surrender of possession of an item of immovable property, a construction work or a part of such an item or work due to expiry of the contract, the value of the court claim is the sum total of the user fees payable for one year.

§ 129.  Value of the court claim related to a recurring obligation

 (1) The value of the court claim in a dispute concerning a claim for performance of recurring obligations is the total value of the obligations – but not more than three times the total yearly value of such obligations.

 (2) The value of the court claim in a dispute concerning performance of a statutory maintenance obligation, or concerning a claim for regular monetary payments arising from the causing of a person’s death, of a bodily injury or of harm to a person’s health is the sum total of the payments sought – but not more than the amount that would be received for the nine months following the filing of the claim.

§ 130.  Value of the court claim in a dispute concerning ceasing the use of a standard term

  [Repealed – RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.07.2012]

§ 131.  Value of the court claim to invalidate a resolution of a legal person or declare such a resolution void

  [Repealed – RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.07.2012]

§ 132.  Value of the court claim seeking non-pecuniary relief

 (1) The value of a court claim for non-pecuniary relief is presumed to be 3500 euros unless otherwise prescribed by subsection 11 of this section.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.07.2012]

 (11) The value of a court claim that seeks non-pecuniary relief and that is provided for by subsection 4 of this section is deemed to be 3500 euros.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.07.2012]

 (2) Where non-pecuniary relief is sought, the court may, when setting the value of the court claim, derogate from the provision of subsection 1 of this section, having regard to all circumstances of the case, including the extent and significance of the case as well as the pecuniary situation and income of the parties.

 (3) For court claim value purposes, the relief sought for the causing of a person’s death, or of bodily injury to a person, of harm to a person’s health or to their good name is deemed non-pecuniary relief, provided that the amount of compensation sought is not stated in the court claim and that fair compensation at the court’s discretion is requested.

 (4) For court claim value purposes, the following types of relief are also deemed non-pecuniary:
 1) relief consisting in the protection of possession (§§ 44 and 45 of the Law of Property Act);
 2) relief consisting in the protection of ownership rights in a situation where the violation does not relate to loss of possession (§ 89 of the Law of Property Act);
 3) relief consisting in the grant, in favour of the owner of the item of immovable property recorded in the Land Register, of an order for illegal possession of the item to cease and for the owner’s possession to be restored – except in a situation provided for by the second sentence of § 128 of this Code;
 4) relief consisting in the termination of co-ownership rights;
 5) relief consisting in division of jointly held property;
 6) relief consisting in the set-off of property increments;
 7) relief consisting in an order to cease using an unfair standard term or, for the person recommending its use, to cease recommending such use and to withdraw the corresponding recommendation;
 8) relief consisting in an order by which the legal person’s resolution is invalidated or the declaration is granted that such a resolution is void;
 9) [Repealed – RT I, 04.01.2021, 4 – entry into force 01.02.2021]

 (5) For court claim value purposes, non-pecuniary relief is also deemed to be sought where compulsory enforcement is to be declared inpermissible. The court may not fix the value of the court claim seeking such relief at more than 6000 euros.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.07.2012]

§ 133.  Determining the value of the court claim based on the principal and ancillary claims

 (1) The value of the court claim is calculated based on the principal and ancillary claims.

 (2) When calculating the court claim value of the ancillary claim mentioned in § 367 of this Code, the sum of late interest charges that has accrued by the time of filing the court claim is increased by the amount corresponding to the late interest charges for one year.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.07.2012]

§ 134.  Aggregating the claims to determine the value of the court claim

 (1) To determine the value of the court claim, the claims that it contains are aggregated. Where such claims are alternative, the value of the court claim is determined by the higher-value claim.

 (2) Where the court claim is filed against several jointly and severally liable defendants or where several claimants file a joint seek relief against the same defendant by means of a jointly filed statement of claim, the value of the court claim is determined by the value of the claim.

 (3) Where declaratory relief is sought together with the related pecuniary relief, only the value of the pecuniary relief is deemed to constitute the value of the court claim.

§ 135.  Initiating party states the value of the civil case

  Unless the value of the civil case clearly emerges from the relief sought by the court claim or petition or an earlier application – and has not been determined specifically by law – the claimant, applicant or petitioner states the value in the statement of the court claim, application, petition or appeal.

§ 136.  Court fixes the value of the civil case

 (1) The court fixes the value of the civil case where that value has not been prescribed by law and does not emerge from the statement of the court claim, application or petition. The court may fix the value also where it finds that the value stated by the claimant, applicant or petitioner is unrealistic.

 (2) To fix the value of a civil case, the court may require the parties to proceedings to provide evidence, or arrange an inspection or commission an appraisal by an expert.

 (3) The costs of appraisal by an expert are allocated by the order by which the court fixes the value of the civil case. The court may decide that such costs must be borne, in part or in full, by the principal party who caused the need for the appraisal by failing to state the value of the case, by stating the wrong value or by unfoundedly contesting the value that had been stated.

 (4) The court may vary the order concerning the value of the civil case until, in that judicial instance, the disposition is rendered in the case. The court may also change the value by the judicial disposition that disposes of the case.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (5) [Repealed – RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.07.2012]

§ 137.  Value of the civil case on appeal

 (1) Where an appeal with the circuit court of appeal, or an appeal to the Supreme Court or appeal against an order concluding the proceedings is filed, the value of the civil case remains the same as it was in the first judicial instance, having regard to the scope of the appeal.

 (11) The higher court may change the value of the case if the value has been fixed wrongly in the lower court.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) Where the party has appealed the decision rendered concerning both the court claim and the counterclaim, the values of the court claim and counterclaim disposed of by the appealed judgment are aggregated, provided that the relief sought by the court claim and the counterclaim is not mutually exclusive. Where the relief is mutually exclusive, the higher-value claim determines the value of the appeal.

 (3) When fixing the value of a joint appeal filed by several parties to proceedings, the value of that which is sought by the appeal is taken as the basis.

 (4) [Repealed – RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.07.2012]

 (5) When filing an appeal with the circuit court of appeal or an appeal to the Supreme Court against a judgment rendered under the documentary procedure, as well as against an interim judgment or a partial judgment that reserves the possibility of set-off, the value of the case is presumed to be 1/4 of the value of the case in the first judicial instance.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

Chapter 18 CASE COSTS 

Subchapter 1 General Provisions 

§ 138.  Composition and calculation of case costs

 (1) Case costs are the court costs and out-of-court costs incurred by the parties to proceedings.

 (2) Court costs are the statutory fee and specific costs of considering the case.
[RT I, 08.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2022]

 (3) In each judicial instance, the court keeps a record of the case costs incurred, including of specific costs of considering the case.

§ 139.  Statutory fee

 (1) ‘Statutory fee’ means a sum of money that, by law, is payable to the Republic of Estonia for performance of a procedural operation.

 (2) Payment of the statutory fee is required for the performance of any procedural operation for which the Statutory Fees Act prescribes such a fee.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.07.2012]

 (21) [Repealed – RT I, 21.06.2014, 8 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

 (3) [Repealed – RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.07.2012]

 (4) [Repealed – RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.07.2012]

 (5) No statutory fee is paid on a petition to initiate proceedings in an action-by-petition case that the court may deal with of its own motion. This does not rule out payment of a statutory fee under the judicial disposition.

 (6) No statutory fee is paid on an application for financial aid.

§ 140.  Deposit fee on appeals to the Supreme Court

  [Repealed – RT I, 08.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2022]

§ 141.  Deposit fee on interim relief

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

§ 142.  Deposit fee on motions to set aside a default judgment, to reinstate proceedings or to reinstate a time limit

  [Repealed – RT I, 08.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2022]

§ 143.  Specific costs of considering the case

  Specific costs of considering the case are:
 1) the costs of any witnesses, experts, interpreters and translators as well as the costs of any non-parties that have been incurred in connection with the conduct of an expert assessment and that are compensated for under the Forensic Examination Act;
[RT I 2010, 8, 35 – entry into force 01.03.2010]
 2) costs of obtaining any items of documentary or of physical evidence;
 3) costs of conducting an inspection, including necessary travel expenses incurred by the court;
 4) the costs of service and transmission of procedural documents through an enforcement agent and of the service and transmission of such documents in a foreign State and to extraterritorial citizens of the Republic of Estonia;
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 41) the costs of issue of procedural documents;
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 5) [Repealed – RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.07.2012]
 6) the costs of determining the value of the civil case.

§ 144.  Out-of-court costs

  Out-of-court costs are:
 1) the costs of any representatives and advisers of the parties to proceedings;
 2) travel, postal, communications, accommodation and other similar costs of the parties to proceedings that are incurred in connection with the proceedings;
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 3) losses of wages or salary, or of any other regular earnings, by the parties to proceedings;
 4) the costs of pre-action proceedings provided for by law – unless the court claim was filed later than six months after the end of such proceedings;
 5) the enforcement agent's fee for operations to give effect to interim relief and the costs of enforcing the interim relief order;
 51) the enforcement agent's fee for the service of procedural documents;
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.07.2012]
 52) the enforcement agent's fee for enforcing a European preservation order made under Regulation (EU) No 655/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council and the costs of enforcing the order as well as the fee of the Chamber of Enforcement Agents and Trustees in Bankruptcy for considering a request for obtaining information that is filed under that Regulation;
[RT I, 26.06.2017, 17 – entry into force 06.07.2017]
 6) the costs of considering an application for financial aid towards payment of case costs.
 7) the costs of expedited order-for-payment proceedings;
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.07.2012]
 8) the costs of participation in conciliation proceedings – where the court has directed the parties to undertake such proceedings under subsection 4 of § 4 of this Code or where the proceedings are mandatory pre-action conciliation proceedings provided for by subsection 4 of § 1 of the Conciliation Act.
[RT I 2009, 59, 385 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

§ 145.  Exemption from payment of the statutory fee

  [RT I, 08.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2022]

 (1) The Republic of Estonia as a party to proceedings is exempt from paying the statutory fee.
[RT I, 08.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2022]

 (2) A minor – or the minor’s attorney who has been appointed in accordance with the rules for State-funded legal aid – is exempted from paying the statutory fee on filing an appeal against an order in a case in which the minor has been granted such aid.
[RT I, 08.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2022]

Subchapter 2 Bearing of Case Costs 

§ 146.  Persons who bear case costs

 (1) Case costs are borne by:
 1) the person who applied for initiation of proceedings or performance of another procedural operation;
 2) the person who, by a representation filed with the court or by an agreement, has assumed the duty to bear the costs;
 3) the person who is required to bear the costs under a judicial disposition entered in the case.

 (2) Where the persons who have been required to pay certain case costs in advance have not paid those costs, they are jointly and severally liable for the unpaid costs among themselves and together with any persons from whom those costs have been awarded to the State by a judicial disposition entered in the case, as well as with any other persons obligated to pay the costs.

 (3) In the relationship among the persons obligated to bear case costs, responsibility for bearing the costs lies with the person who is required to bear them under a judicial disposition entered in the case.

§ 147.  Paying the statutory fee

 (1) To obtain performance of an operation for which a statutory fee is charged, the claimant, petitioner or applicant pays the fee in advance. The court claim is not served on the defendant and any procedural operations consequent to the operation for which the fee is charged are not performed before the fee has been paid. The claimant, petitioner or applicant is given a time limit to pay the fee and, if they have not made the payment by the due date, their court claim, petition or application is rejected unless otherwise prescribed by law.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) Where the court claim, petition or application includes several claims or items of relief, and the statutory fee has been paid on at least one of these, that claim or item may not be rejected on account of non-payment of the fee.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) Where the statutory fee that has been paid on an item of relief that has been accepted by the court is less than the amount provided by law, the court requires payment of the amount provided by law. If the claimant fails to make the payment by the due date set by the court, the court dismisses the court claim insofar as the item is concerned.

 (4) Where the amount of the relief sought is increased, a supplementary statutory fee is paid according to the increase in the value of the court claim. If the claimant fails to pay the supplementary fee, the court claim is deemed to have been filed for the amount initially claimed.
[RT I, 21.06.2014, 8 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

 (41) The provisions of subsections 3 and 4 of this section apply accordingly to payment of the statutory fee on a petition or appeal in action-by-petition proceedings.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (5) Where expedited order-for-payment proceedings are transformed into action-by-claim or action-by-petition proceedings, a supplementary statutory fee is paid to cover the part by which the fee for the relief sought exceeds that paid on the petition for expedited proceedings. Where the application is filed to transform expedited order-for-payment proceedings into action-by-claim or action-by-petition proceedings, the case is not accepted before the statutory fee has been paid.
[RT I, 23.12.2022, 1 – entry into force 01.02.2023]

§ 148.  Payment of specific costs of considering the case

 (1) Unless the court rules otherwise, specific costs of considering the case are paid in advance, to the extent ordered by the court, by the party to proceedings who filed the motion or application to which the costs are related. Where the motion or application has been filed by both principal parties or where a witness or an expert is summoned or an inspection is conducted of the court’s own motion, the costs are paid by the parties in equal amounts.

 (2) [Repealed – RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.07.2012]

 (3) Money to cover the costs mentioned in subsections 1 and 2 of this section is paid to the designated bank account or at the court in cash or by an electronic means of payment. To the extent that the court accepts statutory fees, it also accepts cash.
[RT I, 31.01.2014, 6 – entry into force 01.04.2014]

 (4) Where the party who was required to pay the costs mentioned in subsections 1 and 2 of this section in advance does not do so by the due date set by the court, the court may refuse to perform the operation sought by the motion or application.

 (5) The order by which the court states that it will only act once the specific costs of considering the case have been paid in advance may be appealed if the relief sought by the appeal exceeds 640 euros. The order if the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.
[RT I 2010, 22, 108 – entry into force 01.01.2011]

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

§ 149.  Payment and refund of deposit fees

  [Repealed – RT I, 08.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2022]

§ 150.  Refunding the statutory fee and other court costs

 (1) The statutory fee that has been paid is refunded:
 1) in the amount by which the fee that was paid exceeds the prescribed sum;
 2) if the corresponding court claim, application or petition is rejected;
 3) if the corresponding court claim, application or petition is dismissed, with the exception of situations where the court claim is dismissed due to it being withdrawn by the claimant, due to both parties’ or the claimant’s not appearing for the trial or hearing, due to the claimant’s not complying with the court's direction to find themselves an interpreter or translator or a representative who is proficient in Estonian, or due to the claimant’s not providing a security to cover the defendant’s expected case costs;
 4) where the petition for expedited order-for-payment proceedings is denied in situations provided for by clauses 1, 2 and 4 of subsection 2 of § 483 of this Code;
[RT I, 08.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2022]
 5) to the person who filed the appeal against the order, or to the person who filed – with the district court – the appeal against a decision of the Industrial Property Tribunal, if their appeal is granted, provided there are no other parties to proceedings, or provided the court does not order another party to proceedings to pay the fee;
 6) to the person who filed the appeal against the order by which the court decided not to reinstate a time limit, provided their appeal is granted;
 7) where the motion to reinstate proceedings, to resume proceedings or to reinstate the time limit is granted in part or in full.
[RT I, 08.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2022]

 (2) One half of the statutory fee paid in the proceedings is refunded where:
 1) the principal parties or, in an action-by-petition case, the parties to proceedings conclude a compromise;
 2) the claimant abandons the court claim;
 3) prior to the making public, in its entirety, of the judgment of the court of first instance, the principal parties waive the right appeal the judgment.

 (3) Where the court claim, application or petition is dismissed or proceedings are terminated on account of a compromise having been approved in the case or of the court claim having been abandoned, the statutory fee that has been paid in the previous judicial instance or in expedited order-for-payment proceedings is not refunded.
[RT I, 23.12.2022, 1 – entry into force 01.02.2023]

 (31) Where a motion to reinstate proceedings is granted in part or in full, the statutory fee is not refunded and is charged to State revenue if the court claim or summons was served in accordance with the requirements provided by this Code – including where it was served by public notice – and if granting the claim by default judgment was allowed. In the aforementioned situation, the court may refund the fee if the defendant was unable to respond to the claim or appear at the trial or hearing because of an accident or illness of which it was not possible for the them to notify the court.
[RT I, 08.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2022]

 (32) Where an appeal to the Supreme Court or a petition to review a judicial disposition that has entered into effect is rejected or denied, the statutory fee is charged to State revenue.
[RT I, 08.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2022]

 (33) Where expedited order-for-payment proceedings are transformed into action-by-petition proceedings, any amount by which the statutory fee that was paid on the petition for expedited proceedings exceeds what is required in action-by-petition proceedings is not refunded.
[RT I, 23.12.2022, 1 – entry into force 01.02.2023]

 (4) The statutory fee is refunded by the last court to deal with the case, strictly on the motion of the party to proceedings who paid the fee or for whom the fee was paid. In situations mentioned in clauses 2 and 3 of subsection 1 of this section, the specific costs of considering the case are deducted from the amount to be refunded. The fee is refunded to the party to proceedings who was required to pay it or, where the party so instructs, to another person.

 (5) The claimant’s abandoning the court claim does not restrict the defendant's right to seek the award – following the rules provided by subsection 4 of § 168 of this Code – from the claimant of the full amount of the defendant’s case costs, including any statutory fees that have been paid.

 (6) A claim for the refunding of the statutory fee is extinguished when two years have elapsed after the end of the year during which the fee was paid, but not before the proceedings have been concluded by a disposition that has entered into effect.

 (7) Any payments in excess of the specific costs of considering the case that have been made by or for a party to proceedings as required by the court are refunded, and the same applies where the operation whose costs were paid in advance is dispensed with or if it does not entail any costs for the State. The amount is refunded in accordance with the rules provided by subsections 4–6 of this section.

 (8) The order by which the district court or circuit court of appeal refused to refund the statutory fee or specific costs of considering the case may be appealed provided the amount whose refund was applied for exceeds 100 euros. The order rendered by the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.
[RT I, 08.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2022]

Subchapter 3 Costs Related to Witnesses, Experts, Interpreters and Translators and Other Costs Related to Giving Evidence 

§ 151.  Compensation for witnesses, fees for experts, interpreters and translators

 (1) The provisions of this Subchapter govern the payment of compensation to witnesses and of fees to experts, interpreters and translators who participated in the proceedings.

 (2) The provisions of this Subchapter, except for § 159, do not apply to the employees of the court or of any other authority of the State who, when used in the capacity of an interpreter, translator or expert, were performing their job duties. The scope of and rules for compensation for the costs of a staff interpreter or translator are enacted by the Government of the Republic. The costs of an expert assessment conducted by a public forensic institution are compensated in the scope and following the rules provided by the Forensic Examination Act.
[RT I 2010, 8, 35 – entry into force 01.03.2010]

 (3) Where a witness, expert, interpreter or translator has performed their duty, the court pays them the compensation or fee that they are due regardless of whether advance payment of the costs has been made by, or whether the court has collected the same, from the parties to proceedings.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 152.  Payment of witness compensation

 (1) Witnesses are paid witness compensation. Witness ompensation means compensation for loss of salary or wages or of any other regular earnings. Witness compensation is also paid where a written response has been provided to an evidentiary question.

 (2) The amount of witness compensation is calculated based on the hourly rate of the witness’s gross average earnings multiplied by the number of hours the witness was absent from work.

 (3) The court assesses the hourly rate of the witness’s compensation within the limits of the minimum and maximum hourly rate enacted by a regulation of the Government of the Republic.

 (4) Where testifying in the case has not caused any loss of earnings to the witness or where the witness has no earnings, they are paid witness compensation based on the lowest rate.

§ 153.  Payment of fees to experts, interpreters and translators

 (1) Experts, interpreters and translators are paid remuneration for the performance of their duties in the form of hourly fees within the minimum and maximum limits enacted by a regulation of the Government of the Republic. The hourly fee payable to experts, interpreters and translators may not be lower than the minimum authorised hourly fee payable to an employed person and may not exceed it by more than 50 times.
[RT I 2010, 8, 35 – entry into force 01.03.2010]

 (2) When assessing the hourly fee, the court considers the qualifications of the expert, interpreter or translator, the complexity of the work, any unavoidable costs incurred in relation to the use of necessary means as well as any special circumstances under which the expert assessment had to be conducted or the interpretation or translation made.

 (3) A person who translated a document is paid a fee for each translated page at the rate enacted by a regulation of the Government of the Republic. The Government of the Republic may also, by regulation, enact a fixed fee for certain types of expert assessment, interpretation or translation.

 (4) Where the expert, interpreter or translator so requests, the fee may be paid to their employer or to any other person with whom the expert, interpreter or translator has a contractual relationship, on that person’s invoice.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 154.  Foreign witness, expert, interpreter or translator

  A witness, expert, interpreter or translator who resides in a foreign State may be paid a compensation or fee that is higher than what has been enacted by the Government of the Republic if such a compensation or fee is usual in their country of residence and the person's participation in the proceedings is inescapably necessary. The Government of the Republic may, by regulation, enact specific rules for the payment of compensation or fees at a higher rate.
[RT I 2006, 7, 42 – entry into force 04.02.2006]

§ 155.  Reimbursement of costs to experts

 (1) The expert is also reimbursed for costs related to the preparation and creation of the expert opinion, including necessary expenses for support staff and for materials and means used for the expert investigation.

 (2) Reimbursement of the costs mentioned in subsection 1 of this section is made up to the amount equivalent to 20% of the expert's fee.

§ 156.  Reimbursement of travel expenses

 (1) Reasonable travel costs that are related to the proceedings are reimbursed to the witness, expert, interpreter or translator.

 (2) The Government of the Republic may, by regulation, enact ceilings for the travel costs to be reimbursed and specify the types of costs that are reimbursed.

§ 157.  Reimbursement of other costs

  Other necessary costs stemming from judicial proceedings – first and foremost, the cost of room and board – are reimbursed to the witness, expert, interpreter or translator within the limits enacted by the Government of the Republic.

§ 158.  Advance payment of costs

 (1) Where a witness, expert, interpreter or translator who has been summoned to court does not have sufficient funds for the journey or cannot be reasonably expected to lay out the amount needed, they are, on their motion, paid their costs in advance.

 (2) Where the tasks that the expert, interpreter or translator carries out on the court’s instructions prevent them – completely or in principal part – from pursuing their usual professional activities, a reasonable advance payment is made to the expert, interpreter or translator on their motion. The expert may also make a motion for advance payment if creation of the expert opinion requires considerable expenditure that the expert cannot be reasonably expected to lay out themselves.

§ 159.  Assessing the costs

 (1) The amount of compensation payable to the witness, or of the fee payable to the expert, interpreter or translator, and the costs to be reimbursed to these persons are assessed by the court that enlisted their assistance. The court sends a copy of the order to the authority designated by administrative decree of the Minister in charge of the policy sector.
[RT I, 28.12.2011, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2012]

 (11) The compensation payable to the witness and the fees payable to the expert, interpreter or translator, as well as and reimbursements for their costs include the applicable taxes that have been provided for by tax laws and that are withheld or, where this is needed, paid out to the person participating in the proceedings by the authority making the payment. Where – according to the notification provided by the individual recipient – the amount constitutes the person’s business income or where the payment is made to the employer of the person entitled to receive it and tax laws do not provide otherwise, the authority executing the court’s order transfers the entire amount prescribed by the order.
[RT I 2010, 8, 35 – entry into force 01.03.2010]

 (2) The witness, expert, interpreter, translator, a party to the proceedings or the Republic of Estonia (through the Ministry of Justice) may appeal the order – of the district court or of the circuit court of appeal – that is mentioned in subsection 1 of this section or the order by which the court refuses to assess the costs, provided the amount that was assessed by the court or requested in the motion exceeds 100 euros. The order of the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal against the order of the district court cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.
[RT I 2010, 22, 108 – entry into force 01.01.2011]

§ 160.  Rules for payment of compensation and fees

 (1) Witness compensation and experts', interpreters' and translators' fees are paid only on a corresponding request.

 (2) The claim for the payment of witness compensation and for reimbursement of the witness’s costs is extinguished when three months have elapsed from the time when the witness last participated in the proceedings – if the witness has not filed, with the court, the motion to pay the compensation and reimburse the costs. The court informs the witness of the time limit and of the legal consequences of its expiry.

 (3) The court may set a time limit of at least 30 days for the expert, interpreter or translator to file the total sum of their claim. When such a time limit is set, the expert, interpreter or translator is also informed of the consequences of its expiry.

 (4) The expert’s, interpreter’s or translator’s claim is extinguished if they do not file it within the time limit set by the court. The expert, interpreter or translator may request reinstatement of the time limit if they were prevented from respecting it by a valid reason. A motion to reinstate the time limit may be filed within 14 days following elimination of the circumstance that prevented the filing, and substantiation of the requirements for reinstatement. No statutory fee is paid on the motion.
[RT I, 08.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2022]

 (5) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections 3 and 4 of this section, the expert’s, interpreter’s or translator’s claim is extinguished when one year has elapsed following its accrual.

 (6) Any excess compensation or costs paid to the witness or excess fees or costs paid to the expert, interpreter or translator may be reclaimed by order of the court provided the order is served on the person obligated to make the payment within one year following the making of the excess payment. The order of the district court or of the circuit court of appeal may be appealed provided the amount concerned by the appeal exceeds 100 euros. The order of the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal against the order of the district court cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.
[RT I, 08.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2022]

§ 161.  Reimbursement of other costs related to provision of items of evidence

 (1) Where the person who provided a document or an item of physical evidence to the court or who allowed the document or item to be inspected, or who handed over an item of property for expert assessment or allowed the assessment to be conducted, is not a party to the proceedings, they have a right to claim that the State reimburse them for the necessary costs that they incurred in connection with the corresponding procedural operation. The costs incurred by a person in connection with the conduct of an expert assessment are reimbursed following the requirements and in accordance with the rules provided by the Forensic Examination Act concerning reimbursement of expert-assessment-related costs that have been incurred by non-parties.
[RT I 2010, 8, 35 – entry into force 01.03.2010]

 (2) The costs mentioned in subsection 1 of this section are assessed, on a corresponding motion, by the court that arranged for the procedural operation. The court also sends a copy of the order to the authority designated by administrative decree of the Minister in charge of the policy sector.
[RT I, 28.12.2011, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2012]

 (3) The claim for reimbursement of costs is extinguished when three months have elapsed following the time at which the procedural operation was performed if the person entitled to the reimbursement does not file an application for reimbursement of the costs with the court. The court informs the person entitled to the reimbursement of the time limit and of the legal consequences of its expiry.

 (4) The applicant, a party to proceedings or the Republic of Estonia (through the Ministry of Justice) may appeal the order mentioned in subsection 2 of this section – or the order by which the court refuses to assess the costs – provided the amount that was assessed by the court or whose reimbursement was applied for exceeds 100 euros. The order of the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal against the order of the district court cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.
[RT I, 08.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2022]

Subchapter 4 Allocation of Case Costs 

§ 162.  Allocation of case costs in action-by-claim proceedings

 (1) The costs of action-by-claim proceedings are borne by the principal party against whom the case is decided.

 (2) Among other things, the principal party against whom the case is decided compensates, to the other party, the necessary out-of-court costs that arose as a result of judicial proceedings in the case. Out-of-court costs that would be compensated to a witness – including compensation for loss of salary or wages or of any other regular earnings – are compensated to the principal party on the same grounds and within the same limits as they are compensated to witnesses.

 (3) The case costs of the principal party’s statutory representative are reimbursed according to the same rules that apply to reimbursement of costs to the party.

 (4) In situations where imposing the obligation to pay the opposing party's costs on the principal party against whom the case is decided would be extremely unfair or unreasonable, the court may order the costs to be borne, in their entirety or in part, by the parties themselves.

 (5) [Repealed – RT I, 21.06.2014, 8 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

§ 163.  Allocation of case costs where the court claim is granted in part

 (1) Where the court claim is granted in part, the parties bear the case costs in equal parts unless the court allocates those costs in proportion to the extent to which the claim was granted or decides that the costs must be borne, in their entirety or in part, by the parties themselves.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) Where the court claim is granted in part, and the extent of the relief that was granted is similar to the compromise proposed by a principal party, the court may order the principal party who did not accept the compromise to bear all or the majority of the case costs.

§ 164.  Allocation of case costs in family law cases falling under the action-by-claim procedure

 (1) In an action-by-claim matrimonial case or in a filiation case concerning the maintenance of an underage child or in a filiation case, either party bears their own case costs.
[RT I, 22.12.2021, 2 – entry into force 01.01.2022]

 (11) Where the court claim to ascertain filiation is granted, the case costs are borne by the defendant. When granting such a claim, the court may order the costs, in their entirety or in part, to be borne by the party who incurred them, provided that ordering the defendant to bear the costs of the opposing party would be extremely unfair to the defendant, or unreasonable.
[RT I, 30.12.2014, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2015]

 (12) Where an underage child’s claim for maintenance is denied, the statutory representative who filed the court claim in the child’s name may be ordered to bear the costs – in their entirety or in part – if the representative did not exercise their procedural rights in good faith when filing the claim or during proceedings on the claim.
[RT I, 22.12.2021, 2 – entry into force 01.01.2022]

 (2) The court may allocate the case costs differently from what has been provided for by subsection 1 of this section if the dispute stems from property relations of spouses or registered partners or if such an allocation of the costs would be unfair – among other things, if the allocation would be excessively prejudicial to the material needs of one of the spouses or registered partners.
[RT I, 06.07.2024, 6 – entry into force 01.01.2024]

 (3) In a maintenance case that the defendant has caused to be brought by not providing complete information concerning their earnings or property, the court may – regardless of the outcome of the proceedings – order the case costs, in their entirety or in part, to be borne by the defendant.

§ 165.  Allocation of case costs between co-claimants and co-defendants

 (1) Where the decision is made against co-claimants or co-defendants, the co-claimants or co-defendants are liable for the case costs in equal parts unless the court determines otherwise. Where different persons participate in proceedings to a different extent, the court may base the allocation of costs on the extent of their participation.

 (2) A co-claimant or co-defendant does not bear additional case costs on account of a representation, motion, application, assertion, item of evidence, appeal or contestation filed by another co-claimant or co-defendant. This also applies where, under subsection 3 of § 207 of this Code, the effect of procedural operations performed by a co-claimant or co-defendant extends to other co-claimants or co-defendants.

 (3) Where the court decides against defendants who are joint and several debtors, the defendants are also jointly and severally liable for case costs. This does not preclude or restrict the application of the provisions of subsection 2 of this section.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 166.  Allocation of case costs when the principal party is substituted and the disputed property object is transferred

  Where a principal party is substituted and the disputed property object is transferred or the disputed claim is assigned, the substituted party and the substituting party, jointly and severally, bear the case costs of the opposing party if the case is decided in favour of that party. The court allocates the costs differently where it is manifest that allocating the costs in the manner indicated above would be unfair.

§ 167.  Case costs of a third party without an independent claim

 (1) The case costs of a third party without an independent claim or of such a party’s representative are reimbursed – according to the rules that apply to reimbursement of case costs to a principal party – by the principal party opposing the party in support of whom the third party appeared in the case, to the extent that the opposing party bears such costs according to the provisions of this Subchapter.

 (2) If the opposing party is not required to reimburse the costs, these are borne by the third party without an independent claim. This does not preclude or prejudice the right of the third party to seek reimbursement of the costs on a ground provided for by private law.

 (3) A third party without an independent claim bears the case costs caused to other parties to proceedings by that party’s representations, applications or appeals unless such costs are borne by the principal party opposing the party in support of whom the third party appeared in the case.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 168.  Allocation of case costs where the case is rejected, proceedings are terminated or the court claim is dismissed or admitted

 (1) Where the court rejects and returns the court claim, the claimant bears the case costs.

 (2) Where the court claim is dismissed or where proceedings are terminated by an order and subsections 3–5 of this section do not provide otherwise, the claimant bears the case costs.

 (3) Where a compromise is concluded, the principal parties bear their own case costs unless they have agreed otherwise.

 (4) Where the claimant abandons or withdraws the court claim, they bear the defendant's case costs, except where the abandonment or withdrawal resulted from the defendant’s providing satisfaction to the claim after the filing of the court claim.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (5) Where the claimant abandons or withdraws the court claim because the defendant has provided satisfaction to the claim after the filing of the court claim, the defendant bears the claimant's case costs.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (6) Where the defendant admits the court claim forthwith, the claimant bears the case costs – unless the defendant’s conduct was the reason for the filing of the claim.

§ 169.  Case costs triggered by delays in proceedings

 (1) A party to proceedings who allows the time limit of a procedural operation to expire or who, by belatedly raising objections or producing evidence or otherwise causes a procedural operation to be moved up or postponed or the trial or hearing of the case to be postponed or a time limit to be extended bears the additional case costs that stem from this. Among other things – regardless of the outcome of the proceedings – where a delay in serving a procedural document on a party to proceedings was caused by inaccurate particulars concerning the person appearing in the Population Register, the Commercial Register or the Register of Non-profit Associations and Foundations, the party may be ordered to bear the costs caused by the service.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) Regardless of whether the court claim is granted, the additional case costs related to reinstatement of a time limit, to the filing of the motion to reinstate proceedings or to resume proceedings are borne by the person who filed the corresponding motion.

 (3) Case costs related to the filing and contestation of a motion or application that was denied or to the offering of an argument or production of an item of evidence that was disregarded may be imposed – regardless of the outcome of the proceedings – on the party who filed the motion or application or who offered the argument or produced the item.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 170.  Costs related to preliminary taking of evidence

 (1) Court costs in proceedings for the preliminary taking of evidence that were conducted to safeguard the evidence or establish a fact ahead of main proceedings in the case are borne by the person on whose application the proceedings were initiated.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

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

 (3) The costs of proceedings for the preliminary taking of evidence are taken into account when allocating costs in the main proceedings.

§ 171.  Special rules concerning the bearing of case costs in the higher court

 (1) Where an appeal against a judgment or order, or an appeal to the Supreme Court, or a petition for review of a judicial disposition that has entered into effect is filed and the appeal or petition is denied, the case costs that were triggered by it are borne by the person who filed it.

 (2) Where the case is decided in favour of the person who appealed the judgment or order and the decision is based on a new fact that the person invoked in the appeal although that fact could have been relied on already before the district court, the court may order the costs of the appeal to be borne by the appellant.

 (3) Where the defendant against whom the case was decided by the district court invokes a limitation period before the circuit court of appeal – although they did not invoke it before the district court – and the circuit court of appeal sustains this, the court may order the costs of the appeal to be borne by the defendant.

 (4) Where the petition to review a judicial disposition that has entered into effect is granted, the case costs related to the review are deemed to be part of the costs of the case reviewed.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 172.  Case costs in action-by-petition proceedings

 (1) In action-by-petition proceedings, case costs are borne by the person in whose interests the disposition is rendered. Where several persons participate in such proceedings, the court may decide that the costs, in their entirety or in part, are to be borne by a certain party to proceedings if this is fair considering the circumstances – among other things, if the party has filed an unjustified motion, argument or item of evidence.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) Where the only party to the proceedings is the petitioner or where the court does not impose case costs on other parties, the costs are borne by the petitioner, including the costs of the petitioner's representative, even if the petition is granted. Where an appeal that has been made against an order is granted, the statutory fee for the appeal is refunded following the provisions of § 150 of this Code.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) The costs of placing a person in a secure institution and of related proceedings are borne by the State unless the court – because it considers this to be fair and because the person concerned can be presumed to be able to bear the costs – orders the entirety or a part of those costs to be borne by the person themselves or by their legal guardian. The court may decide that the entirety or a part of the costs of proceedings to appoint a legal guardian to a person or to revoke the appointment, or of proceedings for the application of measures related to legal guardianship, as well as of proceedings in an action-by-petition case in a family matter and of proceedings for the imposition of a restraining order or other similar measure to protect personal rights must be borne by the State.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (4) In action-by-petition proceedings, the costs arising from the imposition of conservation measures on a decedent’s estate are covered by the heirs or beneficiaries according to the provisions concerning obligations of the estate as provided by the Law of Succession Act.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (5) The costs of proceedings to determine the amount of compensation payable to the company’s shareholders are borne by the person required to pay the compensation. If this is fair considering the circumstances, the court may order the entirety or a part of the costs to be borne by the petitioner.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (6) The costs of proceedings for compulsory dissolution of a legal person and of appointing a substitute member of the management board or supervisory board, the auditor, the auditor for a special audit or the liquidator of a legal person and of related proceedings are borne by the legal person. Where this is fair considering the circumstances, the court may order the entirelty or a part of the costs to be borne by the petitioner or another person.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (7) Where the court initiates proceedings under the action-by-petition procedure as a result of a person’s actions or petition and the proceedings are unjustified and were caused by the person intentionally or by gross negligence, the court may order the entirety or a part of the case costs to be borne by the person who caused the proceedings. Where proceedings may only be initiated on petition and the petition is denied, the court orders the the petitioner to bear the case costs unless otherwise provided for by law.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (8) In action-by-petition proceedings, necessary out-of-court costs are compensated to the parties to proceedings on the same basis as reimbursements payable to witnesses. Compensation for out-of-court costs can be requested only if the court decides that these must be borne by a party to proceedings. The State may be ordered to bear out-of-court costs only if financial aid was granted to a person to cover such costs. This also applies in a situation mentioned in subsection 3 of this section.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
[RT I, 03.05.2017, 22 – entry into force 02.05.2017 – Judgment of the Supreme Court en banc declares the third sentence of subsection 8 of § 172 of the Code of Civil Procedure to be contrary to the Constitution and invalid insofar as it does not allow the State to be ordered to bear out-of-court costs where the decision is made not to impose an entrepreneurial disqualification for the duration of proceedings on a person who has not received financial aid in the case.]

 (9) The costs of expedited order-for-payment proceedings are borne by the debtor if the order for payment is issued as well as in a situation provided for by § 4881 of this Code; in other situations, the costs are borne by the petitioner, unless otherwise provided by law. In all other respects, the provisions concerning case costs in action-by-claim proceedings apply. Where an order-for-payment case is transformed to be dealt with in action-by-claim proceedings, the costs of expedited order-for-payment proceedings are included in action-by-claim case costs.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (10) The statutory fee payable on appealing a decision of an enforcement agent and on petitioning the court for performance of an official notarial operation is borne by the party to proceedings against whom the case is decided.
[RT I 2010, 26, 128 – entry into force 14.06.2010]

Subchapter 5 Assessment of Case Costs 

§ 173.  Determining the allocation of case costs in the judicial disposition

 (1) The court that dealt with the case states the allocation of case costs to the parties to proceedings in its judgment or in the order by which it concludes the proceedings, including in the order by which it disposes of the petition in action-by-petition proceedings or of the petition to review a judicial disposition that has entered into effect, or rejects or dismisses the court claim or an aforementioned petition, or terminates proceedings in the case. The next court to deal with the case states, in its disposition, the allocation of all case costs that have been borne so far. Where this is needed, any special arrangements concerning the bearing of case costs in the various judicial instances, including in pre-action proceedings, must be stated.

 (2) The allocation of case costs must be set out in the judicial disposition even if the parties to proceedings have not made the corresponding motion.

 (3) If the higher court varies the disposition entered in the case or renders a new disposition without remanding the case for retrial or for a new hearing, the court, where this is needed, accordingly changes the allocation of case costs. If the higher court sets aside the lower court’s disposition and remands the case for retrial or for a new hearing, including where the Supreme Court grants a petition for review, the higher court defers the matter of allocation of case costs to the lower court.

 (4) When allocating case costs, the court specifies the costs that are to be borne by each party to the proceedings, with the exception of the money amounts involved. Where this is needed, the court determines a pro rata allocation of costs to the parties. Where several parties, primarily co-claimants or co-defendants, are ordered to bear costs jointly, the disposition must state whether they are liable for the costs jointly or jointly and severally.

 (5) The court does not state the allocation of case costs in an interim judgment, in a partial judgment that reserves the possibility of set-off and in a judgment given in documentary proceedings and containing a reservation that allows it to be contested – provided the court continues to consider the case. In such a situation, the allocation of case costs is provided in the final judgment.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 174.  Court’s authority to assess case costs

  [RT I, 21.05.2014, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2015]

 (1) To the extent that this is necessary and reasonable, the money amounts of case costs are assessed – based on the allocation of costs – by the court that deals with the case in connection with which the costs arose. The court, based on the list of case costs or the materials of the case, assesses the money amounts even if the parties to proceedings have not filed a motion to assess these.

 (2) The district court assesses the money amounts of case costs in the judgment or in the order that concludes the proceedings provided the assessment does not interfere with the rendering of the judgment or order.

 (3) Where the district court has assessed the money amounts of case costs in its judgment or in the order that concluded the proceedings and the judgment or order is appealed, the higher court that deals with the appeal assesses the money amounts of case costs in that judicial instance.

 (4) Where the district court that dealt with the case has not assessed case costs in its judgment or in the order that concluded the proceedings, the district court assesses the money amounts of such costs after the entry into effect of the judgment or order following the rules provided by subsection 2 of § 177 of this Code. When dealing with an appeal against such a judgment or order of the district court, the higher court does not assess the money amounts of the costs.

 (5) Where the lower court assessed the money amounts of case costs in its judgment or in the order that concluded the proceedings and the higher court varies that disposition or enters a new disposition without remanding the case for retrial or for a new hearing, the higher court, where this is needed, amends the amounts assessed by the lower court.

 (6) Where the higher court sets aside the lower court’s disposition in its entirety or in part and, on issues concerning which the disposition was set aside, remands the case for retrial or for a new hearing – including where the Supreme Court grants the petition to review a judicial disposition that has entered into effect – the money amounts of the case costs related to the issues concerning which the disposition was set aside are assessed by the lower court to deal with the case.

 (7) Where a petition to review a judicial disposition that has entered into effect is denied, rejected or dismissed, or where proceedings in the case are terminated, the money amounts of case costs are assessed by the Supreme Court.

 (8) The court assesses the money amounts of case costs in action-by-petition proceedings, without prejudice to special rules provided by this Subchapter.

 (9) Reimbursement of case costs to a party to proceedings is not precluded by the fact that the costs have been borne for the party by another person.

 (10) To be reimbursed for the value added tax charged on case costs, the party to proceedings must affirm that they do not have a value added tax registration or cannot, due to other reasons, recover the value added tax on the costs that have been incurred.

 (11) A party to proceedings may not – outside the assessment of case costs under this Code or to an extent that exceeds the amounts so assessed – seek reimbursement of such costs, as compensation for harm or by any other similar method, from the party required to bear them.
[RT I, 21.05.2014, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2015]

 (12) Where a European preservation order is applied for under Regulation (EU) No 655/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council in a situation mentioned in point (b) of Article 5, the costs of proceedings on the application may be assessed separately from other case costs.
[RT I, 26.06.2017, 17 – entry into force 06.07.2017]

§ 1741.  Assessment of case costs and determining their allocation

  [Repealed – RT I, 21.05.2014, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2015]

§ 175.  Reimbursing the costs of contractual representatives

 (1) Where, under the judicial disposition that determines the allocation of case costs, a party to proceedings is required to bear the costs of the contractual representative who represented another party, the court awards such costs insofar as they were justified and necessary. ‘Contractual representative’ means an attorney who represents the party in the proceedings or another representative under the provisions of § 218 of this Code.
[RT I, 21.05.2014, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2015]

 (11) Where the party to proceedings who, under the allocation of costs that was determined in the case, is obligated to bear the costs of the contractual representative who represented another party in the proceedings, does not object to such costs, the court may confine itself to making sure that the costs of the contractual representative do not exceed the ceiling value enacted by a regulation of the Government of the Republic under subsection 4 of this section.
[RT I, 21.05.2014, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2015]

 (2) From the costs related to the employee of a party to proceedings who represents that party, only travel expenses are reimbursed. The costs of an adviser are not reimbursed.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) The costs incurred by retaining several contractual representatives are reimbursed provided they are due to the complexity of the case or the need to change the representative.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (31) [Repealed – RT I, 09.04.2021, 1 – entry into force 19.04.2021]

 (4) [Invalid – RT I, 03.07.2014 – entry into force 26.06.2014 – subsection 4 of § 175 of the Code of Civil Procedure is declared unconstitutional and invalid by order of the Supreme Court en banc ]

§ 176.  Filing and service of documents related to case costs

  [RT I, 21.05.2014, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2015]

 (1) Where the case is tried or considered at a hearing, a list of case costs that states their detailed composition is filed – for assessing the money amounts of the costs – with the court before the concluding statements are heard. The court sets a time limit for filing a list of the costs related to participation in the trial or in the hearing in which consideration of the case was concluded. The time limit mentioned in the previous sentence may not exceed three working days following the trial or hearing.

 (2) Where the case is dealt with under the written procedure, the court – before rendering its judgment or making the order that concludes the proceedings – sets a time limit for the parties to proceedings to file their list of case costs.

 (3) The time limit that the court sets for the claimant to file the list of case costs in order for these to be assessed for the default judgment to be rendered under § 413 of this Code may not exceed three working days following the trial.

 (4) The list of case costs is filed in each judicial instance that deals with the case regarding costs that are related to proceedings in that instance.

 (5) A party to proceedings must affirm that all costs filed with the court for assessing the money amounts of case costs have been incurred in connection with judicial proceedings.

 (6) The court may set a time limit for a party to proceedings to provide details concerning the case costs to be reimbursed or require the party to produce documents to prove the costs. Production of the documents is not necessary if the court does not require it.

 (7) The list of case costs and the corresponding evidence is served on the opposing party without delay.

 (8) The court sets a time limit for the parties to proceedings to make submissions concerning the opposing party’s case costs. The time limit may not exceed seven days following service of the list of case costs and of the corresponding evidence.
[RT I, 21.05.2014, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2015]

§ 177.  Judicial disposition that assesses case costs

  [RT I, 21.05.2014, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2015]

 (1) The court assesses the money amounts of case costs:
 1) in its judgment or in the order that concludes the proceedings or
 2) by an order entered after the judgment disposing of the case on the merits – or the order that concludes the proceedings – has entered into effect.

 (2) Where the court has not assessed the money amounts of case costs in accordance with clause 1 of subsection 1 of this section, the district court that disposed of the case on the merits assesses the amounts by an order that it makes within a reasonable period of time following the entry into effect of the judgment or of the order that concludes the proceedings.

 (3) The judicial disposition that assesses the money amounts of case costs is served on the parties to proceedings.

 (4) On a motion of a party to proceedings, the court states, in the judicial disposition in which it assesses case costs, that late interest at the rate prescribed by the second sentence of subsection 1 of § 113 of the Law of Obligations Act must be paid on the costs to be reimbursed starting from the entry into effect of the disposition by which the amounts of the costs were assessed until the disposition has been complied with.

 (5) Where the court has not stated its opinion concerning all case costs that have been filed or that appear from the materials of the case, a party to proceedings may request that the court supplement the judgment or order concerning the costs. Supplementation may be requested within ten days following service of the judgment or order by which the costs were assessed.

 (6) Where case costs are assessed in accordance with clause 2 of subsection 1 of this section, the court may – provided that no objections are filed with the court within the time limit mentioned in subsection 8 of § 176 of this Code and provided the court assesses the money amounts of the costs following the list of such costs – assess the money amounts by an order that does not include a descriptive part and a statement of reasons. Supplementing the order with the part that has been omitted is, accordingly, subject to the provisions of subsection 41 of § 448 of this Code.
[RT I, 21.05.2014, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2015]

§ 178.  Contesting the assessment of case costs

 (1) The allocation of case costs can be contested only by filing an appeal against the judicial disposition by which the allocation was determined. The amount of case costs to be reimbursed can be contested by filing an appeal against the judicial disposition by which the money amounts of the costs were assessed.

 (2) The appeal against the assessment of case costs may be filed by the person entitled to be reimbursed for the costs or the person obligated to bear these, provided the contested amount of the costs exceeds 280 euros.
[RT I, 08.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2022]

 (3) [Invalid – RT I, 02.02.2016, 7 – entry into force 01.02.2016 – by judgment of the Supreme Court en banc, subsection 3 of § 178 of the Code of Civil Procedure is declared contrary to the Constitution and invalid]

 (4) The costs incurred when contesting the assessment of case costs are not reimbursed.
[RT I, 21.05.2014, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2015]

§ 179.  Awarding case costs in favour of the Republic of Estonia and collecting such costs

 (1) In the disposition rendered in the case or by a separate order, the court that deals with the case awards, from the obligated party and in favour of the State, any case costs that must be paid to the State and that do not result from the State's participation in judicial proceedings in the case, including any statutory fee that has not been paid or that has been paid below the required amount or any financial aid costs awarded to the State.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) After the entry into effect of the disposition rendered in the case, the costs mentioned in subsection 1 of this section may be awarded by order of the court before which the costs arose as well as of the district court that dealt with the case. The order may not be made when more than two years have elapsed following the entry into effect of the disposition.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (21) The court may – by a separate document – add, to the disposition mentioned in subsections 1 and 2 of this section by which case costs or financial aid costs were awarded in favour of the Republic of Estonia, the particulars that are required to satisfy the corresponding claim.
[RT I, 21.06.2014, 11 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

 (22) The list of particulars required to satisfy the claim mentioned in subsection 21 of this section and the technical requirements for stating these are 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]

 (3) The person obligated to pay case costs or the Republic of Estonia (through an authority designated by administrative decree of the Minister in charge of the policy sector) may appeal the order, of the district court or of the circuit court of appeal, mentioned in subsections 1 and 2 of this section, provided the value of the appeal exceeds 100 euros. The order of the circuit court of appeal concerning an appeal against the order of the district court cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.
[RT I, 08.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2022]

 (4) Following the entry into effect of a disposition by which case costs – that did not result from participation of the State in judicial proceedings in the case – are awarded in favour of the State, or of an order imposing a fine or of any other similar disposition by which a person is ordered to pay a sum of money, the court, without delay, sends a copy of the disposition to the authority designated by administrative decree of the Minister in charge of the policy sector.
[RT I, 28.12.2011, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2012]

 (5) A person who has been obligated by a judicial disposition to pay money into State revenue must comply with the disposition within 15 days following its entry into effect unless the disposition is enforceable without delay or sets a different time limit.

 (51) The case costs mentioned in this section are paid and set off in accordance with the rules provided by the Taxation Act.
[RT I, 31.01.2014, 6 – entry into force 01.04.2014]

 (6) If the obligated person has not complied with the judicial disposition mentioned in subsection 4 of this section within 15 days following its entry into force, the authority designated by administrative decree of the Minister in charge of the policy sector may file the disposition for compulsory enforcement.
[RT I, 28.12.2011, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2012]

 (7) The limitation period for a claim for the payment of case costs that were awarded by a judicial disposition in favour of the State and that did not result from the State’s participation in judicial proceedings in the case, as well as for enforcement of an order imposing a fine or of any other similar disposition by which a person is ordered to pay a sum of money is three years following the entry into effect of the disposition by which the payment was awarded. The limitation period is governed by the provisions of the Act on the General Part of the Civil Code concerning such periods.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (8) Unless otherwise provided by this section, the provisions of § 209 of the Code of Enforcement Procedure concerning the enforcement of public monetary claims apply to collection of claims mentioned in subsection 7 of this section.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (9) Where there is a delay in paying a claim mentioned in subsection 7 of this section, late interest as prescribed by the second sentence of subsection 1 of § 113 of the Law of Obligations Act must be paid beginning from the entry into effect of the disposition by which the duty to pay case costs was imposed until the disposition has been complied with. The court states this also in the disposition by which it awards the costs.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

Subchapter 6 Granting State-funded Financial Aid Towards Case Costs 

§ 180.  Granting State-funded financial aid towards case costs

 (1) ‘Financial aid’ means aid provided by the State to cover case costs. On an application of a person (hereinafter recipient of financial aid), the court may order that, as financial aid, the recipient of financial aid:
 1) is exempted, in part or in full, from paying the statutory fee, or from paying other court costs or the costs of translation of procedural documents or of the judicial disposition;
[RT I, 08.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2022]
 2) may pay the statutory fee or other court costs or the costs of translation of procedural documents or of the judicial disposition in instalments within the period of time set by the court;
[RT I, 08.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2022]
 3) is not required to pay for the legal aid provided by the attorney appointed under the rules of financial aid or is not required to pay for it forthwith or in full;
 4) is exempted, as the party seeking enforcement, at the expense of the Republic of Estonia, from all or a part of the costs related to enforcement proceedings or to service of procedural documents through the enforcement agent in judicial proceedings – or is allowed to pay such costs in instalments within the time limit set by the court;
 5) is exempted, in full or in part and at the expense of the Republic of Estonia, from bearing the costs related to the exercise of legal guardianship and from payment of remuneration to the legal guardian;
 6) is exempted, in full or in part, from costs related to mandatory pre-action proceedings, or is allowed to pay such costs in instalments within the time limit set by the court;
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 7) is exempted, in part or in full and at the expense of the Republic of Estonia, from the costs of conciliation proceedings in a situation provided for by subsection 4 of § 4 of this Code.
[RT I 2009, 59, 385 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

 (2) Where a party to proceedings who is a citizen of or has their residence in another Member State of the European Union is granted financial aid in Estonia, they may be exempted, at the expense of the Republic of Estonia, from covering the cost of translating a document whose filing was required by the court and which was produced by the applicant for financial aid, or the applicant may be ordered to pay such costs in instalments within a time limit set by the court, provided that the document is needed for disposing of the case.

 (3) Where a party to proceedings who is a citizen of or has their residence in another Member State of the European Union is granted financial aid in Estonia, they may be exempted from bearing the costs of their travel in relation to the proceedings, or the party may be ordered to pay such costs in instalments, provided that the requirement for the party to be present in person is provided by law or the court deems it necessary.

 (4) The provisions of this Subchapter apply to the grant of financial aid for paying for legal aid provided by an attorney (State-funded legal aid) only insofar as the Act on State-funded Legal Aid does not provide otherwise.

§ 181.  Requirements for the granting of financial aid

 (1) Financial aid is granted to the applicant for the aid if:
 1) due to their economic situation, they are unable to bear case costs or are able to pay such costs only in part or in instalments; and
 2) there is sufficient reason to believe that the envisaged participation in the proceedings will be successful.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) Participation in the proceedings is presumed to be successful if the application for whose filing financial aid is sought is legally well-founded and factually substantiated. When assessing the prospects of success of the participation in proceedings, the importance of the case for the applicant is also taken into consideration.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) A person is not granted financial aid if their participation in the proceedings is unreasonable – first and foremost, if that which they seek can be achieved by an easier, more expeditious or less costly methods.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (31) Where, on considering the application for financial aid, it comes to light that there are no grounds for granting the aid due to the economic situation of the applicant, yet the court finds that, considering the circumstances of the case, requiring the person to pay the entire statutory fee as a lump sum amounts to an unreasonable obstacle to the person's right of recourse to the court to protect their presumed right or interest that is protected by law, the court may, by way of financial aid, order the statutory fee payable on the statement of court claim or appeal to be paid in instalments within the time limit set by the court.
[RT I 2010, 26, 128 – entry into force 14.06.2010]

 (4) No financial aid is granted to cover the statutory fee payable by the petitioner in expedited order-for-payment proceedings or on a registration application in a registration case.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (5) The prospects for success or the reasonableness of participation in proceedings are not assessed when financial aid is applied for in order to translate a procedural document or judicial disposition. Where the person is represented in the proceedings by a representative, financial aid is not granted for translating a procedural document other than the judicial disposition in the case.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 182.  Restrictions on the granting of financial aid to natural persons

 (1) Financial aid is granted to a party to proceedings who is a natural person and who, at the time of filing the application for the aid, has their residence in the Republic of Estonia or in another Member State of the European Union or is a citizen of the Republic of Estonia or of another Member State of the European Union. For the purposes of this Subchapter, residence is determined following Article 62 of Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council. Any other parties to proceedings who are natural persons are granted financial aid only where this is provided for by a treaty.
[RT I, 31.12.2014, 1 – entry into force 10.01.2015]

 (2) Financial aid is not granted to a natural person if:
 1) the case costs are unlikely to exceed twice the average monthly earnings of the person applying for the aid – as calculated based on the person’s average monthly earnings in the last four months that preceded the filing of the application, less taxes, compulsory insurance payments and amounts prescribed to fulfil statutory maintenance obligations, as well as reasonable housing and transport costs;
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 2) the applicant can bear case costs from their existing property that can be sold without major difficulties and that may be levied upon under the law;
 3) proceedings relate to the applicant’s economic or professional activity and do not concern the applicant’s rights that are not connected to such activity.
[RT I, 10.11.2011, 5 – entry into force 01.11.2011 – by its judgment, the Constitutional Review Chamber of the Supreme Court declares clause 3 of subsection 2 of § 182 of the Code of Civil Procedure to be unconstitutional and invalid insofar as it excludes the provision of financial aid – in the form of a partial or full exemption from being required to pay the statutory fee on approaching the court for assistance – to natural persons in proceedings that concern their economic or professional activity and are not related to their rights that are not connected to such activity.]
[RT I, 21.04.2011, 17 – entry into force 14.04.2011 – by its judgment, the Supreme Court en banc declares clause 3 of subsection 2 of § 182 of the Code of Civil Procedure to be unconstitutional and invalid insofar as it excludes the provision of financial aid – in the form of a partial or full exemption from being required to pay the statutory fee on filing an appeal – to natural persons in proceedings that concern their economic or professional activity and are not related to their rights that are not connected to such activity.]

 (21) In situations falling under clauses 1 and 2 of subsection 2 of this section, case costs that may arise if the disposition made in the proceedings is appealed are not taken into account. The property mentioned in clause 2 of subsection 2 of this section also includes joint property insofar as it may be presumed that the joint owners might reasonably use it to cover such costs.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) The provisions of subsection 2 of this section do not preclude the granting of financial aid where the applicant has their residence in another Member State of the European Union and proves that they are unable to cover the case costs forthwith or in full due to the cost of living in the State of residence, that is higher than in Estonia.

 (4) [Repealed – RT I, 31.12.2014, 1 – entry into force 10.01.2015]

§ 183.  Restrictions on the granting of financial aid to legal persons and bankruptcy debtors

 (1) Of legal persons, only a non-profit association or foundation that appears in the list of such associations or foundations that benefit from income tax incentives or that is deemed to hold an equivalent status and that has its seat in Estonia or in another Member State of the European Union may apply for financial aid in order to achieve its objectives, provided that the applicant substantiates that it is applying for financial aid in the field of environmental or consumer protection or, having regard to another overriding public interest, in order to prevent possible harm to rights that are protected by law and that are held by a large number of persons, and that it is unlikely to be able to cover the costs out of its assets or is only able to pay a part of the costs, or pay them in instalments. Other foreign legal persons are granted financial aid only under a treaty.
[RT I, 21.04.2011, 16 – entry into force 12.04.2011 – by its judgment, the Supreme Court en banc declares the first sentence of subsection 1 of § 183 of the Code of Civil Procedure to be unconstitutional and invalid insofar as it excludes the provision, to Estonian private legal persons who do not meet the criteria stated in this provision, of financial aid in the form of a partial or full exemption from being required to pay the statutory fee on the filing of an appeal in a civil case.]

 (2) An Estonian bankruptcy debtor may apply for the grant of financial aid to bear case costs where such costs cannot be covered – or where it would not be justified to cover them – out of the estate administrated by the trustee in bankruptcy or out of the debtor’s earnings, and where the persons who have a pecuniary interest in the case, including, among others, any of the debtor’s heirs or beneficiaries, members, shareholders or members of the debtor’s directing body, or bankruptcy creditors, cannot be presumed to bear the costs. The amount of financial aid that is granted to cover the fee and costs of an interim trustee or of the trustee in bankruptcy and that the bankruptcy debtor will not be ordered to repay into the revenue of the State, may not exceed, for any case of bankruptcy and discharge of obligations, three times the minimum monthly salary enacted under subsection 5 of § 29 of the Employment Contracts Act, including any taxes prescribed by law, with the exception of the value-added tax. In connection with the foregoing, one minimum monthly salary is allocated to cover the operations performed by the interim trustee or trusted practitioner until completion of consideration of the bankruptcy or insolvency petition, one minimum monthly salary to cover the operations performed by the trustee in bankruptcy from the declaration of bankruptcy until completion of bankruptcy proceedings and one minimum monthly salary to cover the operations performed by the interim trustee or trusted practitioner until completion of proceedings for the discharge of obligations.
[RT I, 20.06.2022, 1 – entry into force 01.07.2022]

 (3) In a situation mentioned in subsection 2 of this section, the bankruptcy debtor may also apply for State-funded legal aid. An additional prerequisite for being granted such aid is that the trustee in bankruptcy cannot perform the requested procedural operation themselves or – considering their qualifications and tasks – cannot be presumed to perform it.
[RT I 2006, 7, 42 – entry into force 04.02.2006]

§ 184.  Filing the application for, and continuing to provide, financial aid

 (1) The application for financial aid is filed with the court that conducts or should conduct the proceedings that give rise to the costs that are to be borne by means of the aid.

 (2) The application for financial aid to bear the costs related to enforcement proceedings is filed with the court that would dispose of a complaint against the actions of the enforcement agent who organises enforcement proceedings in the case, and the application for financial aid to bear the costs related to pre-action proceedings is filed with the court in whose judicial district such proceedings are conducted.

 (3) The court mentioned in subsections 1 and 2 of this section is also the receiving authority for applications for financial aid for the purposes of Article 14 of EU Council Directive 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 court may not require the application to be legalised or officially certified by any other method.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (4) Where a party to proceedings has been granted financial aid and they appeal against the judicial disposition rendered in the case, the provision of financial aid is presumed to continue in every following judicial instance. The previous sentence notwithstanding, when accepting the appeal the court verifies whether there is sufficient reason to presume that the envisaged participation in the proceedings will be successful and is not manifestly unreasonable, and may, in every judicial instance, verify whether the economic prerequisites for the grant of financial aid are present. The verification of presumable success or reasonableness of participation in the proceedings is not undertaken if the judicial disposition has already been appealed by another party and their appeal has been accepted.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (5) In a situation mentioned in subsection 4 of this section, if the court so requires, the recipient of financial aid must provide a statement on whether or not their pecuniary situation has changed and produce corresponding evidence. Where this is needed, the court may, among other things, request information on the economic situation or solvency of the recipient or of their family members from the Tax and Customs Board, credit institutions and other persons or authorities.

 (6) Where a party seeking enforcement who has previously been granted financial aid in proceedings that were conducted in the case also applies for financial aid to cover the costs of enforcement proceedings, the court is not required to undertake additional verification of whether the economic prerequisites for the grant of financial aid are present. The court must verify the presence of all of the prerequisites for the grant of financial aid if the aid is applied for when a period longer than one year has elapsed following the entry into effect of the disposition rendered in the proceedings.

§ 185.  Particulars in the application for financial aid

 (1) The application for financial aid states:
 1) the proceedings for which the aid is applied for;
 2) the role or desired role of the applicant in the proceedings and any court claims, applications, petitions, representations or motions that the applicant intends to file;
 3) the grounds on which the relief that the applicant seeks or the objection that they make is founded.

 (2) The applicant appends to the application a signed statement that sets out their, and their family members’, personal and economic situation (family relationships, profession, property, earnings and obligations), and where this is possible, also other documents to prove that situation.

 (3) Where a person's residence is not in Estonia, they append to their application a statement issued by the competent authority of the State in which the person has their residence concerning the person’s, and their family members’, earnings during the last three years. Where, for a valid reason, the applicant cannot produce the statement, the grant of financial aid may be decided without it.

 (4) Where this is possible, a corporate applicant for financial aid appends to its application a copy of its articles of association or statutes, and a certified copy of the annual report for the preceding financial year.

 (5) The model forms of the application for financial aid and of the statement mentioned in subsection 2 of this section, as well as the list of particulars to be stated are enacted by a regulation of the Minister in charge of the policy sector, and the forms must be freely accessible to members of the public on the website of the Ministry of Justice as well as in each court and each law office. The Minister in charge of the policy sector may also enact requirements for the documents to be produced by the applicant to justify their application.

 (6) The application for financial aid is filed in the Estonian language. Where the aid is applied for by a natural person who has their residence in another Member State of the European Union or is a citizen of such a Member State, or by a legal person whose seat is in another Member State of the European Union, the application may also be filed in the English language.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 186.  Assessing the applicant’s economic situation

 (1) When assessing the applicant’s economic situation, their property and earnings as well as the property and earnings of any members of their family who live together with the applicant, the number of persons maintained by the applicant, reasonable housing costs and other relevant circumstances are taken into consideration.

 (2) When assessing the applicant’s economic situation, the property that belongs to the applicant but, under the law, cannot be levied upon, is not taken into consideration. Similarly, any residential premises or necessary vehicles that belong to the applicant and that the applicant and their family members who live together with the applicant use on an everyday basis are not taken into consideration provided the number and value of such premises and vehicles is in fair correlation to the size, mobility needs and earnings of the family.

 (3) Where the applicant applies for financial aid in order to seek relief against a family member whom they live together with, the member’s earnings or the property that belongs to them are not taken into consideration when assessing the applicant’s economic situation.

 (4) [Repealed – RT I 2006, 7, 42 – entry into force 04.02.2006]

 (5) The court may require the applicant to substantiate the particulars that they have filed or to produce additional documents or particulars, or require any other persons, authorities or institutions – including credit institutions – to provide information concerning the economic situation or solvency of the applicant and of their family members who live together with the applicant. The inquiry must be responded to within the time limit set by the court.

 (6) Where the applicant has not, within the time limit set by the court, produced substantiated particulars concerning their personal or economic situation, or has not responded to the questions put to them or has responded insufficiently, the court does not grant the aid insofar as the application has not been substantiated.

 (7) Where this has been required by the court, the Tax and Customs Board issues a statement concerning the earnings of the applicant and of the members of their family for the last year, or a statement concerning the absence of particulars concerning such earnings. The form for the statement is enacted by a regulation of the Minister in charge of the policy sector.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (8) Where the relevant technical means are available, the court itself must be given the option of verifying, in the database of the Tax and Customs Board or of a person, authority or institution mentioned in subsection 5 of this section, the particulars needed to assess applicants’ economic situation.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 187.  Disposing of the application for financial aid

 (1) The application for financial aid is disposed of by an order. Where necessary, the court may, before disposing of the application, invite the other parties to proceedings to state their opinion.

 (2) The court, without delay, sends a copy of the order by which it granted financial aid to the Ministry of Finance or to the authority – in the area of government of the Ministry of Finance – that has been designated by the Minister in charge of the policy sector.

 (3) Where an application for legal aid is transmitted to the court by an authority that, in another Member State of the European Union, is competent to transmit such applications, the court sends a copy of the order made concerning the application also to that authority.

 (4) The application for financial aid may also be disposed of by an assistant judge.
[RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

 (5) The filing of an application for financial aid does not suspend the running of a procedural time limit provided by law or set by the court. Yet, where the application was not unjustified or was not filed for the purpose of extending a time limit, the court, having disposed of the application, grants a reasonable extension of the time limit set by the court, in particular of one set for responding to the court claim, appeal or motion.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (6) To comply with a time limit provided by law, the applicant must, within the time limit, also perform the procedural operation for which they seek financial aid – first and foremost, they must file their appeal. Where the application for financial aid was not unjustified or was not filed for the purpose of extending the time limit, the court, having disposed of the application, sets a reasonable time limit to substantiate the appeal or pay the statutory fee or cure a defect in the appeal that is related to the application. This does not rule out reinstating the time limit.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 188.  Suspending the payment and changing the amount of instalments

 (1) Where, by way of financial aid, the payment of case costs in instalments has been ordered, the court suspends the payment of the instalments by an order where:
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 1) it is manifest that the payments hitherto made by the recipient of financial aid cover the case costs;
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 2) a disposition under which the case costs must be borne by another party to proceedings enters into effect.

 (2) The court does not suspend the payment of instalments under clause 2 of subsection 1 of this section if the party to proceedings who is obligated to cover case costs under the judicial disposition rendered in the case has also been granted financial aid to bear the costs, or if it is manifest, for other reasons, that the party is not able to pay the costs.

 (3) Where the economic situation of the recipient of financial aid has changed significantly, the court may, by an order, change the amount and due date of case costs instalments. Where this is required by the court, the recipient must provide clarifications as to whether or not their economic situation has changed and produce corresponding evidence. Where this is needed, the court may, among other things, request information on the economic situation or solvency of the recipient or of their family members from the Tax and Customs Board, from credit institutions as well as from other persons, authorities or institutions.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (4) The provisions of subsection 3 of this section apply where, as a result of legal succession, the recipient of financial aid changes, including where the claimant who has received the aid assigns the claim for whose filing they received the aid and the successor does not possess an equivalent entitlement to the aid.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 189.  Revoking the grant of financial aid

 (1) The court may revoke the grant of financial aid if:
 1) the recipient has provided false information in the application for financial aid;
 2) the conditions for being granted the aid were not present or have ceased to be present – among other things, if the recipient of the aid is replaced by another person on account of legal succession and the successor is not entitled to receive the aid;
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 3) the recipient has not – for a period of more than three months – paid the instalments ordered by the court;
 4) the recipient has been required by the court to provide clarifications concerning a change in their economic situation but does not do so, or does not file the required evidence.

 (2) Where financial aid is revoked, the party to proceedings who received the aid bears the entirety of their case costs.

§ 190.  Grant of financial aid and allocation of case costs

 (1) The grant of financial aid does not preclude or limit the recipient’s duty to reimburse – under the judicial disposition rendered in the case – the costs incurred by the opposing party.

 (2) The party to proceedings against whom the disposition is made in the case bears the entirety of their case costs also where they have been exempted from payment of the costs or where they have been granted financial aid to cover the costs.

 (3) Where the court claim is granted, the court orders the defendant – regardless of whether they, too, have received financial aid to cover case costs – to pay, into the State’s revenue and in proportion to the extent to which the court claim was granted, the costs that the claimant was exempted from paying or was allowed to pay in instalments. The same applies to the grant of financial aid to a third party participating in proceedings in support of the claimant – provided the court claim is granted.

 (4) Where the claimant, or a third party who participates in the proceedings in support of the claimant, or the petitioner in action-by-petition proceedings, has received financial aid to cover case costs, and the court claim or petition is denied or dismissed or proceedings in the case are terminated, they are ordered to pay the entirety of case costs into the State’s revenue. Where the claimant abandons or withdraws their court claim because the defendant satisfied the claim after proceedings were commenced, the provisions of subsection 3 of this section apply.

 (5) Where the defendant or a third party who participates in the proceedings in support of the defendant has received financial aid to cover case costs, and the court claim is granted, they are ordered to pay the entirety of the costs into the State’s revenue. If the claim is denied or dismissed or proceedings in the case are terminated, the court orders the claimant to pay, into the State’s revenue and in proportion to the extent to which the claim was denied, any costs that the defendant or third party had been exempted from paying or was allowed to pay in instalments, regardless of whether the claimant, too, had received financial aid to cover the costs.

 (6) Where a party was granted financial aid to cover case costs in action-by-petition proceedings, the court may order another party to pay the costs into the State’s revenue if the requirements provided by subsection 1 of § 172 of this Code are met.

 (7) In a judicial disposition mentioned in subsections 3–6 of this section, the court may, where a valid reason is present – among other things, due to the fact that a compromise has been concluded in the case – set a later due date for the payment of costs into the State’s revenue or allow their payment in instalments within the time limit set by the court, and it may also release a person from the duty to pay case costs into the State’s revenue.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (71) [Repealed – RT I, 21.06.2014, 8 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

 (8) Where a party to proceedings has been granted financial aid, including State-funded legal aid, in proceedings conducted under 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 Code concerning the allocation of case costs apply strictly to the extent that the Regulation does not provide otherwise.
[RT I, 14.03.2011, 2 – entry into force 18.06.2011]

§ 191.  Appealing the order on financial aid

 (1) The order by which the district court or the circuit court of appeal grants or refuses to grant financial aid – as well as an order by which such an order is varied or revoked – may be appealed by the applicant for or recipient of the aid or by the Republic of Estonia through the Ministry of Finance or through an authority within the area of government of the Ministry of Finance that has been designated by the Minister in charge of the policy sector. The order of the circuit court of appeal concerning an appeal against the order of the district court cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) An order on financial aid cannot be appealed if the judicial disposition that was rendered in the case has entered into effect.

 (3) The costs of proceedings concerning the appeal are not reimbursed.

 (4) The provisions of § 179 of this Code apply to orders that are mentioned in subsections 3–6 of § 190 of this Code and by which a party to proceedings is ordered to pay case costs into State revenue, as well as to appeals against such orders.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 192.  Grant of financial aid for proceedings conducted in other Member States of European Union

  Financial aid for ensuring, in proceedings conducted in another Member State of the European Union, the provision of legal aid by an attorney or for translation of the petition and its annexes may be applied for in Harju District Court following §§ 33 and 34 of the State-funded Legal Aid Act.

§ 193.  Transmission of applications for legal aid to other Member States of the European Union

 (1) A person entitled to receive financial aid under the provisions of this Subchapter may, via Harju District Court, apply for legal aid in proceedings conducted in another Member State of the European Union.

 (2) To obtain the transmission of an application for legal aid, the application and the documents appended to it are filed with the court in the language of the Member State in which the grant of legal aid is applied for, provided the language is an official language of the European Union or the Member State has agreed to its use in accordance with paragraph 3 of Article 14 of Directive 2003/8/EC.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) The court assists the applicant in applying for legal aid in another Member State of the European Union by taking steps to ensure that all documents that, according to the court’s information, are required to dispose of the application have been appended to it and by arranging the translation of the application and documents, where this is needed. The documents are not required to be legalised or officially certified by any another method.

 (4) The court disposes of the petition to transmit an application for legal aid under the action-by-petition procedure. The court may, by reasoned order, refuse to transmit the application where it is manifest that the latter is unjustified or does not fall within the scope of Directive 2003/8/EC.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (5) Within 15 days following the filing or creation, in the required language and form, of the application and any additional documents, the court transmits these to the authority that, in the relevant Member State of the European Union, is competent to receive such applications.

 (6) No statutory fee is charged on transmission of applications for legal aid. Where the application is denied, the court may, by order, require the applicant to pay other case costs – first and foremost, the costs of translation.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (7) The applicant may appeal the order by which transmission of their application is refused. The order of the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.

 (8) The Minister in charge of the policy sector enacts, by a regulation, standard forms for applications for the grant of legal aid in another Member State of the European Union and for their transmission as prescribed by paragraph 1 of Article 16 of Directive 2003/8/EC. Where standard forms exist, they must be used by the petitioner and by the person transmitting the application.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (9) Where the authority of another Member State of the European Union that is competent to accept the application rejects it due to the economic situation of the petitioner or notifies its intention to reject the application, the court, on a motion of the petitioner, issues the latter with a certificate concerning that situation – provided it would entitle the petitioner to financial aid in Estonia – and transmits the certificate, as a supplement to the application and in the same language, to the authority competent to receive it.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

Chapter 19 SECURITY 

§ 194.  Method of providing, and amount of, security

 (1) Where the law prescribes an obligation for a principal party to provide a security, the method of providing it and its amount are determined by the court. If the court has not done so and the principal parties have not agreed otherwise, the security is provided by depositing money or security instruments in the designated account, or as an irrevocable and unconditional guarantee issued for an unspecified period and for the benefit of the other party by a credit institution of Estonia or of another Member State of the European Union.
[RT I, 31.01.2014, 6 – entry into force 01.04.2014]

 (2) A security instrument may be used as security if it has a market price. The instrument is accepted as security for not more than 3/4 of its market price.

 (3) The making of deposits is governed by the provisions of the Law of Obligations Act concerning deposits.
[RT I, 31.01.2014, 6 – entry into force 01.04.2014]

 (4) The account particulars that are required for making the deposit are published on the court’s website.
[RT I, 31.01.2014, 6 – entry into force 01.04.2014]

 (5) When the court sets a security, it explains to the obligated person the possibilities for its return.
[RT I, 01.03.2023, 1 – entry into force 01.05.2023]

§ 195.  Returning the security

 (1) Where the reason for which the security was provided ceases to apply, the court that set the security or allowed it to be provided returns it on a motion of the person who provided it, or of its own motion. Where the security was provided in the form of a guarantee, the court orders its discharge.
[RT I, 01.03.2023, 1 – entry into force 01.05.2023]

 (2) Before making the order, the court asks the principal party for whose benefit the security was provided to express its opinion in the matter.
[RT I, 01.03.2023, 1 – entry into force 01.05.2023]

 (21) Under the court’s order, the security is returned to the party to proceedings who paid it or on whose behalf it was paid, or – where the party so instructs – to another person.
[RT I, 01.03.2023, 1 – entry into force 01.05.2023]

 (3) The order by which return of the security is refused may be appealed by the person who filed the motion to return it. The order by which the security is returned may be appealed by the principal party for whose benefit it was provided.

 (4) The security is charged to the State’s revenue on a motion of the person who provided it – or if it is not possible for the court to return it to that person.
[RT I, 01.03.2023, 1 – entry into force 01.05.2023]

§ 196.  Providing a security to cover case costs

 (1) In action-by-claim proceedings, the court may, on a motion of the defendant, require the claimant to provide a security to cover the defendants’ expected case costs if:
 1) the claimant is not a citizen of the Republic of Estonia, of another Member State of the European Union or of a State that is a contracting party to the EEA Agreement, and does not reside in any of these States;
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 2) the claimant is a legal person whose seat is not in Estonia or another Member State of the European Union or a State that is a contracting party to the EEA Agreement;
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 3) due to the claimant's economic situation or for another reason, collection of the defendant’s expected case costs is likely to be difficult – first and foremost, in a situation where the claimant has been declared bankrupt, bankruptcy proceedings have been initiated against the claimant or, within the year prior to the filing of the court claim, enforcement proceedings have been conducted in respect of the claimant's property without obtaining satisfaction of the claim filed in those proceedings.

 (2) The court may not require the claimant to provide a security if the claimant has sufficient property in Estonia to cover the case costs or has claims in Estonia that are sufficiently secured under the law of property. In situations mentioned in clauses 1 and 2 of subsection 1 of this section, the court may not require the claimant to provide a security if:
 1) requiring the security is ruled out by a treaty;
 2) the disposition concerning reimbursement of case costs to the defendant is enforceable in the country in which the claimant has their residence or seat.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (21) Where the prerequisites for requiring a security are present, the court may nevertheless decide not to require its provision in full or in part, or may order it to be paid in instalments, provided the claimant cannot, due to economic or other reasons, be reasonably expected to provide the security and dismissing the court claim may entail grave consequences for the claimant or if requiring a security would be unfair to the claimant for other reasons.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) The defendant may also require a security from the claimant mentioned in subsection 1 of this section if the prerequisites for providing the security only emerge in the course of proceedings – with the exception of the situation where the defendant has admitted the court claim. If it comes to light in the course of proceedings that the security that has been provided is not sufficient, the defendant may require an additional security.

 (4) The claimant may appeal the order of the district court or of the circuit court of appeal by which they are required to provide a security. The order of the circuit court of appeal concerning an appeal against the order of the district court cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.

§ 197.  Setting a time limit to provide a security

  In a situation mentioned in § 196 of this Code, the court sets the claimant a time limit to provide a security to cover the defendant’s expected case costs. If the claimant does not provide the security within the time limit, the court dismisses the court claim on the defendant’s motion.

Part 4 PARTIES TO PROCEEDINGS AND THEIR REPRESENTATIVES 

Chapter 20 GENERAL PROVISIONS 

§ 198.  Parties to proceedings

 (1) The parties to proceedings are:
 1) in action-by-claim proceedings – the principal parties and any third parties;
 2) in action-by-petition proceedings – the petitioner and any other persons affected by the case.

 (2) In situations prescribed for by law, a person or authority entitled to protect a public interest also appears as a party to the proceedings.

 (3) Parties are added to action-by-petition proceedings by the court of its own motion. The presumption in action-by-petition proceedings is that the parties are persons who, under the law, have the right to appeal the order rendered in the case. A person is not a party solely for the reason that they must be heard under the law or that the court deems it necessary to hear them. The court may also invite other persons or authorities to make submissions in the proceedings if it finds that this is needed to dispose of the case justly.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 199.  Rights of parties to proceedings

 (1) The parties to proceedings have a right to:
 1) acquaint themselves with and obtain copies of the case file;
 2) know the composition of the court dealing with the case;
 3) file motions for recusal as well as other motions and applications;
 4) make representations and state reasons to the court concerning any issues that arise in the course of considering the case;
 5) produce items of evidence and participate in the inspection and examination of the evidence;
 6) contest any motions or applications made or reasoning stated by the other parties;
 7) put questions to other parties to proceedings, as well as to witnesses and experts;
 8) receive certified copies of the judicial disposition issued as a document.

 (2) The parties to proceedings also enjoy any other procedural rights provided for by this Code.

§ 200.  Duties of parties to proceedings

 (1) A party to proceedings is required to exercise the procedural rights in good faith.

 (2) The court does not allow any party to proceedings, or the party’s representatives or advisers, to abuse their rights, delay the proceedings or mislead the court.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

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

 (4) During judicial proceedings, the parties and their representatives must inform the court and the other parties without delay of any changes, including temporary ones, in the party’s or the representative’s address or telecommunications numbers.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

§ 201.  Passive legal capacity for purposes of civil procedure

 (1) ‘Passive legal capacity for purposes of civil procedure’ means a person’s capacity to hold the rights and discharge the duties provided for by the rules of civil procedure.

 (2) Every person who possesses passive legal capacity under the rules of civil law enjoys passive legal capacity for purposes of civil procedure. Such capacity is also enjoyed by foreign associations of persons, foreign authorities and international organisations whose passive legal capacity is recognised in Estonia under the rules of private international law.

§ 202.  Active legal capacity for purposes of civil procedure

 (1) ‘Active legal capacity for purposes of civil procedure’ means a person’s capacity, by their acts, to exercise the rights and perform the duties provided for by the rules of civil procedure.

 (2) Persons of limited active legal capacity do not enjoy active legal capacity for purposes of civil procedure, except where the limitation of the active legal capacity of a full-age person does not affect their exercise of the rights and performance of the duties provided for under the rules of civil procedure. A minor of at least 15 years of age has a right to participate in proceedings beside their statutory representative.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) Where a full-age person who possesses active legal capacity for purposes of civil procedure is represented in proceedings by their legal guardian, the principal is deemed not to possess such active legal capacity.

 (4) In proceedings to establish a legal guardianship for a full-age person due to their having limited active legal capacity, the ward enjoys active legal capacity for purposes of civil procedure. In proceedings to place a person in a secure institution, the person – provided they are at least fourteen years of age – enjoys active legal capacity for purposes of civil procedure regardless of whether they have full active legal capacity.

§ 203.  Active legal capacity for purposes of civil procedure: aliens

  An alien who, according to the law of their country, does not possess active legal capacity for purposes of civil procedure, is deemed to enjoy such capacity if they have it under Estonian law.

§ 204.  Passive and active legal capacity for purposes of civil procedure: verification

 (1) The court verifies whether the parties to proceedings possess passive and active legal capacity for purposes of civil procedure and, where this is not the case, does not allow the person concerned to participate in the proceedings.

 (2) Where the court has doubts on whether a party to proceedings who is a natural person possesses active legal capacity for purposes of civil procedure, the court may require the person to provide a physician’s opinion or commission an expert assessment. If the person refuses to comply or if the documents that are produced do not remove the court’s doubts, the court initiates proceedings to appoint a legal guardian to the party. Where initiation of such proceedings in respect of the claimant, applicant, petitioner or appellant is not possible, the court dismisses the court claim, application, petition or appeal.

 (3) The court may also permit a party to proceedings who does not possess active legal capacity for purposes of civil procedure to participate in the proceedings if the impediment of participation jeopardises an essential interest of the party. In such a situation, the court sets the person a time limit to appoint a representative. A judicial disposition by which the proceedings are concluded may not be entered in the case before the time limit has expired.

 (4) Where the court has doubts on whether a party to proceedings possesses full active legal capacity, the court notifies this without delay to the executive of the municipality in whose administrative territory the party has their residence.

Chapter 21 PRINCIPAL PARTIES 

§ 205.  Principal parties

 (1) The principal parties to proceedings before the civil courts are the claimant and the defendant.

 (2) The claimant is the person who has filed the court claim. The defendant is the person against whom the claim has been filed.

§ 206.  Rights of principal parties

 (1) In addition to the rights of a party to proceedings, the claimant has the right to amend the cause of the court claim or the relief sought, to increase or decrease the relief sought or to abandon it, and the defendant has the right to admit the court claim. A principal party has the right to appeal the judicial disposition rendered in the case as well as other procedural rights prescribed by this Code.

 (2) Principal parties have the right to conclude the proceedings by compromise.

 (3) A principal party has a right to seek compulsory enforcement of the judicial disposition rendered in the case. In action-by-petition proceedings, this right is vested in any party to the proceedings.

§ 207.  Participation of several claimants or defendants in the proceedings

 (1) Several persons may file a joint court claim and a court claim may be filed jointly against several defendants if:
 1) the subject matter of the proceedings is a right that is held jointly by several persons;
 2) several persons hold entitlements or obligations that arise from the same cause;
 3) the subject matter of the proceedings consists of requests for relief or obligations that are similar and arise from causes of a similar nature.

 (2) Each claimant or defendant participates in the proceedings independently in relation to the other party. Unless otherwise prescribed by law, an operation performed by the claimant or defendant does not entail legal consequences for a co-claimant or co-defendant.

 (3) Where a disputed legal relationship can be established only with regard to all co-claimants or co-defendants jointly, and where at least one of the co-claimants or co-defendants observes the procedural time limit, participates in the trial or hearing, files the appeal or participates in the performance of another procedural operation, that party’s operations are deemed to have effect with respect to all other co-claimants or co-defendants.

§ 208.  Substitution and addition of defendants

 (1) Where the claimant finds that the court claim was erroneously filed against a person who should not be the defendant, the court may, on a motion of the claimant – before the end of the trial or hearing of the case in the court of first instance and without terminating the proceedings – substitute the existing defendant with another defendant. In such a situation, the court claim against the initial defendant is deemed to have been withdrawn.

 (2) Where the claimant finds that the court claim was not filed against all persons who are parties to the disputed legal relationship, the court may, on a motion of the claimant – before the end of the trial or hearing of the case in the court of first instance – add such persons to the proceedings as defendants.

 (3) Following the substitution or addition of a defendant, the claimant must file with the court, for the defendant who was substituted in or added to the proceedings, a copy of the statement of the claimant’s court claim together with any annexes. Where the defendant has been substituted or another defendant has been added, consideration of the case commences from the beginning.

§ 209.  Legal succession in the proceedings

 (1) In a situation where a principal party who is a natural person has died or one who is a legal person has been dissolved, or in any other situation where universal succession is triggered, the court permits – unless otherwise prescribed by law – the party’s universal successor to join the proceedings. Universal succession is possible at every stage of proceedings.

 (2) Any procedural operations performed prior to the universal successor’s joining the proceedings are binding on the universal successor insofar as such operations would have been binding on their predecessor.

§ 210.  Transferring a disputed property object

 (1) The filing of a court claim and the proceedings concerning it do not affect the principal party's right to transfer the disputed property object or to assign the disputed claim.

 (2) Transferring the ownership of or another similar right in the disputed property object, or assigning the disputed claim, to a third party (singular succession) does not, in itself, affect the proceedings in the case.

 (3) In a situation mentioned in subsection 2 of this section, the legal successor may – subject to the opposing party’s and the legal predecessor’s consent – join the proceedings in the place of the principal party’s legal predecessor. Without the consent of the opposing party or of the legal predecessor, the legal successor may join, or be added to, the proceedings as a third party in support of the legal predecessor.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (4) Where a property object is transferred by the claimant and the judgment to be rendered in the case would not, according to § 460 of this Code, apply to the legal successor, the defendant may file, against the claimant, the objection that the claimant has lost their claim.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 211.  Transferring the item of immovable property, ship or aircraft

 (1) Where a dispute has arisen between the owner of the item of immovable property and a third party over the existence or absence of a property right related to the item or of a note guaranteeing the right, or over an obligation related to the item, the legal successor has the right and – if the opposing party moves for it – the duty to join the proceedings as the principal party in replacement the current party starting from the time of transfer of the ownership of the immovable. The same applies to a dispute arising under a lease or commercial lease contract regarding an item of immovable property – or the absence of such a contract – if a note concerning the contract has been recorded in the Land Register.

 (2) Where the opposing party moves for the addition to the proceedings of the legal successor of the other party but, regardless of having been served with the motion by the court, the legal successor does not join the proceedings, the legal succession is deemed to have been admitted, and the party is deemed to have been substituted, by the service.

 (3) The provisions of subsections 1 and 2 of this section do not apply if the judgment to be rendered in the case would not – according to § 460 of this Code – apply to the legal successor. Where the transferor in such a situation is the claimant, the defendant may file, against the claimant, the objection that the claimant has lost their claim.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (4) The provisions of subsections 1–3 of this section also apply to disputes concerning a right to a ship appearing in the Register of Ships or an aircraft appearing in the Register of Civil Aircraft.

Chapter 22 THIRD PARTIES 

§ 212.  Third party with an independent claim

 (1) Where a third party makes an independent claim concerning the object of the dispute between the claimant and the defendant, the party may file a court claim in the same proceedings against both principal parties before the trial or hearing of the case on the merits in the district court is concluded.

 (2) A third party with an independent claim has the rights and duties of the claimant.

§ 213.  Third party without an independent claim

 (1) A third party who does not have an independent claim concerning the object of the proceedings but has a legally relevant interest in having the dispute resolved in favour of one of the parties may intervene in the proceedings in support of either the claimant or the defendant. On the grounds and in accordance with the rules provided by § 216 of this Code, a third party without an independent claim may be added to the proceedings also on a motion of a principal party.

 (2) A third party without an independent claim may intervene in or be added to the proceedings at any stages in every judicial instance until the entry into effect of the judgment. The party may also intervene in the proceedings by appealing the judicial disposition entered in the case. In such a situation, the issue of the person’s addition is dealt with when acceptance of the appeal is decided.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 214.  Third party without an independent claim: consequences of intervening in or being added to the proceedings

 (1) Procedural operations that have been performed before the third party without an independent claim intervened in, or was added to, the proceedings are also effective with respect to the third party.

 (2) The third party without an independent claim may perform all procedural operations except those that can be performed only by the claimant or the defendant and can, among other things, appeal the disposition rendered in the case. A representation, appeal or another procedural operation of the third party has legal effect in the proceedings only if it is not contrary to a representation, appeal or operation of the claimant or defendant whom the party supports in the case. Unless otherwise provided for by law, the time limit for the filing of an appeal or for performing another procedural operation that applies to the claimant or defendant also applies to the third party who supports them.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) In further proceedings in the case, the third party without an independent claim may not rely, against the claimant or defendant in whose support they intervened in or were added to the proceedings, on the operative part of the disposition rendered in the case being erroneous, or on the facts having been ascertained erroneously.

 (4) Where, relying on previous proceedings in the case, a principal party initiates proceedings against the third party without an independent claim, the third party may, among other things, file an objection that it filed in the previous proceedings as a third party and that is contrary to the principal party’s representations. The third party may also file the objection that they were unable to file a motion, application, assertion, item of evidence or appeal because they intervened in, or were added to, the proceedings too late, or that they were unable to file these due to the representations or operations of the claimant or defendant in whose support they participated in the proceedings. The third party may also file the objection that the claimant or defendant did not, intentionally or due to gross negligence – and unbeknownst to the third party – file the motion, application, assertion, item of evidence or appeal.

§ 215.  Third party without an independent claim: intervening in the proceedings

 (1) In order to intrervene in the proceedings, the third party without an independent claim files a corresponding application with the court that deals with the case.

 (2) In addition to other particulars that a procedural document must contain (§ 338), the application mentioned in subsection 1 of this section states the following:
 1) information on the principal parties and the court case;
 2) substantiation of the legally relevant interest that the third party has in the case;
 3) a request to accede to the proceedings.

 (3) The court serves the application mentioned in subsection 1 of this section on both parties and sets them a time limit for formulating an opinion.

 (4) Where the application of the third party without an independent claim conforms to the requirements provided by law and the third party has substantiated its legally relevant interest, the court grants the party’s application and allows it to intervene in the proceedings.

 (5) Where it comes to light that the third party’s intervention in the proceedings is unjustified, the court may remove the party from the proceedings by an order.

 (6) The order by which the court allows the third party to intervene in the proceedings, refuses to allow this or removes the third party from the proceedings may be appealed by the principal parties or by the third party. The order of the circuit court of appeal concerning an appeal against the order of the district court cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.

§ 216.  Adding a third party to the proceedings

 (1) A principal party who, in the event of adverse disposition being given in the case, may make a claim against a third party by virtue of what the principal party considers to be the non-performance of a contract, or a claim for compensation for harm, or a claim for being released from the obligation to compensate, or who has reason to presume that such a claim may be filed against them by a third party, may file, until completion of pre-trial proceedings or during the time limit prescribed for the filing of motions or applications in written proceedings, a motion with the court dealing with the case to add such a third party to the proceedings.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

 (11) Once the pre-trial proceedings have been completed, a motion to join a third party to the proceedings may be filed only with the consent of the other parties to proceedings or of the court. After the completion of pre-trial proceedings, the court only sustains the motion if there was a valid reason for the failure to file the motion at the proper time and, in the opinion of the court, addition of the third party serves the interest of disposing of the case.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

 (2) The motion to add a third party supporting the claimant or the defendant states:
 1) the name of the party;
 2) the substance and stage of the proceedings;
 3) the reason for and substantiation of adding the party to the proceedings.

 (3) The court serves the motion on the third party, notifies it to the other principal party and sets a time limit for those parties to formulate an opinion concerning the motion.

 (4) Where the motion meets the requirements provided by law and the principal party substantiates the need to add the third party, the court makes an order by which it adds the third party to the proceedings. The third party is deemed to have been added to the proceedings – in support of the principal party who filed the motion to add them – as of the service of the order on the third party.

 (5) Where it comes to light that the third party’s addition to the proceedings is unjustified, the court may remove the party from the proceedings by an order.

 (6) The order by which the court adds the third party to the proceedings, decides not to do so or removes the party from the proceedings may be appealed by the principal parties or by the third party. The order of the circuit court of appeal concerning an appeal against the order of the district court cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.

Chapter 23 REPRESENTATION 

§ 217.  Representation in court

 (1) Unless otherwise provided by law, a party to proceedings may participate in the proceedings as a litigant in person or through a representative who possesses active legal capacity for purposes of civil procedure.

 (2) Participation in the case as a litigant in person does not deprive a party to proceedings of the right to have a representative or adviser. Having a representative in the case does not restrict the party’s participation as a litigant in person if the party possesses active legal capacity for purposes of civil procedure.

 (3) A party to proceedings who does not possess active legal capacity for purposes of civil procedure is represented in court by their statutory representative.

 (4) Unless otherwise provided for by this Code, representation in court is governed by the rules on representation as provided by the Act on the General Part of the Civil Code.

 (5) The representative has the rights and duties of the party to proceedings whom they represent. A procedural operation performed by the representative is deemed to have been performed by the party represented. This applies to admissions of facts or to other representations insofar as the party who is present does not immediately withdraw or rectify the admission or representation.

 (6) The conduct and knowledge of the representative is deemed equivalent to the conduct and knowledge of the party to proceedings.

 (7) Where a child is represented in the proceedings by a representative appointed for this purpose, the parents do not have the right to represent the child in those proceedings.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (8) Where the court finds that a natural person who is a party to the proceedings is unable protect their rights on their own or that their essential interests may be insufficiently protected without the assistance of an attorney, the court explains to the person the possibility of obtaining State-funded legal aid.

§ 218.  Contractual representative

 (1) The following may act as contractual representatives in court:
 1) an attorney;
 2) any other person who has acquired at least an officially recognised Master's degree in the study of law, an equivalent qualification within the meaning of subsection 22 of § 28 of the Republic of Estonia Education Act or an equivalent foreign qualification;
[RT I 2008, 29, 189 – entry into force 01.07.2008]
 21) [Repealed – RT I 2008, 29, 189 – entry into force 01.07.2008]
 3) the procurator in all judicial proceedings related to the economic activities of the party to proceedings;
 4) one of the claimants as authorised by the co-claimants or one of the defendants as authorised by the co-defendants;
 5) an ascendant or descendant relative, spouse or registered partner of the party to proceedings;
[RT I, 06.07.2024, 6 – entry into force 01.01.2024]
 6) another person whose right to appear as a contractual representative is provided for by law.

 (2) A public servant or employee of the party to proceedings may appear in court as the party’s contractual representative if the court considers them to possess sufficient expertise and experience to represent the party.

 (21) In a registration case – with the exception of proceedings on appeal against the order – the party to proceedings may be represented by any natural person of full active legal capacity.
[RT I, 05.05.2022, 1 – entry into force 01.02.2023]

 (3) In action-by-claim proceedings before the Supreme Court, a party to the proceedings may perform procedural operations, make representations and file motions or applications only through an attorney-at-law. In action-by-petition proceedings before the Supreme Court, a party may perform procedural operations, make representations and file motions or applications as a litigant in person or through an attorney.

 (4) In action-by-claim proceedings before the Supreme Court, a party to the proceedings may, as a litigant in person, file the application for financial aid, and file representations and objections concerning the appeal or other motion or application filed by another party. Together with an attorney-at-law, the party may make representations in a hearing before the Court.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (5) The Minister in charge of the policy sector or a representative appointed by the Minister may represent the Republic of Estonia before the Supreme Court also if they are not an attorney-at-law. A bankruptcy debtor may also be represented in action-by-claim proceedings before the Court by the trustee in bankruptcy. In action-by-petition proceedings, a party to the proceedings may be represented before the Court by a notary in accordance with the rules provided by § 30 of the Notaries Act.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
[RT I, 29.06.2014, 109 – entry into force 01.07.2014, the phrase ‘Minister in charge of the policy sector’ substituted for the phrase ‘the Minister of Justice’ on the basis of subsection 4 of section 1073 of the Government of the Republic Act]

§ 219.  Representative appointed by the court

 (1) Where a person who does not possess active legal capacity for purposes of civil procedure files a court claim, application or petition or where a court claim is filed against such a person and the person has no statutory representative, the court – provided the impediment of participation jeopardises an essential interest of the principal party and until the party’s statutory representative joins the proceedings – appoints a temporary representative to the person.

 (2) In a family case, the court may appoint a representative to a person who does not possess active legal capacity for purposes of civil procedure if this is needed to protect the person’s interests. The representative must be appointed where:
 1) the interests of the person are, to a significant extent, contrary to the interests of their statutory representative;
 2) the court has been petitioned to place the person under legal guardianship;
 3) the court has been petitioned to apply measures to ensure the child’s well-being, which include separating the child from their family or fully terminating a parent’s physical custody rights;
[RT I 2009, 60, 395 – entry into force 01.07.2010]
 4) the court has been petitioned to remove the child from the foster family, from one of the parents or from any other person entitled to access to the child.
[RT I, 06.07.2024, 6 – entry into force 01.01.2024]

 (3) Appointing a representative to a person who does not possess active legal capacity for purposes of civil procedure is not required and the order by which the representative has been appointed may be revoked if the person is represented by an attorney or another appropriate representative.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (4) The authority of representation of the representative appointed by the court ends when the disposition that concludes the proceedings enters into effect, or when proceedings are concluded by another method, provided that the court has not discharged such authority already earlier or has not appointed the representative for only one judicial instance. Where the representative is appointed only for one judicial instance, the representative's authority in that instance also includes the filing of appeals against the disposition rendered in the instance.

 (5) In situations mentioned in subsections 1 and 2 of this section – and also in other situations provided for by this Code – the court orders, in accordance with the rules provided by the State-funded Legal Aid Act, representation to be provided to the person by an attorney in order to protect their interests. The attorney is appointed for the court by the Estonian Bar Association, which also guarantees the attorney’s participation in the proceedings. When ordering representation by an attorney, the court does not, additionally, check the presence of the prerequisites for the grant of State-funded legal aid.

 (6) The attorney providing the representation ordered by the court is remunerated by the State to the extent and in accordance with the rules provided by the State-funded Legal Aid Act. The person whose interests were to be protected by the attorney may be required to repay to the State the sums that have been paid to the attorney only if the person does not use a reasonable opportunity to protect their interests in court by means other than court-ordered representation, or if there is another valid reason. This does not exempt the party to proceedings from payment of case costs if the party is required to pay such costs under the judicial disposition.

 (7) In order to protect a person's interests in the proceedings, the court may appoint a person who is not an attorney to act as their representative, provided the court finds such a person to be sufficiently competent for the task and provided the person agrees to the representation. Such a representative is not paid a fee but may require reimbursement of their other costs from the party who is to bear case costs under the judicial disposition rendered in the case.

§ 220.  Representing the Republic of Estonia as a party to proceedings

 (1) In the court claim filed against the Republic of Estonia on account of the actions of a person exercising executive authority, or where the Republic of Estonia is added to the proceedings as a third party, or where it participates in action-by-petition proceedings, it is represented by the Ministry that carried out the actions that the case relates to, or in whose area of government the authority whose actions relate to the case, or who employs the official whose actions are the subject matter of the proceedings, or in whose area of government the case that is the subject matter of the proceedings falls. Where the petition pertains to the carrying out of the functions of the Cabinet Office, the Republic of Estonia is represented by the Office.
[RT I, 04.07.2017, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2018]

 (2) In a court claim or other civil action filed against the Republic of Estonia that arises from the actions of any other administrator of State assets, the Republic of Estonia is represented by the administrator of the assets.

 (3) The Ministry of Justice may represent the Republic of Estonia in any judicial proceedings.

 (4) The court sends a statement of claim filed against the Republic of Estonia or an application to add the Republic of Estonia to the proceedings to the authorities mentioned in subsections 1 and 2 of this section. If the court cannot establish the Ministry or other administrator of State assets in whose area of government the court claim or application falls, the court sends it to the Ministry of Justice.

 (5) In a dispute arising from the performance of financial supervision and resolution functions, the Republic of Estonia is represented by the Financial Supervision Authority.
[RT I, 19.03.2015, 3 – entry into force 29.03.2015]

§ 221.  Certification of the representative’s authority of representation

 (1) The statutory representative’s authority of representation is proved by a document that identifies the person as the statutory representative.

 (2) The authority of representation granted to the contractual representative is proved by the power of attorney that is filed with the court. Where this is needed, the court may require the principal party to file a notarially certified or authenticated power of attorney.

 (3) A person may, at the trial or hearing, also make an oral grant of the authority of representation. The grant is noted in the record of proceedings.

§ 222.  Statutory scope of the authority of representation

 (1) The authority to represent a person in court gives the representative the right to perform any and all procedural operations in the name of the principal, including the following:
 1) filing the court claim or petition or any other motion, application or representation;
 2) transferring the case to an arbitral tribunal;
 3) abandoning the court claim;
 4) admitting the court claim;
 5) amending the cause or of the claim or the relief sought;
 6) filing a counterclaim;
 7) participating in proceedings on the court claim brought by a third party with an independent claim;
 8) concluding a compromise;
 9) delegating the authority of representation to other persons (delegation of representation);
 10) filing an appeal against the judicial disposition;
 11) representing the principal in relation to any interim relief matters and in enforcement proceedings;
 12) receiving any case costs that are to be reimbursed.

 (2) The representative of a spouse or registered partner who does not possess active legal capacity for purposes of civil procedure may file a petition for divorce, termination of registered partnership contract or annulment of marriage or registered partnership contract only with the consent of the court.
[RT I, 06.07.2024, 6 – entry into force 01.01.2024]

 (3) An authorisation to be represented that is granted in a family case must be given expressly for acting in that family case.

§ 223.  Limitations on the authority of representation

  The party to proceedings may limit the statutory scope of the representative's authority of representation. The limitation is effective with regard to the court and to the other parties only insofar as it concerns the authority to settle the litigation by judicial compromise, to abandon the court claim or to admit it – provided the court and the other parties have been informed of the limitation.

§ 224.  Authority of representation of several contractual representatives

  Where a party to proceedings has several contractual representatives, every representative has the authority to represent the party severally. If the scope of the authority of representation has been determined differently, this has no effect with regard to the court or the other parties.

§ 225.  End of authority of representation

 (1) Where the person represented revokes the authority of representation, the authority ends with respect to the opposing party and the court as of the time they are notified of its revocation. It is presumed that the attorney’s authority of representation also ends when the opposing party and the court are notified of the appointment of a new attorney.

 (2) Where the representative terminates the contract that constitutes the basis for the authority of representation, the representative may continue to act in the interests of the principal until the principal has arranged for the protection of their interests by other means.

 (3) The authority of representation does not end with the death of the principal, with the principal’s losing their active legal capacity for purposes of civil procedure or with a change of the principal's statutory representative.

 (4) In proceedings, the principal may only rely on the lapsing – due to expiry of its period of validity – of the representative's authority of representation if the principal or representative has notified this to the court and to the opposing party separately.

§ 226.  Verifying the authority of representation

 (1) The court verifies whether the representative possesses the authority of representation and, where this is not the case, does not allow the person to participate in the proceedings as a representative. A party to proceedings may, in every judicial instance and at any stage of the proceedings, request verification of the authority of representation of the other parties’ representatives. Attorneys are presumed to possess such authority.

 (2) On having established that the representative does not possess the authority of representation, the court may:
 1) dismiss the court claim if the person who filed the statement of claim in the name of the claimant did not possess the authority of representation when filing the claim;
 2) render its judgment in the case if this is possible under the law;
 3) remove, by an order, the person without the authority of representation from the proceedings, provided that the party has several representatives;
 4) permit the representative to participate in the proceedings according to § 227 of this Code;
 5) postpone the trial or hearing of the case.

 (3) Where, during proceedings, a representative is found not to possess the authority of representation but the court claim was filed duly, the party represented is deemed not to have participated in the proceedings to the extent their representation was unauthorised, unless the party subsequently ratifies the procedural operations performed by the person who appeared as the representative.

§ 227.  Allowing a person with uncertain authority of representation to temporarily join the proceedings; ratifying the representation

 (1) Where the court claim is filed in the name of the claimant by a person who does not prove their authority of representation, the court does not serve the court claim on the defendant before such authority has been proved.

 (2) Where a representative of a party to proceedings is unable to prove their authority of representation before the court but asserts that they will be able to do this at a later time, the court may postpone consideration of the case or permit the person to temporarily participate in the proceedings as the representative.

 (3) Where consideration of the case is postponed or the person with an uncertain authority of representation is allowed to join the proceedings as the representative, the court sets such a person a time limit to prove their authority and may require a security from the person in order to cover the case costs as well as any expenditure that may need to be made by or harm that may arise to the other parties to proceedings.

 (4) Where a person who does not posses the authority of representation has been allowed to join the proceedings, the court may render its judgment or enter an order by which it terminates the proceedings only after the authority has been proved, a ratification has been filed regarding the unauthorised representation or the time limit set by the court to prove the authority or ratify the representation has expired.

 (5) Where the person who appeared in the name of the claimant has not proved their authority of representation or filed a ratification within the time limit set by the court, the court dismisses the court claim provided the other prerequisites for dismissal are present. Where the person who appeared in the name of the defendant has not proved their authority of representation or filed a ratification within the time limit set by the court, the court enters a default judgment provided the other prerequisites for making a default judgment are present. Where the person who filed an appeal in the name of a party to proceedings has not proved their authority of representation or filed a ratification within the time limit set by the court, the court dismisses the appeal provided the other prerequisites for dismissal are present.

 (6) By a disposition mentioned in subsection 5 of this section, the court awards, from the person who does not possess the authority of representation, the costs that the other parties to proceedings incurred as a result of the person’s being allowed to join the proceedings. This does not preclude or prejudice the right of the parties to proceedings to seek compensation for any harm in excess of the costs.

 (7) Procedural operations performed in the name of a party to proceedings are deemed to have effect also where the party granted the authority of representation to the representative by means other than a written, notarially certified or authenticated document, or where the party has, expressly or tacitly, ratified the representative’s participation in the proceedings. Where the party subsequently grants authority to the person who represented them in the proceedings, they are presumed to have ratified the representative’s authority.

§ 228.  Adviser

 (1) A party to proceedings is allowed to use, as an adviser in the proceedings, any person who possesses active legal capacity for purposes of civil procedure.

 (2) The adviser may appear at the trial or hearing together with the party to proceedings and provide explanatory statements. The adviser cannot perform any procedural operations or file any motions or applications.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) Any representation made by the adviser in the trial or hearing is deemed to have been made by the party to proceedings unless the party immediately withdraws or rectifies it.

Part 5 EVIDENCE 

Chapter 24 GENERAL PROVISIONS 

§ 229.  Definition of evidence

 (1) Evidence in a civil case is any information that possesses the procedural form provided for by law and based on which the court, in accordance with the rules provided by law, ascertains the presence or absence of circumstances on which the claims and objections of the principal parties are based, as well as other facts relevant to achieving a just disposition of the case.

 (2) Evidence may appear as the testimony of a witness, the statement of a party to proceedings given under oath, an item of documentary or of physical evidence, an inspection or an expert opinion. In action-by-petition proceedings, the court may also deem other means of proof, including a statement of a party to proceedings that is not given under oath, to be sufficient in order to prove a circumstance.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 230.  Burden of evidence and of producing it

 (1) In action-by-claim proceedings, each principal party must, unless otherwise provided for by law, provide evidence of the circumstances on which their claims and objections are based. Unless otherwise provided for by law, the principal parties may agree a division of the burden of evidence that is different from what has been provided by law, as well as agree on the items of evidence that may be used to prove a certain fact.

 (2) Evidence is produced by the parties to proceedings. The court may invite the parties to produce additional evidence.

 (3) Unless otherwise provided for by law, the court may – in a matrimonial case, in a filiation case, in a dispute related to the interests of a child and in action-by-petition proceedings – arrange the taking of evidence of its own motion.

 (4) In a maintenance case, the court may require a principal party to provide the particulars and documents concerning their earnings and pecuniary situation and caution the party regarding the possibility of making the inquiry mentioned in subsection 5 of this section.

 (5) In a situation provided for by subsection 4 of this section, the court may require relevant information to be provided by:
 1) the principal party’s employer, including former employers;
 2) the Social Insurance Board or another authority or person who disburses payments related to old age or loss of capacity for work;
[RT I, 06.12.2012, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2013]
 3) insurance companies;
 4) the Tax and Customs Board;
 5) credit institutions.

 (6) The persons and authorities mentioned in subsection 5 of this section are under a duty to provide the information to the court within the time limit that the court sets. The court may impose a fine on the person or authority if the duty is violated.
[RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

§ 231.  Grounds for exempting a person from the duty to provide evidence

 (1) Evidence does not need to be provided of a circumstance of which the court finds it can take judicial notice. Circumstances that the court may so find are those regarding which reliable information is available from sources external to the proceedings.

 (2) An assertion made by a principal party concerning a fact does not need to be proved if the opposing party admits it. Admission means unconditional and express acceptance of the factual assertion by means of a written representation addressed to the court, or by a representation made at the trial or hearing, where such acceptance is noted in the record of proceedings. In matrimonial and filiation cases, the court evaluates the admission together with other items of evidence.

 (3) An admission may be withdrawn only with the consent of the opposing party – or if the withdrawing party proves that the assertion concerning the presence or absence of the circumstance, which was admitted, is not true, and that the admission resulted from a mistaken conception of the circumstance. In such a situation, the circumstance is not deemed to have been admitted.

 (4) Admission is presumed until the opposing party expressly contests the assertion made concerning the factual circumstance and the party's volition to contest the circumstance emerges from other representations made by that party.

§ 232.  Assessing the evidence

 (1) The court, following the law, assesses all items of evidence in all respects, comprehensively and objectively and decides, according to its conscience, whether or not any assertions made by a party to proceedings have been proved considering, among other things, any agreements between the principal parties concerning evidence.

 (2) Unless the principal parties have agreed otherwise, the court does not regard any item of evidence as having a predetermined weight.

 (3) When ascertaining a disputed circumstance, the court is bound by the opinion given by a specialist witness appointed by mutual agreement of the principal parties, provided:
 1) the dispute stems from a contract that the principal parties concluded in the course of their economic or professional activities, and
 2) no circumstances are present that would constitute grounds for recusing the witness if they had acted as an expert in the proceedings, and
 3) the witness was appointed according to the agreement, without giving preference to either of the parties, and
 4) the opinion of the witness is not manifestly wrong.

§ 233.  Assessing the quantum of the claim

 (1) Where the proceedings have ascertained the causing of harm but its quantum cannot be ascertained or where ascertaining it would involve significant difficulty or unreasonably high costs – among other things, where the harm is non-pecuniary – the court determines the quantum of harm according to its inner conviction having regard to the entirety of the circumstances.

 (2) The provisions of subsection 1 of this section also apply to other pecuniary disputes where the parties disagree on the quantum of the claim and fully ascertaining the circumstances needed to determine the quantum involves unreasonable difficulty.

§ 234.  Proof of foreign law, international law and customary law

  Proof of the law in force outside the Republic of Estonia, of international law or of customary law must be given only insofar as the court is not acquainted with such law. When ascertaining the law, the court may also use other sources of information and perform operations required to obtain the information. When ascertaining foreign law, the court follows, among other rules, § 4 of the Private International Law Act.

§ 235.  Substantiation

  ‘Substantiating an assertion’ means stating, to the court, the reasoning for the assertion such that, presuming that the reasoning holds, the court can deem the assertion to be credible. Unless otherwise provided by law, the person required to substantiate may do so using any items of evidence permitted by the law for the purpose, including means of proof that the law does not regard as items of evidence or that do not appear in the form required in the proceedings, including signed affirmations.

Chapter 25 PRODUCTION, TAKING AND EXAMINATION OF EVIDENCE 

§ 236.  Producing an item of evidence; arranging the taking of evidence

 (1) ‘Producing an item of evidence’ means a motion made by a party to proceedings for the court to assess the party’s assertion based on acceptance and examination of the evidence named in the motion.

 (2) Where a party to proceedings who wishes to produce the item of evidence is unable to do so themselves, the party may make a motion for the court to arrange the evidence to be taken. Arranging the taking of evidence means actions performed by the court in order to make evidence available in the proceedings and to allow it to be examined.

 (3) A party to proceedings who produces an item of evidence or moves for the court to arrange the taking of evidence must justify this by showing which of the facts relevant to the case the party intends to prove by the motion. A motion for the court to arrange the taking of evidence must, among other things, state the particulars that make it possible to take the evidence.

 (4) With the consent of both principal parties, evidence may be produced to the court, and the court may arrange the taking of evidence, by a method or in a form different from what is provided by this Code. The party may withdraw such consent only on material changes in the procedural situation.

§ 237.  Duty to produce the item of evidence at the proper time

 (1) In the course of pre-trial proceedings, the court sets the parties to proceedings a time limit for producing their evidence or moving for the court to arrange it to be taken. Where, on expiry of the time limit, evidence has not been produced or a motion to arrange its taking made, such evidence may be subsequently relied upon strictly subject to the provisions of § 331 of this Code.

 (2) Where the motion of a party to proceedings for the court to arrange the taking of evidence is denied due to the party’s failure to pay the costs of the arrangement in advance although this had been required by the court, the party does not subsequently have a right to move for the taking to be arranged, provided that granting the motion would entail postponing the consideration of the case.

§ 238.  Relevance and admissibility of evidence

 (1) The court only accepts, or arranges the taking of, items of evidence – and, when disposing of the case, only considers items of evidence – that have relevance to the case. Evidence has no relevance to the case, first and foremost, where:
 1) the circumstance to be proved does not need to be proved, among other things, where it is not in dispute;
 2) in the opinion of the court, sufficient evidence has already been produced regarding the circumstance.

 (2) Where, under the law or agreement of the principal parties, a circumstance must be proved by evidence of a certain type or form, the fact may not be proved by evidence of another type or form.

 (3) In addition what has been provided for by subsections 1 and 2 of this section, the court may refuse to accept an item of evidence and return it, or refuse to arrange the taking of the evidence, where:
 1) the item has been obtained as a result of a criminal offence or of unlawful violation of a fundamental right;
 2) the item is unavailable – above all, where the witness's particulars or the document’s location is unknown, or where the relevance of the item is not in proportion to the time to be spent to obtain it, or to any other difficulties related thereto;
 3) the item is produced or the motion for the arrangement to take it is made belatedly;
 4) the need to produce or arrange the taking of the item has not been justified;
 5) the party to proceedings who made the motion for the court to arrange the taking of the item fails to make the advance payment required by the court in order to cover the related costs.

 (4) Where the court refuses to accept an item of evidence or to arrange it to be taken, it does so by a reasoned order.

 (5) Where the court has already accepted the item of evidence or arranged for it to be taken, it may, when disposing of the case, in situations provided for by subsections 1–3 of this section, decide to disregard that evidence. An item of evidence may be disregarded also after its assessment if it is manifestly unreliable.

§ 239.  Arranging for evidence to be taken

 (1) Where, in order to examine an item of evidence, other evidence needs to be taken, the court arranges this by an order that is communicated to the parties to proceedings. Before the order is made, the court must hear the person from whom the evidence is to be taken – provided the person makes the corresponding motion. Where evidence needs to be taken outside of the judicial district of the court dealing with the case, the court considering the case may make an order for the procedural operation to be performed, under the rules applicable to domestic letters of request, by the court in whose judicial district the evidence can be taken. The order containing the domestic letter of request provides a brief description of the substance of the case, the circumstances to be ascertained and the evidence to be taken.
[RT I, 26.05.2017, 1 – entry into force 05.06.2017]

 (2) Where this ise needed, the court – including the court dealing with the case under the domestic letter of request – may vary the order under which the evidence is to be taken. Where this is possible, the parties to proceedings are given an opportunity to state their views before the order is varied. The parties are notified without delay of the order’s variation.

§ 240.  Rules for carrying out a domestic letter of request

 (1) A domestic letter of request is carried out in accordance with the rules enacted to govern the performance of the procedural operation requested in the letter. The parties to proceedings are notified of the time and place of the procedural operation, yet the absence of a party does not prevent the carrying out of the request.

 (2) The record of proceedings at the procedural operation as well as any evidence taken under the domestic letter of request are sent, without delay, to the court considering the case.

 (3) Where, in the course of the taking of evidence before the court dealing with the case under the domestic letter of request, a dispute arises whose disposition will determine the continuation of the taking of evidence and which may not be disposed of by that court, the court conducting proceedings in the main case disposes of the dispute.

 (4) Where the court carrying out the domestic letter of request finds it reasonable, in the interests of disposing of the case, to hand over the taking of the evidence to another court, the court addresses a corresponding request to the other court and notifies this to the parties to proceedings.

§ 241.  Taking evidence outside Estonia

 (1) Evidence whose taking is arranged in a foreign State under the laws of that State may be used in civil proceedings in Estonia unless the procedural operations performed in order to obtain the evidence are contrary to the principles of Estonian civil procedure.

 (2) [Repealed – RT I, 10.02.2023, 2 – entry into force 20.02.2023]

 (3) [Repealed – RT I, 10.02.2023, 2 – entry into force 20.02.2023]

 (4) In order to arrange the taking of evidence elsewhere than in a Member State of the European Union, the court requests the taking through a competent authority in accordance with the Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil or Commercial Matters.

 (5) The court may also arrange the taking of evidence in a foreign State by acting through the ambassador or duly authorised consular official representing the Republic of Estonia in that State, provided this is not prohibited under the law of that State.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 2411.  Application of Regulation (EU) 2020/1783 of the European Parliament and of the Council

 (1) The taking of evidence in another Member State of the European Union takes place in accordance with the rules provided by Regulation (EU) 2020/1783 of the European Parliament and of the Council with the assistance of the courts of the other State or directly.

 (2) Under paragraph 2 of Article 3 of Regulation (EU) 2020/1783 of the European Parliament and of the Council, the competence to take evidence is vested in the district courts and in the circuit courts of appeal in their respective judicial districts or circuits, and in the Supreme Court.

 (3) The judicial panel which, or the judge acting under a delegation from the judicial panel who, requested the taking of evidence under Regulation (EU) 2020/1783 of the European Parliament and of the Council may, in accordance with the Regulation, be present at and participate in the taking of evidence by the foreign court. The parties to proceedings, their representatives and experts may participate in the taking of evidence insofar as they are allowed to participate in such an operation in Estonia. Under paragraph 3 of Article 19 of the Regulation, the judicial panel dealing with the case, the judge acting under a direction from the panel or the expert appointed by the court may participate in the proceedings conducted to take evidence directly in another Member State of the European Union by an Estonian court.

 (4) Under Article 21 of Regulation (EU) 2020/1783 of the European Parliament and of the Council, in a case dealt with by an Estonian court, a citizen of the Republic of Estonia who finds themselves in another Member State may be heard through an Estonian diplomatic agent or consular official.

 (5) Under paragraph 3 of Article 4 of Regulation (EU) 2020/1783 of the European Parliament and of the Council, the duties of the central body are carried out by the Ministry of Justice.

 (6) Under paragraph 3 of Article 4 of Regulation (EU) 2020/1783 of the European Parliament and of the Council, the Ministry of Justice is designated as the authority to decide the acceptance or refusal of requests made under Article 19 of the Regulation.

 (7) Under Article 6 of Regulation (EU) 2020/1783 of the European Parliament and of the Council, standard forms completed in the Estonian or in the English language are accepted in Estonia.
[RT I, 10.02.2023, 2 – entry into force 20.02.2023]

§ 242.  Abandoning the item of evidence

  Unless otherwise provided by law, the principal party who produced the item of evidence or moved for the court to arrange for it to be taken may abandon the item and withdraw it only with the consent of the opposing party.

§ 243.  Examining the evidence

 (1) The court examines the evidence at first hand and assesses it when rendering its disposition.

 (2) The court, having heard the views of the parties to proceedings, determines the sequence in which the evidence is to be examined at the trial or hearing.

 (3) The parties to proceedings have a right to attend the examination of the evidence at the trial or hearing. Unless the court rules otherwise, the absence of a party – who was summoned – from the trial or hearing in which evidence is to be examined does not prevent the examination from proceeding.

 (4) Where a party to proceedings who was absent from the trial or hearing in which the evidence was examined makes the corresponding motion, the court may order a new or additional examination if the party substantiates to the court that their absence was due to a valid reason and that, because of their absence, the body of evidence that was built up or examined in the case is materially incomplete.

 (5) The record of proceedings that was created by the judge acting under the domestic letter of request, or on a delegation of the judicial panel, concerning the taking of evidence is presented at the trial or hearing before the court considering the case. The parties to proceedings may state their views concerning the taking of the evidence.

 (6) Any items of evidence taken, or records of proceedings at procedural operations conducted, outside of the trial or hearing are presented at the trial or hearing and, where this is needed, presented to the experts and witnesses. After this, the parties to proceedings may make statements to explain the items.

Chapter 26 PROCEEDINGS FOR PRELIMINARY TAKING OF EVIDENCE TO PRESERVE THE EVIDENCE AND TO ASCERTAIN FACTS BEFORE INITIATION OF PROCEEDINGS 

§ 244.  Preliminary taking of evidence

 (1) Proceedings for the preliminary taking of evidence may, on a motion or application of the principal party, be ordered by the court during judicial proceedings or, where a valid reason is present, also before such proceedings are initiated, provided the opposing party agrees to this or provided it may be presumed that evidence could be lost or that subsequent use of the evidence would be fraught with difficulties. The court also initiates proceedings for the preliminary taking of evidence in order to preserve the evidence in a situation where a person substantiates that their copyright, related rights or industrial property rights have been infringed, or that a risk of infringement exists.

 (2) In proceedings for the preliminary taking of evidence, an inspection may be arranged, a witness may be heard or an expert assessment or any other procedural operation may be conducted. Where the preliminary taking of evidence has been initiated in order to preserve the evidence due to an infringement or risk of infringement of copyright, related rights or industrial property rights, the court may, among other things, arrange the inspection and recording of a detailed description of samples with or without storing the samples, or attach the infringing goods, or the raw materials, equipment and related documents needed for the production or marketing of the goods, in accordance with the rules for interim relief.

 (3) Where judicial proceedings have not yet been initiated, the person may apply to the court for an expert assessment to be ordered by way of the preliminary taking of evidence provided they have a legally relevant interest to ascertain:
 1) the status of a person, or the condition or value of a property object;
 2) the reason for the harm or for the object’s defect;
 3) the costs or measures needed to eliminate the harm or to cure the object’s defects.

 (4) A legally relevant interest exists in a situation mentioned in subsection 3 of this section if it is manifest that the ascertainment would help prevent a judicial dispute.

 (5) Unless this Chapter provides otherwise, the provisions concerning the production, and arranging the taking, of evidence apply in proceedings for the preliminary taking of evidence.

§ 245.  Application to initiate proceedings for the preliminary taking of evidence

 (1) Where judicial proceedings have commenced in the case, the application to initiate proceedings for the preliminary taking of evidence is filed with the court that deals with the case.

 (2) Where judicial proceedings have not been commenced, the application is filed with the court that the applicant asserts to have authority to hear the main case. Where proceedings for the preliminary taking of evidence are followed by judicial proceedings, the applicant may not rely on the fact that the case does not actually fall within the territorial jurisdiction of that court.

 (3) Where a valid reason is present, the application may also be filed with the district court in whose judicial district the person whose examination – or in whose respect the conduct of an expert assessment – is applied for is present, or the area where the item of property to be inspected, or assessed by the expert, is located.

§ 246.  Particulars in the application to initiate proceedings for the preliminary taking of evidence

 (1) The application to initiate the preliminary taking of evidence must state the following particulars:
 1) the names, addresses and telecommunications numbers of the parties, or presumed parties, to the proceedings;
 2) a description of the circumstances regarding which the applicant wishes evidence to be taken;
 3) the names of the witnesses or the indications concerning other items of evidence;
 4) the circumstances that substantiate the permissibility of proceedings for the preliminary taking of evidence and the court’s territorial jurisdiction in the case.

 (2) If the applicant seeking the taking of evidence does not name the opposing party, they must substantiate, to the court, the valid reason that prevents them from naming the party.

§ 247.  Initiating the preliminary taking of evidence

 (1) The court disposes of the application to initiate the preliminary taking of evidence by an order. The order states the circumstances regarding which evidence must be taken and specifies the evidence to be taken.

 (2) Where proceedings for the preliminary taking of evidence are initiated in order to preserve the evidence before the filing of the court claim due to infringement or risk of infringement of the person’s copyright, related rights or industrial property rights, the court sets a time limit in its order within which the person must file their claim. The time limit may not be longer than one month. If the court claim is not filed within that time limit, the court revokes the operations performed in the course of the proceedings.

 (3) Where proceedings for the preliminary taking of evidence are requested, or have been initiated, due to infringement or risk of infringement of the person’s copyright, related rights or industrial property rights, the court may make the initiation or continuation of those proceedings dependent on the provision of security to compensate for the harm that may arise to the opposing party. The security must be provided by the due date set by the court. If the security is not provided by that date, the court refuses to initiate preliminary taking of evidence or cancels the acts performed in the course of the preliminary taking of evidence.

 (4) The order by which initiation of the preliminary taking of evidence is refused may be appealed. The order of the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal against the order of the district court cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.

§ 248.  Protection of the opposing party in proceedings for the preliminary taking of evidence

 (1) The court does not initiate proceedings for the preliminary taking of evidence if the applicant does not substantiate, to the court, the valid reason why they cannot name the opposing party of those proceedings.

 (2) Where proceedings for the preliminary taking of evidence are initiated on the grounds of an application that does not name the opposing party, the court may, in the proceedings, appoint an attorney to represent the future opposing party and to protect its interests during the taking of the evidence. The court orders the applicant to pay the attorney's fee and costs to the extent prescribed by the State-funded Legal Aid Act, and may require the applicant to make, prior to commencement of the proceedings, a reasonable advance payment to the designated account. If the payment is not made, the court may refuse to initiate the proceedings.
[RT I, 31.01.2014, 6 – entry into force 01.04.2014]

 (3) The court serves the application to initiate proceedings for the preliminary taking of evidence and the court order by which the proceedings are initiated on the opposing party or on that party’s representative, giving consideration to the need for that party to protect its interests in those proceedings.

 (4) Where proceedings for the preliminary taking of evidence due to infringement or risk of infringement of the person’s copyright, related rights or industrial property rights are applied for, or have been initiated, in order to preserve the evidence before the filing of the court claim and where any delay could result in irreparable harm to the applicant or where the evidence is likely to be destroyed or lost, the court initiates and completes those proceedings without notifying this to the opposing party. In such a situation, the application and order referred to in subsection 3 of this section, as well as the order imposing the measures are served on the opposing party without delay once the necessary measures have been applied.

 (5) In a situation mentioned in subsection 4 of this section, where the evidence was preserved without justification, the opposing party may make a motion to the court to vary or revoke the measure by which it was preserved. The court notifies the motion to the applicant who has a right to state objections to the motion. The principal parties may appeal the order made concerning the motion. The order of the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal filed against the order of the district court cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.

 (6) The filing of the appeal mentioned in subsection 5 of this section does not suspend enforcement of the order to preserve the evidence. The filing of appeal against the order by which a measure for preserving the evidence is revoked or one measure is replaced by another suspends enforcement of the order.

§ 249.  Relying on an item of evidence obtained in proceedings for the preliminary taking of evidence

 (1) Evidence taken in proceedings for the preliminary taking of evidence may be relied on in the case on an equal footing with evidence taken in the main proceedings.

 (2) Where the opposing party did not participate in the hearing held, or in any other procedural operation, performed as part of the proceedings for the preliminary taking of evidence, reliance on the outcome of those proceedings is not allowed if that party had not been summoned to the hearing or procedural operation at the propert time, or the party’s rights were materially violated in those proceedings due to other reasons, and the party therefore contests the evidence.

 (3) Reliance on the outcome of the proceedings for the preliminary taking of evidence is allowed where the opposing party was not informed of those proceedings under subsection 4 of § 248 of this Code.

§ 250.  Compensation for harm caused by proceedings for preliminary taking of evidence

 (1) The party who applied for initiation of proceedings for the preliminary taking of evidence must compensate for the harm caused to the other party if:
 1) the judicial disposition denying or dismissing the court claim enters into effect, or if proceedings in the case are terminated on any grounds other than approval of the compromise of the parties;
 2) it comes to light that the grounds for the proceedings were not present at the time the proceedings were initiated;
 3) the operations performed in the course of the proceedings that were conducted before the filing of the court claim have been revoked for the reason that the claim was not filed within the time limit.

 (2) The security that was collected, from the party who applied for proceedings for the preliminary taking of evidence, to compensate for harm likely to be caused by those proceedings is returned to that party if the other party has not, within two months following the time mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, filed a court claim to have the harm compensated.

Chapter 27 WITNESS TESTIMONY 

§ 251.  Witness testimony

 (1) Any person who may have knowledge of circumstances relevant to the case may be examined as a witness, provided the person is not a party to proceedings – or a representative of such a party – in the case.

 (2) The court may, in the stead of examining the witness, use the record of judicial proceedings of another case in which the person was examined, provided this manifestly facilitates the proceedings and provided it may be presumed that the court is able to assess the record to the required degree without examining the witness at first hand.

§ 252.  Summoning the witness to the trial or hearing

  The court summons the witness to the trial or hearing and serves them with a summons. The summons must contain at least the following particulars:
 1) the parties to proceedings and the subject matter of the dispute;
 2) what the person is to be examined about;
 3) the command to appear at the time and place stated in the summons to give testimony;
 4) a warning that coercive measures provided for by law will be imposed if the witness does not appear for the examination.

§ 253.  Written testimony

 (1) Where appearing before the court is unreasonably onerous to the witness and where, taking into consideration the substance of the questions and who the witness is, the court finds the provision of written testimony to be sufficient for evidentiary purposes, the court may make an order by which it requires the witness to provide written replies to the questions put to them within the time limit set by the court.

 (2) In a situation mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, it must be explained to the witness that regardless of having provided written testimony, they may still be summoned to the trial or hearing to provide oral testimony. An explanation of the substance of §§ 256–259 of this Code and of the witness’s duty to tell the truth must be provided. The witness must also be cautioned against refusing to give testimony without a valid reason and against giving knowingly false testimony, and must be required to sign the text of the testimony and of the caution.

 (3) A party to proceedings has a right to put written questions to the witness through the court. The court determines the questions to which the witness is requested to reply.

 (4) After receiving the witness’s answers, the court transmits them without delay to the parties to proceedings together with the signed text of the caution.

 (5) Where this is needed, the court may summon the witness to the trial or hearing to give their testimony orally.

§ 254.  Witness’s duty to appear before the court and to provide truthful testimony

  The person summoned as a witness is required to appear before and give truthful testimony to the court concerning the circumstances known to them.

§ 255.  Examining the witness outside the court

 (1) Where the witness is unable to appear in court due to illness, old age, disability or any other valid reason, or if this is necessary for other reasons, the court may go to the witness to examine them.

 (2) Witness examination may be tasked to another court under a domestic letter of request or to a judge under the delegation of the judicial panel only if there is reason to believe that the court dealing with the case will be able to conduct the relevant assessment of the results of the examination without having participated in it at first hand, and if:
 1) on-site examination of the witness is presumed to be needed to ascertain the truth or if, under the law, the witness must be examined at a place that is not the venue for disposing of the case;
 2) the witness is unable to appear before the court due to illness, old age, disability or another valid reason;
 3) considering the degree of significane of the testimony to be given by the witness, their appearance before the court that deals with the case is not acceptable to the witness due to the considerable distance to be covered and the witness cannot be heard by means of distance participation in the trial or hearing.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 4) [Repealed – RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) Where the witness does not appear or refuses to give testimony, the judge who is taking the evidence under a delegation of the judicial panel or a domestic letter of request may issue and revoke any directions provided for by law, decide on the permissibility of the questions put to the witness and direct that a repeat examination of the witness be conducted.

§ 256.  Prohibition to testify

 (1) A minister of a religious association registered in Estonia or any support staff of the association may not be examined with regard to circumstances confided to them in the context of spiritual care.

 (2) The following may not be examined as a witness without the permission of the person in whose interests the duty of confidentiality has been imposed:
 1) the representative in a civil or administrative case, the defence counsel in a criminal or misdemeanour case and the notary with regard to circumstances that have become known to them in the course of performing their professional duties;
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 2) the physician, pharmacist or any other provider of health care services, with regard to circumstances that the patient has confided to them, including circumstances related to the person’s descent, artificial fertilisation, family or health;
 3) any other person to whom, due to their occupation or professional or economic activities, information has been confided that the person is obliged to keep confidential under the law.

 (3) Also, any members of professional support staff of the persons mentioned in subsection 2 of this section may not be examined as witnesses without the permission of the person in whose interests the duty of confidentiality has been imposed.

 (4) The court may refuse to hear as a witness a person of less than fourteen years of age or a person who due to a physical or mental disability is unable to adequately perceive circumstances relevant to the case or to give truthful testimony regarding these.

§ 257.  Witness’s right to refuse to testify

 (1) The following persons have a right to refuse to testify as a witness:
 1) any blood relative, in the descending or ascending line, of the claimant or defendant;
 2) a sister, stepsister, brother or stepbrother of the claimant or defendant, or a person who is or has been married to or in a registered partnership with them;
[RT I, 06.07.2024, 6 – entry into force 01.01.2024]
 3) a step parent or foster parent or a step child or foster child of the claimant or defendant;
 4) an adoptive parent or adopted child of the claimant or defendant;
 5) the spouse or registered partner of or a person permanently living together with the claimant or defendant, and the parents of the spouse, partner or person, including after the marriage, registered partnership or permanent cohabitation has ended.
[RT I, 06.07.2024, 6 – entry into force 01.01.2024]

 (2) The witness may refuse to give testimony also if the testimony may incriminate them, or a person mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, in the commission of a criminal or misdemeanour offence.

 (3) The witness has a right to refuse to give testimony concerning a circumstance to which the Act on State Secrets and on Classified Information of Foreign States applies.
[RT I 2007, 16, 77 – entry into force 01.01.2008]

 (4) A person processing information for journalistic purposes has a right to refuse to give testimony concerning a circumstance that makes it possible to identify the person who has provided the information.
[RT I, 21.12.2010, 1 – entry into force 31.12.2010]

 (5) In a situation provided for by subsection 4 of this section, a person has a right to refuse to give testimony if they have professionally come into contact with circumstances that may identify the person who has provided information to the person processing information for journalistic purposes.
[RT I, 21.12.2010, 1 – entry into force 31.12.2010]

§ 258.  Duty to testify in exceptional situations

  Regardless of the provisions of § 257 of this Code, the witness may not refuse to give testimony concerning:
 1) the performance and substance of a transaction that they were invited to attend as a witness;
 2) the birth or death of a member of their family;
 3) a circumstance related to a pecuniary relationship that arises from a family relationship;
 4) an operation related to the disputed legal relationship that the witness performed as the legal predecessor or representative of a principal party.

§ 259.  Rules for refusal to give testimony

 (1) A witness who refuses to give testimony must present, not later than at the trial or hearing during which they were to be examined, the circumstances on which their refusal is based, and substantiate these to the court.

 (2) A witness who has notified their refusal before the trial or hearing is not required to appear for the trial or for the hearing during which they were to be examined. The court informs the parties to proceedings of having received a representation stating the refusal to give testimony.

 (3) The court makes an order concerning the lawfulness of the witness’s refusal to give testimony after hearing the parties to proceedings. If the court does not consider the refusal lawful, it requires the witness to give the testimony by the order. The witness has a right to appeal the order. The order of the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.

 (4) Where the witness who refuses to give testimony invokes, as the ground for refusal, a State secret or classified information of foreign States, the court addresses a request the authority in possession of the secret or classified information to confirm that the circumstances have been classified accordingly. If the authority does not confirm the classification or does not respond to the request within 20 days, the witness is required to give testimony.
[RT I 2007, 16, 77 – entry into force 01.01.2008]

§ 260.  Examining the witness: measures to ensure compliance

 (1) Witnesses are examined separately. Witnesses who have not been examined may not be present in the courtroom during consideration of the case. A witness who has been examined stays in the courtroom until the end of consideration of the case unless the court gives the witness permission to leave earlier.

 (2) Where the court has reason to believe that the witness is afraid or, for other reasons, does not speak the truth before the court in the presence of a party to proceedings or where a party leads the witness’s testimony by interfering or in any other way, the court may remove the party from the courtroom for the duration of the witness’s examination.

 (3) Once the party to proceedings has returned, the testimony of the witness is read out to them and they have a right to question the witness.

§ 261.  Examining an underage witness

 (1) Where this is needed, a witness of less than fourteen years of age is examined in the presence of a child protection official, social worker, psychologist, parent or legal guardian who, with the permission of the court, may also question the witness. When examining a minor who is over fourteen years of age, the court may arrange the participation of a child protection official, social worker or psychologist.

 (2) Where this is needed, the court may remove a witness of less than fourteen years of age from the courtroom after they have been examined.

§ 262.  Rules for examining the witness

 (1) The court ascertains the identity of the witness and establishes their field of activity, education, residence, connection to the case and relationships with the parties to proceedings. Before the witness proceeds to give testimony, the court explains to them the witness’s duty to speak the truth and the substance of §§ 256–259 of this Code.

 (2) A witness of at least fourteen years of age is cautioned against refusal, without a lawful ground, to give testimony and against giving knowingly false testimony, and the witness is ordered to sign an acknowledgement in the judicial record of proceedings or on the text of the caution. The witness is not cautioned if, due to mental illness, congenital dementia or other mental disorder, they do not understand what being cautioned means.

 (3) Where a witness is examined repeatedly in the same case, they do not need to be cautioned anew. The court reminds the witness of the continuing effect of the caution.

 (4) The court explains the subject matter of examination to the witness and invites the witness to relate everything that they know of the matter.

 (5) The parties to proceedings have a right to put questions to the witness that, in their view, are needed in order to dispose of, or establish the witness's connection to, the case. The parties put their questions through the court. With the permission of the court, a party may put their questions to the witness directly.

 (6) The first to question the witness is the party to proceedings on whose motion the witness was summoned; after this, the witness is questioned by the other parties. A witness summoned of the court’s own motion is questioned first by the claimant.

 (7) The court excludes leading questions and questions that are not relevant to the case as well as questions that are put to the witness in order to raise new circumstances that have not been raised before, as well as repeat questions.

 (8) Where this is needed, the court, during the entire examination, puts additional questions to the witness in order to clarify or supplement their testimony, or to establish the basis of their knowledge.

§ 263.  Repeat or contrastive examination of the witness

 (1) The witness is examined at the trial hearing to which they have been summoned unless there is a valid reason not to hear the witness during it. The absence, from the trial or hearing, of one of the parties to proceedings is not, as a rule, deemed a valid reason. Reasons must be given for repeat summoning of a witness who has been examined to any hearings that follow in the same judicial instance.

 (2) Where this is needed, the court may examine the witness repeatedly in the same trial or hearing, or examine several witnesses contrastively if their testimony is contradictory.

§ 264.  Witness’s notes

 (1) When giving their testimony, the witness may use notes and other documents in order to present numerical data, names and other particulars that are difficult to memorise. The court may restrain the witness from using notes in the trial or hearing.

 (2) Where the court so requires, the notes are presented to the court and the parties to proceedings and the court may annex the notes to the case file with the witness's consent.

§ 265.  Disclosure of testimony of witness

 (1) The testimony of a witness who has been examined under a domestic letter of request or a delegation of the judicial panel, in proceedings for the preliminary taking of evidence or, where consideration of the case has been adjourned, before the adjournment or in a previous hearing, is presented at the trial or hearing. The testimony is deemed to have been presented if neither the court nor the parties to proceedings consider its reading out to be needed.

 (2) Where witnesses who have been examined earlier in the trial or in a previous hearing appear at the trial or hearing, the court may examine them again.

§ 266.  Liability of witnesses

 (1) Where a witness who has been summoned fails to appear before the court without a valid reason, the court may impose a fine or order the witness to be brought in forcibly.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) Where a witness, without a valid reason, refuses to give testimony or sign an acknowledgement of having been cautioned or warned, the court may impose a fine or a short-term custodial sentence of up to 14 days on the witness. The witness is released without delay when they have testified or signed the acknowledgement, or when the trial or hearing has ended or the need to examine the witness is no longer present.

 (3) The witness bears the case costs caused by their refusal, without a valid reason, to provide signed acknowledgement of having been cautioned or warned, to give testimony or by their failure, without a valid reason, to appear at the trial or hearing.

 (4) The order of the district court or of the circuit court of appeal made under circumstances mentioned in subsections 1–3 of this section may be appealed by the witness. The order of the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal filed against the order of the district court cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.

Chapter 28 STATEMENTS OF PARTIES TO PROCEEDINGS GIVEN UNDER OATH 

§ 267.  Examination – under oath – of a party to proceedings on the motion of the principal party required to provide evidence

 (1) The principal party who has not been able to prove a circumstance that they are required to prove by any other evidence, or who has not provided such evidence, has a right to move for the opposing party or a third party to be examined under oath to prove the circumstance. Where a legal person is concerned, its representative may be examined under oath.

 (2) A third party may also be examined under oath on their own motion.

§ 268.  Examination – under oath – of the principal party required to provide evidence

  Where one of the principal parties moves for this and the other party agrees, the court may, with regard to a disputed circumstance, also examine the principal party required to provide evidence.

§ 2681.  Examining a principal party of the court’s own motion

  Where, based on earlier proceedings and on the evidence produced and arranged to be taken in the case, it is impossible for the court to form an opinion concerning the veracity of an asserted circumstance that must be proved, the court may, of its own motion, regardless of the parties' motions or applications and of the division of the burden of evidence, examine either or both of the principal parties under oath. The court may, of its own motion, also examine a principal party under oath if the party required to provide evidence wishes to provide a statement under oath, but the opposing party does not agree with it.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 269.  Rules for examining a party to proceedings

 (1) Unless otherwise provided for by this Chapter, the examination – under oath – of a party to proceedings is governed, accordingly, by the provisions concerning the examination of witnesses.

 (2) Before testifying, the party to proceedings takes the following oath:
"I, (name), swear by my honour and conscience that I will tell the whole truth about the case without concealing, adding or changing anything". The party speaks the oath and signs the corresponding text.

§ 270.  Refusal of the party to proceedings to take the oath and give a statement under oath

 (1) Where the principal party refuses to take the oath or to give a statement under oath or where the party, regardless of having been required to do so by the court, does not make any representation concerning this, the court may, having regard, among other things, to the reasons for the refusal, deem the circumstance asserted by the opposing party to have been proved.

 (2) Where the principal party, without a valid reason, does not appear for the trial or hearing at which the party was to be heard under oath, the court may, having regard to the reasons for the party’s failure to appear, deem that the party has refused to give the statement.

 (3) Where a third party without an independent claim refuses to give the statement or take the oath, the provisions governing witnesses’ refusal to give testimony and the liability prescribed for this apply.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 271.  Examining a party to proceedings who does not possess active legal capacity for purposes of civil procedure

 (1) In the stead of the party to proceedings who does not possess active legal capacity for purposes of civil procedure, the party’s statutory representative or representatives are examined under oath.

 (2) With regard to a circumstance which is directly related to an act of a minor or of an adult of limited active legal capacity or of which the minor or adult had first-hand experience, the court may examine the person without requiring them to take the oath, provided the court deems this reasonable considering the circumstances.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

Chapter 29 DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE 

§ 272.  Item of documentary evidence: definition

 (1) ‘Item of documentary evidence’ means any document or other similar data medium which is rendered in writing or recorded by means of photography or of video, audio, electronic or other data recording, which contains information on circumstances relevant to disposing of the case and which can be presented at the trial or hearing in a perceptible form.

 (2) Official and personal correspondence, judicial dispositions rendered in other cases and opinions of specialist witnesses filed with the court by a party to proceedings are also deemed documents.

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

§ 273.  Filing a written document

 (1) A written document is filed as an original document or as a copy.

 (2) Where a party to proceedings files the original document together with a copy, the court may return the original and keep the copy, certified by the judge, in the case file – or deem an electronic document created under subsection 4 of § 56 of this Code to suffice.
[RT I, 10.02.2023, 1 – entry into force 01.04.2023]

 (3) On a motion of the person who filed it, the court may, during the proceedings or on the entry into effect of the judicial disposition concluding the same, return a paper document that was filed in the case.
[RT I, 10.02.2023, 1 – entry into force 01.04.2023]

 (4) The court may set a time limit for persons to acquaint themselves with a document that has been filed; when the time limit expires, the court returns the document.
[RT I, 10.02.2023, 1 – entry into force 01.04.2023]

 (5) Where a document has been filed in the form of a copy, the court may require the filing of the original, or the substantiation of circumstances that prevent its filing. If the requirement is not complied with, the court decides on the probative value of the copy.

§ 274.  Filing of electronic documents

  Electronic documents are filed with the court in the form of printouts or are transmitted electronically in a form that permits a person to acquaint themselves with the document and allows its safe storage in the Judicial Information System.

§ 275.  Filing an excerpt of the document and acquaintance with the document at its place of storage

 (1) Where a document is exceptionally voluminous and mainly deals with circumstances that are not relevant to the proceedings or where it contains information that is deemed to amount to a State or business secret or classified information of a foreign State, and the court finds that for this reason, or for another reason of a similar type, the filing of the document in its entirety is not reasonable considering the document’s degree of relevance to the proceedings and the danger of the document being lost or damaged, it may allow a certified excerpt of a part of the document to be filed or reference to be made to the place where the court and the parties may acquaint themselves with the document. The court may require the entire document to be filed.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) In a situation mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, the court may inspect a document at the place where it is stored and acquaint itself with the document at that place, or task this to another court by means of a domestic letter of request or to a judge by means of delegation from the judicial panel.

§ 276.  Documents created by a public authority or by a person authorised to carry out public duties

 (1) Where the court has doubts concerning the authenticity of a document created by a public authority or by a person authorised to carry out public duties, the court may request the authority or the person who appears to have created the document to certify its authenticity.

 (2) An apostille certificate according to the Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents – or legalisation by a competent consular official or envoy of the Republic of Estonia – suffices as proof of authenticity of a foreign public document. A foreign public document that does not bear an apostille and has not been legalised is assessed by the court according to its inner conviction.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 277.  Contesting the document’s authenticity

 (1) A party to proceedings may contest the authenticity of a document and move for the court not to consider the document as an item of evidence if the party substantiates that the document is a forgery.

 (2) Whether the document is authentic or a forgery may, among other things, be proved by means of comparison. Where documents that are suitable for conducting the comparison are in the possession of the opposing party or of a third party, their handing over may be required on the same grounds that apply in relation to documentary evidence.

 (3) The authenticity of an electronic document bearing a digital signature may be contested only by substantiating the circumstances that constitute a reason to presume that the document was not created by the signature owner. This also applies to electronic documents created by another secure method that makes it possible to establish the person who created the document and its time of creation.

 (4) Where a document’s authenticity has been contested, the court may, when rendering its judgment, disregard the document or exclude it from the evidence by an order. To check whether the document is a forgery, the court may commission an expert assessment or require other evidence to be produced.

 (5) A document whose authenticity has been contested or whose content may have been altered is kept in the case file following the rules provided by subsection 5 of § 56 of this Code until the end of the proceedings unless, in the interest of public order or in order to prevent the loss of the document, it needs to be transferred to another public authority. The court notifies any doubts regarding a document’s being a forgery to the Prosecutor's Office.
[RT I, 10.02.2023, 1 – entry into force 01.04.2023]

§ 278.  Requiring a document to be handed over

  Where a person applies to the court for the court to require another person to hand over a document, the person must, in their application, describe the document and its contents and state why they believe the document to be in the other person’s possession.

§ 279.  Duty to hand over documents

 (1) A person who has possession of the document and who has been required by the court to present it by the time set by the court is under a duty to do so.

 (2) Where a person has possession of information relevant to disposing of the case, they must, when they have been required to do so by the court, create a document based on that information and present it to the court. The person may refuse to create the document for the same reasons that apply when refusing to hand over a document.

 (3) When the court requires the document to presented, it communicates the time, place and method for the document to be presented or for the reasons for not presenting the document to be stated. The court may fine a person who, not having a ground for doing so, fails to present the document.

§ 280.  Duty to provide information in relation to a court claim concerning intellectual property

 (1) Where a court claim has been filed due to an infringement or risk of infringement of copyright, related rights or industrial property rights, the court may, on a reasoned motion of the claimant, require the defendant or another person to provide, among other things, written particulars concerning the origin and distribution channels of the goods or services that infringe the relevant right.

 (2) The court may, following the provision of subsection 1 of this section, request information from the person infringing the rights or from another person who:
 1) is or has been in possession of the goods infringing the rights;
 2) used the services that infringe the rights;
 3) has provided services that were used for activities infringing the rights;
 4) has participated, based on information at the disposal of persons mentioned in clauses 1–3 of this subsection, in the production or distribution of such goods, or in the provision of such services.

 (3) The information mentioned in subsection 1 of this section may include, among other things, the following particulars:
 1) the names and addresses of the producers, manufacturers or distributors of the goods or services, the names and addresses of their suppliers of the goods or services and of previous possessors of the goods or services, and the names and addresses of the persons who ordered the goods or services and for whom the goods or services were intended or of the points of sale for whom the goods or services were intended;
 2) particulars concerning the quantities of the goods that were manufactured, produced, distributed, received or ordered and concerning the prices paid for the goods or services.

 (4) The information mentioned in subsection 3 of this section may not be used outside judicial proceedings in which it was requested.

 (5) The provisions of subsections 1–4 of this section do not limit the court’s authority to examine the persons mentioned in subsection 2 of this section in the proceedings in the capacity of witnesses. The persons may refuse to provide information by the method mentioned in subsection 1 of this section on the same grounds as they may refuse to testify as witnesses. The court must explain this right to the persons when it requests the information.

§ 281.  Refusing to hand over a document

 (1) An authority or institution of the State or a municipal authority or a public servant employed by such an authority or institution may not be required to present a document on whose substance the servant may not be examined as a witness.

 (2) Regardless of the court’s requirement, the handing over of the document is not obligatory:
 1) for an attorney who has received it in connection with the provision of legal services;
 2) if the document contains information concerning which its possessor may not be examined as a witness or with regard to which the possessor has a right to refuse to testify as a witness;
 3) for a person who may refuse to hand over the document due to another reason provided for by law.

 (3) A person who is not a principal party may file objections provided for by law to the requirement to hand the document over, including objections based on substantive law. The objection must be substantiated.

 (4) Where the person to whom the application was made to hand over the document informs the court that the document is not in their possession, the court may, on a motion of a party to proceedings, examine the person as a witness concerning the document’s whereabouts. This does not apply if the application was addressed to a principal party.

 (5) The court, having heard the parties to proceedings, makes an order concerning the lawfulness of the refusal to hand over the document. The order may be appealed by the parties to proceedings and by the person who was required to hand the document over. The order of the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.

§ 282.  Filing a court claim to obtain the document

 (1) Where a person makes a substantiated and lawful objection to being required to hand over a document, the person who applied for the document may, in order to obtain the document, file a court claim, under the rules prescribed by the Law of Obligations Act, by any other Act or by contract, against the person in whose possession the document is, and to move for suspension of proceedings in the main case until the claim for the handing over of the document has been disposed of. In such a situation, the court sets a time limit during which the person who applied for the document must obtain it.

 (2) Where the court claim filed against the possessor of the document has been disposed of or where the person claiming the document delays proceedings on the claim or delays complying with the disposition by which the claim was granted, the opposing party may move for continuation of proceedings before expiry of the time limit set for producing the document.

§ 283.  Failure by the opposing party to produce the document

 (1) Where the opposing party denies being in possession of a document, the party is examined under oath concerning not producing the document. If the court becomes convinced that the party is in possession of the document, it makes an order by which it requires the party to present the document to the court.

 (2) Where the opposing party fails to comply with the requirement to present the document to the court or where the court, having examined that party, becomes convinced that the party has not searched for the document diligently, the court may deem a copy of the document that was produced to the court by the person who cited the document as an item of evidence to be a true copy. Where no copy of the document has been produced, the court may deem proven the assertions that have been made concerning the document’s nature and substance by the person who moved for the document to be adduced as an item of evidence.

§ 284.  Consequences of removing a document

  Where a principal party removes a document or renders it unusable in order to prevent the opposing party from relying on it, the assertions made by the opposing party concerning the nature, creation and substance of that document may be deemed proven.

Chapter 30 PHYSICAL EVIDENCE 

§ 285.  Item of physical evidence: definition

  ‘Item of physical evidence’ means an item of property whose existence or properties may facilitate the clarification of circumstances relevant to disposing of the case. A document that corresponds to the aforementioned characteristics is also deemed an item of physical evidence.

§ 286.  Items of physical evidence: duty of production

  Unless otherwise provided for by this Chapter, producing and requiring the production of an item of physical evidence is governed by the provisions concerning the filing of documents.

§ 287.  Items of physical evidence: storage

 (1) An item of physical evidence is added to the case by an order.

 (2) An item of physical evidence is stored in the case file or in the court’s physical evidence storage facility. A corresponding note is made in the case file.

 (3) An item of physical evidence that cannot be transported to the court is stored at its location or is entrusted for safekeeping to a party to proceedings or to a third party, who is required to ensure its preservation.

 (4) The court stores an item of physical evidence such that the item and its evidentiary properties are preserved. Where this is needed, the item is sealed.

 (5) The Government of the Republic enacts rules for the courts’ registration, storage, transfer and destruction of physical evidence and for the courts’ evaluation, transfer and destruction of highly perishable physical evidence.

§ 288.  Items of physical evidence: inspection

 (1) The court inspects the items of physical evidence at the trial or hearing and presents them to the parties to proceedings and, where this is needed, to any experts or witnesses.

 (2) An item of physical evidence that is kept at its location is inspected at that location. An expert or another specialist witness may be invited to be present at its examination. The examination of the item is noted in the record of the trial or hearing.

 (3) Highly perishable items of physical evidence or items whose return the person who produced the evidence has moved for with a valid reason are inspected by the court without delay and returned to the person from whom they were received or to whom they belong.

 (4) When an inspection mentioned in subsections 1–3 of this section is conducted regarding an item of physical evidence, the item is described in detail. Where this is needed and where the possibility exists, the item is photographed or its material characteristics are recorded by another method. A report is drawn up concerning the inspection.

 (5) The inspection report regarding the item of physical evidence is presented at the trial or hearing. Following its presentation, the parties to proceedings may make statements to explain the item.

§ 289.  Items of physical evidence: returning them

 (1) When the judicial disposition concluding the proceedings has entered into effect, the items of physical evidence are returned to the person from whom they were obtained or to whom they belong, or are handed over to the person whose right to the item the court has recognised – if the court has not ordered the item to be returned earlier.

 (2) An item of property that, by law, may not be in a person’s possession, is handed over to a competent authority of the State.

 (3) On the person’s motion, an item of physical evidence that has been obtained from them and that has been inspected and examined may also be returned before the entry into effect of the judicial disposition.

Chapter 31 INSPECTION 

§ 290.  Inspection: definition

  ‘Inspection’ means any first-hand gathering, by the court, of information concerning the presence or the nature of a circumstance, including inspection of an area or of the scene of an event.

§ 291.  Arranging an inspection

 (1) In order to arrange an inspection, the court makes an order that states the subject matter of the inspection and the time and place for arranging it. The order may invite one or several experts to be present at the inspection. The court may also arrange an inspection of its own motion.

 (2) The court that deals with the case may delegate the right to carry out the inspection, including the right to appoint the experts to be invited to be present, to a judge acting under a delegation from the judicial panel or to a court acting under a domestic letter of request.

 (3) The parties to proceedings are informed of the inspection having been arranged, yet their absence does not prevent it from being carried out.

 (4) The parties to proceedings who participate in the inspection may draw the court's attention to circumstances that are material to the completeness of the inspection and to the case.

 (5) In the course of an inspection, the property object, area or scene of an event is described in detail and, where this is needed and possible, its material features are photographed or recorded by another method. A record of proceedings is created during the inspection and any observations made by the parties to proceedings are noted in the record.

§ 292.  Obligating a person to allow the inspection to be carried out

 (1) The court may obligate a party to proceedings or any other person to allow an inspection to be arranged and to set them a time limit for this. A non-party may refuse to allow the inspection to be carried out for the same reasons and under the same rules that apply when the possessor of a document refuses to hand over the document after having been required to do so by the court.

 (2) The court may impose a fine on a person who unjustifiably refuses to allow the inspection to be carried out.

Chapter 32 EXPERT OPINION 

§ 293.  Arranging an expert assessment; opinion of a specialist

 (1) The court may, on a motion of a party to proceedings, invite an expert to provide their opinion in order to clarify circumstances that are relevant to the case and that require specialised knowledge. On a question of law, the court may, on a motion of a party or of its own motion, invite an expert to provide their opinion in order to ascertain the law in force outside the Republic of Estonia, international law or customary law.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) The examination of a specialist to prove a circumstance or event whose perception requires specialised knowledge is governed by the provisions concerning the examination of witnesses. Where a party to proceedings has filed, with the court, the written opinion of the specialist and the person is not examined as a witness, the opinion is assessed as an item of documentary evidence.

 (3) The court may, in the stead of commissioning an expert assessment, use an expert opinion filed at the direction of the court in other judicial proceedings – or created at the direction of the proceedings authority in a criminal or misdemeanour case – provided this facilitates simplification of the proceedings and provided it may be presumed that the court is able to assess the expert opinion to the required degree without arranging a new expert assessment. Additional questions may be put to the expert – or the expert may be summoned to court to answer questions – also in this situation.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 294.  Appointing the expert

 (1) The expert assessment is carried out by a forensic expert or another specialist employed by a public forensic institution, by a registered private expert or by another person who possesses specialised knowledge and has been appointed by the court. The court may appoint a person to be the expert if the person possesses the knowledge and experience required to provide an opinion. The court takes the views of the parties into account when appointing the expert.
[RT I, 03.02.2023, 1 – entry into force 01.09.2023]

 (2) Where a registered private expert is available for conducting the expert assessment, a valid reason needs to be present to appoint another person as the expert.
[RT I, 03.02.2023, 1 – entry into force 01.09.2023]

 (3) The court may require the principal parties to provide the names of persons who are suitable to conduct the expert assessment.

 (4) If the parties have agreed on the person to be appointed expert, the court appoints the person as the expert, provided they are allowed act as the expert under the law.

 (5) The court may appoint additional experts or replace appointed experts.

 (6) The court may also appoint, as the expert, a forensic institution or another person performing expert assessments and leave the decision on appointing an individual expert to the institution or person.

§ 295.  Duty to perform the expert assessment

 (1) A person appointed as the expert is under a duty to perform the expert assessment if they are a forensic expert or a registered private expert who appears in the list for the relevant type of expert assessment or if their professional or economic activities take place in a domain whose knowledge is a prerequisite for performing the assessment.
[RT I, 03.02.2023, 1 – entry into force 01.09.2023]

 (2) A person who has notified the court of being prepared the conduct an expert assessment in the case is also subject to the duty to perform the assessment.

 (3) The expert’s consent to perform the expert assessment is not required.

§ 296.  Right to refuse to perform the expert assessment

 (1) An expert may refuse to perform the expert assessment on the same reasons that give a witness the right to refuse to testify. The court may also release the expert from the duty to perform the assessment for other reasons.

 (2) A person who participated in the making of a previous disposition in the case, including in the arbitral tribunal or pre-action proceedings, may not be appointed as the expert unless the person participated in those proceedings as an expert or witness.

 (3) A person appointed as the expert may also refuse to perform the expert assessment in other situations provided for by law or for a valid reason.

§ 297.  Performing the expert assessment

 (1) Where the presence of the parties to proceedings at the performance of the expert assessment is needed and possible, the court notes this in the order commissioning the assessment. In such case, absence of the parties to proceedings does not prevent the conduct of the expert assessment if the expert finds that they are able to provide an opinion without the presence of the parties to proceedings.

 (2) The court may give directions concerning the expert assessment.

 (3) Where the circumstances that constitute the cause of the court claim are in dispute, the court determines which circumstances the expert is to base their assessment on.

 (4) Where this is needed, the court determines the extent to which the expert has a right to examine an issue that needs to be proved, whether the expert is allowed to contact the parties to proceedings and whether and when the expert must allow the parties to participate in the performance of the assessment.

 (5) Any directions given to the expert must be notified to the parties to proceedings.

§ 298.  Questions to the expert; motions and objections of the parties to proceedings in relation to the expert assessment

 (1) A party to proceedings has a right to put questions to the expert through the court. The court determines the questions regarding which the expert’s opinion is requested. Where the court rejects a party’s question, it must state its reasons.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) Where this is needed, the court hears the expert’s views concerning the expert assessment before putting the questions to them and, if the expert makes the corresponding motion, clarifies to them any aspects of their task.

 (3) The parties to proceedings must file, with the court, within a reasonable time, any objections they have concerning the performance of the expert assessment as well as any motions concerning the performance of, and any additional questions related to, the assessment. The court may set them a time limit for this. Anything filed after that may be taken into consideration by the court only if the court finds that this does not delay disposing of the case or if the party had a valid reason for the delay and they have substantiated it sufficiently.

§ 299.  Requiring the handing over of an item of property for expert assessment

 (1) The court may require a party to proceedings, or any other person, to hand over an item of property for assessment by the expert or to permit such an assessment to be carried out, and may set the person a time limit for this. A person other than a party to proceedings has a right to refuse to hand over the item on the same grounds as apply when refusing to hand over a document, and may refuse to acquiesce in the carrying out of the assessment for the same reasons for which a witness may refuse to testify.

 (2) The court may fine a person who unjustifiably refuses to hand over the item of property or make arrangements for the expert assessment.

§ 300.  Expert assessment to ascertain filiation

 (1) A person must acquiesce in the expert assessment performed to ascertain filiation – first and foremost, in the taking of blood samples for blood-grouping and genetic analysis, provided ascertaining the filiation is possible based on recognised scientific principles and methods and provided the investigations are unlikely to cause harm to the health of the person investigated and of their close relatives.

 (2) Where a person declines to undertake an expert assessment to ascertain filiation, the court may order the assessment to be carried out mandatorily. Where a person repeatedly and unjustifiably refuses to undergo the investigation, the assessment may be performed forcibly under a court order, enlisting the assistance of the police where this is needed.

 (3) The order mentioned in subsection 2 of this section may be appealed. The filing of the appeal suspends enforcement of the order. The order of the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.
[RT I, 19.03.2019, 2 – entry into force 29.03.2019]

§ 301.  Expert’s opinion

 (1) The expert provides their opinion to the court in writing unless the court directs it to be provided orally or, with the expert's consent, in another form. The expert’s opinion must contain a detailed description of the investigations conducted, state the conclusions reached as a result of those investigations and provide reasoned answers to the court’s questions.

 (2) Where the court has appointed several experts and the experts form substantially identical opinions, they may draw up a joint opinion. If the opinions are not substantially identical, the experts present their opinions separately.

 (3) Where, during the expert assessment, the expert ascertains circumstances relevant to the case concerning which no questions have been put to them, they may also provide their opinion concerning those circumstances.

§ 302.  Duty and rights of the expert

 (1) The expert must provide a truthful and reasoned opinion on the questions put to them.

 (2) The expert may, to the extent necessary for providing their opinion, acquaint themselves with the materials of the case, participate in the examination of evidence in court and request reference materials and additional information from the court.

 (3) The expert does not have a right to assign the carrying out of the expert assessment to another person. Where the expert employs the assistance of another person and the assistance is not immaterial, they must disclose to the court the name of that person and the extent of the assistance.

 (4) The expert refuses to state their opinion if the information presented to them is incomplete or if the tasks assigned to them in the order commissioning the expert assessment lie outside their field of specialised knowledge or if answering the questions does not require expert investigations or the drawing of conclusions based on specialised knowledge. The expert verifies, without delay, whether the tasks of the assessment have a connection to their speciality or specialised knowledge and whether fulfilling the tasks is possible without enlisting the assistance of additional experts, and must inform the court without delay of refusing the assessment or of any doubts concerning it.

 (5) Where the expert has doubts concerning the substance or scope of the tasks they have been assigned, they address the court for clarification without delay. The expert informs the court without delay if it comes to light that the costs of the expert assessment are likely to exceed the value of the civil case or are significantly higher than the advance payment made to cover such costs.

 (6) The expert is under a duty to maintain as confidential any circumstances that have become known to them in the course of the expert assessment. Unless otherwise prescribed by law, such circumstances may be disclosed only with the permission of the court.

§ 303.  Examining and cautioning the expert

 (1) The expert opinion is presented at the trial or hearing.

 (2) Where the expert’s opinion has not been filed in writing or in a form reproducible in writing, the expert provides their opinion at the trial or hearing. The court may summon the expert who filed their opinion in writing or in a form reproducible in writing to the trial or hearing for questioning. The court summons the expert to the trial or hearing if a principal party makes the corresponding motion.

 (3) After examination of the expert’s opinion, the parties to proceedings may put questions to the expert at the trial or hearing in order to clarify the opinion provided the expert has been summoned to court. The questions may also be filed beforehand with the court who transmits them to the expert. The court excludes any questions that are irrelevant to the case or outside the scope of the expert’s competence.

 (4) The expert must appear in court when summoned and must provide a truthful and reasoned opinion on the questions put to them.

 (5) Unless otherwise prescribed by this Chapter, the examination of experts is governed by the provisions concerning the examination of witnesses. An expert who is not a forensic expert or a registered private expert is cautioned, before they provide their opinion, against providing a knowingly wrong opinion, and the expert acknowledges this by signing the record of proceedings or the text of the caution. The signed caution is sent to the court together with the expert opinion.
[RT I, 03.02.2023, 1 – entry into force 01.09.2023]

§ 304.  Repeat expert assessment and supplementary expert assessment

 (1) Where the expert’s opinion is ambiguous, contradictory or insufficient, which cannot be rectified by additional questions, the court may commission a repeat expert assessment. Such an assessment is assigned to the same or to another expert.

 (2) Where the expert is recused, the court assigns the repeat expert assessment to another expert.

 (3) Where the expert does not provide an answer to a question relevant to the case and is unable to answer that question at the trial or hearing, the court may order a supplementary expert assessment. Such an assessment may be assigned to the same or to another expert.

§ 305.  Liability of expert

 (1) The court may, by an order, fine the expert and require reimbursement of the case costs caused by them if the expert, without a valid reason:
 1) does not appear at the trial or hearing when summoned by the court;
 2) refuses to provide signed acknowledgement of having been cautioned concerning their liability;
 3) refuses to provide an opinion;
 4) does not provide their opinion by the due date set by the court;
 5) unjustifiably refuses to answer the questions put to them;
 6) refuses to hand over any materials related to the expert assessment.

 (2) The expert may appeal the order mentioned in subsection 1 of this section.

Part 6 SERVICE OF PROCEDURAL DOCUMENTS 

Chapter 33 GENERAL PROVISIONS 

§ 306.  Service of procedural documents: definition

 (1) ‘Service of procedural document’ means delivery of the document to its recipient such that the recipient is able to acquaint themselves with the document at the proper time in order to exercise or protect their rights. ‘The recipient’ means a party to proceedings or any other person to whom the document is addressed.

 (2) Where a procedural document is served on a person, it must be delivered to that person in the form provided for by law and the delivery must be documented in the prescribed form.

 (3) The court arranges the service of procedural documents through a person providing postal services as a business activity, through an enforcement agent or a bailiff or, in conformity with the rules of the court, through another competent court official or by another method mentioned in the law.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (4) In order to serve a procedural document, the court may require the controller or processor of a database of the State or of a municipality, the person’s previous or current employer, a credit institution, an insurance company or any other person, authority or institution to provide information concerning the residence of a party to proceedings or of a corporate party’s statutory representative or of the witness, as well as other contact particulars. The controller or processor of the database or the other persons, authorities or institutions are required to provide the information without delay and free of charge on paper or electronically. Where the relevant technical means are available, the court itself must be given the option of verifying the required information in the person’s, authority’s or institution’s database.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (5) The court must serve, on the party to proceedings, the statement of court claim or the appeal and any additions to these, any summonses as well as the judgment or the order concluding proceedings in the case and any other procedural documents mentioned in the law.
[RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

§ 307.  Deeming the procedural document to have been served

 (1) Unless otherwise prescribed by law, the procedural document is deemed to have been served at the time the document or its certified copy or printout is handed to the recipient.

 (2) A copy of the procedural document mentioned in subsection 1 of this section may be certified by a duly authorised court official in conformity with the rules of the court, or by an attorney. Copies of annexes of procedural documents or of procedural documents produced or delivered to the court by the parties to proceedings are not required to be certified.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) Where a document has reached the party to proceedings on whom the document had to be served or on whom the document could be served according to law but there was no possibility to certify the service, or where the rules for service that are provided by law have been violated, the document is deemed to have been served on the party at the time the document actually reached the recipient.

 (4) The handing over of the procedural document for service must be recorded in the court file.

§ 308.  [Repealed – RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 309.  Time and place of serving a procedural document

  A procedural document may be served on a person on any day of the week at any time and in any place where the person is present.

§ 310.  Transmission of procedural documents to the parties to proceedings without service

 (1) A procedural document that is not required to be served on the party to proceedings in accordance with the rules provided by this Part but that concerns the party’s rights of is transmitted to the party by a method selected by the court.

 (2) Where the procedural document mentioned in subsection 1 of this section is sent by post, the document is deemed to have been received three days after its posting and, where the document is sent to a foreign state, fourteen days after its posting, unless the party to proceedings substantiates to the court that they received the document later or did not receive the document. The court may set a longer time limit for deeming the document to have been received.

§ 3101.  Service and transmission of information without service

  The service and transmission of information related to the proceedings is subject to the provisions governing service and communication of procedural documents.
[RT I, 10.02.2023, 1 – entry into force 01.04.2023]

Chapter 34 METHODS OF SERVICE OF PROCEDURAL DOCUMENTS 

§ 311.  Service of procedural documents in the court’s premises

  A procedural document may be served on the recipient by issuing it to the recipient in the court’s premises, provided that the time of issue and the recipient is stated in the case file and the recipient has signed an acknowledgment of having received the document. Where the document is served in the trial or hearing, this is stated in the record of the proceedings.

§ 3111.  Electronic service of procedural documents

 (1) The court may serve the procedural document electronically via the designated information system by transmitting a notice concerning the fact that the document has been made available in the system:
 1) to the e-mail address and telephone number notified to the court;
 2) to the e-mail address and telephone number registered in the information system of a register maintained in Estonia concerning sole proprietors or legal persons;
 3) to the e-mail address and telephone number of the addressee and their statutory representative that appear in the Population Register;
 4) to the e-mail address and telephone number of the addressee and their statutory representative that appearing in another State database that the court can, itself, search by making an electronic query;
 5) where the person possesses an Estonian personal identification number, to the e-mail address consisting of the number followed by ‘@eesti.ee’.

 (2) The court may also transmit the notice concerning the document’s having been made available to the telephone number or e-mail address found in the public computer network, on the supposed user account page of a virtual social network or on the site of another virtual communication environment which the addressee is surmised to use according to the information made available in the public computer network or through which the information relayed is likely to reach the addressee. Where this is possible, the court makes the notice available on the supposed user account page or site by a method that does not allow persons other than the addressee to see it.

 (3) A procedural document is deemed to have been served when the recipient opens it in the information system or acknowledges its receipt in the information system without opening the document and also when the same is done by another person whom the recipient has allowed to see the documents in the information system. The information system registers the service of the document automatically.

 (4) Where the recipient cannot be presumed to be able to use the information system used for the service of procedural documents or if service through the system is technically impossible, the court may also serve procedural documents on the recipient electronically by another method, while complying with the requirements for notification provided by clauses 1–5 of subsection 1 of this section and with the requirement to search for information.

 (5) A procedural document is deemed to have been served on the recipient in accordance with the rule provided by subsection 4 of this section when the recipient acknowledges receipt of the document in writing, by fax or electronically. The acknowledgement must state the date of receipt of the document and bear the signature of the recipient or of their representative. An acknowledgement made in an electronic form must bear the digital signature of the sender or be transmitted by another secure method that makes it possible to identify the sender and ascertain the time of sending, unless the court has no reason to doubt that the acknowledgement has been sent by the recipient or their representative. An acknowledgement made in an electronic form may be sent to the court by e-mail if the recipient’s e-mail address is known to the court and it can be presumed that unauthorised persons do not have access to it and also if the court has already transmitted documents to the address during the proceedings or if the party to proceedings has provided their e-mail address to the court of their own volition. The recipient must send the acknowledgement mentioned in this subsection to the court without delay. The court may fine the party – or their representative – who has violated this duty.

 (51) Where it is not possible to serve a procedural document on a company through an information system, the court sends the document to an e-mail address shown in the company’s entry in the Commercial Register. The document is deemed to have been served when five days have elapsed following its sending. An acknowledgement provided for by subsection 5 of this section is not required when making service to the e-mail address appearing in the company’s register entry.
[RT I, 08.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2022]

 (6) Procedural documents may be served on an attorney, a notary, an enforcement agent, a trustee in bankruptcy, a reorganisation adviser, a trustee within the meaning of the Natural Persons Insolvency Act as well as a State or municipal authority by a method other than electronically through the designated information system strictly where a valid reason is present.
[RT I, 20.06.2022, 1 – entry into force 01.07.2022]

 (7) The court makes all procedural documents, including judicial dispositions, available to the parties to proceedings in the designated information system without delay, regardless of the method by which such documents have been served on the parties.

 (8) Detailed requirements on the electronic service of documents and on making them available through the information system may be enacted by a regulation of the Minister in charge of the policy sector.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

§ 312.  Service of procedural documents through a postal service provider

 (1) A procedural document may be served on the recipient – as a registered postal item subject to notice of delivery or by unregistered letter – through a person providing postal services as a business activity.

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

§ 313.  Service of procedural documents by registered letter

 (1) Where the document was sent as a registered postal item, its service is proved by the notice of delivery that must be returned to the court without delay.

 (2) When making service, the procedural document may be handed to a person who is not the recipient only in situations provided for by this Part. The person must hand over the document to the recipient at the earliest opportunity. They may only refuse to accept the document for handing it over to the recipient if they substantiate that it is not possible for them to hand the document over to the recipient. The duty to hand the document over must be explained to the person. The service is valid regardless of whether or not the explanation was given.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) The notice of delivery must state the following information:
 1) the time and place of serving the document;
 2) the name of the person on whom the document was to be served;
 3) where the document was handed to a person who is not the recipient, the name of the person to whom the document was handed and the reason why service was made to that person;
 4) the method of service;
 5) in a situation where acceptance of the document was refused, a note stating this and the particulars of the place where the document was left;
 6) the name, position and signature of the person who served the document;
 7) the name and signature of the person who accepted the document and particulars concerning their identification, first and foremost, the number of their identity document and the date of receiving the document unless, for a reason stated by law, the document was not actually handed over.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (4) The Minister in charge of the policy sector may enact the form of the notice of delivery.

 (5) A notice of delivery that does not meet the requirements of form provided for by subsections 3 and 4 of this section may be deemed adequate for purposes of service if the notice still reliably documents the service.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (6) Where the court cannot deem the procedural document to have been served due to the fact that the provider of postal services, in relation to service of the document as a registered postal item, did not use all options provided by this Code, handed the document to a person to whom it may not be handed under the provisions of this Part, did not comply with the provisions of §§ 326 and 327 of this Code or did not document the service in such manner that service could be deemed effected, the court may, without paying an additional fee for this, give the document to the provider to be served anew.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 314.  Service of procedural documents by unregistered letter or fax

 (1) A procedural document may be served as an unregistered letter or by fax provided that a notice concerning the duty to immediately return an acknowledgment of receipt is annexed to the letter or fax, and it states the names and addresses of the sender and the recipient, and the name of the court official who sent the document.

 (2) The official who sends the document as an unregistered letter or by fax states in the case file where and when the document was sent to be served.

 (3) A document sent as an unregistered letter or by fax is deemed to have been served provided the recipient sends to the court an acknowledgment of receipt of the document by letter or fax or electronically, as elected by the recipient. The acknowledgment must state the date of receipt of the document and bear the signature of the recipient or their representative.

 (4) Where a procedural document is served as an unregistered letter or by fax, the recipient must send the acknowledgment mentioned in subsection 3 of this section to the court without delay. The court may fine the party to proceedings, or their representative, who has violated this duty.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

§ 3141.  Service by sending the procedural document

 (1) Where a procedural document has been served on the recipient in the same judicial proceedings, another procedural document or information about its being made available may be sent using the same address or telecommunications number, and the document is deemed to have been served on the recipient when three days have elapsed from its sending.

 (2) Where the recipient of the procedural document has, in the same judicial proceedings, stated, to the court, their own or their representative’s address or telecommunications number, the document or information about its being made available may be sent using the same address or telecommunications number, and is deemed to have been served on the recipient when three days have elapsed from its sending.

 (3) The court may serve procedural documents in accordance with the rules provided by subsections 1 and 2 of this section also by sending them:
 1) using the address or telecommunications number of the party to proceedings that are known to the court from other pending judicial proceedings;
 2) using the address or telecommunications number of the party to proceedings that are known to the court from the expedited order-for-payment proceedings that preceded the action-by-claim proceedings.

 (4) Where a procedural document is served in a foreign country by sending it through a provider of postal services, the document is deemed to have been served when 30 days have elapsed from its sending.

 (5) Where a procedural document is served in accordance with the rules provided by this section and the document’s sending is has not been registered automatically in an information system created for the purpose, a note is made in the case file concerning where and when the document or information about its having been made available was sent.
[RT I, 21.05.2014, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2015]

§ 315.  Service of procedural documents through an enforcement agent, court official, another person or authority

 (1) A procedural document may also be served through an enforcement agent, bailiff or – in conformity with the rules of the court – through another competent court official or police authority or any other State authority or the municipal executive or an authority of that executive, as well as through another person to whom the court assigns the task of service by agreement. A party to proceedings who has produced the document that must be served or in whose interests the service of a document that they have not produced would be may apply to the court for the document to be served through an enforcement agent.

 (11) In expedited order-for-payment proceedings and in the action-by-claim proceedings, a procedural document may be served through an enforcement agent strictly in accordance with the rules provided by § 3151 of this Code. In action-by-claim proceedings pertaining to the interests of a child or of another natural person who requires special protection in the proceedings, as well as in expedited order-for-payment proceedings on a child’s claim for maintenance, procedural documents may be served through an enforcement agent also according to the rules provided by this section.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

 (2) The court hands a procedural document to a police authority or another State authority or a municipality or a municipal authority for service only if the other options for service, with the exception of service by public notice, have not been successful or are not likely to be successful – first and foremost, where service through a provider of postal services in the same or another case has recently been unsuccessful. Violation of this requirement does not affect the validity of the service.

 (3) In order to serve a procedural document, the court transmits, to the person or authority mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, the document to be served and provides them with any information concerning earlier attempts of service that is at its disposal, as well as with the person’s known contact particulars. A note is made in the case file concerning when and to whom the document was handed for service.

 (4) Where the court has not provided relevant instructions, the person or authority mentioned in subsection 1 of this section independently selects the method of service from among those provided by this Part. The person or authority may not undertake service by public notice.

 (5) A notice of delivery is drawn up concerning the service that must state the particulars mentioned in subsection 3 of § 313 of this Code. Upon service, the notice is returned to the court without delay. The Minister in charge of the policy sector may enact the form of the notice.

 (6) A notice of delivery that does not meet the requirements of form provided for by subsection 5 of this section may be deemed adequate for purposes of service if the notice still reliably documents the service.

 (7) When making service, the procedural document may be handed to a person who is not the recipient only in situations provided for by this Part. The person must hand over the document to the recipient at the earliest opportunity. They may only refuse to accept the document for handing it over to the recipient if they substantiate that it is not possible for them to hand the document over to the recipient. The duty to hand the document over must be explained to the person. The service is valid regardless of whether or not the explanation was given.

 (8) Where the court cannot deem the procedural document to have been served due to the fact that the person or authority mentioned in subsection 1 of this section did not follow the court’s instructions when serving the document, or did not use all options provided for service by this Code, or handed the document to a person to whom it may not be handed under the provisions of this Part, or did not comply with the provisions of §§ 326 and 327 of this Code or did not document the service so that it could be deemed made, the court may give the document to be served anew.

 (9) The court may set the person or authority mentioned in subsection 1 of this section a time limit of up to 60 days during which the procedural document must be served or, where the service is unsuccessful, a report must be filed with the court concerning the reasons why the service did not succeed.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 3151.  Service of procedural documents arranged by parties to proceedings

 (1) The party to proceedings who has produced the procedural document that must be served or in whose interests the service of a document that they have not produced would be may apply to the court for permission to arrange the service themselves. A party is only allowed to serve the document through an enforcement agent.

 (2) In a situation mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, the court sets a time limit for the document to be served during which the party to proceedings arranging the service must notify its outcome to the court.

 (3) In order to serve the procedural document, the court transmits, to the party to proceedings who is to arrange its service, the document to be served – in an envelope sealed by the court – together with a service acknowledgment form to be returned to the court and explains to the party the consequences of knowingly offering false information to the court. When dealing with a case of expedited order-for-payment proceedings, the court may, on a motion of the petitioner, transmit the digitally signed procedural document for service directly to the enforcement agent named by the petitioner.
[RT I, 08.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2022]

 (4) The service of procedural documents through an enforcement agent and the documenting of such service takes place following rules provided by subsections 4–7 § 315 of this Code.

 (5) Where the claimant or – in expedited order-for-payment proceedings – the petitioner,, does not notify the court of the outcome of the service within the time limit set under subsection 2 of this section, the court claim or petition is dismissed.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

§ 316.  Service of procedural documents in foreign States and on extra-territorial citizens of the Republic of Estonia

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

 (2) A procedural document may be served in a foreign State also in accordance with the Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters or with another treaty.

 (3) A procedural document may also be served in a foreign State as a registered postal item subject to a notice of delivery that does not need to comply with the requirements of form provided by this Code. To prove service, it suffices to return of the notice. On a recipient who is abroad, the procedural document may also be served in accordance with the rules provided by § 314 of this Code.

 (4) The court may also serve the procedural document in a foreign State through the competent public authority of, or a competent consular official or envoy representing the Republic of Estonia in, that State.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (5) Procedural documents may also be served through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia if the recipient is an Estonian citizen who falls under the rules of extra-territoriality and belongs to the staff of a foreign mission of the Republic of Estonia.

 (6) The request to serve a procedural document on a person mentioned in subsection 4 or 5 of this section is made by the court considering the case. Service is proved by the corresponding written confirmation of the public authority or official through whom it was made.

 (7) Where a procedural document needs to be translated in order to be served abroad, the court may require that the party to proceedings because of whom or in whose interests the document needs to be served produce the translation or cover its costs. If the party does not do this, the court may decide not to serve the document.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 3161.  Application of Regulation (EU) 2020/1784 of the European Parliament and of the Council

  [RT I, 10.02.2023, 2 – entry into force 20.02.2023]

 (1) The provisions of this Code apply to the service of procedural documents in another Member State of the European Union insofar as has not been provided otherwise by Regulation (EU) 2020/1784 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the service in the Member States of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters (service of documents) (recast) (OJ L 405, 02.12.2020, pp. 40–78).
[RT I, 10.02.2023, 2 – entry into force 20.02.2023]

 (2) Under paragraph 1of Article 3 of the Regulation mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, the authorities transmitting judicial documents in Estonia are the district court or the circuit court of appeal – or the Supreme Court – that deals with the case in which the document must be served and the authority to transmit extrajudicial documents is the Ministry of Justice. Under paragraph 2 of Article 3 of the Regulation mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, the authority to receive judicial and extrajudicial documents is the district court in whose judicial district the document is to be served.
[RT I, 10.02.2023, 2 – entry into force 20.02.2023]

 (3) Under Article 4 of the Regulation mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, the duties of the central body are carried out by the Ministry of Justice.
[RT I, 10.02.2023, 2 – entry into force 20.02.2023]

 (4) Under subparagraph (d) of paragraph 4 of Article 3, paragraph 2 of Article 8 and paragraph 2 of Article 14 of Regulation 2020/1784 of the European Parliament and of the Council, standard forms completed in the Estonian or the English language are accepted in Estonia.
[RT I, 10.02.2023, 2 – entry into force 20.02.2023]

 (5) Under the Regulation mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, documents are served in Estonia in accordance with the rules provided by the Code of Civil Procedure regarding the service of procedural documents. Documents may not be served by public notice.

 (6) In conformity with paragraph 2 of Article 17 of the Regulation mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, documents may be served in Estonia through another Member State’s diplomatic or consular representation that is situated in Estonia only if they must be served on a national of the Member State from which the documents are transmitted.
[RT I, 10.02.2023, 2 – entry into force 20.02.2023]

 (7) In Estonia, the service of documents by the method provided by Article 20 of the Regulation mentioned in subsection 1 of this section is not permitted.
[RT I, 10.02.2023, 2 – entry into force 20.02.2023]

 (8) Estonian courts may dispose of the case under the conditions provided by paragraph 2 of Article 22 of the Regulation mentioned in subsection 1 of this section even if the certificate of service of the procedural document on the defendant has not been produced. Under the third sentence of paragraph 4 of Article 22 of the Regulation mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, a motion to reinstate the time limit may be filed with the court within one year following the rendering of the judicial disposition that concluded proceedings in the case.
[RT I, 10.02.2023, 2 – entry into force 20.02.2023]

§ 317.  Service of procedural documents by public notice

 (1) Based on a court order, a procedural document may be served on a party to proceedings by public notice if:
 1) the party’s address does not appear in the register or the individual does not live at the address shown in the register and the court has otherwise no knowledge of their address or whereabouts, and the document cannot be served on the recipient’s representative or any person authorised to accept the document or by any other method provided for by this Part;
[RT I 2006, 61, 457 – entry into force 01.01.2007]
 2) service of the document in a foreign State in conformity with the requirements is presumed not to be possible;
 3) the document cannot be served because the place where service is to be made is the residential premises of an extra-territorial person.

 (11) Where service of a procedural document on a corporate party to proceedings by electronic service and by registered letter to the postal address appearing in the register kept concerning the type of the legal person has not been successful, the document may, under court order – the provisions of subsection 1 of this section notwithstanding – be served by public notice. Where the legal person has filed, with the registrar, an Estonian address of the person provided for by § 24 of the Commercial Register Act, an attempt must also be made to serve the document to that address before it is served by public notice.
[RT I, 05.05.2022, 1 – entry into force 01.02.2023]

 (12) When expedited order-for-payment proceedings are transformed into action-by-claim proceedings in accordance with the provision of clause 2 of subsection 1 of § 486 of this Code, the statement of claim may – the provisions of subsection 1 of this section notwithstanding – be served by public notice on the court’s order provided that the court that issued the proposal for payment has, when serving the proposal on the debtor, fulfilled the prerequisites for service by public notice that are provided by clause 1 of subsection 1 of this section.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

 (2) The court may require the party to proceedings who has moved for the procedural document to be served by public notice to produce a certificate issued by the police or the municipal executive to the effect that they have no knowledge of the recipient’s whereabouts, or to produce any other evidence of circumstances mentioned in subsection 1 of this section. The police authority or the municipal executive must, when this is required, provide the party with the certificate. Where this is needed, the court makes inquiries of its own motion to establish the recipient’s address.

 (3) An excerpt of the document to be served by public notice is published in the publication Ametlikud Teadaanded. The court considering the case may make an order by which it allows publication of the excerpt also in other publications.
[RT I 2006, 55, 412 – entry into force 01.01.2007]

 (4) The excerpt mentioned in subsection 3 of this section must state:
 1) the court considering the case, the party to proceedings and the subject matter of proceedings;
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 2) the relief sought by or the motion or application contained in the document being served;
 3) where a judicial disposition is to be served, its operative part;
 4) where a summons is being served, its purpose and the time of appearance before the court;
 5) where a court claim is being served, the invitation to respond to the claim, the substance of the invitation and the required explanation.

 (5) The document is deemed to have been served by public notice when 15 days have elapsed following the date on which its excerpt appeared in the publication Ametlikud Teadaanded. The court considering the case may set a longer time limit for deeming the document to have been served. In such a situation, the time limit is published together with the public notice.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

 (6) The court may refuse to serve the procedural document by public notice if it may be presumed that the intention is to have the disposition that will be rendered in the proceedings recognised or enforced in a foreign State and it is likely that the disposition would not be recognised or enforced due to such service. The order by which service by public notice is refused may be appealed. The order of the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

Chapter 35 SERVICE OF PROCEDURAL DOCUMENT ON THE RECIPIENT’S REPRESENTATIVE 

§ 318.  Serving a procedural document on the recipient’s statutory representative

 (1) A procedural document whose recipient possesses limited active legal capacity is deemed to have been served on the recipient when the document is served on the recipient’s statutory representative.

 (2) Where the recipient is a legal person or a public authority, the procedural document is served on the statutory representative of the person or authority, unless otherwise provided for by this Code.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

 (3) Where the person mentioned in subsection 2 of this section has several statutory representatives, it suffices to serve the document on one of these.
[RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

§ 319.  Serving a procedural document on an authorised person

 (1) A procedural document is deemed to have been served on the recipient when the document is served on a person whom the recipient has authorised to accept service. It is presumed that the recipient’s procurator or a person to whom the recipient has granted general authority of representation, as well as a person who usually receives documents on behalf of the recipient have a right to accept procedural documents.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) A procedural document is also deemed to have been served on the recipient who is a self-employed person, a private legal person or a branch of a foreign company when it is served on the person who appears in the Commercial Register or the Register of Non-profit Associations and Foundations as a person authorised to accept procedural documents for the recipient.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 320.  Duty of the party to proceedings to appoint a representative to accept procedural documents

 (1) Where a procedural document is served through a competent public authority of a foreign State, a competent consular official or envoy of the Republic of Estonia or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia, and the recipient has not appointed a representative for the proceedings, the court may require them to appoint, for the purpose of accepting procedural documents, an authorised person who resides or is present in Estonia.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) The court may, by order, require a party to proceedings to appoint a person authorised to accept procedural documents also in other situations where service of documents may be presumed to involve unreasonable difficulties.

 (3) Where a party to proceedings who has been required to appoint a person authorised to accept procedural documents does not make the appointment, procedural documents are served on the party – until the appointment is made – by unregistered letter to the party’s address.

 (4) In a situation mentioned in subsection 3 of this section, the document is deemed to have been served when 15 days have elapsed from its being posted – even if the postal item is returned. The court may set a longer time limit for deeming the document to have been served.

 (5) With respect to service that was made by post as mentioned in subsection 3 of this section, a note must be made in the case file stating the time of posting the document and the address to which it was posted.

§ 321.  Service of procedural document on representative for judicial proceedings

 (1) Where a party is represented in judicial proceedings by a representative, the documents in the case are served strictly on, and other notices sent to, the representative – unless the court deems it necessary to additionally send them to the party. Where there are several representatives, it suffices to make service to one.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) An appeal against the court’s disposition is served on the representative who represented the party in the judicial instance in which the disposition that has been appealed was made. Where the party has already appointed a representative for the higher instance that is to dispose of the appeal, the latter may also be served on the representative.

 (3) [Repealed – RT I, 10.02.2023, 1 – entry into force 01.04.2023]

Chapter 36 SERVICE IN SPECIAL CASES 

§ 322.  Service of procedural document in residential premises or at the place where the person is present, and to the recipient's employer, lessor or building superintendent

 (1) Where the recipient of the procedural document is not found at their residential premises, the document is deemed to have been served on the recipient also if it is served on a person of at least fourteen years of age who resides on the premises or serves the family.

 (2) Instead of the recipient, the procedural document may be served on the apartment association that manages the apartment building in which the recipient's residential or business premises are situated, on the superintendent of the property in which co-ownership rights are held or on the recipient’s lessor, as well as on the recipient's employer or any other person to whom the recipient provides services under a contract.

 (3) The procedural document is deemed to have been served on the recipient also where it is served – by a method mentioned in subsection 1 or 2 of this section – on the recipient’s representative.

 (4) Unless otherwise prescribed by law, the document is deemed to have been served on a person who is staying, for an extended period, in the Defence Forces, in prison, in a health care institution or in any other similar establishment also when it is handed to the Head of the establishment or to a person appointed by the Head.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 323.  Service of procedural document in business premises

 (1) Where an individual recipient who pursues a business or professional activity is not present in their business premises during regular working hours or cannot receive the document, the document is deemed to have been served on the recipient also when it is served on a person who is present in the recipient’s business premises on an enduring basis or provides services to the recipient on an enduring basis under a similar contract.

 (2) The provisions of subsection 1 of this section also apply to the service of documents on legal persons, public authorities, notaries and enforcement agents, as well as where the document is served on the recipient’s representative or any other person on whom it can be served in the recipient’s stead.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 324.  Restrictions on the service of procedural documents

  In situations mentioned in §§ 322 and 323 of this Code, the document is not deemed to have been served where, instead of the recipient, it was served on a person who participates in the proceedings as the party opposing the recipient.

§ 325.  Refusal to accept the procedural document

  Where a person refuses to accept the document without a lawful ground, the document is deemed to have been served on the person at the time they refusal to accept it. In such a situation, the document is left in the recipient’s residential or business premises or placed in the recipient’s post box. In the absence of such premises or of a post box, the document is returned to the court.

§ 326.  Service by placement of the procedural document in the post box

 (1) A procedural document that cannot be served because it cannot be handed over in the recipient’s or their representative’s residential or business premises is deemed to have been served when it is placed in the post box that belongs to such premises or in another similar place that the recipient or their representative uses to receive post and that usually ensures the preservation of postal items. The document may be served by this method on a person mentioned in subsection 2 of § 322 of this Code only if it is not possible to serve it personally on the recipient or their representative.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) Service by the method described in subsection 1 of this section is permitted only where an attempt to deliver the procedural document to the person themselves has been made at least on one occasion and it is not possible to serve the document according to subsection 1 of § 322 or according to § 323 of this Code on another person present in the residential or business premises.
[RT I, 08.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2022]

 (3) In a situation mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, the date of service is noted on the envelope containing the postal item.

§ 327.  Service by depositing the procedural document

 (1) On conditions provided by § 326 of this Code, the document may also be deposited at the post office or municipal executive of the locality of service or with the office of the district court in whose judicial district the place of the document’s service is situated.

 (2) A written notice is left at the place where the document was deposited, or sent to the recipient’s address; where this is impossible, the notice is attached to the door of the recipient’s residential or business premises or of the premises where the recipient is present, or issued to a person residing in the neighbourhood to be transmitted to the recipient. The notice must make it clear that the document that has been deposited has been sent by the court and that, by having been deposited, the document is deemed to have been served, and that this may initiate the running of procedural time limits.

 (3) The document is deemed to have been served when three days have elapsed from the transmission or leaving of the written notice mentioned in subsection 2 of this section. The date of service is noted on the document’s envelope.

 (4) A document that has been transmitted to be served is returned to the sender within 15 days following the time at which service was deemed to have been made, unless the court has set a longer time limit for this.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

Part 7 REPRESENTATIONS, MOTIONS AND APPLICATIONS OF PARTIES TO PROCEEDINGS 

Chapter 37 GENERAL PROVISIONS 

§ 328.  Representations: truthfulness of and ensuring a response to

 (1) Any representations that a party to proceedings makes concerning the factual circumstances connected to the case must be truthful.

 (2) Unless otherwise provided for by law, the court ensures, to a principal party, the opportunity to respond to the motions or applications and factual assertions of the opposing party.

§ 329.  Representations: proper time of making

 (1) The parties to proceedings must make their representations, motions, applications and objections – and produce their evidence – as early as is possible considering the status of the proceedings and insofar as this is necessary for disposing of the case expeditiously and justly. Once the pre-trial proceedings have been completed, new representations, motions, applications and objections may be made, and new evidence produced, only if it was not possible to make or produce them earlier because of a valid reason.

 (2) Where the court convenes a case management hearing in pre-trial proceedings, a party to proceedings must make their representations, motions, applications and objections, and produce their evidence, such that these could be transmitted to the other parties at least seven days before the hearing, unless the court has determined otherwise. Any counter-representations of the other parties and the related motions, applications and objections must be filed and evidence produced to the court such that these could be transmitted to the other parties within a reasonable period of time before the preliminary hearing unless otherwise determined by the court.
[RT I, 21.05.2014, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2015]

 (3) The court must make, at the proper time, all preparations that are needed to dispose of the case. At each stage of proceedings, the court takes steps to help the principal parties’ file their representations at the proper time and in full and facilitate the case’s being dealt with in the minimum possible time and at the minimum possible cost.

 (4) In pre-trial proceedings, the court may direct the parties to proceedings to produce, amend or clarify any documents, to state their views concerning the documents produced by the opposing party, and to produce their own evidence, within the time limit set by the court. Any directions that the court gives must be notified to the parties.

§ 330.  Time limits for filing representations

 (1) Any representations, motions, applications or objections must be filed, or evidence produced, before the end of pre-trial proceedings or, in written proceedings, before expiry of the time limit for the filing of motions or applications.

 (2) All objections concerning whether the filing of a representation or appeal was allowed by law must be filed as a single body in the response to the representation or appeal or, where no response is made, at the first hearing or when filing the first substantive representation with the court.

 (3) A representation that contains new circumstances, motions or applications and that is filed – as well as any evidence that is produced – after the end of pre-trial proceedings or, in written proceedings, after the expiry of the time limit for the filing of motions or applications is considered in a situation provided for, and in accordance with the rules provided, by § 331 of this Code.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

§ 331.  Belated filing of representations

 (1) Where a party to proceedings files a representation, motion, application or objection, or produces an item of evidence, after expiry of the time limit set for this by the court or in violation of the provisions of § 329 or § 330 of this Code, the court considers it only if the court finds that accepting it will not cause a delay in disposing of the case, or if the party substantiates a valid reason for being late.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) Where a party to proceedings was not notified of the opposing party’s representation, motion, application, objection or evidence before the trial or hearing and, because of this, the party is unable, to a sufficient degree, to formulate an opinion concerning the representation, motion, application, objection or evidence, the court may, if the trial or hearing is adjourned, set the party a time limit during which it is allowed to state its opinion.

§ 332.  [Repealed – RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 333.  Raising an objection to the court’s actions

 (1) A party to proceedings may raise an objection to the court’s actions in managing the proceedings and to the violation of a procedural provision – first and foremost, to violation of the requirements of form concerning the performance of procedural operations. The court disposes of the objection by an order.

 (2) If the party to proceedings does not raise the objection at the latest by the end of the trial or hearing during which the violation took place, or in the first procedural document filed with the court after the violation, and the party was aware or should have been aware of the error, they cannot raise the objection later.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) In a situation mentioned in subsection 2 of this section, the party to proceedings may not rely on the error in the actions of the court – also when they appeal the judicial disposition.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (4) The provisions of subsections 2 and 3 of this section do not apply if the court has violated an essential principle of civil procedure.

§ 3331.  Motion to expedite judicial proceedings

 (1) Where the court has been dealing with the case for at least nine months and, without a valid reason, does not perform a procedural operation that is needed – among other things, does not order the trial or hearing at the proper time in order to ensure the conduct of judicial proceedings within a reasonable time – a principal party to the proceedings may move for the court to take suitable measures to expedite completion of the proceedings.

 (2) If the court finds the application justified, it orders, within 30 days following receipt of the motion, measures that may be presumed to allow judicial proceedings to be completed within a reasonable time. The court is not bound by the motion in its choice of the measures.

 (3) To deny the motion or take a measure other than the one stated in the motion, the court makes a substantiated order within the time limit provided by subsection 2 of this section. An order by which the court decides to take the measure stated in the motion does not need to be substantiated.

 (4) The order made upon consideration of the motion to expedite judicial proceedings may be appealed. The order made by the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.

 (5) When disposing of the appeal, the court may order a measure that may be presumed to allow judicial proceedings to be completed within a reasonable time. In selecting the measure, the court is not bound by the scope of the appeal.

 (6) A new motion may be filed once six months have elapsed from the entry into effect of the order made concerning the previous one, except where the motion is filed for the reason that the court dealing with the case has not applied the measure prescribed by the order at the due time.
[RT I, 23.02.2011, 1 – entry into force 01.09.2011]

Chapter 38 FORM OF PROCEDURAL DOCUMENTS FILED BY PARTIES TO PROCEEDINGS 

§ 334.  Filing of written documents

 (1) Court claims, petitions, motions, applications, objections or appeals are filed with the court in legible typewritten form on A4 size paper. Any representations, motions, applications or objections made during the trial or hearing are included in the record of proceedings.

 (2) [Repealed – RT I, 10.02.2023, 1 – entry into force 01.04.2023]

§ 335.  Submission of documents in a form reproducible in writing

 (1) To comply with the time limit for filing, in writing, the court claim, petition, representation or appeal, it suffices to send it to the court by fax or by e-mail to the designated address or in another form reproducible in writing, provided that the original written document is handed over to the court without delay, but not later than when the case is tried or heard or, in written proceedings, before expiry of the time limit for the filing or production of documents.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) Where the judicial disposition is appealed, the original of the appeal must be filed within ten days.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) The provisions of subsection 1 of this section do not apply where the document is transmitted electronically, provided it has been filed in conformity with the requirements of § 336 of this Code.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 336.  Electronic filing of documents

 (1) Court claims, petitions, applications and other documents that must be in writing may also be filed with the court electronically if the court is able to make printouts and copies of the document. The document must bear the sender’s digital signature or be transmitted by another similar secure method that allows the sender to be identified. The sender is deemed to be uniquely identifiable if a certificate of authenticity created by their private key is attached to the e-mail.

 (2) An electronic document is deemed to have been filed with the court when it has been saved in the database designated for reception of court documents. An electronic confirmation of the document’s having been saved is sent to the sender. If the court is unable to make printouts or copies of the document, this is notified to the sender without delay.

 (3) Specific rules for transmission of electronic documents to the court and the requirements for the formats of documents formats are enacted by a regulation of the Minister in charge of the policy sector.

 (4) The court may deem a court claim, petition, application or another procedural document that has been filed by a party to proceedings via e-mail to be sufficient also in a situation where it does not meet the requirements provided by subsections 1–3 of this section – first and foremost, the requirement that the document must be digitally signed – provided the court has no doubt concerning the identity of the sender and the sending of the document, in particular if digitally signed documents have been sent earlier from the same e-mail address to the court by the same party in proceedings concerning the same case, or if the court has allowed such documents to be filed with it also by that method.
[RT I 2008, 28, 180 – entry into force 15.07.2008]

 (5) Unless a valid reason is present for filing a document in another form, the contractual representative provided for by clauses 1–3 of subsection 1 and by subsection 2 of § 218 of this Code, the notary, the enforcement agent, the trustee in bankruptcy, the reorganisation adviser, the trusted practitioner within the meaning of the Natural Persons Insolvency Act, as well as any State or municipal authority or any other legal person file the documents with the court electronically.
[RT I, 20.06.2022, 1 – entry into force 01.07.2022]

 (6) Where court claims, petitions, applications and other documents can be filed, via a portal created for the purpose, in the procedural information management system maintained on a computer, they may not be filed via e-mail, unless a valid reason is present. The Minister in charge of the policy sector enacts, by regulation, the list of documents to be filed through the portal.
[RT I 2009, 67, 460 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

§ 337.  Documents sent by attorneys

  Where several parties to proceedings are represented in the proceedings by an attorney, the attorney, of their own motion, sends the documents that are to be transmitted to the court, with any annexes, also to the attorneys of the other parties and notifies this to the court. In such a situation, the documents are presumed to have been served on the other parties at the time notified to the court. The court may fine any attorney who violates the duty to transmit documents or to notify this to the court.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 338.  Particulars in a procedural document filed with the court

 (1) A procedural document – including court claims, objections and appeals – that is filed with the court by a party to proceedings states:
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 1) the names, addresses and telecommunications numbers of the parties and their potential representatives;
 2) the name of the court;
 3) the main substance of the case;
 4) for the case being dealt with, the case number;
 5) the motion or application made by the party to proceedings;
 6) the circumstances that justify the motion or application;
 7) a list of the document’s annexes, if any;
 8) the party’s or their representative’s signature or – for a document transmitted electronically – digital signature or other marker allowing identification in conformity with the provisions of § 336 of this Code.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) For a natural person, the procedural document must state their personal identification number or, if the person does not possess one, their date of birth. For a legal person appearing in a public register, their registration number must be stated – or, where the person does not possess one, the legal basis for their activity.

 (3) Where a party to proceedings does not know the address or other particulars of another party, they must state, in the procedural document, the steps they have taken in order to discover the particulars.

 (4) In addition to the particulars listed in subsection 1 of this section, a representation that is filed with the court and contains a substantive motion or application, or a response to the opposing party’s motion, application or assertion, states:
 1) the party’s opinion on the facts asserted by the opposing party;
 2) the evidence that the party intends to use to prove their assertions or to refute those of the opposing party;
 3) the party’s opinion on the evidence produced by the opposing party.

§ 339.  Procedural document: annexes

 (1) Where procedural documents are signed by the representative of party to proceedings, the power of attorney or another document certifying the representative’s authority of representation is annexed to the first procedural document that the representative files in the case. Where a procedural document is signed by an attorney as the party’s representative, the filing of the power of attorney is not mandatory but the court may require it to be filed.

 (2) The originals or copies of any documents that are mentioned in the representation and that are at the disposal of the party to proceedings are annexed to the representation – with the exception of situations where these have already been provided to the court.

 (3) Where the performance of a procedural operation requested in the procedural document requires payment of the statutory fee, the particulars that are needed to verify payment of the fee must be stated in, or a certificate concerning the grant of financial aid or an application for such aid towards payment of the fee annexed to, the document.
[RT I, 08.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2022]

§ 340.  Copies to other parties to proceedings

 (1) A party to proceedings must, when providing written documents and any annexes to the court, include the requisite number of copies of the documents for service on the other parties.

 (2) The provisions of subsection 1 of this section do not apply regarding the documents or annexes that the other parties to proceedings possess in the form of the original or of a copy. In such a situation, the court must also be notified of the documents whose copies are not provided and of why the party believes the other party to have these at its disposal.

 (21) The provision of subsection 1 of this section does not apply when documents are provided by electronic means.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

 (3) The provision of subsection 1 of this section does not apply also where an attorney sends copies of procedural documents to an attorney representing the other party to the proceedings and certifies this to the court.

 (4) Where a document is provided to the court electronically and where it may be presumed that electronic documents cannot be transmitted to the other party to the proceedings, or that the party cannot acquaint themselves with the substance of the document, or print it out, the court arranges for copies or printouts to be made of the document. In a situation mentioned in the first sentence of this subsection, no statutory fee is charged for the making of copies or printouts.
[RT I 2009, 67, 460 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

 (5) [Repealed – RT I 2009, 67, 460 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

§ 3401.  Curing the defects of the procedural document

 (1) Where the court claim, petition, representation, motion, application, objection or appeal that has been filed by a party to proceedings does not meet the requirements of form or contains other defects that can be cured – including, among other things, non-payment of the statutory fee – the court sets a time limit for such defects to be cured and, until this is done, provisionally refuses to consider the procedural document.
[RT I, 08.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2022]

 (2) If the defects are not cured by the due date set by the court, the court rejects and returns the court claim, petition, representation, motion, application or appeal, or dismisses it if the document has already been accepted. Unless otherwise provided by law, the order of the district court or of the circuit court of appeal by which the document is rejected or dismissed may be appealed. Unless otherwise provided by law, the order of the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.

 (3) Where defects in any objections are not cured by the due date set by the court, the court disregards the objections.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

Part 8 TRIALS AND HEARINGS 

§ 341.  Disposing of the case at the trial or hearing

 (1) Unless otherwise prescribed by law, the case is disposed of at the trial or hearing.

 (2) The rights and duties vested in the court by this Chapter also apply to courts acting under a domestic letter of request and to judges acting under a delegation from the judicial panel.

§ 342.  Scheduling the trial or hearing

 (1) Unless the motion, application, court claim or petition can be dealt with without the trial or hearing, the court orders the trial or hearing.

 (2) The trial or hearing is scheduled without delay following receipt of the court claim, petition, motion or application and of the corresponding response – or of expiry of the time limit set for responding to the claim, petition, motion or application. The court may also schedule the trial or hearing before receiving a response or before expiry of the time limit set for responding if it may be presumed that the trial or hearing is required for dealing with the case regardless of the response, or where, due to other reasons, immediate scheduling of the trial or hearing appears reasonable under the circumstances. If the court does not require a response, it schedules the trial or hearing without delay after having received the court claim, petition, motion or application.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) Where this is possible the court, when convening the trial or hearing, invites the parties to proceedings to state their preferences and takes these into account.

§ 343.  Sending the summonses and publishing the time of the trial or hearing on the court’s website

 (1) In order to notify the time and place of the trial or hearing, the court serves summonses on the parties to proceedings and on any other persons who must be summoned.

 (2) The interval between the date of service of the summons and the date of the trial or hearing must be at least ten days. With the consent of the parties to proceedings, the interval may also be shorter.

 (3) The time of the trial or hearing is also published on the court’s website, stating the number of the case, the names of the parties to proceedings and the general description of the case. Where the trial or hearing is closed to the public, only its time, the number of the case and a note that it is closed to the public are published. The time of holding the trial or hearing is removed from the website when seven days have elapsed from the time it was held.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 344.  Particulars in the summons

 (1) A summons states at least:
 1) the name of the person summoned to court;
 2) the name and address of the court;
 3) the time and place of the trial or hearing;
 4) the main substance of the case;
 5) the capacity in which the person is summoned;
 6) the duty to notify any reason for failure to appear in court;
 7) the consequences of failure to appear in court.

 (2) Where, in an action-by-claim case, a party to proceedings is summoned to a hearing of the Supreme Court and the summons is not sent to an attorney-at-law, the summons states, among other things, that the party is permitted to perform procedural operations and file motions and applications in the Supreme Court strictly through an attorney-at-law.

 (3) The first summons served on a person in the case states that the person is required to bring an identity document to the trial or hearing. The first summons sent in the case to a representative states that the representative is required to bring a document certifying their authority of representation to the trial or hearing – unless the representative is an attorney.

 (4) A summons sent to a witness also refers to the witness’s right to receive compensation and to be reimbursed for their costs.

 (5) The summons does not need to be signed.

 (6) The unified form for summonses is enacted by a regulation of the Minister in charge of the policy sector.

 (7) A summons does not need to be in the form prescribed by subsections 1–6 of this section if it is handed to the person at the trial or hearing or if the person, at the trial or hearing, signs an acknowledgement in the record of proceedings concerning the time of the trial or hearing. Where this is needed, the court provides an explanation of matters related to the summons.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 345.  Notification of non-appearance at the trial or hearing

  Where the party to proceedings, witness, expert, interpreter or translator who has been summoned to the trial or hearing who is unable to appear in court, they must notify this to the court at the proper time and substantiate their reasons for non-appearance.

§ 346.  Personal presence of the party to proceedings at the trial or hearing

  [RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (1) The court may, by an order, require the party to proceedings or the party’s representative to appear at the trial or hearing in person if the court finds this necessary for the clarification of circumstances relevant to disposing of the case or for settling the dispute by a compromise. The court may not require a party to appear in person if such appearance cannot be required due to the length of the journey or another valid reason.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) In matrimonial and filiation cases, the district court requires the principal parties to appear in person and must hear them unless the pary has a valid reason for non-appearance. Where the party is unable or cannot be expected to appear in court, they may be heard and their statement may be taken by the court conducting the proceedings under a domestic letter of request.

 (3) Where a party to proceedings is required to appear in court in person, this is notified to them by a summons even if they have appointed a representative for the proceedings.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (4) Where a party to proceedings, regardless of the corresponding direction of the court, does not appear at the trial or hearing, the court may fine them as it may fine a witness who fails to appear at the trial or hearing where they are to be examined, or order that they be brought in forcibly.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (5) The provisions of subsection 4 of this section do not apply if the party to proceedings sends, to the trial or hearing, a representative who is able to explain the factual circumstances and is authorised to make the required representations – first and foremost, to conclude a compromise. In a matrimonial or filiation case, the court may, even in such a situation, fine the principal party or order them to be forcibly brought in.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 347.  Commencement of the trial or hearing

 (1) When the court enters or leaves the courtroom, the persons present in the room stand up.

 (2) When it opens the trial or hearing, the court announces the case to be considered. At the beginning of the trial or hearing, the court ascertains:
 1) who of the persons summoned has appeared, and their identity;
 2) whether the persons who are absent have been notified of or summone to the the trial or hearing in accordance with law;
 3) whether the representatives of the parties to proceedings possess the authority of representation.

 (3) At the trial or hearing in which the case is considered on its merits, the court provides an introduction in which it explains the substance and status of the proceedings.

 (4) Where the hearing is convened solely for the purpose of proclaiming the judicial disposition, the identity of the persons who are present does not need to be established and verified.

 (5) Where the party to proceedings is not represented by an attorney, the court explains to them, or to their representative, the consequences of performing, or failing to perform, procedural operations during the trial or hearing. Once the consequences have been explained, subsequent repetition of the explanation is not required.

§ 348.  Course of the trial or hearing

 (1) The court presides over the trial or hearing and ascertains the opinion of the parties to proceedings on the circumstances relevant to the case and excludes from the hearing of the case anything that is irrelevant to disposition of the case.

 (2) The court undertakes to ensure that a case is heard to a sufficient extent and without deferral.

 (3) Prior to resolving a petition of a party, the court hears the opinion of the other parties to proceedings on such issue. The court provides the parties to proceedings with an opportunity to provide their opinion on any circumstance relevant to disposition of the case.

 (4) If a party to proceedings is represented by another person, the court also hears the party to proceedings in person if the party to proceedings so desires.

 (5) If a case is heard by a collegial court panel, the presiding judge has the rights of the court upon organising the trial or hearing. At the request of the other members of the court panel, the presiding judge provides them with an opportunity to pose questions.

§ 349.  Oral consideration of the case

 (1) Unless otherwise prescribed by law, consideration of the case is conducted orally.

 (2) Any representations, applications, motions or other documents that have been provided to the court and transmitted to the parties to proceedings are read out in the trial or hearing only if the wording of the representation is relevant to the case or if the court deems it necessary due to any other reason. In any other situation, the documents are only referred to.

§ 350.  Trial or hearing with distance participation

 (1) The court may hold a trial or hearing with distance participation such that it is possible for a party to proceedings or their representative or adviser to be off-venue during the time of the trial or hearing and perform procedural operations in real time from the off-venue location.

 (2) A witness or expert may also be heard by the method mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, and the party to proceedings who is off-venue may put questions to them.

 (3) In a trial or hearing held with distance participation, the right of every party to proceedings to make representations, motions and applications and to formulate its opinion on the representations, motions and applications of other parties must be guaranteed in a technically secure manner, as must any other conditions at the trial or hearing when transmitted in real time, in both image and sound, from the party off-venue to the court and vice versa. With the consent of the principal parties and the witness and, in action-by-petition proceedings, with the sole consent of the witness, the witness may be examined by telephone under the rules for trials or hearings with distance participation.

 (4) The Minister in charge of the policy sector may enact specific technical requirements for conducting a trial or hearing with distance participation.

§ 351.  Ascertaining the circumstances at the trial or hearing

 (1) The court discusses the disputed circumstances and relationships with the parties to proceedings to the required extent from both the factual and the legal perspective.

 (2) The court makes it possible for the parties to provide their opinion on all circumstances relevant to the case at the proper time and comprehensively.

 (3) Where a party is not able to state its opinion concerning a view or doubt that the court has pointed out to them, the court may set the party a time limit for stating the opinion.

§ 352.  Changing the time of the trial or hearing and adjourning the consideration of the case

 (1) With a valid reason, the court may revoke the trial or hearing, change the time it is scheduled for or adjourn it. Not completing consideration of the case at the trial or hearing is allowed only for a reason that prevents such consideration from being completed.

 (2) The court does not adjourn consideration of the case for the reason that a principal party is unable to personally participate in the trial or hearing if the party’s representative is present and the court has not required the party to appear in person. Non-participation by a third party without an independent claim does not amount to a ground for adjourning consideration of the case.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) In a situation provided for by subsection 1 of this section the court, where this is possible, immediately schedules a new trial or hearing to continue the proceedings. The new trial or hearing is convened as soon as possible, having reasonable regard to the views of the parties to proceedings.

 (4) Where consideration of the case is adjourned, the court may hear the statements of the parties to proceedings who have appeared for the trial or hearing, and hears the testimony of the witnesses and the opinion of the expert, in particular if these persons’ appearance for the trial or hearing at a later date would not be possible without excessive costs or would be otherwise inconvenient for them. If the hearing of the aforementioned persons mentioned necessarily involves the examination of other items of evidence or the performance of any other operation, the operation is performed.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (5) Where the district court adjourns consideration of the case for a period longer than three months without the consent of the principal parties, the party may appeal the order if they find that the case has been adjourned for an unjustifiably long period of time. The order of the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.

 (6) The court disposes of the motion to adjourn the trial or hearing or any other procedural operation without delay and, where this is possible, before the time of the trial or hearing or performance of the operation, and notifies this to the parties to proceedings without delay.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

Part 9 SUSPENSION OF PROCEEDINGS BY OPERATION OF LAW OR BY THE COURT 

§ 353.  Suspension of proceedings by operation of law on the death of an individual party or dissolution of a corporate party

 (1) On the death of an individual party or dissolution of a corporate party, where universal succession occurs, proceedings are suspended until the time they are continued by the universal successor of the party or another person entitled to do so. The heir or beneficiary is not required to continue proceedings before accepting the estate or before expiry of the time limit for refusing to accept it.

 (2) In a situation mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, proceedings are not suspended by operation of law if the party is represented in the proceedings by a contractual representative. In such a situation the court suspends the proceedings on a motion of the representative or of the opposing party.

 (3) Where, on suspension of proceedings by operation of law, the universal successor delays their continuation, the court, on a motion of the opposing party, invites the universal successor to continue the proceedings within the time limit set by the court and to participate in the consideration of the case. The invitation and the motion are served on the universal successor. In a situation provided for by subsection 2 of this section, the invitation is served both on the universal successor and their representative.

 (4) Where, in situation mentioned in subsection 3 of this section, the universal successor does not appear at the trial or hearing, the alleged legal succession is deemed to have been accepted by the universal successor on a motion of the opposing party and the trial or hearing of the case is continued.

§ 354.  Suspension of proceeding by operation of law due to loss of active legal capacity for purposes of civil procedure

 (1) Where a principal party no longer possesses active legal capacity for purposes of civil procedure or the statutory representative of a party dies or their authority of representation expires before the party has regained the active legal capacity, proceedings are suspended until the statutory representative or the new statutory representative informs the court of their appointment.

 (2) In a situation mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, proceedings are not suspended by operation of law if the party is represented by a contractual representative. In such a situation, the court suspends the proceedings on a motion of the representative or of the opposing party.

 (3) Where, in a situation mentioned in subsection 1 or 2 of this section, the statutory representative has been appointed but does not inform the court of their appointment and the opposing party informs the court of its intention to continue proceedings, proceedings are continued after the court has served the notice on the representative.

§ 355.  Suspension of proceedings for a valid reason

  The court may suspend proceedings due to a valid reason stemming from a principal party until the time the reason is no longer present. Where the party becomes seriously ill, proceedings may be suspended until the party regains their health unless the disease is a chronic one.

§ 3551.  Suspension of proceedings due to the state of emergency or the state of war

  Where, during the state of emergency or the state of war, it is not possible to continue the proceedings, or their continuation is materially complicated, due to exceptional circumstances resulting from the state of emergency or war, the court may suspend the proceedings until the impediment ceases to be present.
[RT I, 11.03.2023, 3 – entry into force 21.03.2023]

§ 356.  Suspension of proceedings due to other proceedings

 (1) Where the judgment fully or in part depends on the existence or absence of a legal relationship which is the subject matter of other judicial proceedings or whose existence must be established in administrative proceedings or in judicial proceedings of another type, the court may suspend the proceedings until the other proceedings are concluded.

 (2) Where the Supreme Court is dealing with a case whose disposition may affect the validity of the legislative or regulatory instrument that falls to be applied in the case dealt with by the court, the court may suspend the proceedings until the entry into effect of the Supreme Court’s judgment.

 (3) Where a question that has arisen in the case is referred to the European Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling, the court suspends the proceedings until the entry into effect of the European Court’s ruling.
[RT I 2006, 31, 235 – entry into force 01.09.2006]

 (4) Where this is requested by the Financial Supervision Authority under the Financial Crisis Prevention and Resolution Act, the court suspends the proceedings for the required period.
[RT I, 19.03.2015, 3 – entry into force 29.03.2015]

 (5) Where the Supreme Court requests the European Court of Human Rights to give an advisory opinion under § 6811 of this Code, the Supreme Court may suspend its proceedings for the time that it takes to deal with the request or until the request is withdrawn.
[RT I, 26.06.2017, 17 – entry into force 06.07.2017, subsection 5 is implemented as of the day of entry into force of Protocol 16 to the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in respect of Estonia.]

§ 357.  Suspension of divorce proceedings

 (1) The court suspends divorce proceedings if there is reason to believe that the marriage can be preserved. The court does not suspend the proceedings if the spouses have lived separately for a lengthy period of time and neither of them agrees to the suspension.

 (2) Where proceedings are suspended on the grounds mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, the court draws the parties' attention to the possibility of reconciliation and the possibility to receive guidance from a family counsellor.

 (3) For the reson mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, proceedings may be suspended on one occasion for the period of up to six months.

§ 358.  Consequences of suspension of proceedings by operation of law and by the court

 (1) Where proceedings are suspended by operation of law or by the court, the running of all procedural time limits is suspended and they start to run again from the beginning when the suspension is lifted.

 (2) Any procedural operations performed during the period when proceedings were suspended – by operation of law or by the court – are void. This does not preclude the granting of interim relief or the conduct of proceedings for preliminary taking of evidence in order to preserve items of evidence.

 (3) Suspension of proceedings by operation of law when consideration of the case has been completed does not prevent public notice of the decision entered in those proceedings.
[RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

 (4) Where proceedings were suspended under subsection 5 of § 356 of this Code, the suspension does not prevent the filing of a notice withdrawing the request for an advisory opinion submitted to the European Court of Human Rights.
[RT I, 26.06.2017, 17 – entry into force 06.07.2017, subsection 4 is implemented as of the day of entry into force of Protocol 16 to the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in respect of Estonia.]

§ 359.  Suspension of proceedings on a joint motion of the principal parties or due to the absence of both principal parties from the trial or hearing

 (1) The court may suspend the proceedings on a joint motion of the principal parties if this is presumed to be expedient due to pending negotiations concerning a compromise or for another valid reason, as well as when neither of the parties appears for the trial or hearing.

 (2) Suspension of proceedings on the grounds mentioned in subsection 1 of this section does not affect the running of procedural time limits.

§ 360.  Order on suspension of proceedings; appealing the order

 (1) The court suspends the proceedings by an order.

 (2) The order by which the district court or the circuit court of appeal suspends the proceedings may be appealed. The order of the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.

§ 361.  Resumption of proceedings

 (1) The court resumes suspended proceedings on a motion of the principal party or of its own motion after the circumstances that constituted grounds for the suspension have ceased to apply. Where the proceedings were suspended due to the absence of both principal parties from the trial or hearing, proceedings are resumed only on a motion of one of these parties.

 (2) In a situation provided for by § 356 of this Code, proceedings may also be resumed if the other proceedings that were the reason for the suspension are disproportionately delayed and it is possible to dispose of the suspended case.

 (3) Proceedings are deemed to have been resumed from the time that the order on resumption was served on the principal parties.

 (4) Proceedings that have been resumed are continued from the point at which they were suspended.

Part 10 ACTION-BY-CLAIM PROCEDURE 

Chapter 39 COMMENCEMENT OF CASES 

§ 362.  Filing the court claim

 (1) The time of filing of the court claim is the time when the court claim arrives at the court. This applies only where the claim is subsequently served on the defendant.

 (2) Unless otherwise provided by law, the provisions of subsection 1 of this section also apply to the making of other representations, motions or applications to the court. When relief is sought or a motion or application made during the trial or hearing, it is deemed to have been sought or made at the time this was presented during the trial or hearing.

 (3) The provisions of subsections 1 and 2 of this section apply to assessment of the procedural as well as substantive legal consequences related to the filing of the court claim, including, among other things, also the assessment of whether any time limit has been complied with and whether the running of the limit has been interrupted or suspended.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 363.  Particulars in the statement of claim

 (1) In addition to other particulars that are to be included in procedural documents, the statement of claim states:
 1) the relief sought by the claimant, clearly expressed (relief sought from the court);
 2) the factual circumstances that constitute grounds for the court claim (cause of the court claim);
 3) the evidence to support the facts that constitute the cause of the court claim, and a specific reference to which fact the claimant seeks to prove with each item of evidence;
 4) whether the claimant agrees to the case being dealt with in written proceedings or wishes that the case be considered at trial;
 5) the value of the court claim – unless the court claim seeks to obtain payment of a fixed sum of money.

 (2) If the claimant wishes their court claim to be dealt with under the documentary procedure (§ 406), they must state this in the court claim.

 (21) If the claimant does not agree to a default judgment being entered in accordance with § 407 of this Code in the event that no response is made to their court claim, they must state this in the court claim.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

 (3) Where the claimant is represented in the proceedings by a representative, the court claim must also state the particulars of the representative. Where the claimant wishes to be assisted in the proceedings by an interpreter or translator, they must state this in the statement of their court claim and, where this is possible, provide the particulars of the interpreter or translator.

 (4) Where the court claim is filed with a court that is not the court that has regular jurisdiction regarding the defendant, the reasons for this must be stated to the court.

 (5) In addition to the particulars mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, the statement of claim seeking a divorce also states the names and dates of birth of any underage children born from the marriage, the person who maintains and raises the children, the person with whom the children reside, as well as a proposal for arrangements, going forward, concerning parental rights and the raising of the children.

 (6) Where the claimant or defendant is a legal person appearing in a public register, a copy of their registry entry, an excerpt from the register or a certificate of registration is annexed to the court claim, unless the court itself is able to verify this in the register. Concerning any other legal persons, other evidence is provided to show that the person exists and possesses passive legal capacity.

§ 364.  Court claim to obtain a detailed list of property items, an account or affirmation

 (1) In the statement of court claim, the claimant may seek an order for the defendant who is obligated to hand over a pool of property items or to provide information on the status of such items to produce a detailed list of the items.

 (2) The claimant may require that the defendant who is obligated to report on earnings and expenditure related to the administration of property provide orderly accounts of such earnings and expenditure together with the documents and other evidence related to the accounts.

 (3) Where the claimant has substantiated doubts that the information set out in the detailed list mentioned in subsection 1 of this section or in the accounts mentioned in subsection 2 of this section may have been tainted by error or by insufficient diligence, they may also require that the defendant take an oath affirming that, based on the information at the defendant's disposal, the accounts or the list are true and accurate. The oath is taken following the rules that govern the making of statements under oath.

 (4) Where the claimant makes a court claim seeking to be awarded a sum of money or other specific performance as well as, at the same time, for the defendant to be ordered to produce a detailed list of property items or an account of earnings and expenditure concerning the sum or performance, or to take the oath, the claimant may omit, until the list or accounts have been produced or affirmation has been provided – or a partial judgment has been rendered concerning the corresponding item of relief – to specify the details of the sum or performance sought.

§ 365.  Additional items of relief: seeking the setting of a time limit and compensation for harm

 (1) In the statement of court claim, the claimant may seek that the court, in its judgment, when ordering the defendant to perform the obligation or act sought by the court claim, also set the defendant a time limit for the performance.

 (2) Where the claimant has a right, on expiry of the time limit mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, to claim compensation for the harm caused by violation of the obligation, or to terminate the contract, the claimant may also seek, in the statement of court claim, that the court, by the same judgment, fix the amount of the compensation or deem the contract terminated.

§ 366.  Court claim for compensation for non-pecuniary harm

  In a court claim for compensation for non-pecuniary harm, the claimant may omit to specify the amount of the compensation and seek fair compensation at the discretion of the court.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 367.  Ancillary relief: claims for late interest

  In the court claim, the claimant may, together with the principal item of relief sought, also seek late interest such that late interest that has not yet fallen due at the time the court claim is filed is not sought to be awarded as a fixed sum but rather as a percentage of the principal item until paid. Primarily, the award of late interest may be sought such that the court orders its payment as a fixed amount accrued until the entry of judgment in the case and, from there on, as a percentage of the principal item.
[RT I 2008, 28, 180 – entry into force 15.07.2008]

§ 368.  Court claim seeking declaratory relief

 (1) The claimant may bring a court claim for a declaration concerning the existence or non-existence of a legal relationship, provided they have a legally relevant interest to obtain such a declaration.

 (2) Where, in enforcement proceedings, a dispute arises concerning the interpretation of an enforceable title, the party seeking enforcement or the debtor may bring a court claim against the other party seeking a declaration as to whether a specific right or obligation accrues to the claimant from the title. A court claim for such declaratory relief may also be brought in order to clarify the enforceable title in other situations where a dispute has arisen between the parties concerning its enforcement or effect.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 369.  Filing a court claim before the claim becomes due

  A court claim to enforce a future claim may be filed in a situation where there is reason to presume that the debtor will not perform the obligation at the proper time. The same ground can be used, among other things, to bring a court claim to vacate an item of immovable property or a room on a future date – provided satisfaction of the claim relates to a certain due date – or to obtain future performance of recurring obligations that become due after the filing of the court claim.

§ 370.  Multiple items of relief in the same court claim

 (1) The claimant may, by a single court claim, seek the grant of several different items of relief against the defendant, and such items may be dealt with in the same proceedings provided all of them are within the jurisdiction of the court dealing with the case and the same type of procedure is permitted. The same applies to items of relief that are based on different circumstances.

 (2) Several alternative items of relief may be sought by a single court claim, or the grant of several items may be sought such that the claimant requests the granting of a certain item only if the first item is denied.

§ 371.  Grounds for rejecting the court claim

 (1) The court rejects the statement of court claim:
 1) if the court does not have subject matter jurisdiction to dispose of the case;
 2) if the case does not fall within the territorial jurisdiction of that court;
 3) if the interested party who has approached the court for assistance has not complied with the mandatory rules provided by law for prior out-of-court resolution of such cases;
 4) where, in a dispute between the same parties concerning the same item of relief in the same cause, judgment – or an order terminating the proceedings – has been given by an Estonian court and has entered into effect, or a foreign judicial disposition capable of being recognised in Estonia has been rendered, or a disposition that was made in out-of-court proceedings – including a settlement agreement approved by the Chancellor of Justice – has entered into effect, and the judgment, order or disposition precludes a fresh approach to the court in that case;
 5) where a case between the same parties concerning the same item of relief and the same cause is pending before the court;
 6) if a case between the same parties concerning the same item of relief and the same cause of claim is being considered by a rent tribunal or employment tribunal or in out-of-court proceedings which have been provided for by any other law and in which the decision can be given as an enforceable title;
 7) where a valid disposition has been entered in arbitration proceedings in a case between the same parties concerning the same item of relief and the same cause of claim, or where arbitration proceedings are pending in such a case;
 8) where the parties have agreed to refer the dispute to an arbitral tribunal, with the exception of situations where the court claim contests the validity of the arbitration provisions;
 9) if the statement of lacks the signature of the person with the requisite authority or if other material requirements concerning the form of such statements have been violated;
 10) if the statutory fee has not been paid on the relief sought by the statement;
 11) where the particulars given in the statement concerning the claimant or the defendant are insufficient to identify the person;
 12) if the person who filed the statement in the name of the entitled party has not proved their authority of representation.

 (2) The court may reject the statement of court claim if:
 1) based on the factual circumstances stated as the cause of the claim, violation of the claimant's rights is outright impossible, presuming the facts as asserted by the claimant to be true;
 2) the court claim has not been filed to protect a right or interest of the claimant that is protected by law, or for a purpose to which the State should afford legal protection, or if the purpose sought by the claimant cannot be achieved by the claim.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 372.  Deciding on acceptance of the court claim

 (1) Within a reasonable period of time, the court makes an order by which it accepts or rejects the statement of court claim, or sets a time limit for its defects to be cured.

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

 (3) Where this is needed, the court may invite the defendant to state their opinion on how the matter of acceptance of the court claim should be disposed of, and hear the principal parties. In such a situation, the court decides on acceptance of the claim without delay on having received the opinion or on having heard the parties.

 (4) An order by which the statement of court claim is rejected must state the reason for the rejection. When the court rejects the statement of court claim, it does not serve the statement on the defendant and, instead, returns it to the claimant together with any annexes and with the order by which the statement was rejected.

 (5) The order by which acceptance of the statement of court claim is refused may be appealed by the claimant. The order of the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court if the court claim was rejected on the grounds mentioned in clauses 9,11 or 12 of subsection 1 of § 371 of this Code.

 (6) Where the court rejects the statement of court claim and returns it by an order, the statement is deemed not to have been filed and the court claim is deemed not to have been dealt with by the court.

 (7) Where the case is not within the jurisdiction of the court with which the court claim was filed, the provisions of § 75 of this Code are applied when rejecting it.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (8) If the court finds that dealing with the court claim, petition or application made to it falls within the subject matter jurisdiction of administrative courts and the administrative court has previously found in the same case that it does not have such jurisdiction, the court, without delay makes a request to the Special Panel of the Civil Chamber and of the Administrative Chamber of the Supreme Court to determine the court that has jurisdiction to deal with the case and notifies this to the parties to proceedings.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 373.  Filing a counterclaim

 (1) On completion of pre-trial proceedings or, in written proceedings, until expiry of the time limit set for the filing of motions or applications, the defendant has a right to seek relief in the case against the claimant (file a counterclaim), to be considered together with the principal claim, provided:
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]
 1) the counterclaim is intended to set off the principal claim;
 2) the granting of the counterclaim wholly or in part precludes granting the principal claim;
 3) there counterclaim and the principal claim present any other mutual connection and considering them together allows the case to be dealt with justly and more expeditiously.

 (2) Where the counterclaim is filed after the time stated in subsection 1 of this section, it is dealt with in the same proceedings as the principal claim only if there was a valid reason for not filing the counterclaim at the proper time and the court finds that inclusion of the counterclaim in the same proceedings facilitates disposing of the case.

 (3) The statement of counterclaim is governed by provisions concerning the statement of court claim. Where a court claim that was made as a counterclaim is not accepted as such, it is accepted as a separate court claim unless the person filing the counterclaim has made a motion for the claim be dealt with strictly as a counterclaim.

§ 374.  Joinder of court claims

  Where the court is dealing, at the same time, with several court claims of the same type and between the same parties, or with court claims that have been filed by one claimant against different defendants or by several claimants against the same defendant, it may order the joinder of the corresponding items of relief requested from the court into the same proceedings, provided the items are legally related or could have been filed in the same action-by-claim proceedings and this allows those items to be disposed of more expeditiously or facilitates dealing with them.

§ 375.  Separation of items of relief requested from the court

 (1) Where the court finds that more expeditious consideration of the case would be achieved, or proceedings would be substantially simplified, if the items of relief stated in the statement of claim – or the court claim and the counterclaim – were to be considered separately, or where court claims have been joined without justification, it may make an order by which it separates the items of relief to be considered each on their own.

 (2) The court may revoke the separation of court claims if it turns out not to have been justified.
[RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

§ 376.  Amending the court claim

 (1) After acceptance of the court claim and its service on the defendant, the claimant may amend the relief sought from the court or the cause of the claim only with the consent of the defendant or of the court. The defendant's consent is presumed if they do not, without delay, make an objection to the amendment.

 (2) The court accepts an amendment of the court claim only where a valid reason is present, primarily where the facts asserted and evidence produced in the proceedings so far may be presumed to allow the amended claim to be disposed of more expeditiously and with lower costs.

 (3) The statement of amended court claim is governed by provisions concerning the statement of court claim. Where, in pre-trial proceedings, the claimant offers new facts related to the claim, it is presumed that the claimant offers them as a supplement to the cause of their claim.

 (4) The following are not deemed to amount to amendment of the court claim:
 1) amendment or rectification of factual or legal assertions that have been made, provided the principal facts that constitute the cause of the claim remain unamended;
 2) an increase, extension, reduction or limitation of the principal or ancillary relief sought by the claimant;
 3) due to a change in the circumstances, substitution of another property object or any other interest for the property object initially sought.

 (5) Where, due to repeated amendment of the court claim, or for any other reason, the court claim lacks clarity and the filing of the entire text of the statement of the claim would facilitate consideration of the case, the court may require the text to be filed.

 (6) The claimant may make the motion, application or amendment mentioned in subsection 4 of this section also without filing an application in the form required for the statement of court claim and may do this, among other methods, orally at the trial or hearing.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

Chapter 40 INTERIM RELIEF 

§ 377.  Grounds for granting interim relief

 (1) The court may, on the claimant’s application, grant interim relief if there is reason to believe that not granting such relief may complicate enforcement of the judgment or render it impossible. Where it is manifest that the judgment must enforced outside the European Union and the enforcement of Estonian judgments is not guaranteed by a treaty, it is presumed that not granting interim relief may complicate enforcement of the judgment or render it impossible.

 (2) For interim relief in a case by which the claimant does not seek a monetary payment from the defendant, the court may provisionally regulate the disputed legal relationship and, above all, the manner of use of an item of property, if this is needed for the prevention of significant harm or arbitrary action or for any other reason. This may be done regardless of whether there is reason to believe that not granting interim relief may complicate enforcement of the judgment or render it impossible. The measures mentioned in subsection 3 of § 378 of this Code may also be imposed of the court’s own motion.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) Interim relief may also be granted in relation to a court claim that includes a future or contingent claim, or to a court claim for declaratory relief. Interim relief is not granted on a contingent claim if the condition is presumed not to occur during the time of proceedings.

 (4) The circuit court of appeal or the Supreme Court dispose of applications for interim relief or of motions to vary or set aside the order by which such relief was granted when they are dealing with the case in which the application or motion is made, or when an appeal against the disposition of the lower court has been filed with them.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (5) A measure of interim relief may also be imposed to protect several items of relief asserted by the same claimant against the same defendant.

 (6) The court may also impose a measure of interim relief in connection with judicial or arbitration proceedings that are conducted abroad.
[RT I, 31.12.2014, 1 – entry into force 10.01.2015]

§ 378.  Measures of interim relief

 (1) The measures of interim relief are:
 1) creating a judicial mortgage on an item of immovable property, ship or aircraft that belongs to the defendant;
 2) attaching any of the defendant's property that is in their possession or in that of another person and, based on the attachment, recording a restraining note in the Land Register – or making other entries in any other register of property – to make the restraint on disposal accessible to the public;
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 3) restraining the defendant from performing certain transactions or certain operations – among other things, by imposing a restraining order;
 4) restraining other persons from transferring property to the defendant or from performing other obligations with regard to the defendant – possibly, also requiring such persons to hand the property over to the enforcement agent or to pay money into the designated bank account;
[RT I, 31.01.2014, 6 – entry into force 01.04.2014]
 5) ordering the defendant to turn over an item of property for safekeeping to the enforcement agent;
 6) suspending enforcement proceedings, permitting the continuation of enforcement proceedings only against a security, or invalidating an enforcement operation where a court claim has been filed to contest the enforceable title, or where a third party has made a court claim for the release of property from attachment or for a declaration of impermissibility of compulsory enforcement due to another reason;
 7) prohibiting the defendant from departing from their residence, arresting the defendant or imposing a short-term custodial sentence on the defendant;
 8) ordering the defendant – first and foremost an insurer – during proceedings concerning unlawfully caused harm or an insurance contract, to make payments to the extent of the minimum amount that will manifestly be payable;
 9) in relation to a court claim to cease using an unfair standard term or, for the person recommending the use of the term, to cease recommending it and to withdraw the corresponding recommendation – ordering the defendant to cease such use or, for the person recommending the use, to cease recommending it and to withdraw the corresponding recommendation;
 10) any other measure that the court considers necessary.

 (2) Where granting interim relief in relation to a court claim invoking the infringement of copyright or of related rights or of industrial property rights on the grounds mentioned in subsection 1 or 2 of this section, the court may, among other things:
 1) attach any goods concerning which there is a suspicion of infringement of intellectual property rights or order such goods to be handed over in order to prevent their being released into circulation or placed on the market;
 2) order an intermediary whose services are being used to infringe intellectual property rights to take steps to stop the infringement or to prevent it.
[RT I, 31.12.2020, 2 – entry into force 10.01.2021]

 (21) Where granting interim relief in relation to a court claim invoking the unlawful acquisition, use or disclosure of business secrets, the court may, among other things, attach the goods concerning which there is suspicion that their design, characteristics, functioning, production or marketing significantly benefits from the unlawfully acquired, used or disclosed business secrets, or order such goods to be handed over to prevent their release into circulation or their placing on the market.
[RT I, 07.12.2018, 2 – entry into force 17.12.2018]

 (22) When imposing a measure mentioned in clause 2 of subsection 2 of this section, the provisions of this Chapter and those that, in subsections 2 and 3 of § 195 of this Code, concern the party against whom the relevant order is made, apply to the intermediary.
[RT I, 31.12.2020, 2 – entry into force 10.01.2021]

 (23) Where attachment of the defendant's bank account or other assets is sought as interim relief in relation to a court claim invoking the infringement of copyright, of related rights or of industrial property rights for commercial purposes, the court may order the handing over of banking, financial or commercial documents, or order that a person be allowed to acquaint themselves with such documents.
[RT I, 31.12.2020, 2 – entry into force 10.01.2021]

 (3) In a matrimonial, maintenance or any other family case, the court may also regulate the following for the duration of proceedings:
 1) parental rights in respect of a child the parents had together;
 2) a parent’s communication with the child;
 3) return of the child to the other parent;
 4) performance of the statutory maintenance obligation – among other things, ordering the defendant to pay maintenance during the time of proceedings or to provide a corresponding security;
 5) the use of household objects and of the spouses’ or registered partners’ joint residence;
[RT I, 06.07.2024, 6 – entry into force 01.01.2024]
 6) the handing over or use of items that are intended for personal use of the spouse, registered partner or child;
[RT I, 06.07.2024, 6 – entry into force 01.01.2024]
 7) any other matters related to the marriage, registered partnership and the family that, under the circumstances, need to be dealt with expeditiously.
[RT I, 06.07.2024, 6 – entry into force 01.01.2024]

 (4) A measure of interim relief it must be selected such that the measure would burden the defendant only insofar as this can be considered reasonable in view of the legitimate interests of the claimant and of the circumstances. When granting interim relief in relation to a court claim for the payment of money, the value of the claim must be taken into account.

 (5) When granting interim relief, the court may simultaneously apply several measures.

 (6) The claimant may dispose of any rights that they derive from interim relief granted in the case – above all, they may waive the right or grant consent to the carrying out of a transaction that the restraint on disposition would otherwise bar.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 379.  Imposition of short-term custodial sentence or prohibition to depart from residence

  [RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (1) Under the rules for interim relief, a short-term custodial sentence may be imposed on a person, or they may be prohibited from departing from their residence strictly where this is necessary for ensuring compliance with a judgment and where it is manifest that other measures for interim relief would be insufficient to ensure the relief that was sought – above all, if there is reason to believe that the person will travel, or move their property, to a foreign State.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) A measure mentioned in subsection 1 of this section may be imposed as interim relief in relation to a court claim for pecuniary relief only where the value of the claim exceeds 32,000 euros.
[RT I 2010, 22, 108 – entry into force 01.01.2011]

 (3) In the case of a legal person, a measure mentioned in subsection 1 of this section may be imposed on a member of the person’s managing body.

 (4) The serving of the short-term custodial sentence imposed on a person is arranged by the police under the corresponding court order.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (5) Prohibition to depart from one’s residence means an obligation for the person not to leave their residence for a period longer than twenty-four hours without the court’s permission. To impose the prohibition, the court summons the individual defendant or member of the corporate defendant’s managing body and takes their signed acknowledgement concerning the measure.

§ 380.  Interim relief in relation to a property object designated for the performance of public duties

  No measure of interim relief can be imposed in relation to a property object that belongs to a public legal person and that is required for the performance of public duties, or whose transfer is contrary to public interest.

§ 381.  Application for interim relief

 (1) The application for interim relief must state at least the following particulars:
 1) the relief sought by and the value of the court claim;
 2) the circumstances that constitute grounds for interim relief;
 3) the measure of interim relief that the applicant seeks;
 4) the particulars of the party against whom the application is filed;
 5) where the simultaneous creation of a judicial mortgage on several items of property has been applied for, apportionment of the relief sought by the court claim between the different items to be encumbered with the mortgage.

 (2) The item of relief in relation to which interim relief is sought and the circumstances that constitute grounds for such relief must be substantiated in the application.

§ 382.  Interim relief without filing the court claim

 (1) The court may also grant interim relief on an application that is brought before the filing of the court claim. The application must substantiate why the claim is not filed immediately. The application is brought in the court with which the claim should be filed under the provisions on territorial jurisdiction.

 (2) Where the court grants interim relief in a situation mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, it sets a time limit during which the applicant must file the court claim. The time limit may not be longer than one month. If the claim is not filed within the time limit, the court revokes the relief.

 (3) Where this is needed, a measure of interim relief may be imposed also by the court in whose judicial district the property in relation to which the imposition of the measure is sought is situated, even if the court claim has been filed or should have been filed with another court or arbitral tribunal in Estonia or abroad. In relation to property that appears in a public register, the measure may may also be imposed by the court in whose judicial district the register has its seat and, in relation to a ship, by the court in whose judicial district the ship’s home port is situated.

 (4) The court mentioned in subsection 3 of this section may also substitute or revoke any interim relief measure or require a security to be provided in order to grant the relief or maintain it.

 (5) In situations provided for by law, the court may also grant interim relief in relation to an application filed with an authority that provides pre-action resolution of disputes.

§ 383.  Interim relief against a security

 (1) The court may make the granting or maintaining of interim relief contingent on the provision of a security to cover any harm that may be caused to the opposing party or a third party.
[RT I, 07.12.2018, 2 – entry into force 17.12.2018]

 (11) The court grants interim relief in relation to a court claim for monetary relief only where a security is provided in the sum of at least 5 per cent of the amount of the relief sought, but not less than 32 euros or more than 32,000 euros. Where, under the rules of interim relief, the imposition of a short-term custodial sentence on the defendant, or prohibiting the defendant from departing from their residence, is applied for, a security of not less than 3200 euros and not more than 32,000 euros is provided.
[RT I 2010, 22, 108 – entry into force 01.01.2011]

 (12) Where the prerequisites for requiring a security are present, the court may still decide not to require it, in part or in its entirety, or order it to be paid in instalments, if the claimant cannot – due to economic or other reasons – reasonably be expected to provide it, and if not granting interim relief may entail grave consequences for the claimant, or if requiring the security would be unfair to the claimant for other reasons.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) The security must be provided by the due date set by the court. If it is not provided by that date, the court denies, or revokes, interim relief.

§ 384.  Disposing of the application for interim relief

 (1) The court disposes – by reasoned order – of the application for interim relief not later than on the working day following the day on which the application was filed. The court may dispose of the application later if it wishes to hear the defendant beforehand.

 (2) Where the application for interim relief does not meet the requirements of the law – while it is manifest that its defect can be cured – the court sets the applicant a time limit to cure the defect. The court denies the application if the defect has not been cured by the proper time.

 (3) Consideration of the application for interim relief is not notified to the defendant and other parties to proceedings. Where it is manifest that this is reasonable and, above all, where the application seeks provisional regulation of the disputed legal relationship, the court may hear the defendant beforehand.

 (4) Before the court regulates – under the rules of interim relief – a parent’s rights in respect of the child or the communication between parent and child, or orders the defendant to return the child, it must hear the child – if they are capable of holding their own opinion – and the municipal executive in whose jurisdiction the matter falls. Where, due to the urgency of the matter, it is not possible to hear the child and the executive beforehand, they must be heard at the earliest opportunity afterwards.
[RT I, 10.11.2022, 1 – entry into force 20.11.2022]

 (5) Where circumstances that threaten the well-being of the child come to light, the court may, on an application of the municipal executive in whose jurisdiction the matter falls or of its own motion, provisionally regulate the disputed legal relationship regardless of whether or not an application for interim relief has been filed.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 385.  Interim relief: substitution by a payment of money

  In the order by which the court grants interim relief in relation to a claim for monetary relief, or by which it imposes a short-term custodial sentence on a person or prohibits the person from departing from their residence, the court fixes the sum of money which is to be paid into the designated bank account or for which a bank guarantee must be presented in order for enforcement of the interim relief order to be terminated. In such a situation, the court revokes interim relief on the defendant's application, and substitutes it with a sum of money or a bank guarantee. In situations mentioned in this section, the provisions of subsection 3 of § 386 of this Code do not apply.
[RT I, 31.01.2014, 6 – entry into force 01.04.2014]

§ 386.  Substituting or revoking a measure of interim relief

 (1) On a motion of a principal party, the court may, by an order, substitute one measure for interim relief with another.

 (2) Where circumstances change – above all, where the ground for granting interim relief ceases to apply or a security is offered, or on any other grounds provided for by law, the court may revoke the relief on a motion of a principal party. Interim relief granted in relation to a court claim for non-monetary relief may be revoked or varied by substituting it with a payment of money only with the claimant’s consent or for a valid reason.

 (3) The court notifies a motion to substitute, or revoke, a measure of interim relief to the other principal party. The party has a right to present objections to the court regarding the motion.

 (4) The court revokes interim relief by its judgment – if the court claim is denied – or by an order if the court claim is dismissed or proceedings in the case are terminated. Unless otherwise provided by law, the court also revokes interim relief where such relief was decided by another court.

 (5) The court may vary or revoke an interim relief order made under the circumstances mentioned in subsection 3 of § 378 of this Code also of its own motion.

§ 387.  Transmitting the interim relief order

 (1) The court sends the interim relief order to the claimant without delay and serves it on the defendant. On a motion of the claimant, the court may postpone service of the order on the defendant.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) Where, for enforcing the interim relief order, the claimant must approach an enforcement agent, registrar or any other person or authority, this must be stated in the order. The court sends the order for enforcement to the registrar or other authority or person strictly on a motion of the claimant. In such a situation, no additional application has to be filed with the registrar, authority or person. The court does not itself transmit the order to the enforcement agent.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) An order by which the court decides not to grant interim relief or requires the claimant to provide a security is sent only to the applicant.

§ 388.  Imposition of judicial mortgage

 (1) Unless otherwise provided by law, a judicial mortgage that is imposed on an immovable, a ship appearing in the Register of Ships or an aircraft appearing in the Register of Civil Aircraft gives the person who applied for interim relief – in respect of any other interests encumbering the item of property – the same rights as those held by the mortgagee under a mortgage or maritime mortgage or by the security interest holder under a registered movable-property security interest.

 (2) The mortgage amount is the amount of the claim secured by the mortgage, which is recorded in the Land Register, the Register of Ships or the Register of Civil Aircraft. A judicial mortgage is not created if the principal claim falls under 640 euros, provided other measures of interim relief that are less onerous on the defendant are available.
[RT I 2010, 22, 108 – entry into force 01.01.2011]

 (3) The judicial mortgage is recorded – under the interim relief order and on the claimant’s application – in the Land Register, the Register of Ships or the Register of Civil Aircraft for the benefit of the claimant. On the claimant’s application, the court itself – following the rules provided by subsection 2 of § 387 of this Code – transmits the order for the mortgage to be recorded in the register. The mortgage is created when the entry is made in the register.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (4) Where a judicial mortgage has been imposed on a ship or an aircraft, the enforcement agent – on an application of the applicant for interim relief – establishes control over the ship or aircraft. In such a situation, the agent restrains the use of the ship in part or in full and may issue orders concerning the same.

 (5) Where a judicial mortgage is imposed on several immovables, ships or aircraft, the court, in the interim relief order, fixes, in respect of each item of property so encumbered, the sum of money which is to be paid into the designated bank account or for which a bank guarantee must be presented for the relief to be revoked.
[RT I, 31.01.2014, 6 – entry into force 01.04.2014]

 (6) Where interim relief is revoked or the measure of relief is substituted with another, the judicial mortgage is acquired by the owner of the immovable property, ship or aircraft. On the owner’s application and under the order by which interim relief is revoked, the mortgage is removed from the Land Register, the Register of Ships or the Register of Civil Aircraft.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 389.  Attachment of property

 (1) Where attachment has been imposed on property, the defendant may not dispose of attached property. Where attachment is imposed on an item of movable property – with the exception of a ship appearing in the Register of Ships or an aircraft appearing in the Register of Civil Aircraft – this also creates a security interest in the attached property.

 (2) Where the value of the principal claim is below 640 euros, the court does not attach the item of immovable property, the ship appearing in the Register of Ships or the aircraft appearing in the Register of Civil Aircraft, provided other measures of interim relief that are less onerous on the defendant are available.
[RT I 2010, 22, 108 – entry into force 01.01.2011]

 (3) Where several items of property are attached, the court fixes, in the interim relief order, in respect of each item of property so encumbered, the sum of money which is to be paid into the designated bank account or for which a bank guarantee must be presented for the relief to be revoked.
[RT I, 31.01.2014, 6 – entry into force 01.04.2014]

 (4) Where an item of immovable property or a registered item of movable property – or any other property object – is attached, a note restraining disposal of the property is recorded – on the claimant's application and in accordance with the interim relief order – in the Land Register or other relevant register for the benefit of the claimant. On the claimant’s application, the court itself – following the rules provided by subsection 2 of § 387 of this Code – transmits the order for the note to be recorded.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (5) Where the value of the property object that has been attached may decrease materially or where safekeeping the object would involve unreasonable costs, the court may – on an application of the claimant or of the defendant – order the object to be sold and the proceeds of the sale to be deposited in the designated account.
[RT I, 31.01.2014, 6 – entry into force 01.04.2014]

 (6) The attachment of property is arranged by the enforcement agent. On an application of the applicant for interim relief, the agent establishes control over the attached property object. In such a situation, the agent restrains any use of the object, in part or entirely, and may issue orders concerning the same – among other things, arrange for the object’s safekeeping.
[RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

§ 390.  Appealing the order

 (1) A principal party may appeal the order by which the district court or the circuit court of appeal granted interim relief, substituted one measure of interim relief with another or revoked such relief on the grounds provided by subsections 2, 4 or 5 of § 386 of this Code. The order of the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal can be appealed to the Supreme Court only where the value of the court claim in relation to which the relief was granted exceeds 100,000 euros or where – as a relief measure – a short-term custodial sentence was imposed on a person, or the person was prohibited to depart from their residence.
[RT I, 19.03.2019, 2 – entry into force 29.03.2019]

 (2) The filing of appeal does not suspend enforcement of the interim relief order. The filing of appeal against interim relief being revoked or against the substitution of one relief measure with another suspends enforcement of the corresponding order.

§ 391.  Compensation for harm caused by interim relief

 (1) The principal party who applied for interim relief must compensate the other party and a third party for any harm caused to them by such relief, if:
[RT I, 07.12.2018, 2 – entry into force 17.12.2018]
 1) a judicial disposition that denied or dismissed the court claim in relation to which interim relief was granted enters into effect, or proceedings in the case are terminated on any other grounds except by virtue of approving a compromise between the principal parties;
 2) it comes to light that interim relief had not been sought or no grounds for such relief were present at the time when it was granted;
 3) the interim relief order made before the court claim was filed is revoked due to the reason that the claim was not filed on time.

 (2) A security collected from the person who applied for interim relief in order to ensure compensation for harm that could be caused by such relief is returned to the principal party who applied for the relief if the other party or a third party has not filed a court claim for compensation for harm within two months following the time mentioned in subsection 1 of this section.
[RT I, 07.12.2018, 2 – entry into force 17.12.2018]

§ 3911.  Application of Regulation (EU) No 655/2014 of European Parliament and of Council

 (1) The provisions of this Code concerning interim relief also apply in proceedings on applications for a European preservation order under Regulation (EU) No 655/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council – unless the Regulation makes provision for the issue.

 (2) In accordance with point 14 of Article 4 of the Regulation mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, competence to receive, transmit or serve documents under that Regulation in a situation provided for by paragraph 2 of Article 10 of the Regulation is vested in the district court that issued the European preservation order.

 (3) In a situation provided for by the first subparagraph of paragraph 2 of Article 10 of the Regulation mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, the European preservation order is revoked by the district court that issued it.

 (4) The district court that issued the European preservation order is competent to grant a remedy in conformity with Article 33 of the Regulation mentioned in subsection 1 of this section.

 (5) The district court is competent to grant a remedy in conformity with paragraph 2 of Article 34 of the Regulation mentioned in subsection 1 of this section. The court disposes of the application under the action-by-petition procedure.

 (6) In accordance with paragraph 2 of Article 49 of the Regulation mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, the documents produced before the court or enforcement agent may be in Estonian or English.
[RT I, 26.06.2017, 17 – entry into force 06.07.2017]

Chapter 41 PRE-TRIAL PROCEEDINGS 

§ 392.  Aims of pre-trial proceedings

 (1) In pre-trial proceedings, the court ascertains, first and foremost:
 1) the relief sought by the claimant and the opinions of the parties to proceedings regarding it;
 2) the motions or applications of the parties to proceedings and, where this is needed, the opinions of the other parties to proceedings regarding these;
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 3) the factual and legal assertions of the parties to proceedings concerning the relief sought and the assertions made;
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 4) the items of evidence that the parties to proceedings are offering to justify their factual assertions and concerning the admissibility of the evidence offered;
 41) the law applicable to dealing with the case;
[RT I, 10.03.2016, 1 – entry into force 01.07.2016]
 5) whether it is possible to dispose of the case by the principal parties’ concluding a compromise or otherwise by order, or in written proceedings;
 6) the parties to proceedings and whether and how to summon them to the trial or hearing.

 (2) Where the case must be considered at the trial or hearing, the court prepares its consideration with sufficient attention to detail so that it can be disposed of without interruptions in a single trial day or a single hearing.

 (3) In order to achieve the aims of pre-trial proceedings, the court may require the parties to proceedings to provide explanatory statements and question the parties.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (4) In pre-trial proceedings, the court also verifies whether the court claim has been accepted duly and whether the prerequisites for permissibility of proceedings are present.

 (5) In situations prescribed by law, the case may be disposed of in pre-trial procedings.

§ 393.  Notifying the the court claim to parties to proceedings

 (1) Where the court has accepted the statement of court claim, it notifies this without delay to the parties to proceedings and serves a copy of the statement, together with any annexes, as well as the order by which the case was accepted on the defendant and the third parties.

 (2) When notifying the defendant of having accepted the court claim, the court informs the defendant of:
 1) their duty to provide a response, in writing, to the claim by the due date set by the court;
 2) the mandatory particulars in the response to the claim;
 3) the consequences of failure to respond to the claim, of admitting the claim or of accepting the claimant's assertions – including the possibility of a default judgment being entered against the defendant – and of the defendant's duty to bear case costs;
 4) the consequences of being absent from the trial or hearing – where the case is to be considered at the trial or hearing;
 5) the consequences of failing to produce evidence by the due date set by the court.

 (21) The court explains to a third party without an independent claim the party’s right to file their opinion regarding the court claim within the time limit set by the court.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) In a situation where a court claim to cease using a standard term or, for the person recommending its use, to cease recommending such use and to withdraw the corresponding recommendation has been filed against a defendant whose activity is subject to standard regulatory enforcement by a designated authority of the State, the court also transmits the claim to the authority for a written opinion in the matter. Where necessary, the court also hears the authority’s oral submissions.

 (4) Where the outcome of the case may affect a large number of individuals or entities or where this appears reasonable on other grounds when dealing with the case, the court may transmit the court claim to a competent State or municipal authority for an opinion in the matter also in situations that have not been provided for by subsection 3 of this section, or invite the authority to state its opinion on an issue of importance for disposing of the case.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 394.  Defendant's response to the court claim

 (1) The defendant must provide, to the court, in writing, a response to the court claim that has been filed.

 (2) Among other things, the defendant must, in their response to the court claim, state the following:
 1) whether they have any objections to the court's acceptance of the case or whether there are grounds to dismiss the claim or to terminate proceedings in the case – unless the defendant has already expressed its opinion concerning the issue;
 2) whether they admit the claim and thus accept the relief sought by the claim against them;
 3) the entire body of their motions, applications and assertions as well as of evidence to prove each factual assertion made;
 4) whether they wish to file a counterclaim;
 5) their opinion on how the case costs should be allocated;
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 6) whether they agree to written proceedings or wishes the case to be considered at the trial or hearing;
 7) whether they consider it possible for the case to be disposed of by the principal parties’ concluding a compromise, or settled by any other method.

 (3) Where the defendant is represented in the proceedings by a representative, the response must also state the representative’s particulars. If the defendant wishes to be assisted in the proceedings by an interpreter or translator, this must be stated in the response and, where this is possible, the particulars of the interpreter or translator provided.

 (4) If the particulars of the defendant as stated in the statement of court claim are inaccurate, the defendant must notify accurate particulars to the court.

 (5) The time limit for filing a response to the court claim must be at least 14 days following service of the claim and, where the claim is to be served in a foreign State, at least 28 days following service.

 (6) The court transmits the defendant's response to the court claim, together with copies of any documents annexed to the response, to the other parties to proceedings.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 395.  Defendant’s oral response

  The court may allow the defendant to respond to the court claim orally at the trial or hearing if it finds that this is likely to contribute to expeditious disposition of the case. In such a situation, the court requires the defendant to prepare the presentation of the response at the trial or hearing with sufficient attention to detail, sets the time of the trial or hearing and explains, to the defendant, the potential consequences of failure to present a response, or invoke other means of defence, in the trial or hearing.

§ 396.  Claimant's opinion on the response to the court claim

  Where this is needed for dealing with the case expeditiously and justly, the court requires the claimant to provide, in writing, an opinion concerning the response to the court claim and sets a reasonable time limit for the opinion to be filed.

Chapter 42 HEARINGS IN ACTION-BY-CLAIM PROCEEDINGS 

§ 397.  Convening the trial or hearing

  Where the case is to be considered at the trial or at a hearing, the period between the service of the court claim on the defendant and the date of the trial or hearing must be at least 30 days – in documentary proceedings, at least 14 days. If the defendant has been set a time limit for responding to the claim in writing, the trial or hearing may not be ordered before the defendant’s response has been received and transmitted to the claimant, or before the time limit for responding expires.

§ 398.  Preliminary hearing

 (1) The court may direct that a case management hearing be held – in the form of a preliminary hearing – during pre-trial proceedings if the court finds this to be in the interests of preparing the case for trial or if the preliminary hearing offers better prospects of concluding the proceedings by a compromise or settling the case by any other method.

 (2) Unless the court finds that facts relevant to the case have not been ascertained to a sufficient extent, it holds the trial in the case as a direct continuation of the preliminary hearing, and disposes of the case on its substance.

 (3) If consideration of the case is not concluded during the preliminary hearing, the court makes the arrangements that are needed to prepare the case for trial and sets the time of the trial.

§ 399.  Order of trial

  The trial of the case proceeds in the following order:
 1) the principal parties produce any evidence that was not produced in pre-trial proceedings, provided the court allows it;
 2) the claimant states the relief that they seek;
 3) the defendant declares whether they admit or contest the court claim;
 4) the parties to proceedings make statements to justify their views and state their objections to the views of the opposing party;
 5) the court examines all items of evidence that have been accepted;
 6) the parties to proceedings are given the floor for concluding statements.

§ 400.  Statements of parties to proceedings

 (1) The court hears the claimant and any third parties intervening in support of the claimant, as well as the defendant and any third parties intervening in support of the defendant, insofar as they wish to add anything to the submissions made during pre-trial proceedings. The parties have a right to put questions to one another.

 (2) A party to proceedings who is unable to make their statement orally due to health reasons may provide a statement in writing or by any other method allowing comprehension.

 (3) Where this is needed, the court announces the opinions that the parties to proceedings have presented in writing. The court states the opinion that the party presented and any representations they made during pre-trial proceedings only if these differ from the submissions made at the trial or hearing.

 (4) Where only one of the principal parties participates in the trial or hearing, the court, where this is needed, states the opinion of the other party based on their previous submissions.

 (5) Having heard the statements, the court provides a brief summary of the submissions made in these and discusses, with the parties to proceedings, the potential legal significance of the circumstances that have been stated.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 401.  Concluding the substantive consideration of the case

 (1) Having examined the evidence, the court considering the case discusses, with the parties to proceedings, the status of the proceedings and the prospects for concluding these.

 (2) Having examined the entirety of the evidence in the case, the court asks whether the parties to proceedings have any additional substantive submissions to make.

 (3) Where a circumstance comes to light during the examination of evidence that a principal party could not have taken into consideration earlier, the court may, on the party’s motion, grant the parties additional time to prepare their concluding statements.

 (4) If the parties to proceedings have no motions to make further substantive submissions in the case or if the court denies the corresponding motion, the court concludes substantive consideration of the case.

§ 402.  Concluding statements

 (1) Having concluded substantive consideration of the case, the court hears the concluding statements of the parties to proceedings, if they wish to make them.

 (2) A party to proceedings has a right, as part of the concluding statements, to give a closing speech in which they present a brief summary of the circumstances relevant to disposing of the case. In their closing speech, the party may only refer to circumstances that have been presented during substantive consideration of the case and to evidence that has been examined at trial.

 (3) The court may limit the duration of the closing speech, ensuring that all parties to proceedings have equal time to speak. The time granted to a party to proceedings for their speech may not be less than ten minutes.

 (4) During the concluding statements, the claimant is the first to speak, followed by the defendant. A third party with an independent claim speaks after the principal parties. A third party without an independent claim speaks after the claimant or the defendant in support of whom the party intervenes in the case.

 (5) The court may also specify an order of appearance that it different from that provided for by subsection 4 of this section.

 (6) After the closing speeches, the parties to proceedings are allowed to reply to the speeches of the other parties. The duration of the reply may not exceed three minutes. The defendant has the right of the last reply.

 (7) During the closing statements, a party to proceedings may offer the views stated in their closing speech to the court in writing or on any other durable medium for annexation to the record of the trial.

 (8) When the closing statements have been concluded, the court retires to consider its judgment, and gives notice of the time at and method by which the judgment will be made public.

Chapter 43 SIMPLIFIED PROCEEDINGS 

§ 403.  Written proceedings by consent of the principal parties

 (1) With the consent of the principal parties, the court may dispose of the case without considering it at the trial or hearing. In such a situation, the court sets, as soon as possible, a time limit for motions, applications and representations to be made and documents to be produced and the time when the judgment will be made public, and notifies these to the parties to proceedings. The order must also state the judge to deal with the case.
[RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

 (2) The principal parties may withdraw the consent mentioned in subsection 1 of this section only on a significant change in the procedural situation.

 (3) Where a principal party has not notified the court that they consent to written proceedings, it is presumed that they wish the case to be considered at the trial or hearing.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 404.  Written proceedings by direction of the court

 (1) The court may direct that a case in which the court claim has a pecuniary value be dealt with in written proceedings provided the value of the claim does not exceed the amount that corresponds to 4500 euros for the principal item of relief and to 8000 euros when any ancillary items are included.
[RT I, 08.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2022]

 (2) In a situation mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, the court sets the due date by which any motions, applications and representations are to be made and documents to be produced and the time when the judgment will be made public, and notifies these to the parties to proceedings. The court may change the date if this is required due to a significant change in the procedural situation.

 (3) The court revokes the direction to deal with the case in written proceedings if, in the view of the court, the personal appearance of a principal party is unavoidably needed in order to clarify the circumstances that constitute the cause of the court claim. On a motion of a principal party, the party must be heard regardless of whether or not a direction has been made for the case to be dealt with in written proceedings.
[RT I, 21.05.2014, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2015]

§ 405.  Streamlined proceedings

 (1) Where the court claim seeks pecuniary relief and the value of the claim does not exceed the amount that corresponds to 3500 euros for the principal item of relief and to 7000 euros including any ancillary items, the court exercises fair discretion to deal with the claim by following simplified rules, observing only the general principles of procedure provided by this Code. Among other things, when dealing with such a claim, it is permitted:
[RT I, 08.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2022]
 1) to make a record of procedural operations only to the extent the court deems it necessary, and to exclude the right to file objections to the record;
 2) to set a time limit that differs from the one provided by law;
 3) [Repealed – RT I, 21.05.2014, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2015]
 4) to recognise, as contractual representatives of a party to proceedings, also persons not mentioned in the law;
 5) to derogate from what has been provided by law concerning the formal requirements for the offering and taking of evidence and to recognise as evidence also means of proof – including a statement of a party to proceedings that has not been given under oath – that have not been provided for by law;
 6) to derogate from the provisions of law concerning the formal requirements for the service of procedural documents and for documents produced by the parties to proceedings, except when serving the court claim on the defendant;
 7) to dispense with written pre-trial proceedings or the trial or hearing;
 8) to take evidence of the court’s own motion;
 9) to give judgment in the case without the descriptive part and the statement of reasons;
 10) to declare a disposition rendered in the case to be enforceable without delay also in situations other than those provided for by law – or without the security prescribed by law.

 (2) In a situation mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, the court guarantees observance of the fundamental rights and freedoms and of essential procedural rights of the parties to proceedings and hears a party who makes a motion to be heard. The court is not required to convene a hearing for this purpose.

 (3) The court may deal with the case by the method mentioned in subsection 1 of this section without needing to enter a separate order concerning this. Still, the parties to proceedings must be notified of their right to be heard by the court.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (4) Where, during the state of emergency or the state of war, the need that arises from such a state to expedite consideration of the case outweighs interference with the right that the court claim seeks to protect, or the interference is minor, the court may deal with any action-by-claim case using the methods and following the rules provided by subsections 1–3 of this section.
[RT I, 11.03.2023, 3 – entry into force 21.03.2023]

§ 4051.  Application of Regulation (EC) No 861/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council

 (1) The provisions of this Code concerning streamlined proceedings, including the provisions concerning appeals against any dispositions rendered in those proceedings, also apply when dealing with a civil case under Regulation (EC) No 861/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a European Small Claims Procedure (OJ L 199, 31.07.2007, pp. 1–22) insofar as the Regulation does not make other provision in the matter. Cases under the Regulation may be dealt with by the district court that has territorial jurisdiction in the matter.

 (2) In conformity with paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the Regulation mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, the application to initiate proceedings may be filed in the form provided for by §§ 334–336 of this Code.

 (3) In conformity with subparagraph (b) of paragraph 2 of Article 21 of the Regulation mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, a disposition rendered in judicial proceedings conducted under the Regulation is accepted for enforcement in Estonia only if it ishas been drawn up in the Estonian or the English language or if a translation into Estonian or English is annexed to the certificate.

 (4) The provisions concerning Estonian enforcement procedure apply to the enforcement, in Estonia, by means of enforcement proceedings, of a foreign judicial disposition rendered under the Regulation mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, and to the legal remedies available to the debtor, insofar as has not been prescribed otherwise by that Regulation.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 406.  Documentary proceedings

 (1) On a motion of the claimant, a court claim for the payment of money under a bill of exchange or a cheque, or a court claim for compulsory enforcement arising from a mortgage or maritime mortgage or registered movable-property security interest is dealt with in documentary proceedings if all facts to prove the relief sought can be proved by documents and the necessary documents have been annexed to the claim or the claimant produces them within the time limit set by the court.
[RT I 2009, 30, 178 – entry into force 01.10.2009]

 (2) Apart from what has been provided for by subsection 1 of this section, no other relief may be sought in documentary proceedings, or any counterclaim made.

 (3) In documentary proceedings, only documents produced and statements made under oath by the principal parties are accepted as evidence. Evidence may be offered strictly concerning the facts mentioned in subsection 1 of this section and concerning whether a document is authentic or a forgery. No other documents or objections are accepted.

 (4) In order to prove an ancillary item of relief stemming from a bill of exchange or a cheque, it suffices to substantiate the principal item.

 (5) On a motion of the claimant, the court makes an order by which it transforms documentary proceedings into ordinary action-by-claim proceedings. The claimant may make such a motion until the start of concluding statements before the district court or, in written proceedings, until expiry of the time limit for the filing of motions or applications. By order of the court, the proceedings are continued without any derogations arising from special rules applicable to documentary proceedings.

Chapter 44 CONSEQUENCES OF FAILURE TO RESPOND TO THE COURT AND OF THE ABSENCE OF A PARTY TO PROCEEDINGS FROM THE TRIAL OR HEARING 

§ 407.  Default judgment on failure to respond to the court claim

 (1) Where the defendant to whom the court has set a time limit for responding to the court claim has failed to do so by the due time, the court may, with the consent of the claimant, enter a default judgment in the case by which it grants the claim within the scope stated in the statement of claim and as legally justified by the facts – even if the claim was served on the defendant in a foreign State or by public notice. In such a situation, the defendant is deemed to have accepted the factual assertions made by the claimant.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

 (2) The claimant’s consent provided for by subsection 1 of this section is presumed unless they have notified the court that they do not wish a default judgment to be entered.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

 (3) In a situation mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, the default judgment may be given without convening a hearing.

 (4) The court does not enter a default judgment on the grounds mentioned in subsection 1 of this section in a matrimonial case or a filiation case. Such a judgment may nevertheless be entered in a case concerning division of community property or any other court claim related to the pecuniary relationship between the spouses or registered partners, provided the case can be disposed of separately from other matrimonial matters.
[RT I, 06.07.2024, 6 – entry into force 01.01.2024]

 (5) A default judgment may not be entered where:
 1) the time limit set to the defendant for responding to the court claim was manifestly too short;
 2) the defendant was not informed of the consequences of failure to respond to the court claim;
 21) the defendant has, during the time limit for providing their response, applied for the grant of State-funded legal aid in order to respond through an attorney;
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 22) the court claim has been accepted erroneously – including situations where the case does not fall within the court’s jurisdiction;
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 3) the defendant has provided a valid reason for not having responded to the court claim and has substantiated it to the court.

 (51) The court may also refuse to enter a default judgment if the court claim was served on the defendant by public notice and it may be presumed that there is an intention to have the disposition to be rendered in the proceedings recognised or enforced in a foreign State and it is probable that, because the claim was served by public notice, the disposition would not be recognised or enforced.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (6) Where the claimant has consented to the entry of default judgment but the court claim is not legally justified in the scope stated in the statement of claim and by the facts, the court enters a judgment by which it denies the claim.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

§ 408.  Absence of both principal parties from the trial or hearing

  If neither principal party appears at the trial or hearing, including at a preliminary hearing, the court may:
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 1) dispose of the case on its substance;
 2) dismiss the court claim;
 3) suspend the proceedings;
 4) postpone consideration of the case.

§ 409.  Absence of the claimant from the trial or hearing

 (1) If the claimant does not appear at the trial or hearing, including at a preliminary hearing, the court, on a motion of the defendant who has appeared:
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 1) dismisses the court claim;
 2) enters a judgment based on admittance of the court claim – if the defendant admits the claim;
 3) disposes of the case on its substance;
 4) postpones consideration of the case.

 (2) Where the defendant does not make the motion mentioned in subsection 1 of this section or the motion is denied, the court postpones consideration of the case.
[RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

§ 410.  Absence of the defendant from the trial or hearing

  If the defendant does not appear at the trial or hearing, including at a preliminary hearing, the court, on a motion of the claimant who has appeared, enters a default judgment, disposes of the case on its substance or postpones its consideration. Where the claimant does not make the motion or the motion is denied, the court postpones consideration of the case.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 411.  Absence of other parties to proceedings from the trial or hearing

  Where a party to proceedings who is not a principal party does not appear at the trial or hearing although they were served with the summons, the case is considered without them.

§ 412.  Restrictions on dismissing the court claim; reinstatement of proceedings

 (1) The claimant's non-appearance at the trial or hearing notwithstanding, the court does not dismiss the court claim if:
 1) the claimant had consented to written proceedings or to consideration of the claim without their participation;
 2) the claimant who did not appear for the trial or hearing was not summoned to it at the proper time, or if the consequences of absence from the trial or hearing were not explained in the summons or if other requirements for summoning persons to the trial or hearing have been disregarded;
 3) the claimant has informed the court beforehand of the presence of a valid reason for their failure to appear at the trial or hearing and substantiated the reason to the court;
 4) the defendant moves for the case to be disposed of on its substance, and disposition of the case on the substance is possible;
 5) the defendant has admitted the claim.

 (2) The court may dismiss the court claim in a situation such as one where the claimant has not appeared before the court in person although the court had required them so to appear, without the claimant’s or their representative’s having informed the court of the presence of a valid reason for non-appearance, or having substantiated such a reason to the court. The court may dismiss the claim, the participation of the claimant’s representative in the trial or hearing notwithstanding.

 (3) Where the court claim is dismissed, the claimant may, within 14 days following service on them of the order dismissing the claim, move for proceedings to be reinstated in part or in full by the same court, provided the claimant substantiates to the court that they had a valid reason for not appearing at the trial or hearing and were unable to notify this to the court at the proper time. Where the order must be served outside the Republic of Estonia or by public notice, the motion to reinstate the proceedings may be filed within 28 days following service.

 (4) A valid reason for reinstatement of proceedings does not need to be given or substantiated where the summons was served on the claimant or their representative by a method other than by personal delivery against signed receipt, by electronic service or at a hearing, or where dismissal is not allowed for a reason mentioned in subsection 1 of this section.
[RT I, 31.12.2014, 1 – entry into force 10.01.2015]

 (5) The order by which reinstatement of the proceedings is refused may be appealed. The order made by the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal can be appealed to the Supreme Court only if the circuit court of appeal denied the appeal.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (6) Erroneous reinstatement of proceedings cannot be invoked when appealing the disposition made at a subsequent stage of the proceedings.

 (7) When proceedings are reinstated they continue, insofar as reinstated, from the situation that had been reached before the court claim was dismissed.

§ 413.  Entry of default judgment if the defendant does not appear at the trial or hearing

 (1) Where the claimant moves for default judgment to be entered against the defendant who has not appeared at the trial or hearing, the court enters such a judgment in favour of the claimant provided that the court claim is legally justified in the scope state in the statement of claim and by the facts. In such case the defendant is deemed to have accepted the factual assertions made by the claimant. Where the claim is not legally justified, the court enters a judgment by which it denies the claim.

 (2) The court may enter a default judgment in a situation such as one where the defendant does not appear before the court in person although the court had required them so to appear, without the defendant’s or their representative’s having informed the court of the presence of a valid reason for non-appearance, or having substantiated such a reason to the court. The court may dismiss the claim, the participation of the defendant’s representative at the trial or hearing notwithstanding.

 (3) The court does not enter a default judgment in the case if:
 1) the defendant who failed to appear in the trial or hearing was not summoned to the trial or hearing at the proper time, or if the consequences of absence from the trial or hearing were not explained in the summons or if other requirements for summoning persons to the trial or hearing have been disregarded;
 2) the defendant has notified the court of a valid reason for failure to appear at the trial or hearing and has substantiated it;
 3) the defendant has consented to written proceedings or to the case being disposed of without their participation.

 (31) The court may also refuse to enter a default judgment if the summons was served on the defendant by public notice and it can be presumed that there is an intention to have the disposition to be rendered in the proceedings recognised or enforced in a foreign State and, because of the summons having been served by public notice, it is probable that the disposition would not be recognised or enforced.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (4) The court does not enter a default judgment in matrimonial or filiation cases. Such a judgment may nevertheless be entered in a case concerning division of community property or any other court claim related to the pecuniary relationship between the spouses or registered partners, provided the case can be disposed of separately from other matrimonial matters.
[RT I, 06.07.2024, 6 – entry into force 01.01.2024]

§ 414.  Disposing of the case on its substance in the absence of a principal party

 (1) Where the principal parties or one such party are absent from the trial or hearing, the court may dispose of the case on its substance if it finds that the circumstances that constitute the cause of the court claim have been ascertained to a sufficient extent for the envisaged judgment to be given. The court may so dispose also of matrimonial and filiation cases.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) The court may not dispose of the case on its substance without the participation of a principal party where:
 1) the party who failed to appear at the trial or hearing was not summoned to it at the proper time, or where the consequences of absence from the trial or hearing were not explained in the summons or where other essential requirements for summoning persons to the trial or hearing have been disregarded;
 2) the party has notified the court of a valid reason for non-appearance at the trial or hearing, has substantiated it to the court and has not expressed a wish for the case to be considered without them.

 (3) The court may dispose of the case on its substance in the absence of a principal party even where the party has notified a valid reason for non-appearance at the trial or hearing, provided the party has consented to written proceedings or provided consideration of the case has already been postponed once because of the absence of the party from the trial or hearing due to a valid reason and the party has been given an opportunity to make its representations and assertions, and to produce evidence, in relation to all circumstances relevant to the case.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 415.  Filing a motion to reinstate proceedings

 (1) The defendant is allowed to file a motion to reinstate proceedings provided the defendant's omission that constituted the basis for the entry of the default judgment was due to a valid reason. The motion may be filed regardless of whether a valid reason was present, provided that:
 1) in a situation where the defendant did not respond to the court claim, the claim was served on the defendant or their representative by a method other than by personal delivery against signed receipt or by electronic service;
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]
 2) in a situation where the defendant did not appear at the trial or hearing, the summons was served on the defendant or their representative by a method other than by personal delivery against signed receipt at a hearing or by electronic service;
[RT I, 21.05.2014, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2015]
 3) under the law, the entry of default judgment was not allowed.

 (2) The motion to reinstate proceedings may be filed within 30 days following service of the default judgment. Where the judgment is served by public notice, the motion may be filed within 30 days following the date on which the defendant became aware of the judgment or of the enforcement proceedings initiated to enforce it.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

§ 416.  Requirements for the motion to reinstate proceedings

 (1) The motion to reinstate proceedings is filed with the court that entered the default judgment. The motion must state:
 1) a reference to the judgment against which the motion is filed;
 2) a representation to the effect that the motion is filed against that judgment;
 3) the circumstances that prevented the person filing the motion from responding to the court claim or from appearing at the trial or hearing and from notifying this to the court, together with the substantiation of the circumstances, with the exception of situations where a valid reason is not required to file the motion.

 (2) Where the default judgment was entered in pre-trial proceedings because the defendant did not respond to the court by the due date or did not appear at the preliminary hearing, all materials required for completing the preparation of the case must be annexed to the motion to reinstate the proceedings.

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

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

 (5) The court serves the motion to reinstate proceedings on the other parties to proceedings and also informs them of the time of service of the default judgment and of the filing of the motion, and sets them a time limit for stating their opinions concerning the motion.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 417.  Disposing of the motion to reinstate proceedings

 (1) The court disposes of the motion to reinstate the proceedings by an order. Where this is needed, the motion is disposed of at a hearing.

 (2) Where the motion to reinstate proceedings has been filed in the proper form and at the proper time, and the party has substantiated the valid reason that prevented them from performing the procedural operation – and from notifying the court of being prevented from performing that operation – or where other grounds were present that did not allow a default judgment to be entered, the court grants the motion and reinstates the proceedings, according to the scope of the motion, to the situation that had been reached by the time the party omitted to perform the operation whose non-performance triggered the judgment. Where a valid reason is not required for filing the motion, such a reason is not required for reinstatement of the proceedings either.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) Where a hearing has been convened to consider the motion to reinstate proceedings and the party who filed the motion does not participate in the hearing or in the consideration of the case, the court denies the motion and does not reinstate the proceedings.

 (4) The order by which reinstatement of proceedings is refused may be appealed. The order made by the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal can be appealed to the Supreme Court only if the circuit court denied the appeal.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (5) Erroneous reinstatement of proceedings cannot be invoked when appealing a disposition made at a subsequent stage in the proceedings.

 (6) Before disposing of the motion to reinstate proceedings, the court may, by an order, suspend the corresponding enforcement proceedings or permit them to be continued only against a security, or invalidate an enforcement operation.

§ 418.  Continuation of reinstated proceedings

 (1) When proceedings are reinstated, the default judgment does not enter into effect and cannot be enforced. Reinstated proceedings continue – within the scope of the motion to reinstate them – from the point that had been reached by the time of omission to perform the operation whose non-performance caused the judgment to be entered.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) Where, at the hearing, the court rules to reinstate the proceedings, consideration of the case continues at the same hearing.

§ 419.  Second default judgment

  Where, in proceedings that have been reinstated, a principal party does not appear at the trial or hearing and a new default judgment is entered against them, the party no longer has a right to file a motion to reinstate the proceedings.

§ 420.  Appeal against a default judgment

 (1) The defendant cannot file an appeal against a default judgment but is allowed to file a motion to reinstate the proceedings. The claimant on whose motion the default judgment was entered or whose motion for default judgment against the defendant the court denied and whose court claim was denied may appeal the judgment.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) Where, following reinstatement of the proceedings, another default judgment is entered against the defendant, they may appeal the new judgment only by invoking failure to verify the prerequisites for its entry.

 (3) Where the defendant has filed a motion to reinstate proceedings and the claimant has filed an appeal, the case is considered under the rules for reinstatement of proceedings and in the court that entered the judgment. If the motion is denied, proceedings on the appeal are continued.

§ 421.  Failure to participate in the proceedings; leaving the trial or hearing without permission

 (1) A party to proceedings is deemed to have been absent from the trial or hearing also where they appeared at it but did not participate in the proceedings.

 (2) If a party to proceedings leaves the trial or hearing, this does not preclude consideration of the case. The court may fine a party who leaves the trial or hearing without permission – or order them to be brought in forcibly if the court finds that personal attendance of the party is required to consider the case.

§ 422.  Valid reason for absence from the trial or hearing or for non-performance of other procedural operations

 (1) A valid reason for failure to respond to a court claim or to appear at the trial or hearing, and for not notifying this to the court is, above all, a traffic outage, an unexpected illness of the principal party or an unexpected serious illness of a person close to the party due to which the party was unable to respond to the claim or to appear in court or to send a representative.

 (2) To substantiate the illness due to which the party to proceedings was prevented from responding to the court claim or appearing at the trial or hearing, the party or their representative files a certificate with the court that shows that the illness can be deemed an impediment to responding to the claim or appearing at the trial or hearing. The form of the certificate and the requirements and rules for its issue are enacted by a regulation of the Minister in charge of the policy sector.

 (3) The absence of or defects in the certificate mentioned in subsection 2 of this section do not preclude substantiation of the illness by other evidence.

Chapter 45 DISMISSING THE COURT CLAIM 

§ 423.  Grounds for dismissing a court claim

 (1) The court dismisses the court claim if:
 1) the person who has approached the court for assistance has not complied with the mandatory rules established by law for prior out-of-court resolution of cases of this type and it is still possible to apply those rules;
 2) the claimant has withdrawn the claim;
 3) pre-action proceedings are pending between the same parties concerning the same claim and the same cause and, under the law, approaching the court for assistance is not permitted before the completion of those proceedings;
 4) proceedings are pending before the court between the same parties concerning the same item of relief and the same cause;
 5) arbitration proceedings have been commenced in the same cause concerning the same item of relief;
 6) the parties have agreed to refer the dispute to an arbitral tribunal, with the exception of situations where the court claim contests the validity of the arbitration agreement;
 7) the particulars presented by the claimant concerning the claimant or the defendant do not allow the person to be identified and the court itself cannot, within a reasonable time, successfully identify the person either;
 8) despite having been required by the court to present particulars that would allow to serve procedural documents on the defendant, the claimant has not done so by the due date set by the court and, despite reasonable efforts, the court itself has been unable to find the particulars either; also if the claimant does not pay, by the time prescribed by the court, the costs needed to serving the claim or other procedural documents on the defendant – including the enforcement agent's fee -- except where the claimant has been granted State-funded financial aid to bear the costs;
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 81) the claimant has not informed the court of the outcome of the service within the time limit that they have been set under subsection 2 of § 3151 of this Code;
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]
 9) the person who filed the claim in the entitled person’s name has not proved their authority of representation;
 10) the claimant has not complied with the court’s requirement to find themselves an interpreter or translator, or a representative proficient in the Estonian language;
 11) the statutory fee has not been paid, by the due date set by the court, on the relief sought by the claim;
 12) the claimant has not, within the time limit set by the court, provided a security for covering the defendant's estimated case costs;
 13) the court does not have subject matter jurisdiction to deal with the case.
[RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

 (2) The court may also dismiss the court claim if it comes to light that:
 1) based on the factual circumstances stated as the cause of the claim, violation of the claimant's rights is outright impossible, presuming the facts as asserted by the claimant to be true;
 2) the court claim has not been filed to protect a right or interest of the claimant that is protected by law, or for a purpose to which the State should afford legal protection, or if the purpose sought by the claimant cannot be achieved by the claim.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) The court may also dismiss the court claim in other situations mentioned in the law.

§ 424.  Withdrawing the court claim

 (1) Until the end of pre-trial proceedings, the claimant may withdraw the court claim without the defendant's consent. With the defendant's consent, the claim may be withdrawn until the entry into effect of the disposition rendered in its respect.

 (2) Withdrawal of the court claim and the defendant's consent are communicated to the court by a written representation, or noted in the record of proceedings.

 (3) A representation by which the court claim is withdrawn and which is filed with the court is served on the defendant if the defendant's consent is needed for the withdrawal. If the defendant does not, within ten days following being served with the representation, file an objection, they are deemed to have given their consent.

§ 425.  Rules for dismissing the court claim

 (1) The court dismisses the court claim by an order. Where the decision to dismiss the case was due to specific circumstances that prevent its consideration, the order states how the circumstances may be eliminated.

 (2) Where this is needed, the court convenes a hearing to decide whether to dismiss the court claim.

 (3) Where the court claim is dismissed by the higher court, that court also sets aside, by its order, the disposition or dispositions of the lower court. Where the court that dealt with the case dismisses the court claim based on a representation filed within the time limit for appeal, the court sets aside the disposition or dispositions rendered in the case.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (4) Where the court finds that the court claim must be dismissed due to the fact that the representation falls within the subject matter jurisdiction of administrative courts and the administrative court has previously found in the same case that it does not have such jurisdiction, the court without delay addresses a request to the Special Panel of the Civil Chamber and the Administrative Chamber of the Supreme Court to determine the court that has jurisdiction to deal with the case, and notifies this to the parties to proceedings.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 426.  Consequences of dismissing the court claim

 (1) When the court dismisses the court claim, the claim is deemed not to have been dealt with by the court and the claimant may approach the court with a court claim against the same defendant in the same cause in a dispute concerning the same relief.

 (2) Where the court dismissed the court claim due to reasons stemming from the claimant and the claim is filed anew, the defendant is allowed not to respond to it and not to participate in the proceedings until the case costs which were incurred by the defendant previously, which the defendant requested to be reimbursed and which were ordered to be borne by the claimant have been paid. The defendant must notify non-payment of the costs to the court without delay.
[RT I, 31.12.2014, 1 – entry into force 10.01.2015]

 (3) In a situation mentioned in subsection 2 of this section, proceedings are suspended by operation of law. The court may set the claimant a time limit to reimburse the defendant's case costs. If the claimant does not reimburse the costs within the time limit, the court dismisses the court claim.

§ 427.  Appealing the order by which the court claim was dismissed

  The order by which the district court or the circuit court of appeal dismissed the court claim may be appealed. The order of the circuit court of appeal concerning an appeal against the order of the district court cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court if the court claim was dismissed on the grounds mentioned in clauses 2, 7–10 or 12 of subsection 1 of § 423 of this Code.

Chapter 46 TERMINATING THE PROCEEDINGS 

§ 428.  Grounds for terminating the proceedings

 (1) The court terminates the proceedings without giving judgment if:
 1) the person who sought the court’s assistance has not complied with the mandatory rules provided by law for prior out-of-court resolution of cases of this type, and it is no longer possible to apply those rules;
 2) in a dispute between the same parties in the same cause concerning the same relief, judgment – or an order terminating the proceedings – has been given by an Estonian court and has entered into effect, or a foreign judicial disposition capable of being recognised in Estonia has been rendered, or a disposition that was made in out-of-court proceedings – including a settlement agreement approved by the Chancellor of Justice – has entered into effect, and the judgment, order or disposition precludes a fresh approach to the court in that case;
 3) the claimant has abandoned the court claim;
 4) the parties have concluded a compromise and the compromise is approved by the court;
 41) in the issue in dispute, a parenting plan provided for by § 12 of the Act on State-Funded Family Mediation Services has been approved;
[RT I, 10.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.09.2022]
 5) a natural person who is a principal party in the case dies and the legal relationship under dispute does not allow for legal succession.
[RT I, 05.05.2022, 1 – entry into force 01.02.2023]

 (2) The court terminates the proceedings also on other grounds provided by law.

§ 429.  Abandoning the court claim

 (1) The claimant may – until the disposition rendered concerning the claim enters into effect –abandon their court claim by making the corresponding representation to the court. The court accepts the abandonment by an order by which it also terminates proceedings in the case.

 (2) If the claimant abandons their court claim at the trial or hearing, this is noted in the record of proceedings. If the abandonment is presented to the court as a written notice, the notice is included in the case file.

 (3) Where the representation by which the court claim is abandoned is made to the court outside the trial or hearing, the court, before deciding on the termination of proceedings, notifies the filing of the representation to the defendant and sets the defendant a time limit for responding. If the defendant wishes the court to order the claimant to pay the case costs, they must state this in the response.

 (4) Where the representation by which the court claim is abandoned is made by the statutory representative of a claimant who does not possess active legal capacity for purposes of civil procedure and the abandonment is manifestly contrary to the person’s interests – as well as in other situations where abandoning the claim would harm a significant public interest – the court does not accept the abandonment.

 (5) Where the court does not accept the abandonment, it does so by reasoned order. In such a situation, proceedings in the case are continued.

 (6) Where the court refuses to accept abandonment of the court claim by the statutory representative of a claimant who does not possess active legal capacity for purposes of civil procedure because this would be manifestly contrary to the person’s interests, the court appoints a new representative to the claimant in accordance with the rules provided by § 219 of this Code.

§ 430.  Compromise

 (1) Until the entry into effect of the judicial disposition concerning the court claim, the principal parties are allowed to terminate the proceedings by a compromise. The court approves the compromise by an order by which it also terminates proceedings in the case. The order by which the compromise is approved states the terms of the compromise.

 (2) The parties present the compromise agreement to the court as a signed instrument or make a corresponding representation to the court, which is noted in the record of proceedings.

 (3) The court refuses to approve the compromise if it is contrary to good morals or the law, if it harms a significant public interest or if the terms of the compromise cannot be enforced. The court is not bound by the compromise, and is not required to approve it, in a family case.

 (4) If the court decides not to approve the compromise, it does so by a reasoned order. In such a situation, proceedings in the case are continued.

 (5) The compromise has the effect of an enforceable title, also with regard to a person who does not participate in the proceedings but has assumed an obligation based on the compromise.

 (6) The conclusion of a settlement agreement in the form of a compromise approved by the court is equivalent to notarial authentication of the agreement.

 (7) The compromise may be conditional.

 (8) The compromise is voidable, and its voidness may be relied on on the grounds mentioned in the Act on the General Principles of the Civil Code; withdrawal from or cancellation of the compromise is possible on the grounds mentioned in the Law of Obligations Act. The compromise can be voided, and its voidness may be relied on, or a party may withdraw from or cancel the compromise, only in proceedings on a court claim seeking a declaration of impermissibility concerning enforcement proceedings carried out on the basis of the compromise as an enforceable title. If the court grants the claim, the compromise is deemed, in its entirety or in part, not to have any legal effects, and proceedings in the case in which the compromise was concluded are continued.

 (9) A compromise can be declared invalid under the rules of clawback in bankruptcy proceedings or in enforcement proceedings.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 431.  Rules for terminating the proceedings

 (1) The court terminates the proceedings by an order. Where this is needed, the court convenes a hearing to decide on the termination. Where a party to proceedings is not represented by an attorney, the court explains the consequences of the termination to the party or their representative beforehand.

 (2) Where proceedings are terminated by the higher court, that court also sets aside, by its order, the disposition or dispositions of the lower court. Where the court that dealt with the case dismisses the court claim based on a representation filed within the time limit for appeal, the court sets aside the disposition or dispositions rendered in the case.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 432.  Consequences of terminating the proceedings

  When the proceedings have been terminated, the claimant may not approach the court again with a court claim against the same defendant in a dispute in the same cause concerning the same relief. Unless otherwise provided for by law, where proceedings have been terminated due to abandonment of the court claim or by a compromise, their termination has the same substantive and procedural effects that are produced when proceedings are concluded by the giving of judgment.

§ 433.  Appealing the order terminating the proceedings

 (1) The order by which the proceedings are terminated may be appealed.

 (2) The order of the district court or of the circuit court of appeal by which the court refuses to terminate the proceedings because it does not accept abandonment of the court claim or does not approve the compromise may be appealed. The order of the circuit court of appeal concerning an appeal against the order of the district court cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.

Chapter 47 JUDICIAL DISPOSITION 

Subchapter 1 Judgment 

§ 434.  Judgment – substantive disposition in the case

  ‘Judgment’ means a judicial disposition that is rendered in the name of the Republic of Estonia as a result of judicial proceedings and by which the case is decided on its substance.

§ 435.  Rendering the judgment

 (1) The court renders its judgment when it is of the view that the case has been considered exhaustively and is ready to be disposed of conclusively.

 (2) The judgment concludes the proceedings in that judicial instance.

 (3) The date of the judgment is the date on which the judgment was made public.

§ 436.  Lawful and reasoned judgment

 (1) A judgment must be lawful and state its reasons.

 (2) The court founds its judgment strictly on the evidence that was produced or that the court arranged to be taken in the case. Where the court disposes of the case at trial or at a hearing, it founds its judgment strictly on the evidence that was examined at the trial or hearing.

 (3) When rendering its judgment, the court may only rely on evidence that the parties had an opportunity to examine and on circumstances concerning which the parties had an opportunity to make their submissions.

 (4) When rendering its judgment, the court may not rely on a circumstance that was not examined during the proceedings. Neither may the court, in its judgment, assess a circumstance that has been highlighted in the case differently from the assessments provided regarding that circumstance by the principal parties, unless the court has pointed out this possibility to the parties beforehand and has given them an opportunity to state their opinion.

 (5) The provisions of subsection 4 of this section do not apply in relation to ancillary relief.

 (6) The court is not bound by the circumstances and opinions that have been presented in a family case.

 (7) When rendering its judgment, the court is not bound by the principal parties’ assertions concerning the law.

§ 437.  Resuming consideration of the case

  After having concluded the trial and before rendering its disposition in the case, the court may make an order by which it resumes consideration of the case if:
 1) it has ascertained an error in the proceedings that is of material importance to the rendering of the judgment and can be rectified;
 2) when entering a default judgment, a circumstance comes to light that may constitute grounds for the filing of a motion to reinstate proceedings;
 3) when dismissing the court claim, a circumstance comes to light that may constitute grounds for resuming the proceedings.

§ 438.  Issues resolved when rendering judgment

 (1) When rendering its judgment, the court assesses the evidence, determines the facts that have been established, the legislation that must be applied in the case and whether the court claim should be granted. Where the case includes several items of relief, the court gives judgment concerning all of these.

 (2) The court decides on the allocation of case costs and, in accordance with Subchapter 5 of Chapter 18 of this Code, determines the money amounts of the costs.
[RT I, 21.05.2014, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2015]

§ 439.  Court claim: scope of disposition

  The court may not, in its judgment, go beyond the scope of the relief sought or give judgment concerning an item of relief that does not appear in the court claim.

§ 440.  Admitting the court claim

 (1) Where the defendant has, at the trial or hearing or in a representation made to the court, accepted the relief sought by the claimant, the court grants the court claim.

 (2) Admission of the court claim at the trial or hearing is noted in the record of proceedings.

 (3) Where admission of the court claim has been filed with the court as a representation, the representation is included in the case file. If the defendant makes such a representation in pre-trial proceedings, the court disposes of the case without convening the trial or hearing.

 (4) In a matrimonial case or a filiation case, the court is not bound by admission of the court claim. Similarly, the court is not bound by such admission in cases which involve several defendants and in which the disputed legal relationship can be established only with regard to all of them, and not all of the defendants admit the claim. Where the court refuses to accept the admission, it does so by a reasoned order. In such a situation, the proceedings are continued.

§ 441.  Drawing up the judgment

 (1) The court draws up the judgment electronically in the Estonian language, affixing the digital signature of the judge who gave it. The court registers the judgment without delay in the Judicial Information System.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

 (2) The court may draw up and sign a judgment as a paper instrument if, due to reasons beyond the control of the court or the judge, the requirements provided by subsection 1 of this section cannot be complied with.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

§ 442.  Particulars in the judgment

 (1) A judgment consists of the introductory, operative and descriptive part and of the statement of reasons.

 (2) The introductory part states:
 1) the court that rendered the judgment;
 2) the name of the judge who gave the judgment;
 3) the time when and place where the judgment is made public;
 4) the number of the civil case;
 5) the relief sought;
 51) the value of the civil case;
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 6) the names and personal identification or registration numbers of the parties to proceedings;
 7) the addresses of the parties to proceedings, where this is manifestly needed for enforcement or recognition of the judgment;
 8) the names of the parties’ representatives – where there has been a change of representatives, the names of the latest representatives;
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 9) the time of the last trial day or hearing or a note to the effect that the case was disposed of in written proceedings.

 (3) Where a natural person does not possess a personal identification number, their date of birth is stated in the judgment. Where a legal person does not possess a registration number, a note concerning the legal basis of the person is included in the judgment, if this is needed.

 (4) Where the judgment is rendered as a default judgment or is based on admission of the court claim, this must be stated in the introductory part.

 (5) In the operative part of the judgment, the court clearly and unambiguously disposes of the items of relief sought by the principal parties and of any of those parties’ motions or applications that have not yet been disposed of, as well as of any issues related to the measures of interim relief that have been imposed. The operative part must be clearly understandable and enforceable also without the text of the rest of the judgment.

 (6) The operative part also includes the rules and time limit for appealing the judgment and, among other things, identifies the court with which the appeal should be filed, and notes that unless a motion is made in the appeal to dispose of the same by convening a hearing, the appeal may be disposed of in written proceedings. A default judgment states the right to file a motion to set the judgment aside. The operative part also includes an explanation of the substance of subsection 6 of § 187 of this Code.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (61) Where the court determines the money amount of case costs in accordance with clause 1 of subsection 1 of § 177 of this Code, it states that amount in the operative part.
[RT I, 21.05.2014, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2015]

 (62) Where the court does not determine the money amount of case costs in accordance with clause 1 of subsection 1 of § 177 of this Code, it explains in the operative part that the district court that dealt with the case determines that amount in accordance with subsection 2 of § 177 of this Code.
[RT I, 21.05.2014, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2015]

 (7) The descriptive part of the judgment states, concisely and in logical order, with a focus on their material substance, the relief that was sought and the assertions and objections made concerning it, as well as the evidence produced. Where, in addition to the parties to proceedings, a competent State or municipal authority also stated an opinion in the case at the request of the court, the descriptive part must also refer to the opinion.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (8) The judgment’s statement of reasons states the facts established by the court, the conclusions that the court reached based on these facts, the evidence on which the court’s conclusions are founded and the laws that the court applied. In the judgment, the court must state its reasons for not agreeing with the factual assertions of the claimant or the defendant. The court must analyse all items of evidence in its judgment. If the court disregards an item of evidence, it must justify this in the judgment. Where one of the alternative items of relief is granted, the reasons for denying the other item do not need to be stated.

 (9) The judgment must also reflect any substitutions of the parties to proceedings and, where this is needed, the particulars of the previous parties.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (10) The district court may state, in the judgment rendered in a case mentioned in subsection 1 of § 405 of this Code that it grants permission to appeal the judgment. The district court grants such permission above all where it finds that a disposition of the court of appeal is required in order to obtain the opinion of the circuit court of appeal concerning a legal rule. The reasons for granting the permission to appeal do not need to be stated in the judgment.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (11) To a judgment by which a party to proceedings is ordered to pay an amount of money to the Republic of Estonia that arises from a claim that has not accrued from participation of the State or an administrative authority of the State in the proceedings as a party to the same, the court may add, as a separate document, the particulars required for payment of the claim.
[RT I, 21.06.2014, 11 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

 (12) A list of the particulars required to fulfil the requirement mentioned in subsection 11 of this section and the technical requirements for issuing these 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]

§ 443.  Operative part of the judgment ordering to cease using a standard term

 (1) The operative part of a judgment ordering to cease using an unfair standard term or, for the person recommending its use, to cease recommending such use and to withdraw the corresponding recommendation, additionally states:
 1) the wording of the prohibited standard term;
 2) the types of transactions to which the standard term must not be applied;
 3) a clearly expressed requirement to refrain from further use or recommendation of similar standard terms.

 (2) The operative part of a judgment by which the person recommending the use of a standard term is ordered to cease recommending such use and to withdraw the corresponding recommendation must additionally state the requirement to communicate the judgment using the same method that was used to communicate the recommendation. The court may also, in the operative part of the judgment mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, require that the user of the standard terms publish the judgment by a method determined by the court, or may itself determine an additional method for publishing the judgment.

§ 444.  Simplification – and omission from the judgment – of the descriptive part and of the statement of reasons

 (1) The court may decide not to state, in the descriptive part of the judgment, the assertions and objections made concerning the relief sought and the evidence that was produced, as well as the opinion provided by a State or municipal authority.

 (2) Where the court deals with a court claim mentioned in subsection 1 of § 405 of this Act in streamlined proceedings, it may confine itself in the judgment’s statement of reasons to stating only the legal reasoning and items of evidence on which the court’s conclusions are founded.
[RT I, 11.03.2023, 3 – entry into force 21.03.2023]

 (3) A default judgment or a judgment based on admission of the court claim may be given without the descriptive part and the statement of reasons.

 (4) The court may omit the descriptive part and the statement of reasons from a judgment not mentioned in subsection 3 of this section if the parties to proceedings have consented to this or if the court claim that the court is dealing with in streamlined proceedings is one mentioned in subsection 1 of § 405 of this Act. In such a situation, the judgment must state that the court will supplement it in accordance with the provisions of subsection 41 of § 448 of this Code if a party to proceedings notifies the court, within ten days following service of the judgment, of their intention to file an appeal against it. The court explains, in the judgment, the consequences of non-notification of the intention to appeal.
[RT I, 11.03.2023, 3 – entry into force 21.03.2023]

 (5) In order to ascertain the opinion of a party to proceedings concerning omission of the descriptive part and of the statement of reasons, the court may orally announce the operative part of the judgment at the trial or hearing and provide an oral explanation of its reasons. The party’s consent to the omission is noted in the record of the trial or hearing.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

§ 445.  Determining the rules and time limit for complying with the judgment

 (1) In the judgment, the court may, on a motion of a principal party, determine the method of and rules for complying with the judgment, set the time limit or due date for compliance, and declare the judgment to be enforceable without delay or declare that compliance with the judgment is secured by certain measures of interim relief. Where, in the case, the principal parties have sought relief against each other such that the relief sought by one may be set off against that sought by the other and the court grants the relief sought by both parties in full or in part, such relief – insofar as it was granted – is set off in the operative part.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) Where judgment is given that grants the court claim or the court terminates the proceedings by a compromise, it maintains the measure of interim relief that was imposed in the case as a measure to secure compliance with the judicial disposition, provided that this is manifestly necessary for ensuring such compliance and the principal party in whose favour the court decided the case does not – or the parties to the compromise agreement do not – make a motion to revoke the measure.

 (3) Where the judgment or a part of the judgment must be enforced without delay, this must be stated in the operative part of the judgment.

 (4) On a motion of the heir or beneficiary who is the defendant in the case, the court may give a judgment that includes a reservation concerning limited liability of the heir or beneficiary.

 (5) Where the court gives a judgment in which it establishes an infringement of copyright or of related rights or of industrial property rights or publication of mistaken information regarding a person, the court may, on a motion of the claimant, provide in the judgment for the particulars stated in it to be made public – or the judgment to be published in part or in full – on the defendant’s expense by a method determined by the court.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 446.  Judgment in favour of several claimants or against several defendants

 (1) In a judgment in favour of several claimants, the court states the extent to which relief is granted in favour of each claimant. Where relief is granted in favour of several claimants jointly and severally, this must be stated in the judgment.

 (2) In a judgment against several defendants, the court states the extent to which each defendant must comply with the judgment. Where the liability is joint and several, this must be stated in the judgment.

§ 447.  Correction of errors in the judgment

 (1) Unless otherwise provided by law, the court that rendered the judgment cannot revoke or vary it after it has been made public.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) At any time, the court corrects, in the judgment, any spelling or calculation errors or obvious inaccuracies that do not affect the judgment’s substance. The court corrects the errors by an order. The court may hear the parties to proceedings before making the order.

 (3) A note concerning the order correcting the judgment is made on the judgment and on any copies of the judgment issued after the order was made. The court serves the order by which it corrected an error in the judgment on all persons on whom the judgment was served.

 (4) The order by which corrections were made in the judgment may be appealed. The order made by the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court. Where the court, under this section, corrects an error in an order that cannot be appealed, the order correcting the error cannot be appealed either.
[RT I, 19.03.2019, 2 – entry into force 29.03.2019]

§ 448.  Supplemental judgment

 (1) The court that decided the case may, on a motion of a party to proceedings or of its own motion, enter a supplemental judgment in the case if:
 1) one or several items of relief sought or motions or applications made have not been disposed of,
 2) the court that recognised the claimant’s right has not stated the amount of money that the defendant is ordered to pay, the item of property that is to be handed over or the operation that the defendant is obligated to perform;
 3) the court has not disposed of the allocation of case costs;
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 4) in a partial judgment, the court has not stated the reservation concerning set-off;
 5) in a judgment given in documentary proceedings, the court has not stated the reservation concerning the protection of the defendant's rights going forward.

 (2) A motion to enter a supplemental judgment in the case may be filed within ten days following service of the judgment. The court may enter a supplemental judgment of its own motion within 20 days following the time that the judgment is made public.

 (3) Where it is envisaged to enforce, outside of the Republic of Estonia, a judgment that was made without the descriptive part or the statement of reasons, a principal party may, also after expiry of the time limit mentioned in subsection 2 of this section, request that the court supplement the judgment with the descriptive part or the statement of reasons.

 (4) To enter a supplemental judgment in the case, the court convenes a hearing unless the case has been disposed of without convening the trial or hearing. The parties to proceedings are notified of the time and place of the hearing at least three days in advance, yet their non-appearance does not prevent entry of supplemental judgment. The motion to enter a supplemental judgment is served on the opposing party in advance.

 (41) Where a party to proceedings notifies the court, within ten days following service of the judgment given without the descriptive part or the statement of reasons under subsection 4 of § 444 of this Code, of their intention to file an appeal against the judgment, the court supplements the judgment with the part that was omitted. Reasons are not required to be stated for the intention to file the appeal. The supplementing of the judgment is dealt with in written proceedings. The other party to proceedings is not notified of the supplementation. The court may issue the entire judgment in accordance with the provisions of subsections 1 and 2 of § 444 of this Code. When the judgment is supplemeted with the part that was omitted, the time limit for filing an appeal starts to run anew again from the service of the supplemental judgment.
[RT I, 21.12.2012, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

 (42) If a party to proceedings has not, within the time limit provided in subsection 41 of this section, notifed the court of their intention to file an appeal against the judgment given without the descriptive part and the statement of reasons, they are deemed to have waived the right to file the appeal.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

 (5) A supplemental judgment is part of the judgment that is supplemented. A supplemental judgment may be contested like any other judgment. Where the judgment that has been supplemented is contested, it is presumed that the supplemental judgment, too, is contested.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (6) When it denies the motion to enter a supplemental judgment, the court does so by an order. The order by which the district court or the circuit court of appeal refuses to enter a supplemental judgment may be appealed. The order of the circuit court of appeal concerning an appeal against the order the district court cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.

§ 449.  Interim judgment

 (1) Where dealing with a court claim seeking a sum of money – first and foremost, as compensation for harm – and where proving the amount claimed is extremely costly or complex, while it is possible for the court to decide on whether the relief sought is justified or not, the court may on a motion of a principal party, enter an interim judgment on whether the relief is or is not justified.

 (2) For purposes of appeal, the interim judgment on whether the relief is or is not justified is identical to a final judgment. Where the interim judgment finds the relief justified, the court continues proceedings to determine the amount of the relief and gives judgment in this regard. If the court recognises the relief as unjustified, it gives final judgment in the case and discontinues the proceedings.

 (3) The court may also give interim judgment concerning a motion to apply the limitation period regarding the motion to enter supplemental judgment; for purposes of appeal the interim judgment is identical to a final judgment. If the court decides not to give effect to the limitation period, the court enters an interim judgment to that effect and continues the proceedings. If the court finds the limitation period to have expired, it gives final judgment in the case and discontinues the proceedings.

§ 450.  Partial judgment

 (1) Where several separate, related items of relief are dealt with in the same proceedings or where one of the several items – or a par of one of the items – of relief sought by the same court claim or, where a counterclaim has been filed, only the claim or the counterclaim is ready to be disposed of conclusively, the court may give a separate judgment on each of these, provided this expedites consideration of the case. The court continues the proceedings regarding the items that have not been disposed of.

 (2) Where the court, by partial judgment, grants a court claim against which a counterclaim or objection to setting off the relief sought by the claim has been filed, the court states, in the operative part of the judgment, that the judgment may be set aside or varied on disposing of the counterclaim or objection (reservation).

 (3) For purposes of appeal and of compulsory enforcement, the partial judgment given with a reservation concerning set-off is a final judgment.

 (4) Where a partial judgment was given with a reservation concerning set-off and, in subsequent proceedings, the counterclaim for the set-off is granted or, based on the objection invoking set-off, the court claim is denied in part or in full, the court also revokes the judgment given with the reservation insofar as the set-off is concerned, or varies it.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (5) In a situation mentioned in subsection 4 of this section, the claimant must compensate the defendant for the harm caused by compulsory enforcement of the judgment or by measures that were taken to prevent such enforcement.

§ 451.  Judgment in documentary proceedings

 (1) In documentary proceedings, the court claim is denied also where the claimant did not prove their claim by the evidence permitted in such proceedings. In such a situation, the court claim may be filed again in ordinary proceedings.

 (2) Where, regardless of the defendant's objections, the court grants the court claim in documentary proceedings, the court renders a judgment that contains a reservation under which the defendant retains the right to protect their interests subsequently.

 (3) For purposes of appeal and of compulsory enforcement, a judgment that contains a reservation is deemed to be a final judgment.

 (4) Where, in documentary proceedings, a judgment containing a reservation is rendered concerning the rights of the defendant, the dispute continues in ordinary action-by-claim proceedings. If it turns out that the relief sought by the claimant is unjustified, the provisions of subsections 4 and 5 of § 450 of this Code apply. Any objection that the defendant was permitted to make in documentary proceedings and that was disposed of in the judgment containing the reservation may be made anew in subsequent proceedings only if that judgment is set aside or varied.

§ 4511.  Disposing of motions or applications filed during the time limit for appeal

 (1) Where, after the case has been disposed of but before the disposition has entered into effect and before the filing of an appeal in the case, a motion to dismiss the court claim or terminate proceedings in the case, for reasons including abandonment of the court claim or the conclusion of a compromise – or a motion or application related to interim relief or another similar motion or application – is filed, the motion or application is disposed of by the court that rendered the disposition. Where it grants the motion to dismiss the claim or to terminate proceedings, the court may, by order, set aside the disposition that was rendered and dismiss the claim or terminate the proceedings.

 (2) Once an appeal has been filed against the judgment rendered in the case, the operations mentioned in subsection 1 of this section may be performed by the circuit court of appeal – even if the appeal has not yet been accepted.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 452.  Making the judgment public

 (1) A judgment is made public by pronouncing it or through the court office.

 (2) The judgment is pronounced at the hearing that concludes consideration of the case or is, without delay, notified following the trial or hearing through the court office.

 (3) Where judgment is not given at the trial or hearing in which the case was considered, the court announces the time when and method by which the judgment will be made public at the hearing concluding consideration of the case. Where the case is disposed of without convening the trial or hearing or where a party to proceedings did not participate at the trial or hearing, the court communicates the time when the judgment will be made public to the party. The court also notifies the parties of any changes to such time.

 (4) A judgment may be made public later than 20 days after the last hearing or, in written proceedings, after the due date for the filing of motions or applications or the production of documents, only where a valid reason is present – first and foremost, due to the particularly voluminous nature or particular complexity of the case. The time when the judgment will be made public may not be set for later than 40 days after the last hearing or, in written proceedings, after the due date for the filing of motions or applications or the production of documents.

 (5) The time when the judgment is to be made public and any changes to such time are, without delay, also published on the court’s website when determined, setting out the number of the civil case, the names of the parties to proceedings and the general description of the civil case. For a judgment that was given in proceedings closed to the public, only the time when it will be made public, any changes to such time, the number of the civil case and a note to the effect that the proceedings are closed to the public are published. The time of making the judgment public is removed from the website when 30 days have elapsed from the making it public.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (6) For a reason mentioned in subsection 1 or 2 of § 38 of this Code, the court may, by reasoned order, decide to make public only the operative part of the judgment.

 (7) Within the time limit for making the judgment public, the court may initially communicate it without the descriptive part and the statement of reasons or, among other possibilities, confine itself to orally pronouncing the operative part. The judgment does not need to be made public in its entirety where, prior to that happening, the parties inform the court in writing or at the trial or hearing that they waive the right to appeal the judgment, or where, under this Code, the parties are deemed to have waived the right to appeal. The court explains this right when the judgment is made public in part.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

§ 453.  Rules for notifying the judgment through the court office and for issuing copies of the judgment

 (1) The judgment is made public through the court office in which, during the time limit for the filing of appeals, the parties to proceedings may acquaint themselves with the judgment and obtain its copies. Where the judgment was given electronically, the parties to proceedings are issued a printout. The copy or printout is signed and stamped with the court’s seal by an authorised employee of the office. A judgment that is certified in the Judicial Information System is made available to a person through the eFile system; such a judgment is neither signed nor stamped.
[RT I 2009, 67, 460 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

 (2) The provisions of subsection 1 of this section do not preclude or limit the court’s duty to serve the judgment on the parties to proceedings unless the judgment is handed to the party using the method mentioned in subsection 1 of this section.

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

§ 454.  Rules governing pronouncement of the judgment

 (1) The judgment is pronounced by the reading out of its operative part.

 (2) Where this is needed, the court also pronounces a judgment by reading out its statement of reasons or providing a summary of its material substance.

 (21) The text of the judgment does not need to be duly issued and signed by the time the judgment is pronounced, yet the pronouncement must be noted in the record of proceedings. In such a situation, the judgment must be issued in writing within ten days following its pronouncement.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) When pronouncing the judgment, the court explains, to the parties who are present, the procedure and time limit for appealing it.

 (4) The validity of the judgement’s pronouncement does not depend on the presence of the parties to proceedings. The judgment is also deemed to have been pronounced with regard to the party who was absent from the hearing at which the judgment was pronounced.

 (5) A judgment rendered by a collegial panel is pronounced by the presiding judge.

§ 455.  Service of judgments

 (1) The court serves the judgment on the parties to proceedings.

 (2) Where a judgment amends any registrable particulars of persons, the court sends a copy of the judgment to the registrar.

§ 456.  Entry into effect of the judgment

 (1) The judgment enters into effect when it can no longer be contested by any other method except the procedure for review of judicial dispositions that have entered into effect.

 (2) The judgment of the district court enters into effect first and foremost when:
 1) the time limit for appealing it has expired and no appeal has been filed during that time limit;
 2) the circuit court of appeal does not accept the appeal, or dismisses or denies it, or terminates proceedings on the appeal and, within the time limit for appealing the disposition of the circuit court of appeal to the Supreme Court, no appeal to the Court is filed;
 3) the circuit court of appeal rejects the appeal, or dismisses or denies it, or terminates proceedings on the appeal, and the appeal to the Supreme Court against the disposition of the circuit court of appeal is not accepted, or is dismissed or denied, or proceedings on the appeal are terminated.

 (3) A default judgment enters into effect when no motion to set it aside or no appeal against it has been filed, or when the motion is dismissed or denied, or when the disposition of the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal enters into effect.

 (4) Lawful contestation of the judgment suspends its entry into effect. Where a part of the judgment is contested, the uncontested part enters into effect. Where the part of the judgment that is contested is not the part by which the court determined the money amount of case costs, the part by which the court determined that amount does not enter into effect.
[RT I, 21.05.2014, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2015]

§ 457.  Consequences of the judgment’s entry into effect

 (1) Unless otherwise provided for by law, a judgment that has entered into effect is binding on the parties to proceedings insofar as – based on circumstances that constitute the cause of the court claim – it disposes of the relief sought by the claim or by the counterclaim.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) Where, in the proceedings, the defendant has filed the objection of set-off against the relief sought, the judgment is binding on the parties to proceedings also to the extent to which it does not recognise the existence of the relief sought by defendant and the set-off.

 (3) The descriptive part of the judgment is presumed to serve as proof of the representations made by the parties to proceedings in the case.

 (4) A judgment that was rendered in a family case or a filiation case and entered into effect during the lifetime of the principal parties and that concerns the existence, termination or absence of a legal relationship is operative in respect of all persons. A judgment by which filiation or parental custody was established is not effective in respect of a person who considers themselves to hold these rights but who was not a party to proceedings in the case.

 (5) A judgment by which the decision of a body of a legal person is declared invalid or void is operative in respect of all of the person’s shareholders or members and of the person’s bodies and their members even if they did not participate in the proceedings.

 (6) Where, in relation to mandatory liability insurance, a judgment that has entered into effect has established with respect to the insurer or the policyholder that the injured party has no claim for compensation for harm, the judgment is operative in respect of both the insurer and the policyholder regardless of whether or not both participated in the proceedings.

 (7) Where a person using a standard term does so in violation of a judgment that requires such use to cease, the term is deemed void if the other contracting party relies on the judgment. This does not apply if the person using the term is allowed to file a court claim to declare compulsory enforcement of the judgment impermissble.

§ 458.  Note certifying the judgment’s entry into effect

 (1) A note certifying the judgment’s entry into effect is issued on an application of a party to proceedings by the office of the district court that disposed of the case based on the court file. The note is made on a copy or printout of the judgment. The note is signed and stamped with the court’s seal.

 (2) The note may be issued electronically by the person authorised to do so by the rules of the court, who provides it with their digital signature. An electronic note is not marked with the court’s seal.
[RT I 2009, 67, 460 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

 (3) Any court that issues notes certifying the entry into effect of judgments keeps a record of the entry of judgments into effect and of the notes that have been issued to certify this.
[RT I 2009, 67, 460 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

 (4) The Minister in charge of the policy sector may, by regulation, enact specific requirements for the form for electronic notes certifying the entry of judgments into effect and for the issuing and keeping a record of such notes.
[RT I 2009, 67, 460 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

§ 459.  Varying a judgment that deals with recurring obligations and which has entered into effect

 (1) After the entry into effect of a judgment by which the defendant is ordered to make periodic payments or to perform other recurring obligations, a principal party has a right, by filing a new court claim, to seek an amendment of the amounts or time limits stated in the judgment, provided that:
 1) the circumstances based on which the judgment to grant the relief sought was rendered and which affect the amount or duration of the payments have changed significantly and
 2) the circumstances that represent the cause of the claim have arisen after the consideration of the case – during which it would have been possible to increase the amount of relief sought or to present objections – was concluded.

 (2) The judgment may be varied starting from the time of filing the new court claim unless the law allows variation of the judgment to be sought also retroactively.

§ 460.  Effect of the judgment in respect of legal successors

 (1) A judgment that has entered into effect is also effective in respect of the persons who became legal successors of the parties to proceedings after the court claim was filed. The judgment is also effective in respect of the direct possessor of a contested item of property who acquired their possession by virtue of one of the parties – or of the party’s legal successor’s – acquiring indirect possession of the item.

 (2) The judgment is not effective in respect of a legal successor of a party to proceedings if the person acquired the contested item of property such that, at the time of the acquisition, they were not aware of the judgment or of the filing of the court claim.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) Where an encumbered item of immovable property is transferred, a judgment dealing with relief sought in relation to a real encumbrance or a mortgage is effective in respect of a legal successor even if the successor was not aware of the filing of the court claim. Where an auction is held in the course of compulsory enforcement, the judgment is effective in respect of the person who acquires the item of immovable property only if the filing of the claim was announced at the latest before the call for submission of tenders.

 (4) The provisions of subsection 3 of this section also apply to a judgment concerning relief under a maritime mortgage recorded in the Register of Ships or a movable-property security interest recorded in the Register of Civil Aircraft.

§ 461.  Enforcing the judgment

 (1) A judgment is enforced after its entry into effect unless it is enforceable without delay.

 (2) Where, according to the judgment, the debtor is the Republic of Estonia or a municipality, the judgment must be complied with within 30 days following its entry into effect unless the judgment is enforceable without delay or a different time limit is prescribed by the judgment.
[RT I 2009, 68, 463 – entry into force 10.01.2010]

 (3) The judgment is enforced on an application of the party seeking enforcement.

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

§ 462.  Publication in a computer network of a judgment that has entered into effect

 (1) A judgment that has entered into effect is published in the computer network at the designated address. This has no impact on the judgment’s entry into effect.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) On a motion of the data subject or of the court’s own motion, the subject’s name in the judgment that has entered into effect is replaced with initials or an alphabetic character and the subject’s personal identification number, date of birth, registration number or address are not published. A judicial disposition does not mask the particulars of a State or municipal authority, of a public legal person or of any other person exercising public authority.
[RT I 2007, 12, 66 – entry into force 25.02.2007]

 (3) Where the judgment contains personal data of a special category and where publication of the judgment with such data may materially harm the inviolability of the person’s private life, even if the provisions of subsection 2 of this section are applied, the court, of its own motion or on that of the data subject, only publishes the operative part of the judgment in the computer network, or does not publish the judgment. The court disposes of the motion by an order.
[RT I, 13.03.2019, 2 – entry into force 15.03.2019]

 (4) Where a judgment contains information regarding which any other access restriction is prescribed by law, the court, of its own motion or on that of the data subject, only publishes the operative part of the judgment when the judgment has entered into effect.

 (5) The order of the district court or of the circuit court of appeal by which the court refused to grant the motion mentioned in subsections 2–4 of this section may be appealed by the party that made the motion. The order of the circuit court of appeal concerning an appeal against the order of the district court cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.
[RT I 2007, 12, 66 – entry into force 25.02.2007]

Subchapter 2 Court Order 

§ 463.  Court order

 (1) The court disposes of procedural motions or applications of the parties to proceedings, and directs and organises the proceedings, by means of orders. In situations provided for by law, the court may dispose of the case by an order.

 (2) Unless otherwise provided for by law or dictated by the nature of the order, the provisions concerning judgments apply, accordingly, to orders.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 464.  Making the order

 (1) Unless otherwise prescribed by law, an order may be made without convening a hearing and without hearing the parties to proceedings.

 (2) The court may make oral and written orders during the trial or hearing. Oral orders are pronounced immediately and are noted in the the record of proceedings. Where the law allows an appeal against the order, the order must be made in writing in the Estonian language and signed.

 (3) An order that the court makes outside of the trial or hearing is made in writing. Where the issuing, as a complete instrument, of an order that was pronounced at the trial or hearing requires additional time, the court may postpone its issuing for up to ten days.

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

 (5) An order preparing the case for disposition – or any other case management order that cannot be appealed – may be entered fully or partly via an information system designed for this purpose, having regard to the provisions of this Code on court orders. In such a situation, the order does not need to be signed.
[RT I, 10.02.2023, 1 – entry into force 01.04.2023]

§ 465.  Particulars in the order

 (1) An order must clearly show the person concerning whom the order is made as well as what the substance of the order is.

 (2) A written order that can be appealed states:
 1) the name of the court that made the order and the names of the judge and of the law clerk;
[RT I, 21.06.2014, 8 – entry into force 01.07.2014]
 2) the time and place of making the order;
 3) the number of the civil case;
 4) the names of the parties to proceedings and of their representatives – provided the parties can be ascertained at the time the order is made;
 5) the subject matter of the proceedings in which the order is made;
 6) what the order deals with;
 7) its operative part, and the rules and time limit for appealing it;
 8) the reasons based on which the court reached its conclusions and the legislation that the court followed.

 (21) The court may, in a separate document, add, to the order that obligates a party to proceedings to pay an amount of money to the Republic of Estonia that arises from a claim that has not resulted from participation of the State or of an administrative body of the State in the proceedings as a party to those proceedings, the particulars required to pay the claim.
[RT I, 21.06.2014, 11 – entry into force 01.07.2014]

 (22) A list of the particulars required to satisfy the claim mentioned in subsection 21 of this section and the technical requirements for issuing these are 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]

 (3) An order that is to be made public states, among other particulars, the time when and place where it will be made public.

 (4) The personal identification numbers or registration numbers and addresses of the parties to proceedings are stated in the order only if this is presumed to be needed for enforcing the order. Where a natural person does not possess a personal identification number, their date of birth is stated in the order if this is needed. Where a legal person has no registration number, a reference is made in the order to the person’s legal basis if this is needed.

§ 466.  Communication and entry into effect of the order

 (1) Orders that constitute enforceable titles and orders that can be appealed are served on the parties to proceedings. Any other written orders that concern the party to proceedings are communicated to the party by a method selected by the court.

 (2) Orders by which the court dismisses the court claim or terminates the proceedings are also made public following the rules according to which judgments are made public.

 (3) An order that can be appealed enters into effect when, according to the law, the order can no longer be appealed – or where the appeal is denied or dismissed and the corresponding disposition enters into effect. Any other orders enter into effect at the time they are served or communicated, unless otherwise prescribed by law.

 (4) Only orders that have entered into effect and that terminate the proceedings or dismiss the court claim are published in the computer network.

Subchapter 3 Judicial Dispositions: Enforcement Without Delay 

§ 467.  Enforcement without delay

 (1) A judgment declared enforceable without delay is enforced before its entry into effect. The court declares a judgment enforceable without delay in the judgment itself or by an order.

 (2) A judgment rendered in a matrimonial or filiation case – with the exception of pecuniary disputes related to marriage or registered partnership – may not be declared enforceable without delay.
[RT I, 06.07.2024, 6 – entry into force 01.01.2024]

 (3) When the time limit for appeal has expired, it is the circuit court of appeal that decides on issuing a declaration of enforceability without delay regarding the judgment of the court of first instance against which the appeal has been filed.

 (4) When the time limit for appeal to the Supreme Court has expired, it is the Supreme Court that issues a declaration of enforceability without delay regarding the judgment of the circuit court of appeal against which the appeal has been filed.

 (5) A court order is enforceable without delay unless otherwise provided by law.

§ 468.  Enforcement without delay and without requiring a security

 (1) The court, of its own motion and without requiring a security, declares the following to be enforceable without delay:
 1) a judgment based on admission of the court claim;
 2) a default judgment;
 3) a judgment given in documentary proceedings;
 4) a judgment given under § 44 or § 45 of the Law of Property Act to eliminate a violation of possessory rights or to prevent any further violation of such rights, or to reinstate them.

 (2) When it declares a judgment to be enforceable without delay in a situation mentioned in clause 3 or 4 of subsection 1 of this section, the court also determines the security whose provision stays such enforcement.

 (3) A judgment awarding maintenance or compensation for harm caused by bodily injury or for any other harm to a person's health is declared enforceable without delay by the court on a motion of the claimant insofar as this is urgently needed by the claimant.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 469.  Enforcement without delay against a security

 (1) The court declares a judgment that is not mentioned in § 468 of this Code to be enforceable without delay on a motion of a principal party on condition that the party provides a security for the enforcement. The motion may be filed before or after judgment is given.

 (2) A security for enforcement without delay must cover any harm that enforcement of the judgment without delay may entail for the debtor or that may be entailed by the taking of measures to prevent such enforcement.

 (3) Where a principal party is unable to provide a security to the extent mentioned in subsection 2 of this section, the court may, on a motion of the party, release them from the duty to provide it, reduce the amount of the security, order its payment in instalments or declare the judgment to be enforceable without delay in part if postponing the enforcement would be unfair to the claimant and above all if this would significantly interfere with providing for their vital needs or with their business or professional activities of the claimant, or would otherwise cause considerable harm.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

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

§ 470.  Order disposing of enforcement without delay

 (1) Where the issue of enforcement without delay was not disposed of in the judgment or the corresponding motion was filed after the judgment had been rendered, the court considers the motion at a hearing, unless the case was disposed of without holding the trial or hearing. The motion is disposed of by an order.

 (2) Where a motion is filed to declare the judgment enforceable without delay, the court serves the motion on the opposing party and gives that party an opportunity to state a position concerning the motion.

 (3) Where the motion must be disposed of at a hearing, the parties to proceedings are notified of the time and place of the hearing, yet their non-appearance does not preclude disposing of the issue of enforcement without delay.

 (4) The order of the district court or of the circuit court of appeal concerning enforcement without delay may be appealed. The order of the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal against the order of the district court cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.

 (5) Appealing the order by which the judgment is declared enforceable without delay does not suspend enforcement of the judgment.

§ 471.  Return of security

  On a motion of the principal party who moved for enforcement of the judgment without delay, the court that decided to require provision of a security makes an order by which it returns the security when proof is produced to the court showing that the judgment declared enforceable without delay has entered into effect. Where the security was a surety or guarantee, the court orders it discharged.

§ 472.  Contesting the disposition enforceable without delay

 (1) Where the disposition that is enforceable without delay is appealed, the circuit court of appeal, and – where the disposition that is appealed is an order – also the district court may, on a substantiated motion, order:
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 1) enforcement of the disposition to be suspended without a security or against a security;
 2) enforcement of the disposition to be continued only against a security;
 3) the enforcement operation to be invalidated against a security.

 (2) In a situation mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, the court may – in accordance with the rules governing the granting of financial aid – suspend enforcement proceedings without ordering the provision of a security only if the debtor substantiates that they are unable to provide the security and enforcement of the disposition would result in harm that is manifestly incapable of being compensated.

 (3) Where a motion to reinstate proceedings has been filed following a default judgment that has been declared enforceable without delay, the motion mentioned in subsection 1 of this section is disposed of by the court that considers the motion to reinstate proceedings. Enforcement proceedings under a default judgment are suspended only against a security.

 (4) Where an appeal has been filed to the Supreme Court against a disposition enforceable without delay, the Supreme Court suspends enforcement proceedings on a substantiated motion of the debtor if enforcement would result in significant harm to the debtor and the interests of the claimant do not justify enforcement without delay.

§ 473.  Avoidance, by the debtor, of enforcement without delay

 (1) The court may, on a motion of the debtor, direct that the debtor be allowed to avoid enforcement without delay either by providing a security – or, in a situation where the relief to be compulsorily enforced consists in the handing over of a property object, by depositing the object in the designated account or with the enforcement agent – unless the party seeking enforcement provides a security prior to enforcement.
[RT I, 31.01.2014, 6 – entry into force 01.04.2014]

 (2) The security provided in order to avoid the disposition’s enforcement without delay must cover the harm that may be caused to the party seeking enforcement as a result of the disposition’s not being enforced without delay.

§ 474.  Setting aside and varying the disposition declared enforceable without delay

 (1) Where a disposition is made public by which the previous disposition has been set aside or varied, enforcement without delay of the previous disposition is not allowed. Where the previous disposition has been varied, the part of that disposition that was not varied may be enforced without delay.

 (2) Where the disposition enforceable without delay is varied or set aside, the party seeking enforcement must return to the debtor that which was received by way of compulsory enforcement and compensate the debtor for the costs they incurred in order to prevent such enforcement. The debtor may also seek compensation for any harm that goes beyond that.

 (3) Where, in a pecuniary dispute, the disposition that was rendered by the circuit court of appeal and declared enforceable without delay is varied or set aside, the debtor may, instead of relying on the provisions of subsection 2 of this section, rely on the provisions governing unjust enrichment to seek, from the party seeking enforcement, the return of that which they have received or been paid under the disposition. When the court claim for handing over that by which the recipient has unjustly enriched themselves is disposed of, the recipient is presumed to have been aware of the circumstances that constitute grounds for claiming back that which they received.

 (4) The security provided by the party seeking enforcement to compensate for harm likely to be caused to the debtor is returned to that party if, within two months following the time of the entry into effect of the setting aside or varying of the disposition that is enforceable without delay, the debtor has not filed a court claim seeking compensation for harm or to reclaim that by which the party seeking enforcement was unjustly enriched.

Part 11 ACTION-BY-PETITION PROCEDURE 

Chapter 48 GENERAL PROVISIONS 

§ 475.  Action-by-petition cases

 (1) Action-by-petition cases include:
 1) expedited proceedings for orders for payment;
 2) unknown rightholder proceedings;
 3) declaring a person legally dead and establishing their time of death;
 4) placing an absentee’s property under conservatorship;
 5) appointing a legal guardian to an adult of limited active legal capacity;
 6) placing a person in a secure institution;
 7) imposing a restraining order or ordering other similar measures for the protection of personal rights;
 8) action-by-petition cases in family matters;
 9) imposing conservation measures on a decedent’s estate;
 10) registration cases;
 101) adaptation of rights in rem in accordance with Article 31 of Regulation (EU) No 650/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council;
[RT I, 10.03.2016, 2 – entry into force 20.03.2016]
 11) appointing, for a legal person, a substitute member of the management or supervisory board, the auditor, the person to carry out a special audit or the liquidator;
 12) determining the amount of compensation payable to the shareholders of a company;
 121) compulsory dissolution of a legal person;
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 122) initiating bankruptcy proceedings, issuing the declaration of bankruptcy, approving the list of creditors and any other cases related to bankruptcy proceedings that cannot be dealt with under the action-by-claim procedure;
[RT I, 04.01.2021, 4 – entry into force 01.02.2021]
 13) cases concerning apartment ownership rights and co-ownership rights;
 131) cases of access to a public road and compulsory acquiescence with artificial recipients of land improvement systems and with utility works;
[RT I, 31.05.2018, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2019]
 14) recognising and enforcing foreign judicial dispositions;
 141) issues of arbitration proceedings to be disposed of by the court;
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 15) complaints against decisions of enforcement agents;
 151) appeals against decisions of the Industrial Property Tribunal;
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 152) disposing of petitions seeking the performance of an official operation by the notary;
[RT I 2010, 26, 128 – entry into force 14.06.2010]
 153) disposing of petitions to terminate enforcement proceedings due to expiry of the limitation period for enforcing the claim;
[RT I, 22.03.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.04.2021]
 16) deciding on the grant of State-funded legal aid on an application filed outside judicial proceedings and determining the fee for and costs of such aid in accordance with the State-funded Legal Aid Act;
 17) other civil cases provided for by law as action-by-petition cases.

 (2) The court also follows the action-by-petition procedure when dealing with other cases over which it has subject matter jurisdiction by law and which cannot be dealt with under the action-by-claim procedure.

§ 476.  Initiation action-by-petition proceedings

 (1) Action-by-petition proceedings are initiated by the court of its own motion or on a petition of an interested party or authority.

 (2) In situations prescribed by law, the court initiates action-by-petition proceedings strictly on the petition of the person or authority entitled to file it.

§ 477.  Consideration of action-by-petition cases

 (1) The court considers an action-by-petition case following the action-by-claim procedure, without prejudice to special rules provided for action-by-petition proceedings.

 (2) The court may consider and dispose of an action-by-petition case without convening a hearing unless the duty to convene it is provided by law.

 (3) Unless the court directs otherwise, the absence of any persons summoned to the hearing does not prevent the case from being considered and disposed of. An action-by-petition case may not be disposed of by a default order.

 (4) Unless otherwise provided for by law, a party to proceedings must be heard if they make the corresponding motion. A person is heard at first hand and orally. Unless otherwise provided for by law, the court is not required to convene a hearing – or arrange for the presence of the other parties – to hear the person. and the person does not need to be conducted in the presence of other parties to proceedings. The court may also hear a person by telephone or deem the person’s opinion, which has been presented in writing or electronically, to suffice for the purposes of hearing them, provided the court finds that the method used allows sufficient assessment of the information and opinion obtained from the person. The fact that the person was heard and the material circumstances related to their hearing must be stated in the order that concludes the proceedings.

 (5) Unless otherwise provided for by law, the court is not bound by the motions or applications made or circumstances asserted by the parties to proceedings, or by the parties’ assessment of the circumstances.

 (6) Where proceedings may be initiated strictly on receiving a petition, the petitioner may withdraw the petition analogously to the court claim under the action-by-claim procedure. In action-by-petition proceedings, the parties are allowed to conclude a compromise if they can dispose of the right that is the subject matter of the proceedings.

 (7) Even where no objections to the petition have been raised, the court must nevertheless verify whether it is in conformity with the law and whether it is supported by evidence. Where this is needed, the court requires the petitioner to produce evidence or arranges the taking of evidence of its own motion.

 (8) In action-by-petition cases, a record of proceedings regarding a procedural operation is created only if, and to the extent that, the court considers this necessary. The parties to proceedings do not have a right to apply for rectification of the record in accordance with the provisions of § 53 of this Code. Objections to the record can be filed when appealing the disposition rendered in the case. Where the decision is made not to create a record of proceedings, material circumstances related to the procedural operations must be stated in the disposition.

 (9) The petition filed by the petitioner, any motions or applications made by the parties to proceedings as well as othe procedural documents including summonses are communicated to the parties in action-by-petition proceedings by the method selected by the court. The method must be stated in the case file. Procedural documents must be served on the parties in action-by-petition proceedings only if this is prescribed by law.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 4771.  Interim protection

 (1) Interim protection can be granted in action-by-petition proceedings only in situations provided for by law.

 (2) Where interim protection measures are allowed by law, they may – unless otherwise provided for by law – be imposed where this is needed for the preservation or temporary regulation of an existing situation or status. Unless otherwise provided for by law, interim protection measures are governed by the provisions concerning interim relief.

 (3) Where proceedings can be initiated strictly on the corresponding petition, the court may – unless otherwise provided for by law – impose interim protection measures and set aside or vary the interim protection order strictly on the corresponding application or motion.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (4) The interim protection order may be appealed. Unless otherwise provided by law, the order made by the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.
[RT I, 19.03.2019, 2 – entry into force 29.03.2019]

§ 4772.  Oversight over persons appointed by the court

 (1) Where the court has, in action-by-petition proceedings, appointed a legal guardian, conservator, liquidator or any other similar person, the court also exercises oversight over the person unless otherwise provided for by law. For this purpose, the court may, among other things, also issue directions to the person concerning the carrying out of their functions and require the person to file a report on how the functions have been carried out. The person may ask the court for clarification concerning the functions. Unless otherwise directed by the court, a report must be filed with the court concerning the functions when these have been carried out.

 (2) Where a person who has been appointed by the court does not carry out their functions as required or does not comply with the court’s directions, the court may impose a fine on the person and release the person from their office. The person may appeal such an order. The order made by the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.
[RT I, 19.03.2019, 2 – entry into force 29.03.2019]

§ 478.  Order rendered in action-by-petition proceedings and its entry into effect

 (1) Action-by-petition proceedings are disposed of by the court by an order. Unless otherwise provided for by law, such an order is subject to the provisions governing court orders made in action-by-claim proceedings.

 (2) An order that grants the petition and does not prejudice the rights of any parties to proceedings does not need to include a statement of reasons. This does not apply in cases of placing a person in a secure institution, of adoption and guardianship as well as of determining a parent's rights in respect of, and arrangements of access to, the child in a situation where the parent has been violent to the child or to the other parent, as well as in situations where there is reason to presume that the order will be subject to recognition and enforcement outside the Republic of Estonia.
[RT I, 19.03.2019, 2 – entry into force 29.03.2019]

 (3) The order enters into effect according to the provisions of subsection 3 of § 466 of this Code.

 (4) Unless otherwise provided for by law, the order takes effect and is enforceable without delay – regardless of its entry into effect – on the day of its communication to the persons whom, according to its substance, the order concerns. Unless otherwise provided for by law, the court may determine the order to be enforceable in part or in full from a subsequent time, but not later than from its entry into effect. An order by which consent or approval was granted for carrying out a transaction or which replaces a person’s manifestation of intention is enforceable as of its entry into effect.

 (41) Where the order is made public, it takes effect and is becomes enforceable at the time it was made public, unless otherwise provided for by law.
[RT I, 06.12.2010, 1 – entry into force 05.04.2011]

 (5) Orders that are made in action-by-petition proceedings and that grant a right to a person or that vary or terminate a person’s right, including orders by which a person is appointed to an office and by which consent is granted for carrying out a transaction, apply with regard to all persons.

 (6) Where this is needed for purposes of enforcement and where clarification cannot be sought by filing the court claim mentioned in subsection 2 of § 368 of this Code, the court may, on a motion of a party to proceedings – without varying the order’s substance – clarify an order that concluded the action-by-petition proceedings.

 (7) The order by which clarification – concerning the order that concluded the proceedings – was provided or refused may be appealed. The order made by the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 479.  Communication of orders

 (1) In an action-by-petition case, the order is made public only where this is prescribed by law. Orders that are made public are published – in accordance with the rules for the publication of judgments prescribed by this Code – also on the website of the court and in the computer network at the address prescribed for this purpose, following the provisions of § 462 of this Code. Orders of the circuit court of appeal and of the Supreme Court that conclude action-by-petition proceedings and that have entered into effect are published in the computer network even if they are not made public.

 (2) The order that is rendered in action-by-petition proceedings and that can be appealed is served by the court on the parties whose rights the order restricts. Where dealing with the case was allowed on receiving the corresponding petition and the petition is denied, the order denying the petition is served on the petitioner.

 (3) The order mentioned in subsection 2 of this section is communicated to the parties to proceedings who have not been mentioned in that provision by a method selected by the court, including orally, by reading it out. The same applies to the communication, to the parties, of orders that are not mentioned in subsection 2 of this section. The method of communicating the order must be stated in the case file. If the party moves for this, the order must be transmitted to them in writing.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 480.  Varying or revoking the order

 (1) Unless otherwise provided for by law, the court may vary the order by which it granted or refused to grant its consent for carrying out a transaction or for accepting a manifestation of intention, or revoke the order. The court may also revoke or vary the order in a situation where it operates as a standing – as opposed to a one-time – order and the circumstances or the legal situation serving as grounds for the order have materially changed.

 (2) Where entering the order was allowed strictly on receiving a corresponding petition and the petition has been denied, the order may be varied or revoked strictly on a corresponding petition.

 (3) Where an order by which a person was granted the right to carry out a transaction or to accept a manifestation of intention – including an order by which the court grants its consent for carrying out a transaction – is revoked or varied, this does not affect the validity of the transactions carried out by or in respect of the person before the order was revoked or varied.

 (4) Unless otherwise provided for by law, the provisions governing orders apply, accordingly, to the entry into effect and enforcement, as well as to the appealing of, the order by which the court varies or revokes its order.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

Chapter 49 EXPEDITED ORDER-FOR-PAYMENT PROCEEDINGS 

Subchapter 1 General Provisions 

§ 481.  Prerequisites for expedited order-for-payment proceedings

 (1) A claim for relief that is based on a private law relationship and that is filed against another person in order to obtain payment of a fixed sum of money is disposed of by the court on a corresponding petition in expedited order-for-payment proceedings. This does not prejudice the petitioner's right to file the claim under the action-by-claim procedure – but not in parallel with expedited order-for-payment proceedings.

 (11) Expedited order-for-payment proceedings are not available for non-contractual claims, except for:
 1) claims arising from §§ 53–57 of the Motor Third Party Liability Insurance Act;
[RT I, 11.04.2014, 1 – entry into force 01.10.2014]
 2) claims concerning which the debtor has issued an acknowledgement of obligation or concerning which another agreement obligating performance has been entered into.
 3) [Repealed – RT I, 13.03.2014, 3 – entry into force 23.03.2014]

 (2) Expedited order-for-payment proceedings are not commenced where:
 1) the claim has not yet fallen due at the time the petition is filed, with the exception of claims for late interest mentioned in § 367 of this Code, or the filing of the claim depends on the performance of a mutual obligation and the obligation has not yet been performed;
[RT I 2006, 61, 457 – entry into force 01.01.2007]
 2) [Repealed – RT I 2008, 28, 180 – entry into force 15.07.2008]
 3) the performance sought by the claim is compensation for non-pecuniary harm;
 4) the claim is filed against a bankruptcy debtor;
 5) the claim is filed against several debtors but does not arise from the same cause or obligation.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

 (21) Expedited order-for-payment proceedings are not available for ancillary claims insofar as the amount of those claims exceeds that of the principal claim.
[RT I 2008, 28, 180 – entry into force 15.07.2008]

 (22) Expedited order-for-payment proceedings are not commenced where the amount claimed exceeds 8000 euros. This amount includes both the principal and ancillary claims.
[RT I, 08.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2022]

 (23) Expedited order-for-payment proceedings are not available for claims based on consumer contracts if:
 1) the annual percentage rate of charge payable by the consumer exceeds the maximum such charge provided by subsection 1 of § 4062 of the Law of Obligations Act;
 2) the rate of late interest that has been agreed with the consumer is higher than three times the rate provided by the second sentence of subsection 1 of § 113 of the Law of Obligations Act.
[RT I, 26.06.2017, 17 – entry into force 01.01.2018]

 (3) Maintenance claims may be filed in expedited order-for-payment proceedings strictly following the special rules provided by Subchapter 2 of this Chapter.

§ 482.  Petition for expedited order-for-payment proceedings

 (1) The petition for expedited order-for-payment proceedings must state at least the following particulars:
 1) the particulars of the principal parties and of their representatives;
 2) the particulars of the court with which the petition is filed;
 3) the sum of money claimed, separately stating the principal claim and any ancillary claims, and – where late interest is taken into account, the rate of such interest and the period for which it has been calculated;
 4) a brief description of the circumstances that constitute the cause of the claim;
 5) a brief description of the evidence that the petitioner would be able to use in action-by-claim proceedings to prove their claim;
 6) an affirmation that the claim has become due and does not depend on the performance of a mutual obligation, or that the obligation has been performed;
 61) an affirmation that the petitioner has presented the information honestly and according to their best knowledge, and that they are aware of the fact that deliberately offering false information to the court may lead to criminal liability;
[RT I 2008, 28, 180 – entry into force 15.07.2008]
 7) the particulars of the court that, according to the rules on territorial jurisdiction, may dispose – in action-by-claim proceedings – of the relief sought by the order for payment or, where the claim stems from apartment ownership or co-ownership rights, may dispose of such relief in action-by-petition proceedings.

 (2) Where the petitioner wishes proceedings to be terminated if an objection is filed to the proposal for payment, the petitioner must state this in the petition.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

 (3) Where the petition for expedited order-for-payment proceedings is filed by a representative, they must affirm in the petition that they hold the authority of representation and cite the basis of the authority.

 (4) The petition for expedited order-for-payment proceedings must be filed with the court electronically such that the court may be able to process it, and must come with the digital signature of the petitioner, or be filed by another similar secure method that allows the person who sent the petition as well as the time the petition was sent to be ascertained. The Minister in charge of the policy sector may enact, by a regulation, additional formal and technical requirements for petitions for order-for-payment proceedings, for their filing and for proceedings on them.

§ 483.  Disposing of the petition

 (1) The court disposes of the petition for expedited order-for-payment proceedings within ten working days following its receipt.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

 (11) The provisions of this Code on suspension of proceedings do not apply to expedited order-for-payment proceedings.
[RT I 2009, 67, 460 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

 (2) The court, by order, denies the petition for expedited order-for-payment proceedings where:
 1) such proceedings are not permitted under § 481 of this Code;
[RT I 2009, 67, 460 – entry into force 01.01.2010]
 2) the petition does not meet the requirements provided by § 482 of this Code;
 3) attempts to serve the proposal for payment on the debtor within a reasonable time have been unsuccessful, the proposal cannot be served by public notice and the petitioner has explicitly requested termination of proceedings should an objection be filed;
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]
 31) the petitioner has not notified the court of the outcome of service within the time limit they were set under subsection 2 of § 3151 of this Code;
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]
 4) any of the grounds for suspension of proceedings provided by this Code come to light.
[RT I 2009, 67, 460 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

 (3) [Repealed – RT I 2008, 28, 180 – entry into force 15.07.2008]

 (4) Where the petition contains a defect that, manifestly, can be cured, the court sets the petitioner a time limit to cure the defect.

 (5) The order by which the petition for the order for payment is denied may be appealed. Denial of the petition does not prejudice the petitioner’s right to file the claim in action-by-claim or in expedited order-for-payment proceedings.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (6) Where service of the proposal for payment on the debtor in expedited proceedings would have ensured observance of the time limit or interruption or suspension of the running of the limitation period, and the petition for the proposal is denied, the time limit is deemed to have been observed or the limitation period interrupted or suspended from the filing of the petition, provided that the case continues in action-by-claim proceedings, or provided that the petitioner, within 30 days following service of the order by which the petition was denied, files a court claim seeking the same relief, and the claim is served on the defendant.

§ 484.  Proposal for payment in expedited proceedings

 (1) Where it grants the petition for expedited order-for-payment proceedings, the court, by order, issues the proposal for payment.
[RT I 2008, 28, 180 – entry into force 15.07.2008]

 (2) The proposal for payment must contain at least the following particulars:
 1) the particulars of the petition mentioned in subsection 1 of § 482 of this Code;
 2) an explanation that the court has not carried out a comprehensive verification of whether or not the petitioner may file the claim;
 3) a proposal to pay the alleged debt together with late interest, and the case costs mentioned in the proposal, within 15 days or, where the proposal is served abroad, within 30 days following service if the debtor considers the claim that has been filed to be justified – or to inform the court, within the same time limit, of whether and to what extent the debtor intends to file objections to the claim;
[RT I 2008, 28, 180 – entry into force 15.07.2008]
 4) an explanation that, if the debtor does not file an objection to the proposal for payment within the time limit that has been set, the court may, based on the proposal for payment, issue a payment order in the form of an enforceable title;
 5) an explanation that – similarly to the filing of the corresponding court claim – the filing of the petition for expedited order-for-payment proceedings suspends the running of the limitation period of the claim;
 6) should an objection be filed, the information that proceedings will continue under the action-by-claim procedure and that the court to deal with the case may verify whether or not it has jurisdiction over the claim.
[RT I, 08.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2022]

 (3) The court serves the proposal for payment and a blank form for the objection on the debtor, and also informs the petitioner of having transmitted the proposal. The template of the blank form for the object is enacted by a regulation of the Minister in charge of the policy sector. A proposal for payment may not be served by public notice on an individual debtor.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

§ 4841.  Making the proposal for payment concerning some of the claims or a part of the claim

 (1) Where the prerequisites for issuing a payment order are present only for some of the claims or a part of the claim, the court notifies this to the petitioner and sets them a time limit for stating an opinion on whether the proposal for payment should be made in the scope indicated. In the notification, the court cites the consequences of responding or failing to respond.

 (2) If the petitioner agrees to the court’s proposal, the proposal for payment is made concerning the claim or the part that the petitioner agreed to. The court denies the remainder of the petition for the order for payment.

 (3) If the petitioner does not agree to the proposal for payment being made for some of the claims or a part of the claim, or does not respond to the representation within the time limit set by the court, the court denies the petition for the order for payment in its entirety.
[RT I 2008, 28, 180 – entry into force 15.07.2008]

§ 4842.  Determining the amount of case costs in expedited order-for-payment proceedings

  In expedited order-for-payment proceedings, the court – in addition to the allocation of case costs in the order for payment, or in the order by which, in a situation provided for by § 4881 of this Code, it terminates the proceedings due to payment of the debt – also determines the money amount of the statutory fee to be reimbursed, and orders 20 euros to be paid to cover the petitioner's case costs. Any other case costs incurred by the petitioner in expedited order-for-payment proceedings are not reimbursed.
[RT I, 21.05.2014, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2015]

§ 485.  Filing the objection

 (1) The debtor may file an objection to the claim or part of the claim with the court that issued the proposal for payment within 15 days – or, where the proposal is served abroad, within 30 days – following service of the proposal.
[RT I 2008, 28, 180 – entry into force 15.07.2008]

 (2) The objection may be filed using the form annexed to the proposal for payment, or in any other form. The objection does not need to be substantiated.

 (3) The court notifies the petitioner of the objection and of the time it was filed.

 (4) Where the petitioner has explicitly requested termination of proceedings should an objection be filed, the proceedings are terminated.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

§ 486.  Transformation of expedited proceedings into action-by-claim proceedings

 (1) The court that issued the proposal for payment transfers the case, for consideration in action-by-claim proceedings, to the court stated in the petition for expedited order-for-payment proceedings, having regard to the provisions on territorial jurisdiction, if:
[RT I, 08.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2022]
 1) the debtor files an objection to the proposal at the proper time and the petitioner has not explicitly requested termination of proceedings should an objection be filed;
 2) the service of the proposal on the debtor has not been successful within a reasonable time and the proposal cannot be served by public notice and the petitioner has not explicitly requested termination of proceedings should an objection be filed;
 3) the petitioner and the debtor present a written compromise agreement to the court before the the order for payment is issued.

 (2) For the purposes of the action-by-claim procedure, the court claim is deemed to have been filed at the time the petition for expedited order-for-payment proceedings was filed.

 (3) In a case concerning apartment ownership or co-ownership rights, action-by-petition proceedings are continued unless the petitioner has made a motion for the case to be considered in action-by-claim proceedings, or a motion to terminate the proceedings.

 (4) The court considers the compromise agreement following the provisions of §§ 430 and 431 of this Code before it opens consideration of the case under the action-by-claim procedure. If the court does not approve the compromise, it continues to consider the case under under the action-by-claim procedure in accordance with the provisions of § 487 of this Code.
[RT I, 21.05.2014, 1 – entry into force 31.05.2014]

 (5) The court that issued the proposal for payment also transfers, to the judge who is to continue proceedings in the case, information concerning the address, or particulars of the means of communication, that was used to serve the proposal on the debtor or, in a situation mentioned in clause 2 of subsection 1 of this section, information on what the court or enforcement agent has done in order to serve the proposal. A note is recorded in the Order-for-Payment Information System concerning transfer of the case for consideration under the action-by-claim or the action-by-petition procedure.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

§ 487.  Commencement of action-by-claim proceedings

 (1) Where the petition for expedited order-for-payment proceedings does not meet the requirements set for the statement of court claim, the court dealing with the case under the action-by-claim procedure requires the petitioner to state the relief that they seek, and set out its reasons, in the form prescribed for statements of claim, within 14 days. In a case concerning apartment ownership or co-ownership rights, setting out the reasons for the relief is also required if the case continues under the action-by-petition procedure.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (11) Where, in the objection filed to the proposal for payment, the debtor has admitted the petitioner's claim in part, the court dealing with the case in action-by-claim proceedings makes an order by which it issues the order for payment to collect the amount admitted by the debtor and, with respect to the remainder of the claim, continues proceedings under the action-by-claim or under the action-by-petition procedure in accordance with the provisions of subsections 1, 2 and 3 of this section.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

 (2) Once reasons for the relief have been set out, proceedings continue as they would after the filing a court claim. When the reasons are served on the defendant, the defendant is also given a time limit for responding to the court claim.

 (3) If the petitioner does not file their reasons for the relief at the proper time, the court, by order, rejects the court claim.

§ 488.  Withdrawing the objection

  The debtor may withdraw, based on a petition filed with the court, an objection to the payment order until the time the court claim is responded to or another procedural operation that is the first in the proceedings is performed. If the objection is withdrawn, expedited proceedings for an order for payment continue.

§ 4881.  Terminating the proceedings when the debt has been paid

  [RT I 2006, 61, 457 – entry into force 01.01.2007]

 (1) If the petitioner affirms, by written notice to the court, that the debtor has paid the debt, the court enters an order by which it terminates expedited proceedings for the order for payment. The petitioner may file the notice with the court until the issuing of the order for payment.
[RT I 2006, 61, 457 – entry into force 01.01.2007]

 (11) The court order mentioned in subsection 1 of this section may not be appealed.
[RT I 2009, 67, 460 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

 (2) [Repealed – RT I 2008, 28, 180 – entry into force 15.07.2008]

§ 489.  Issuing the order for payment

 (1) Where the debtor has not paid the amount stated in the proposal for payment and has not filed an objection against the proposal at the proper time, the court issues the order for payment for the stated amount as a court order. If the case has been transferred to another court, the order is issued by that court.

 (2) [Repealed – RT I 2009, 67, 460 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

 (21) If the petitioner and debtor have filed a written notice with the court concerning payment of the debt in instalments and annexed, to the notice, a payment schedule for paying the debt stated in the proposal for payment, the court may, when issuing the order for payment, also approve the payment schedule. The payment schedule must set out the due dates for and amounts of instalments and the rules for paying them, and may not contain any other conditions concerning the payments. The amount of the instalment is stated as a sum of money. A payment schedule that has been approved while issuing the order for payment is valid as an enforceable title. The provisions of this Code on compromise agreements do not apply to the payment schedule and its approval by the court.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

 (22) If the debtor has admitted the proposal for payment in their objection, but is unable to pay the debt due to their economic situation and the parties do not reach an agreement concerning the payment schedule, the court that issued the proposal for payment transfers the case – to be dealt with in action-by-claim proceedings – to the court mentioned in the petition for expedited order-for-payment proceedings.
[RT I 2009, 67, 460 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

 (3) The court may issue the payment order in simplified form, as a note on the proposal for payment that renders the proposal enforceable.

 (4) [Repealed – RT I 2008, 28, 180 – entry into force 15.07.2008]

 (5) The order for payment must explain to the debtor that they may appeal the order within 15 days – or, where the order is served abroad, within 30 days – following service. An explanation is provided to the debtor that it is only possible to appeal the order in situations provided for by subsection 2 of § 4891 of this Code.
[RT I 2009, 68, 463 – entry into force 10.01.2010]

 (6) The order for payment is served on the debtor and this is also notified to the petitioner.
[RT I 2006, 61, 457 – entry into force 01.01.2007]

 (7) The order for payment is enforceable without delay regardless of whether it has been served on the debtor.
[RT I 2008, 28, 180 – entry into force 15.07.2008]

 (8) [Repealed – RT I 2008, 28, 180 – entry into force 15.07.2008]

§ 4891.  Appealing the order for payment

 (1) The debtor may appeal the order for payment within 15 days -- or, where it is served abroad, within 30 days – following its service. If the order is served by public notice, it may be appealed within 30 days following the day when the debtor learned of the order or of the enforcement proceedings initiated to enforce it.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

 (2) The debtor’s appeal may rely on one of the following circumstances:
[RT I 2006, 61, 457 – entry into force 01.01.2007]
 1) the proposal for payment was served on the debtor by a method other than by personal delivery against signed acknowledgement or by electronic service and, by no fault of the debtor, service was not made at the proper time and therefore the debtor was unable to file the objection by the proper time;
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]
 2) the debtor was unable to file the objection to the proposal for payment due to a valid reason beyond the debtor’s control;
[RT I 2006, 61, 457 – entry into force 01.01.2007]
 3) the prerequisites for expedited order-for-payment proceedings were not present or the requirements for those proceedings were otherwise materially violated – or the claim to collect which the proceedings were conducted is evidently unjustified.
[RT I 2008, 28, 180 – entry into force 15.07.2008]

 (21) The debtor’s statutory representative or universal successor may appeal the order for payment within two months of having learned of it provided grounds for suspension have come to light that existed at the time the judicial disposition was made but were not – nor could have been – known to the court. The person filing the appeal must rely on one of the circumstances mentioned in subsection 2 of this section.
[RT I 2009, 67, 460 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

 (3) When the order for payment is appealed, the court may suspend enforcement proceedings or perform other procedural operations in accordance with the rules provided by § 472 of this Code.
[RT I 2006, 61, 457 – entry into force 01.01.2007]

 (4) If the court grants the appeal, it revokes the order for payment. When the order is revoked, the court terminates expedited order-for-payment proceedings or initiates action-by-claim proceedings. Revocation of the order does not prejudice the petitioner's right to file the claim in action-by-claim proceedings.
[RT I 2009, 67, 460 – entry into force 01.01.2010]

 (5) The order of the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.
[RT I 2006, 61, 457 – entry into force 01.01.2007]

§ 4892.  Powers of assistant judge in expedited order-for-payment proceedings; automated issue of court orders

 (1) The proposal or order for payment or any other order under in expedited order-for-payment proceedings, including an order mentioned in § 179 of this Code, may also be given by an assistant judge.

 (2) The order mentioned in subsection 1 of this section may also be issued as an automated order through the information system of Expedited Order-for-Payment Proceedings Information System provided automated verification of the presence of the prerequisites for the order is ensured. In such a situation, the order does not need to be signed.
[RT I, 21.05.2014, 1 – entry into force 31.05.2014]

§ 4893.  Expedited Order-for-Payment Proceedings Information System

 (1) The Expedited Order-for-Payment Proceedings Information System is a database which is part of the State Information Systems, which is kept for processing procedural information and personal data in expedited proceedings for orders for payment and whose objective is:
 1) to provide an overview of the expedited proceedings for orders for payment that are being dealt with by the court;
 2) to reflect the particulars of operations performed in expedited proceedings for orders for payment;
 3) to facilitate the organisation of work of the Department of Orders for Payment;
 4) to ensure the collection of judicial statistics required for making legal policy decisions;
 5) to allow information and documents to be received and transmitted in the electronic form.

 (2) The following is recorded in the database:
 1) particulars of expedited proceedings for orders for payment that are pending or that have been concluded;
 2) particulars of operations performed in the course of proceedings;
 3) all procedural documents;
 4) particulars concerning the proceedings authority and the parties to proceedings.

 (3) The Expedited Order-for-Payment Proceedings Information System is established and its constitutive regulations are approved by a regulation of the Minister in charge of the policy sector.

 (4) The controller of the Expedited Order-for-Payment Proceedings Information System is the Ministry of Justice and the processors are the courts conducting expedited order-for-payment proceedings.

 (5) The Minister in charge of the policy sector may make regulations to organise the operation of the Expedited Order-for-Payment Proceedings Information System.
[RT I, 21.05.2014, 1 – entry into force 31.05.2014]

§ 490.  Filing an objection to the order for payment

  [Repealed – RT I 2006, 61, 457 – entry into force 01.01.2007]

§ 4901.  Application of Regulation (EC) No 1896/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council

 (1) The provisions of this Code on expedited order-for-payment proceedings also apply to expedited proceedings concerning orders for payment under Regulation (EC) No 1896/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council creating a European order for payment procedure (OJ L 399, 30.12.2006, pp. 1–32) insofar as these have not been provided for by that Regulation.
[RT I, 08.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2022]

 (2) Unless otherwise provided for by the Regulation mentioned to in subsection 1 of this section, the authority competent to declare the European order for payment enforceable – in accordance with the rules prescribed by this Subchapter for the issuing of orders for payment – is the district court that issued the order. A European order for payment that has been declared enforceable may be contested by appealing it in accordance with the rules provided by § 4891 of this Code.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

 (3) In conformity with subparagraph (b) of paragraph 2 of Article 21 of the Regulation mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, a European order for payment is accepted for enforcement in Estonia only if it has been issued in the Estonian or English language, or if an Estonian or English translation is annexed to the order.

 (4) A European order for payment is enforceable in Estonia by means of enforcement proceedings, and the debtor's legal remedies are governed by the provisions on those proceedings in Estonia insofar as not provided for otherwise by the Regulation mentioned in subsection 1 of this section.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

Subchapter 2 Expedited Order-for-Payment Proceedings on a Child’s Claim for Maintenance 

§ 491.  Expedited proceedings on a child’s claims for maintenance

 (1) A petition claiming maintenance for an underage child from the parent living separately from the child is also dealt with by the court in expedited order-for-payment proceedings. Retroactive relief may not be sought in expedited proceedings. This does not preclude seeking maintenance retroactively – to the extent provided for by law – in action-by-claim proceedings.
[RT I 2008, 28, 180 – entry into force 15.07.2008]

 (11) Expedited order-for-payment proceedings on the basis mentioned in subsection 1 of this section are not available unless the debtor appears in the record of the child’s birth as the child’s parent.
[RT I 2006, 61, 457 – entry into force 01.01.2007]

 (2) Expedited order-for-payment proceedings on the basis mentioned in subsection 1 of this section are not available if the monthly maintenance that is sought represents an amount that is more than 1.5 times the base amount provided by subsection 3 of § 101 of the Family Law Act.
[RT I, 08.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2022]

 (3) Unless otherwise provided for by this Subchapter, expedited order-for-payment proceedings in children’s claims for maintenance are governed by regular provisions on expedited order-for-payment proceedings.

§ 492.  Petition for expedited order-for-payment proceedings

  The petition for expedited order-for-payment proceedings on a child’s claim for maintenance must state at least the following particulars:
 1) the particulars of the principal parties and of their representatives;
 2) the particulars of the court with which the petition is filed;
 3) the date of birth of the child;
 4) the date from which the payment of maintenance is claimed;
 5) [Repealed – RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]
 6) the amount of the maintenance claimed;
 7) the particulars of the record of birth or of the birth certificate of the child and an affirmation that the debtor appears in the child’s record of birth as the child’s parent;
[RT I 2008, 28, 180 – entry into force 15.07.2008]
 8) an affirmation that the debtor does not participate in maintaining the child;
[RT I 2006, 61, 457 – entry into force 01.01.2007]
 9) an affirmation that no statutory impediment for the proceedings is present.

§ 493.  Proposal for payment in expedited proceedings on a child’s claim for maintenance

  The proposal for payment issued in expedited proceedings on a child’s claim for maintenance must state at least the following particulars:
 1) the particulars of the petition mentioned in § 492 of this Code;
 2) an explanation that the court has not verified whether or not the petitioner is allowed to file the claim;
 3) the date from which the payment of maintenance may be ordered and the amount of the maintenance that may be ordered;
 4) an explanation that, if the debtor does not file a substantiated objection to the proposal within 15 days – or, where the proposal is served on the person abroad, within 30 days – following service, the court may issue the order for payment as an enforceable title;
[RT I 2008, 28, 180 – entry into force 15.07.2008]
 5) the objections to the proposal that the debtor may file according to the law;
 6) an explanation that the debtor may only file an objection invoking the impossibility or limited possibility of paying the maintenance if the objection is accompanied by an affirmation concerning the debtor's property, earnings and economic situation that is made in the prescribed form and includes the relevant evidence.

§ 494.  Filing the objection

 (1) The debtor may, within 15 days – or, where the proposal for payment is served abroad, within 30 days – following service, file with the court that issued the proposal for payment, a substantiated objection to the claim for maintenance or a part of that claim.
[RT I 2008, 28, 180 – entry into force 15.07.2008]

 (2) The debtor may file, against a claim for maintenance, strictly the following objections:
 1) that they are not the child's parent;
 2) that they live together with the child and participate in maintaining the child;
 3) that they have performed their maintenance obligation;
 4) that expedited order-for-payment proceedings are not permitted under the law;
 5) that the time from which the payment of maintenance is claimed has been determined wrongly;
 6) that the amount of the maintenance has been determined wrongly.

 (3) [Repealed – RT I 2008, 28, 180 – entry into force 15.07.2008]

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

 (5) The debtor has a right to file an objection that invokes the impossibility or limited possibility of paying the maintenance only if they, at the same time, provide the particulars concerning their property, earnings and economic situation – including the relevant evidence – in the form enacted by a regulation of the Minister in charge of the policy sector.

 (6) The court notifies the petitioner of the objection and of the time it was filed. Where the objection, in full or in part, precludes granting the claim for maintenance in expedited order-for-payment proceedings, disposition of the case continues in action-by-claim proceedings, unless the petitioner has requested that, in this situation, the proceedings be terminated.

§ 495.  Debtor’sobjections under the action-by-claim procedure

  Where the claim for maintenance is dealt with in action-by-claim proceedings, the debtor's objections to the claim are deemed to represent the defendant's response to the court claim. Where this is needed – including where the claimant amends the relief claimed or provides additional reasons for it – the court sets the defendant an additional time limit for responding to the claim.

§ 496.  Order for payment

 (1) Where the debtor has not, within the prescribed time limit, filed an objection to the claim for maintenance – or where they have filed an objection that cannot be filed in expedited order-for-payment proceedings or where the objection is not substantiated – the court issues the order for payment as a court order, requiring the debtor to pay maintenance in the prescribed amount.

 (2) [Repealed – RT I 2008, 28, 180 – entry into force 15.07.2008]

 (3) The order must also state that, going forward, the petitioner has a right to seek variation of the maintenance by filing a court claim.
[RT I 2006, 61, 457 – entry into force 01.01.2007]

 (4) The debtor may appeal the order within 15 days – or, where the order for payment is served abroad, within 30 days – following service. The filing the disposition of the appeal against the order for payment on a claim for maintenance is governed by regular provisions on orders for payment.
[RT I 2009, 68, 463 – entry into force 10.01.2010]

 (5) [Repealed – RT I 2008, 28, 180 – entry into force 15.07.2008]

§ 497.  Varying the amount of maintenance

  If the circumstances that constitute the cause of the claim for maintenance change, either of the principal parties may, in action-by-claim proceedings, seek variation of the amount of the maintenance.
[RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

Chapter 50 UNKNOWN RIGHTHOLDER PROCEDURE 

§ 498.  Unknown rightholder procedure

  In situations provided for by law, the court may issue a public notice under the rules of unknown rightholder procedure, in which it invites the filing of certain claims or notification of other rights and which, in the case of failure to file the claim or notify the right, will entail extinguishment of the rights or other legally adverse consequences.

§ 499.  Initiation of unknown rightholder proceedings

 (1) The court initiates unknown rightholder proceedings strictly based on a substantiated petition. Where the filing of the petition is permitted, the court makes the order to initiate the proceedings.

 (2) An order initiating unknown rightholder proceedings states at least the following:
 1) the name of the court;
 2) the particulars of the petitioner;
 3) a call for the persons concerned to notify the court of certain claims or other rights by the due date set by the court;
 4) the consequences of failure to notify the claim or right.

 (3) The court may order the joinder of several cases of unknown rightholder proceedings of the same type.

 (4) The petitioner may file an appeal against the order by which the court refuses to initiate the proceedings. The order of the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.

 (5) The power to conduct unknown rightholder proceedings is vested, among others, in assistant judges.
[RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

§ 500.  Publishing the notice; notice period

 (1) The notice – stating the particulars mentioned in the order by which initiating unknown rightholder proceedings were initiated – is published in the publication Ametlikud Teadaanded. The court may order the notice to be published repeatedly or, additionally, in another publication, or to be broadcast.

 (2) Unless otherwise provided by law, the notice period is at least six weeks before the due date for notification of claims or other rights.

§ 501.  Making a preclusion order

 (1) Where the third parties have notified their claims or other rights to the court by the time set by the court, the court – on the petitioner’s motion – enters a preclusion order by which it precludes those parties’ claims or rights.

 (2) The court may, before entering the preclusion order, hold a hearing to clarify the circumstances and, among other things, may require the petitioner to provide a statement under oath as evidence of their submissions.

 (3) Where the motion for the preclusion order is denied, the petitioner may appeal the order.

 (4) The court publishes the operative part of the preclusion order in the publication Ametlikud Teadaanded. The court may prescribe repeated publication – or publication in another periodical, or broadcasting – of the operative part of the order.

§ 502.  Procedure in the event of an objection

  Where, during the notice period, a notification is made to the court that contests the right asserted by the petitioner as the reason for their petition or that notifies the court of a claim or other right that prevents the making of the preclusion order, the court suspends unknown rightholder proceedings until a final disposition is rendered concerning the notification, or makes the preclusion order but reserves the notified right.

§ 503.  Appealing the order

 (1) An interested party may file an appeal against the preclusion order within three months following publication of the order in the publication Ametlikud Teadaanded.

 (2) The appeal may rely strictly on the following:
 1) the preclusion order was entered in a situation where, according to the law, unknown rightholder proceedings were not permitted,
 2) the notice was not published or it was not published by a method not provided for by law;
 3) the time limit for publishing the notice was not complied with;
 4) the judge or assistant judge who entered the preclusion order should have recused themselves from the case;
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 5) a notified claim or other right was not taken into account when the order was made.

§ 504.  Precluding the rights of mortgagees

 (1) The owner of an item of immovable property or ship that is encumbered with a mortgage or the owner of a property object that is subject to a registered security interest may file a petition to preclude the rights of an unknown mortgagee in accordance with § 331 of the Law of Property Act or § 59 of the Law of Maritime Property Act.

 (2) Before the proceedings are initiated, the petitioner mentioned in subsection 1 of this section must substantiate that despite their efforts, they have been unable to ascertain the identity of the mortgagee or security interest holder or of the mortgagee’s or security interest holder’s legal successor, or whether the rights of the mortgagee or security interest holder have already been recognised by a judicial disposition.

 (3) Before the proceedings are initiated, the petitioner must deposit the mortgage amount in the designated bank account in order to provide satisfaction to the claim secured by the mortgage or registered security interest.
[RT I, 31.01.2014, 6 – entry into force 01.04.2014]

 (4) The notice must contain a warning to the mortgagee or security interest holder to the effect that, after the mortgage or registered security interest amount has been deposited, satisfaction to their claim will be provided, instead of the item of immovable property or ship or the property object encumbered with the registered security interest, out of the deposited amount, and that their right to this will become extinguished if, within five years following the making of the preclusion order, they have not announced themselves to the location at which the deposit is held.
[RT I 2009, 30, 178 – entry into force 01.10.2009]

§ 505.  Preclusion of persons entitled under a note in the register

 (1) The provisions of § 504 also apply to unknown rightholder proceedings conducted to preclude rights that are held by persons entitled under a preliminary note, restraining note, right of pre-emption or real encumbrance and that have been recorded in the Land Register or the Register of Ships.

 (2) The petition mentioned in subsection 1 of this section may also be filed by a person who, based on a right of equivalent or lower ranking, has a right, based on an enforceable title, to claim the satisfaction of a claim out of an item of immovable property or ship. The court notifies the publication of the notice, among others, to the owner of the property or of the ship.

§ 506.  Petition to declare a security instrument invalid

 (1) Where a security instrument has been lost or destroyed or damaged, the current owner of the bearer security instrument or of the security instrument transferred by blank endorsement or, in the case of other type of security, the person who intends to exercise a right arising from the instrument may, under the unknown rightholder procedure, file a petition to have the instrument declared invalid.

 (2) A person who has lost a security instrument may also seek, in the petition mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, that the issuer of the instrument be ordered to issue them with another instrument having the same effect.

 (3) The petition states any special characteristics of the lost instrument, the name of the person who issued the instrument and the circumstances pertaining to its loss.

 (4) The petitioner must substantiate that the security instrument belonged to them before it was lost or destroyed. They must also substantiate the loss of or any damage to the instrument.

 (5) If the instrument has been damaged, the damaged instrument must be presented. Where this is possible, a copy of the instrument must be annexed to the petition also in other situations.

 (6) On the petitioner’s motion, the court that received the petition makes an order by which it restrains the issuer of and any payers indicated in the document from making payments based on the security instrument. When the proceedings have been concluded, the court discharges the order.

§ 507.  Special rules for proceedings to declare a security instrument invalid

 (1) In the notice concerning the intention to declare a security instrument invalid, the court states, among other things, the name and other specific characteristics of the instrument and the name of its issuer, and invites the possessor of the instrument to notify their possession – and their rights – to the court. The notice contains a warning that failure to notify the rights will lead to the instrument being declared invalid and that it is possible to bar any payments from being made under the instrument.

 (2) The person who is in possession of the security instrument must without delay notify this, and present the instrument, to the court.

 (3) Where the security instrument that was lost is presented to the court within four months following the last instance of publication of the notice, the court denies the petition for a declaration of invalidity, and revokes the bar on making payments under the instrument. In the order, the court explains to the petitioner the rights that the petitioner may have against the possessor. Before making the order, the court gives the petitioner an opportunity to acquaint themselves with the instrument presented.

 (4) Where, within four months following the last publication of the notice concerning a lost security instrument, the court has not been notified of the existence of the instrument or if the court establishes that the instrument has been destroyed or damaged to the extent that it can no longer be used, the court enters a preclusion order by which it declares the instrument invalid.

§ 508.  Consequences of declaring a security instrument invalid

 (1) Where a security instrument has been declared invalid by a preclusion order, the petitioner has a right to exercise, in respect of the person who, under that instrument, is the obligated party, the rights provided by that instrument. Where the petition sought the issue of a new instrument, the court requires the issuer to issue a new instrument having the same effect.

 (2) When the order by which a security instrument was declared invalid is set aside, any payments made or other obligations performed under the order by the person who is the obligated party remain valid also with respect to any third parties, including to the recipient of the payment and the petitioner – unless the obligated party, when they performed the obligation, was aware of the fact that the order had been set aside.

Chapter 51 DECLARING A PERSON LEGALLY DEAD AND ESTABLISHING THEIR TIME OF DEATH 

§ 509.  Petition to declare a person legally dead

 (1) The court initiates proceedings to declare a person legally dead strictly on a corresponding petition. The petition may be filed by a person or authority that has a legally relevant interest in obtaining the declaration, above all by the following:
 1) the statutory representative of the missing person or the municipal executive;
 2) the missing person’s spouse, registered partner or relative in the ascending or descending line;
[RT I, 06.07.2024, 6 – entry into force 01.01.2024]
 3) the Ministry of the Interior or an authority within the area of government of the Ministry, authorised by the Minister in charge of the policy sector.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

 (2) A petition to declare a person legally dead states the reason why the petitioner is interested in the declaration as well as the facts to substantiate the declaration.

 (3) In addition to the petitioner, any person entitled to file a petition to declare the person concerned legally dead may intervene in the proceedings by filing the corresponding petition. By filing the petition, such person acquires the legal status of the petitioner.

 (4) The Ministry of the Interior or an authority that operates within the area of government of the Ministry and that has been authorised by the Minister in charge of the policy sector is obligated to file a petition to declare a missing person legally dead where it is manifest that the prerequisites for such a declaration have been fulfilled and none of the persons mentioned in subsection 1 of this section has filed the corresponding petition.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

§ 510.  Procedural operations in preliminary proceedings

 (1) Having accepted a petition for declaring a person legally dead, the court publishes a notice in the publication Ametlikud Teadaanded in which it invites the missing person – within the time limit set by the court – to provide the court with information showing they are alive. The notice includes a warning of the possibility of a declaration of legal death being issued and an invitation to the public to provide the court with information concerning the person whom the court has been petitioned to declare legally dead.

 (2) The court may also publish the notice repeatedly or, in addition to publishing it in the publication Ametlikud Teadaanded, have it appear in another publication, or have it broadcast.

 (3) The court may not set a shorter time limit for providing the information than six weeks following publication of the last notice in the publication Ametlikud Teadaanded.

 (4) Where proceedings were not initiated on a petition of the Minister in charge of the policy sector, the court informs the Minister of the initiation of proceedings and invites the Minister to provide any information known to the State concerning the missing person and to state their view concerning the possibility of declaring the person legally dead. The court may also collect information about the missing person of its own motion, regardless of who filed the petition to declare the person legally dead.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 511.  Order by which the person is declared legally dead

 (1) The order by which the person is declared legally dead states the presumed time of the person’s death.

 (2) An order by which a person is declared legally dead is published in the publication Ametlikud Teadaanded. The court may direct that the order be published repeatedly or in another publication, or that the order be broadcast.

 (3) The court serves an order by which the petition is denied on the petitioner and sends it to the Minister in charge of the policy sector – unless the latter is the petitioner – and sends an order by which the person was declared legally dead to the petitioner and to the Minister in charge of the policy sector. Within ten days following the entry into effect of the order by which the person was declared legally dead, the court sends the order to the vital statistics authority for the particulars concerning the person’s death to be recorded in the Population Register.
[RT I 2009, 30, 177 – entry into force 01.07.2010]

 (4) An order by which the person is declared legally dead enters into effect and becomes enforceable on expiry of the time limit for appealing the order. Where an appeal is filed against the order, the order enters into effect and becomes enforceable when an order has been made to deny or dismiss the appeal and that order has entered into effect.

 (5) An order by which the order declaring a person legally dead is set aside or varied is made public by the method provided for by subsection 2 of this section and is transmitted to the persons and authorities mentioned in subsection 3 of this section.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 512.  Appealing the order

 (1) An order by which a person was declared legally dead may be appealed within 30 days following its publication in the publication Ametlikud Teadaanded. An order denying the petition to declare a person legally dead may be appealed within 30 days following service.

 (2) An order by which a person was declared legally dead may be appealed by the petitioner or any other person who has a legally relevant interest to obtain the setting aside of the declaration or an amendment of the person’s time of the death. Only the petitioner may file an appeal against the order by which the petition to declare a person legally dead was denied.

§ 513.  Consequences of the person’s reappearance or of learning of the person's whereabouts

 (1) A petition to set aside the declaration of a person’s legal death may be filed – with the court that declared the person legally dead – by the person who has reappeared or the Ministry of the Interior or an authority that operates within the area of government of the Ministry of the Interior and that has been authorised by the Minister in charge of the policy sector.
[RT I, 29.06.2012, 3 – entry into force 01.01.2013]

 (2) The petition states the circumstances that show that the person has reappeared as well as particulars concerning the person’s being alive or their whereabouts. Where this is possible, the court, before setting aside the declaration of legal death, hears the person on whose petition the declaration was issued.

 (3) The court sends a copy of the order by which the declaration of the person’s legal death is set aside to the vital statistics authority within ten days following the entry into effect of the order. An order that sets aside the order by which the person was declared legally dead serves as the basis for amending the person’s vital statistics information.
[RT I 2009, 30, 177 – entry into force 01.07.2010]

 (4) The order that sets aside an order by which a person was declared legally dead cannot be appealed further. The petitioner may file an appeal against an order that denies their petition to set aside the order by which a person was declared legally dead.

§ 514.  Amending the time of death of the person declared legally dead

 (1) If the person who was declared legally dead did not die at the time determined in the order by which they were so declared, anyone who has a legally relevant interest to establish a different time of their death may petition the court to amend the order, provided that the person petitioning the court – due to reasons beyond their control – learned of the circumstance that renders the order erroneous when they no longer had the possibility to rely on it in proceedings on the petition for the declaration.

 (2) The petition mentioned in subsection 1 of this section may be filed within 30 days following the time when the petitioner learned of the circumstance, but not before the entry into effect of the order by which the person was declared legally dead and not later than within five years following the order’s entry into effect.

 (3) In other respects, the procedure for amending the time of death of the person who has been declared legally dead is governed, accordingly, by the provisions concerning the procedure for declaring a person legally dead. The order by which the time of death is amended is also transmitted to the person on whose petition the declaration was issued.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 515.  Determining the time of death

 (1) Unless the provisions of subsections 2 or 3 of this section provide otherwise, the procedure for determining a person’s time of death is governed by the provisions concerning declaring a person legally dead.

 (2) Before initiation of proceedings, the petitioner must provide the court with information in evidence of the person's death as well as with information that allows the court to ascertain the time of their death. Any other particulars must be substantiated by the petitioner.

 (3) When initiating proceedings, the court publishes a public notice by which it invites anyone who possesses information concerning the person’s time of death to notify such information to the court within the time limit that has been set. The court is not required to publish such a notice where it is manifest that this does not contribute to clarification of the circumstances.

Chapter 52 PLACING THE PROPERTY OF AN ABSENTEE UNDER CONSERVATORSHIP 

§ 516.  Placing property under conservatorship

 (1) The court appoints a conservator to property that needs to be managed and belongs to:
 1) a missing person;
 2) a person whose whereabouts are known but who cannot return or cannot manage their affairs due to another reason.

 (2) The court also appoints a conservator to the property of an absentee where the person has issued a mandate or power of attorney for managing their affairs but circumstances have come to light that constitute a reason to revoke the mandate or power.

 (3) An order by which property is placed under conservatorship states the person whose property is so placed as well as the person appointed as the conservator.

 (4) An order by which property is placed under conservatorship gives the person appointed as the conservator a right to dispose of the property within the scope provided by law.

 (5) Compensation for the conservator’s costs is subject to provisions governing compensation of the costs of the legal guardian appointed to an adult of limited active legal capacity.

§ 517.  Appointing a temporary conservator to property

 (1) The court may, of its own motion, protect the petition to place property under conservatorshipor make an order by which it, among other things, appoints a temporary conservator to the property, provided there is reason to presume that the prerequisites for placing the property under conservatorship are present and that a delay would jeopardise the interests of the person in whose interest the court is conducting the proceedings to appoint the conservator.

 (2) When selecting the temporary conservator, the court is not required to follow the petitioner’s volition and the requirements prescribed by law for property conservators.

 (3) A temporary conservator is not appointed for a period longer than six months.

 (4) The court may release a temporary conservator from their duties by an order if the prerequisites for such release are likely to be fulfilled and a delay would jeopardise the interests of the person in whose interests the court appointed the conservator. An order by which the temporary conservator was appointed or released enters into effect and becomes enforceable as of the time it is made public.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 518.  Discharging the conservatorship, changing the conservator or varying the conservator’s duties

 (1) The court discharges the conservatorship imposed on a missing person’s property when the person is no longer prevented from managing their affairs.

 (2) The conservatorship ends when it is discharged by the court regardless of whether or not the missing person is dead. The court discharges the conservatorship when it learns of the person’s death.

 (3) Where a missing person is declared legally dead or their time of death is determined by the court, the conservatorship of their property is terminated at the time of the entry into effect of the order by which the person was declared legally dead or by which the court determined their time of death.

 (4) Discharging the conservatorship, releasing the conservator, appointing a new conservator, varying the scope of the conservator’s duties and extending the conservator’s appointment are subject to the provisions concerning appointment of conservators to properties.

§ 519.  Appealing the order

 (1) The court order by which property was placed under conservatorship or by which such placement was refused, or by which the conservatorship was discharged or the conservator changed may be appealed by anyone who has a legally relevant interest in having the order varied, including the spouse, registered partner or relatives, by blood or marriage, of the person whose property was placed under conservatorship.
[RT I, 06.07.2024, 6 – entry into force 01.01.2024]

 (2) The appeal cannot be filed after five months have elapsed from communication of the order to the conservator.

Chapter 53 APPOINTING A LEGAL GUARDIAN TO AN ADULT OF LIMITED ACTIVE LEGAL CAPACITY 

§ 520.  Appointing a representative to an adult of limited active legal capacity in proceedings for appointment of a legal guardian

 (1) For the purposes of proceedings for appointment of a legal guardian, the court appoints a representative to an adult of limited active legal capacity if this is needed in the person’s interests.

 (2) The court appoints a representative to the person above all in a situation where the person is not represented in the proceedings by a person possessing active legal capacity for the purposes of civil proceedings and:
 1) the court is not required to hear the person at first hand in the proceedings;
 2) it is envisaged to establish a legal guardianship for managing all or most of the person’s affairs;
 3) the legal guardian's powers are to be extended;
 4) the subject matter of proceedings is the obtaining of the legal guardian's consent for sterilising the person.

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

 (4) The representative must, among other things, personally meet the person whose placement under legal guardianship the court is dealing with and hear them without the presence of the judge.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 521.  Applying interim protection measures

 (1) The court may, by order, apply interim protection measures and, among other things, appoint a temporary legal guardian if:
 1) the likely presumption is that the requirements for a legal guardian’s appointment have been fulfilled and a delay would result in endangering the interests of the person who needs legal guardianship; and
 2) a representative has been appointed to the person in the proceedings and
 3) the person has been heard at first hand.

 (2) For the purpose mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, the person may be heard also by a judge acting under a domestic letter of request. The person does not need to be heard if it is manifest that this would cause significant harm to their health or that the person is unable to express their volition.

 (3) Where the delay would jeopardise the interests of the person in need of legal guardianship, the court may apply interim protection measures even before it hears the person at first hand and appoints a representative to them. In such a situation, the aforementioned operations must be performed without delay after the measures have been applied.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (4) When selecting a temporary legal guardian, the petitioner’s volition or the requirements that the law provides for legal guardians do not need to be taken into account.

 (5) A temporary guardian may not be appointed for a period longer than six months. After having obtained an expert opinion concerning the mental state of the person concerned who is of full age, this period may be extended to up to one year.

 (6) The court may release a temporary guardian from their duties by an order if it is manifest that the prerequisites for release have been fulfilled and a delay would risk harm to the interests of the ward.

 (7) The order by which a temporary legal guardian is appointed or released enters into effect and becomes enforceable from the time it is made public.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 522.  Commissioning an expert assessment

 (1) If the court has information or a reason to believe that a person suffers from a mental illness or congenital dementia, the court commissions an expert assessment in order to determine the need for appointing a legal guardian to the person. The expert must examine the person at first hand or question them before stating their opinion.
[RT I, 04.07.2012, 1 – entry into force 01.08.2012]

 (11) The court assigns the task of conducting an expert assessment to a single expert, except where the expert assessment is conducted by a committee of experts or as a complex assessment. Only a psychiatrist may be used as the expert. Where the expert assessment is conducted by a committee of experts or as a complex assessment, a person who possesses specialised knowledge may also be assigned as an expert.
[RT I, 04.07.2012, 1 – entry into force 01.08.2012]

 (12) Where the court deals with a petition for placing a person in a secure institution under clause 1 of subsection 1 of § 533 of this Code and a petition for appointing a legal guardian to the same person under subsection 1 of § 520 of this Code, the court may order a joint expert assessment concerning the need to establish a legal guardianship and the prerequisites for placing the person in a secure institution.
[RT I, 04.07.2012, 1 – entry into force 01.08.2012]

 (2) A person in whose respect an expert assessment has been commissioned is obligated to appear before the expert. If the person does not appear, the court may, after hearing the opinion of the expert, order the person forcibly brought before the expert.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) After hearing the expert, the court may order the person concerned to be placed in a secure institution for observation for up to one month if this is needed for conducting the expert assessment. The person concerned must also be heard before or after the making of the order. Where this is needed, the court may make an order by which it extends the period of placement in a secure institution to up to three months or order the person to be forcibly brought in.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (4) If, in the expert’s opinion, appointing a legal guardian is a tenable proposition, the expert must, in their opinion, state the scope of the guardians’ duties and the estimated period during which the person needs legal guardianship.

 (5) An expert assessment is not required if:
 1) the petition for appointing a legal guardian was filed by the person who needs legal guardianship and the documents reflecting the person’s health status are appended to the petition and
 2) the person waives the right to assessment by an expert and
 3) conducting the expert assessment is, in view of the scope of the guardian's duties, unreasonably costly or requires an unreasonable amount of work.

§ 523.  Participation of the municipal executive in the proceedings

  When the court so directs, the executive of the municipality in which the person who needs legal guardianship has their residence collects and presents to the court the particulars required for establishing the legal guardianship. The executive provides its opinion in the case, among other things, on whom to appoint as the guardian, as well as on changing the scope of the guardian’s duties or on changing the guardian.

§ 524.  Hearing the person whom the court has been petitioned to place under legal guardianship

 (1) The person whom the court has been petitioned to place under legal guardianship is heard by the court at first hand. The court hears the person in their usual environment if the person so requests or if, in the opinion of the court, this is needed in the interests of the case and the person does not object. The course of proceedings must be explained to the person.

 (2) To hear the person who needs legal guardianship, the court may enlist the assistance of a psychiatrist, psychologist or social worker. If the person so requests, their trusted practitioner must be allowed to be present. Unless the person objects, the court may also allow other persons to be present when the hearing takes place.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) The court may delegate the task of hearing the person to another court by means of a domestic letter of request only where it is manifest that the court will be able to assess the information obtained by hearing the person even without first-hand experience.

 (4) In order to hear person who needs legal guardianship, the court may order them to be forcibly brought in if this is needed.

 (5) The court does not need to hear the person who needs guardianship at first hand if:
 1) based on the documents reflecting the person’s health status or on the opinion of a competent physician, this may result in harmful consequences to the person’s health;
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 2) based on a first-hand impression, the court is convinced that it is manifest that the person is unable to manifest their volition.

§ 525.  Discussing the case

 (1) The court discusses – with the person whom it has been petitioned to place under legal guardianship and to the extent to which this is required for ensuring observance of the person’s right to be heard or for clarification of the circumstances of the case – the outcome of the person’s having been heard, the assessment provided in the expert opinion or in documents reflecting the person’s health status, the selection of the possible legal guardian and the scope of the guardian’s duties.

 (2) As a rule, as part of the proceedings, the court also invites the person whom it has been petitioned to place under legal guardianship, their spouse, registered partner, parents, foster parents, children and members of the person’s rehabilitation team to provide their opinion – unless the person objects and the court does not deem it necessary to invite an opinion to be provided. On a motion of the person who needs guardianship, any other persons close to them may be invited to provide an opinion, unless this significantly delays proceedings.
[RT I, 06.07.2024, 6 – entry into force 01.01.2024]

 (3) Before making the appointment, the court also hears the person whom it has been petitioned to appoint as the legal guardian or whom it intends to appoint as such, as well as the potential petitioner.

§ 526.  Appointing the legal guardian

 (1) The court appoints a legal guardian to a full-age person of limited active legal capacity by an order.

 (2) The order states:
 1) the person to whom the legal guardian is appointed;
 2) the person or authority appointed as the guardian;
 3) the guardian’s duties;
 4) whether the person of limited active legal capacity is permitted to carry out transactions without the guardian’s consent and the transactions, if any, that are permitted;
 5) the period at the end of which, at the latest, the court decides on terminating or extending the guardianship.

 (3) The period mentioned in clause 5 of subsection 2 of this section may not be longer than five years from the making of the order.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (4) The order by which the legal guardainship is established vests the guardian with the right to represent the ward.

 (5) Where the court establishes a legal guardianship for managing all affairs of the ward or where the scope of the guardian’s duties is extended accordingly, the ward is, additionally, deemed to have been declared not to have active legal capacity for the purposes of the right to vote, and loses the right to vote.
[RT I, 22.01.2016, 7 – entry into force 01.02.2016]

§ 527.  Compensation of costs to the legal guardian

 (1) On a motion of the legal guardian or of the ward, or where the court deems it necessary, the court – at the time it establishes the legal guardianship or subsequently – also determines the following:
 1) the amount of remuneration payable and of the costs to be compensated to the guardian from the ward’s account and the extent to which their advance payment is possible;
 2) – where, according to the law, the costs to be compensated and the remuneration payable to the guardian may be claimed from the State – the amounts of such costs and remuneration that are to be paid from the State’s account and the extent to which their advance payment is possible;
 3) the payment period for and the amounts that the ward must pay to the State to cover the sums payable to the guardian by the State.

 (2) The ward may apply for financial aid to cover the costs.

 (3) Before making an order on costs, the court must hear the ward.

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

§ 528.  Extending the scope or duration of the legal guardian’s duties

 (1) The provisions concerning appointment of the legal guardian apply to appointing a new guardian as well as to varying the scope or extending the duration of the guardian’s duties.

 (2) When appointing a new legal guardian or varying the scope or extending the time limit of the guardian’s duties, a new expert assessment does not need to be carried out or a representative appointed to the ward for the proceedings if:
 1) the guardian’s duties are not materially extended or
 2) less than five years have elapsed from the expert assessment based on which the guardianship was established.
[RT I, 04.07.2012, 1 – entry into force 01.08.2012]

 (3) [Repealed – RT I, 23.02.2011, 1 – entry into force 01.09.2011]

 (4) When extending the duration of the legal guardian’s duties, an expert assessment of the ward is not required if, from the hearing of the ward and the documents reflecting their health status, it comes to light that the need for guardianship has not ceased to apply.
[RT I, 04.07.2012, 1 – entry into force 01.08.2012]

§ 529.  Terminating the legal guardianship and reducing the scope of the guardian’s duties

 (1) Where the grounds on which the legal guardian was appointed no longer apply – in full or in part – the court terminates the guardianship, reduces the scope of the guardian’s duties or extends the ward’s right of carrying out transactions independently.

 (2) The court may commission an expert assessment to ascertain that the grounds no longer apply.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 530.  Releasing the legal guardian from their duties and appointing a new guardian

 (1) Where a valid reason is present, the court may release the legal guardian from their duties.

 (2) Where the ward objects to the legal guardian’s release from duties, the court must hear the ward at first hand unless this may significantly endanger the ward’s health or it is manifest that the ward is unable to give expression to their volition.

 (3) Where a new legal guardian is to be appointed due to the death or release from duties of the previous one, the ward must be heard at first hand with the exception of situations where the ward accepts the new guardian, the hearing may significantly endanger the ward’s health or it is manifest that the ward is unable to give expression to their volition.

§ 531.  Communication and entry into effect of the court’s order

  [RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (1) The order by which the court concludes legal guardianship proceedings – including orders by which the guardian is appointed, the duration of the guardian’s duties is extended, the guardianship is terminated or the scope of the guardian’s duties is varied – enters into effect and becomes enforceable as of its communication to the guardian.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) The court also communicates the order by which it concludes legal guardianship proceedings to the ward and their representative. The court is not required to communicate the reasons for the order to the ward at first hand if, based on the documents reflecting the ward’s health status or on the opinion of the expert, this may cause significant harm to the ward’s health. The court also communicates the order to the executive of the municipality in whose territory the person has their residence as well as to any other persons mentioned in subsection 1 of § 532 of this Code whom the court heard in the proceedings.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) Where the order cannot be transmitted to the legal guardian or if the corresponding delay would jeopardise the ward’s interests, the court may declare the order to be effective and enforceable from its communication to the ward or their representative.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (4) The court informs other courts and public authorities of the order where it is manifest that this is required in the interests of the ward, third parties or the public. Where this is needed, the court publishes a notice in the publication Ametlikud Teadaanded.

 (5) The court may give notice – by a method provided by subsection 4 of this section and already before the conclusion of proceedings – of any material facts that have come to light in the course of proceedings.

 (6) Where a legal guardianship is established for the management of all of the ward’s affairs or where the scope of the guardian's duties is extended accordingly and the person loses their right to vote in elections – or where such a guardianship is terminated due to a reason other than the death of the ward, or where its scope is reduced – the court also notifies this to the authority that maintains the electoral list.

 (7) Where the ward has been confined in a custodial institution, medical treatment facility, care facility or other similar institution or facility, the court also notifies the order to the institution or facility.

§ 532.  Appealing the order

 (1) The order by which the court appoints a legal guardian or denies the corresponding petition or terminates the legal guardianship or varies the scope of the guardian’s duties or refuses to terminate the guardianship or releases the guardian from their duties or appoints a new guardian, or determines the costs of the guardianship may be appealed by the person to whom a guardian was to be appointed, by the person who was appointed as the guardian, by the spouse, registered partner or direct blood relative of the person to whom a guardian was to be appointed, by a close person designated by the person to whom a guardian was to be appointed (trusted representative) or by the executive of the municipality in which the person has their residence.
[RT I, 06.07.2024, 6 – entry into force 01.01.2024]

 (2) With regard to the scope of the guardian’s duties, the order may also be appealed by the legal guardian in the name of the ward. Where several joint guardians have been appointed, each may file a separate appeal.

 (3) An appeal may not be filed against the order when five months have elapsed from its communication to the legal guardian.

 (4) An appeal may be filed against an order dealing with costs if the relief sought by the appeal exceeds the amount of 200 euros. The order of the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.
[RT I 2010, 22, 108 – entry into force 01.01.2011]

Chapter 54 PLACING A PERSON IN A SECURE INSTITUTION 

§ 533.  Placing a person in a secure institution

 (1) This Subchapter provides the rules under which, on a petition of the executive of the municipality in which the person concerned has their residence, the court deals with in the following cases:
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 1) placing a mentally ill person in a psychiatric hospital or a social welfare institution without the person’s express volition or against their volition, together with the person being deprived of their liberty and subjected to inpatient treatment;
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 2) hospitalising a person who carries a communicable disease without their consent and subjecting them to inpatient treatment if this is necessary for preventing the spread of an especially dangerous communicable disease;
 3) other cases in which the placing of a person in a secure institution is provided for by law.

 (2) A case of placing a mentally ill person in a psychiatric hospital or a social welfare institution – without the person’s express volition or against their volition – is dealt with by the court also on an application of the person’s guardian.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) A case of hospitalising a person who carries a communicable disease without the person’s consent and subjecting them to inpatient treatment is dealt with by the court also on an application of the person's physician.
[RT I, 13.03.2019, 2 – entry into force 15.03.2019]

§ 534.  Applying interim protection measures

 (1) On the petitioner’s application, the court may, under the rules for applying interim protection measures, place a person in a secure institution if:
 1) it is manifest that the requirements for placing the person in a secure institution have been fulfilled and a delay is likely to endanger the person themselves or any third parties, and
 2) adequate documents exist concerning the person’s health status.

 (2) An application for interim protection measures that consist in placing in a psychiatric hospital a person who suffers from a mental disorder – without the person’s express volition or against it – may also be filed by a person mentioned in subsection 1 of § 13 of the Mental Health Act.

 (21) An application for interim protection measures that consist in hospitalising a person who carries a communicable disease without their consent and by subjecting the person to inpatient treatment may also be filed by a person mentioned in subsection 2 of § 5 of the Communicable Diseases Prevention and Control Act.
[RT I, 13.03.2019, 2 – entry into force 15.03.2019]

 (3) The hearing of the person whom the court has been petitioned to place in a secure institution, or the hearing of any other persons, is not necessary for applying interim protection measures if the court is able to adequately assess the need for applying such measures on a documentary basis, or if the hearing may cause harm to the health of the person, or if the person is unable to manifest their volition. The hearing of the person, or of any other persons, may also be conducted by a judge acting under a domestic letter of request.

 (4) The court may also hear a person whom it has been petitioned to place in a secure institution – or any other persons – after having applied the interim protection measures.

 (5) Interim protection measures may be applied for up to four days starting from the person’s placement in a secure institution. On hearing the person at first hand, that time limit may be extended to up to 40 days if this is manifestly necessary also in the opinion of a psychiatrist or other competent physician. The measures may also be imposed for the purpose and period mentioned in subsection 4 of § 537 of this Code.
[RT I, 04.07.2012, 1 – entry into force 01.08.2012]

 (6) In situations and following the rules provided by law, a person may also be placed in a secure institution without a court order, provided this is inescapably necessary in order to protect the person themselves or the public, and provided a court order cannot be obtained with sufficient speed. In such a situation, the petition for obtaining the order must be filed such as to make it possible for the court to dispose of the petition at the latest within 48 hours following the person’s placement in the secure institution.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 535.  Appointing a representative to the person

 (1) Where this is needed in the interests of the person concerned and where the person is not already represented by another person who possesses active legal capacity for the purpose of civil proceedings and who does not need to meet the requirements of § 218 of this Code, the court appoints a representative to represent the person concerned in the case for the person’s placement in a secure institution. The fact that the person concerned has already appointed a representative does not preclude the court from appointing a representative to the person if, in the view of the court, the representative appointed by the person themselves is unable to adequately protect the interests of their principal.

 (2) If the court does not appoint a representative, it must state the reasons for this in the order by which it places the person in a secure institution. The court is not required to appoint a representative when imposing interim protection measures, with the exception of situations where the person concerned wishes to be provided a representative for filing an appeal against the interim protection order or where extension of the period of interim protection is being decided. The person's right to be provided a representative for filing an appeal against such an order must be explained in the order, unless a representative has been appointed to the person earlier.

 (3) Among other things, the representative must, at first hand, meet with the person whose placement in a secure institution the case concerns, and hear them without the presence of the judge.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 536.  Hearing the person whom the court has been petitioned to place in a secure institution, and any other persons

 (1) Before placing a person in a secure institution, the court must hear them at first hand and explain to them the course of proceedings. Where this is needed, the court hears the person in their usual environment. Other aspects of hearing the person are governed, accordingly, by statutory provisions of the procedure for appointing a legal guardian to an adult of limited active legal capacity.

 (2) Before placing the person in a secure institution, the court must also hear the opinion of the municipal executive and of the following persons:
 1) the person’s spouse, registered partner and any other family members who live together with the person;
[RT I, 06.07.2024, 6 – entry into force 01.01.2024]
 2) the person’s legal guardian;
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 3) the trusted representative designated by the person;
 31) the members of the rehabilitation team;
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 4) the Head of the secure institution in which the person is held, or an official designated by the Head.

 (21) The court is not required to hear the persons mentioned in clause 1 of subsection 2 of this section if:
 1) the person whom the court has been petitioned to place in a secure institution objects to their being heard;
 2) the persons themselves waive their being heard;
 3) it is manifest that the hearing of the persons does not contribute to disposing of the case;
 4) in spite of reasonable efforts, the court has not succeeded in finding or contacting the persons.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (22) The order must state the reasons for the decision not to hear the person concerned or any other persons.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) Where it has been so directed by the court, the municipal executive collects and presents to the court the particulars required for placing the person in a secure institution.

§ 537.  Conducting the expert assessment

 (1) The court may place a person in a secure institution only if there is an expert opinion – by an expert who has examined or interviewed the person at first hand – on the prerequisites for such placement, including on the prognosis concerning the threat posed by the person. The court assigns the task of conducting the expert assessment to a single expert, except where the assessment is to be conducted by a committee of experts or as a complex assessment. Only a psychiatrist – or, in the case of a person suffering from a communicable disease, a physician competent in the field – may be assigned as the expert. Where the expert assessment is conducted by a committee of experts or as a complex assessment, a person who possesses specialised knowledge may also be assigned as an expert. The court may consider the opinion of the psychiatrist who examined the person to constitute the expert opinion mentioned in this section. The provisions of this subsection do not apply when applying interim protection measures.
[RT I, 04.07.2012, 1 – entry into force 01.08.2012]

 (11) Where the court deals with a petition for placing a person in a secure institution under clause 1 of subsection 1 of § 533 of this Code and a petition for appointing a legal guardian to the person under subsection 1 of § 520 of this Code, the court may order a joint expert assessment concerning the need to establish a legal guardianship and the prerequisites for placing the person in a secure institution.
[RT I, 04.07.2012, 1 – entry into force 01.08.2012]

 (12) No expert assessment is commissioned in respect of the person who is subject to an interim protection measure that has been imposed under subsection 5 of § 534 of this Code before the petition mentioned in subsection 1 or 2 of § 533 of this Code has been filed with the court.
[RT I, 04.07.2012, 1 – entry into force 01.08.2012]

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

 (3) Where the expert assessment of a person has been commissioned, the person is obligated to appear before the expert. If they do not comply, the court may, having heard the expert’s opinion, order the person forcibly brought before the expert.

 (4) Having heard the expert, the court may order the person’s placement in a medical treatment facility for observation for up to one month if this is needed to conduct the expert assessment. Before the order is made, the person must be heard. Where this is needed, the court may make an order by which it extends the time of the person’s confinement to three months, and may order the person forcibly brought in.

§ 538.  Court order

 (1) An order by which the person is placed in a secure institution states:
 1) the person to be placed in the institution;
 2) a description of the measures by which the person is placed in the institution;
 3) the duration of the placement;
 4) an explanation of the possibility of filing an appeal against the order.

 (2) Unless otherwise provided by law, the person may not be placed in a secure institution for a period longer than one year from the making of the order.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 539.  Discharging the person from the secure institution

 (1) The court discharges the person from the secure institution by an order when the prerequisites for the placement have ceased to apply or if it comes to light that the prerequisites were not present in the first place – including where the placement was imposed as an interim protection measure. The court may order the discharge on a motion of the person themselves, of the person's legal guardian or of the executive of the municipality in which the person has their residence, or of its own motion.

 (2) Before discharging the person from the secure institution, the court invites the municipal executive to state its opinion – unless the motion to discharge the person was filed by the executive and unless this causes a significant delay in disposing of the case. In the matter of discharging the person from the secure institution, appointing a representative to the person is not required unless the person seeks to be appointed one in order to file the motion.

 (3) Where, in the view of the secure institution, it is not necessary to keep the person in the institution until the end of the period ordered by the court, the institution must, without delay, notify this to the court. Where the person has been released from the secure institution before the time set by the court, including before the time set by the court under the rules for interim protection measures, this must also be notified to the court without delay. Also in such a situation, the court must issue a decision on discharging the person from the secure institution in accordance with the rules provided by subsection 1 of this section.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 5391.  Extending the duration of the person’s placement in a secure institution and repeat placement of the person in such an institution

 (1) Extending the duration of the person’s placement in a secure institution is governed by the provisions applicable to the person’s placement in the institution. Where the person has spent more than four years in a secure institution, the court may not, as a rule, assign the task of conducting the expert assessment to a person who has hitherto treated the person placed in the institution, performed the expert assessment on that person’s health status, or who holds a position in the institution in which the person has been placed.

 (2) A new expert assessment is not required for extending the time limit for the person’s placement in the secure institution or for a repeat placement of the person in a secure institution unless more than one year has elapsed from the issuing of the previous expert assessment and unless – according to the documents reflecting the person’s health status – that status has changed. The same applies to the hearing of the person, of their spouse or registered partner and of members of their family – unless more than one year has elapsed from the previous hearing.
[RT I, 06.07.2024, 6 – entry into force 01.01.2024]

 (3) In a situation mentioned in subsection 2 of this section, a representative must be appointed to the person in the proceedings only if the person seeks to be appointed one in order to file an appeal against the order.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 540.  Suspending the person’s placement in a secure institution

 (1) On a motion of the person who has been placed in a secure institution, of the person’s legal guardian or of the executive of the municipality in which the person has their residence – or of the court’s own motion – the court may, by an order, suspend the person’s placement in the institution for up to one year. The suspension may be ordered subject to compliance with conditions and to performance of obligations.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) The court may revoke the suspension if the person does not comply with the conditions or perform the obligations that they have been ordered to comply with or perform, or if revocation is required due to the condition of the person’s health.

 (3) Before revoking the suspension, the court must, where this is possible, hear the person whose placement has been suspended, the persons mentioned in subsection 2 of § 536 of this Code and the municipal executive.

§ 541.  Communication and entry into effect of the order

 (1) The court serves the order by which it places a person in a secure institution, or by which it suspends or terminates such placement, including any order by which it imposes interim protection measures, as well as the order by which it refuses the placement, on the person themselves, on their representative in the proceedings and on the person’s legal guardian. The court is not required to communicate the reasons of the order to the person at first hand where it is manifest that the person is unable to understand these or where this may cause significant harm to their health.

 (2) The court also transmits the order mentioned in subsection 1 of this section to the trusted representative designated by the person and to the executive of the municipality in which the person has their residence. The court also communicates the order to any persons mentioned in clause 1 of subsection 2 of § 536 of this Code whom the court heard in the proceedings unless the person whom the court was petitioned to place in a secure institution objects or the court does not consider it necessary to communicate the order or its reasons to the persons. The persons may still require that the order be communicated to them in full.

 (3) An order to place a person in a secure institution enters into effect and becomes enforceable when it can no longer be appealed, or when the disposition by which the appeal has been denied or dismissed has entered into effect.

 (4) The court may declare the order to become enforceable from its service on the person themselves or on their representative or legal guardian, or from its transmission to the executive of the municipality in which the person has their residence.

 (5) The court informs other courts and public authorities of the order where this is required in the interests of the person who was subjected to the measure, of third parties or of the public. The court may give notice – already before the conclusion of proceedings – of any material facts that have come to light in the course of proceedings.

 (6) Where the person has been confined in a custodial institution, medical treatment facility, care facility or other similar institution or facility, the court also notifies the order to the institution or facility.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 542.  Enforcing the order

 (1) The order to place a person in a secure institution is enforced by the institution in which the person is to be placed. On a motion of the person’s parents or legal guardian, the institution assists them with bringing the person in.

 (2) When enforcing the order to place a person in a secure institution, coercion may be used and, where this is needed and unless otherwise prescribed by the order, the police may be called upon to assist with enforcement.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 543.  Appealing the order

 (1) The order by which the person was placed in a secure institution or by which such placement was refused or terminated or by which termination of the placement was refused may be appealed by the person who was subjected to the measures, by the persons mentioned in subsection 2 of § 536 of this Code as well as by the municipal executive and the Head of the secure institution.

 (2) The persons mentioned in subsection 1 of this section may appeal the order by which the court imposed interim protection measures. The order of the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal may be appealed to the Supreme Court.

 (3) The person who was subjected to the measures may file an appeal against the order regardless of whether the measures have been discharged – among other things, to obtain a declaration that their placement in the secure institution was unlawful.
[RT I, 19.03.2019, 2 – entry into force 29.03.2019]

Chapter 55 GRANTING OF RESTRAINING ORDERS AND OTHER SIMILAR MEASURES TO PROTECT PERSONAL RIGHTS 

§ 544.  Granting a restraining order or imposing any other measures to protect personal rights

 (1) In order to protect a person’s private life or other personal rights, the court may, under § 1055 of the Law of Obligations Act, grant a restraining order or impose any other measures. The order may be granted or measures imposed for a period of up to three years.

 (2) If the proceedings for the restraining order or other measures concern a family relationship, the proceedings are additionally subject to statutory provisions concerning family cases dealt with under the action-by-petition procedure, unless otherwise provided by this Chapter.

 (3) The court may also deal with a case mentioned in subsection 1 of this section under the action-by-claim procedure provided it is dealt with together with another court claim, or on a motion of the claimant.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 545.  Hearing and conciliation of the parties

  Before granting a restraining order or imposing any other measure to protect personal rights, the court hears the person against whom the measure is to be imposed and the person in whose interests the proceedings for the measure are conducted. Where this is needed, the court also hears any person close to the persons mentioned above, or the executive of the municipality in which the persons have their residence, or the police authority that serves the locality in which that residence is situated.

§ 546.  Applying interim protection measures

  Where this is needed, the court may, of its own motion and by an order, protect the petition for a restraining order or for the imposition of any other measure to protect personal rights, or apply interim protection measures. Under the rules for interim protection measures, measures of interim relief may be imposed following the rules for interim relief.
[RT I 2005, 39, 308 – entry into force 01.01.2006]

§ 547.  Service and entry into effect of the order

  An order by which the court imposes a restraining order or any other measure to protect personal rights is served on the party against whom and the party in whose interests the measures are imposed. The order is subject to enforcement as of its service on the obligated party.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 548.  Revoking or varying the measure to protect personal rights

  If circumstances change, the court may revoke or vary the restraining order or any other measure to protect personal rights. Before revoking or varying the measure, the court hears the parties that have an interest in the matter.

§ 549.  Appealing the order

 (1) The order by which a restraining order or any other measure to protect personal rights was imposed may be appealed by the person obligated to comply with the order.

 (2) The order by which the court denied the petition for imposing a restraining order or any other measure to protect personal rights, or revokes or varies such a measure may be appealed by the person who petitioned for imposition of the measure or in whose interests the measure was imposed.

Chapter 56 PROCEDURE IN FAMILY CASES DEALT WITH IN ACTION-BY-PETITION PROCEEDINGS 

Subchapter 1 General Provisions 

§ 550.  Family cases dealt with in action-by-petition proceedings

 (1) The following family cases are disposed of in action-by-petition proceedings:
 1) appointing a legal guardian to a minor;
 11) declaring a minor not to have active legal capacity for the purposes of the right to vote;
[RT I, 22.01.2016, 7 – entry into force 01.02.2016]
 2) cases of legal custody of and access to the child, including assigning the right to decide on specific matters, amending the legal custody arrangements, imposing a limitation on a person’s legal custody or entirely divesting a person of legal custody, and regulating access to the child;
[RT I, 06.07.2024, 6 – entry into force 01.01.2024]
 3) adoption;
 4) extension of the active legal capacity of a minor;
 5) establishing a person’s filiation and contesting the entry concerning the parent after the parent’s death;
 6) granting consent for carrying out a transaction on behalf of the child or ward;
 61) deciding on the return of a child on the basis of the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (RT II 2001, 6, 33);
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]
 7) other family cases that the law has placed within the subject matter jurisdiction of the court and that cannot be disposed of in action-by-claim proceedings.

 (2) The court may also dispose of a case concerning legal custody or access to the child in action-by-claim proceedings provided the corresponding claim is made in action-by-claim proceedings together with a claim for divorce or termination of registered partnership contract or the award of maintenance.
[RT I, 06.07.2024, 6 – entry into force 01.01.2024]

 (3) Unless otherwise provided by law, the order made in a family case dealt with in action-by-petition proceedings becomes enforceable when it enters into effect.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 551.  Granting interim protection

 (1) When the court deals with an action-by-petition family case, it may, based on the petition or of its own motion, impose measures of interim relief as interim protection measures.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) Before applying interim protection measures in relation to a minor, the court must – unless it is manifest that the resulting delay would harm the interests of the minor – invite the executive of the municipality in which the minor has their residence to provide its opinion in the matter. If the measure is applied without such an opinion having been provided, the opinion must be obtained at the earliest opportunity.

 (3) When the court applies an measure of interim relief under the rules for interim protection measures, it takes into consideration whether one parent has used violence in respect of the child or of the other parent.
[RT I, 19.03.2019, 2 – entry into force 29.03.2019]

§ 552.  Cooperation with the municipal executive

 (1) Where, by law, proceedings require participation of the municipal executive, the court notifies the executive of the proceedings. Unless otherwise provided by law, the court also informs the executive of the proceedings and of the circumstances connected to the same in other situations where it is manifest that the executive needs to be aware of those circumstances in order to perform its duties.

 (2) In proceedings that concern a minor or the legal guardianship, the court invites the municipal executive to state its view and sends the executive copies of the orders by which it concludes such proceedings.

§ 5521.  Hearing the child

 (1) In a case concerning a child, the court hears the child, who is capable of holding their own opinions, at first hand unless otherwise provided by law. Where the court takes the view that this is required in the interests of the case, it hears the child in their usual environment. Where this is needed, the child is heard in the presence of a psychiatrist, psychologist or social worker. The court may also permit other persons to be present at the hearing, unless the child or their representative objects. When making arrangements for hearing the child, the court takes into consideration whether one parent has used violence in respect of the child or the other parent.
[RT I, 10.11.2022, 1 – entry into force 20.11.2022]

 (2) When hearing a child, the child must be informed – to the extent they are presumably able to understand this – of the matters dealt with in and potential outcome of the proceedings, provided this does not to entail any presumably harmful consequences to their development or upbringing. The child must be given an opportunity to express their view.

 (3) The hearing of the child may be dispensed with only where a valid reason is present. Where the child is not heard for the reason that the ensuing delay would harm their interests, the child must be heard afterwards without delay. The court may also dispense with hearing the child provided that the latter has – as part of child protection or conciliation proceedings – recently been heard concerning the circumstances under consideration in the judicial proceedings, and provided it is possible for the court to assess the outcome of the hearing without communicating with the child at first hand, and provided it would not be in the interests of the child to be heard on multiple occasions.
[RT I, 10.11.2022, 1 – entry into force 20.11.2022]

 (4) The court may delegate the hearing of the child to another court by means of a domestic letter of request only if it is manifest that the court will be able to assess the outcome of the hearing even without having personally communicated with the child.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 553.  Child’s independent right of appeal

 (1) A child of at least 14 years of age with sufficient discretionary and decision-making ability has a right, in an action-by-petition family case that concerns them personally, to file an appeal against the order that concludes the proceedings without the assistance of their statutory representative. The same applies to other cases in which the child must be heard before disposing of the case.

 (2) An order that the child may appeal must be personally notified to them. The reasons of the order are not required to be communicated to the child if this may lead to harmful consequences to the child’s development, upbringing or health.

Subchapter 2 Appointing a Legal Guardian to a Minor and Declaring a Minor not to Have Active Legal capacity for the Purposes of the Right to Vote 
[RT I, 22.01.2016, 7 - entry into force 01.02.2016]

§ 554.  Appointing a legal guardian to a minor

  Unless otherwise provided by this Subchapter, provisions concerning appointment of legal guardian to a person of limited active legal capacity – with the exception of provisions governing expert assessment – apply when appointing a legal guardian to a minor.

§ 555.  Applying interim protection measures

 (1) Where it may be presumed that the requirements for appointing a legal guardian have manifestly been fulfilled and a delay is likely to risk harm to the interests of the minor and the child – who possesses sufficient discretionary and decision-making ability – has been heard, the court may make an order by which it applies interim protection measures and, among other things, appoints a temporary guardian in the case.
[RT I, 10.11.2022, 1 – entry into force 20.11.2022]

 (2) For the purpose mentioned in subsection 1 of this section, the child may also be heard by a judge acting under a domestic letter of request.

 (3) Where a delay is likely to lead to a dangerous situation, the court may apply interim protection measures even before the child is heard. In such a case the child must be heard without delay after the application of the measures. The child is not required to be heard if it is manifest that this would cause significant harm to their health or if it is manifest that they are unable to manifest their volition.

 (4) The petitioner’s volition and the requirements that the law prescribes for legal guardians do not need to be considered when selecting a temporary legal guardian.

 (5) A temporary legal guardian may not be appointed for a period that is longer than six months.

 (6) The court may, by order, release a temporary legal guardian from their duties if it is manifest that the prerequisites for releasing the guardian have been fulfilled and a delay would risk harm to the interests of the ward.

 (7) The order by which a temporary legal guardian is appointed or released enters into effect at and is subject to enforcement from the time it is made public.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 556.  [Repealed – RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 557.  Court order

 (1) The court appoints a legal guardian to a minor by an order.

 (2) The order states:
 1) the person to whom the guardian is appointed;
 2) the person or agency appointed as the guardian;
 3) the guardian’s duties;
 4) whether the minor is permitted to carry out transactions without the guardian’s consent and the transactions that are permitted.

 (21) The order states that a legal guardianship is established until the minor attains full age – unless the court appoints the guardian for a shorter period.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (3) The order that establishes a legal guardianship vests the guardian with the right to represent the ward.

 (4) Orders by which a legal guardian is appointed to a minor, by which a petition for appointing such a guardian is denied, by which the guardianship is terminated, by which the scope of the guardian’s duties is varied, by which termination of the guardianship is refused or the guardian is released or a new guardian is appointed, or which deal with the costs of guardianship, may be appealed by the minor whose guardian’s appointment was considered in the proceedings, by a person who is the minor’s direct blood relative or who is close to the minor and with whom the minor has a sufficient emotional connection, by the person who was appointed the minor’s guardian or by the executive of the municipality in which the minor has their residence.
[RT I, 19.03.2019, 2 – entry into force 29.03.2019]

§ 5571.  Declaring a minor of not to have active legal capacity for the purposes of the right to vote

 (1) Declaring a person of 16–17 years of age not to have active legal capacity for the purposes of the right to vote is governed by the provisions that regulate appointment of legal guardian to a person of full age who has limited active legal capacity. When a person is declared not to have active legal capacity for the purposes of the right to vote, they are not appointed a guardian.

 (2) The court decides on declaring a minor not to have active legal capacity for the purposes of the right to vote of its own motion or on a petition of the municipal executive, the guardian or an interested party.
[RT I, 22.01.2016, 7 – entry into force 01.02.2016]

Subchapter 3 Determining a Parent's Rights in respect of the Child and Regulating Access to the Child 

§ 558.  Hearing the parents

 (1) In proceedings pertaining to the rights of a parent in respect of the child, the court hears the parents. With respect to the parents’ personal rights, the court hears the parents at first hand. Where the proceedings concern endangerment of the child’s well-being, the court hears the parents at first hand and discusses the protection of the child's interests with them. When arranging the hearing of the parents, the court takes into consideration whether one parent has used violence in respect of the child or the other parent.
[RT I, 19.03.2019, 2 – entry into force 29.03.2019]

 (2) The court is not required to hear a parent who has no parental rights or whose children have been placed under guardianship – unless it is manifest that hearing the parent contributes to disposing of the case or to clarification of the circumstances.

 (3) The court is not required to hear the parents if it is manifest that the resulting delay would risk harm to the child’s interests.

§ 559.  Hearing the child

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

§ 560.  Hearing the foster parents and any other persons who are raising the child

  Where, for an extended period of time, the child has lived with one parent or a person entitled to access the child or with a foster family, the court – in a case concerning the child – also hears the person or persons unless it is manifest that this does not contribute to disposing of the case or to clarification of the circumstances.

§ 5601.  Mediation or conciliation proceedings in matters of access to the child

 (1) The petition that is filed with the court must be accompanied by a certificate of unsuccessful mediation mentioned in § 13 of the Act on State-funded Family Mediation Services or by a certificate of unsuccessful conciliation mentioned in § 12 of the Conciliation Act.

 (2) Mediation or conciliation proceedings are not required to be undertaken as a prerequisite for approaching the court for assistance where one parent has used violence in respect of the child or the other parent, or where another valid reason is present. Where violence has been used, it must be referred to in the petition. The presence of another valid reason must be substantiated.

 (3) Where the petition was not accompanied by a certificate of unsuccessful mediation or conciliation and no reference was made to the circumstances mentioned in subsection 2 of this section, the court requests information from the Social Insurance Board on whether mediation or conciliation proceedings have taken place in the case.

 (4) Where, according to information received from the Social Insurance Board, the parents have not undertaken mediation or conciliation proceedings before approaching the court for assistance and where the circumstances mentioned in subsection 2 of this section are not present, the court accepts the petition and directs the parents to undertake the mediation procedure provided for by the Act on State-funded Family Mediation Services. The court explains to the parents the rules that govern recourse to the Social Insurance Board and sets a time limit for such recourse. The court transmits the order of reference for family mediation to the Board and serves it on the parties.

 (5) Where, based on the petition, one parent has used violence in respect of the child or of the other parent, the court explains to the parents the possibility of recourse to the Social Insurance Board in order to undertake the mediation procedure provided for by the Act on State-funded Family Mediation Services.

 (6) The court suspends proceedings on the petition until the end of the mediation procedure.

 (7) The court may, at any time, obtain information from the Social Insurance Board concerning the conduct of the mediation procedure.

 (8) Where the Social Insurance Board transmits to the court, under § 14 of the Act on State-funded Family Mediation Services, an approved parenting plan provided for by § 12 of that Act, or information concerning approval of such a plan, the court terminates proceedings by an order under clause 6 of subsection 1 of § 428 of this Code and, where this is needed, decides, under § 480 of this Code, on whether to set aside or vary any earlier judicial disposition. Where a certificate of unsuccessful mediation provided for by § 13 of the Act on State-funded Family Mediation Services is produced, the court continues proceedings in the case.

 (9) Where, in the case concerning access to the child, a claim that concerns the legal custody mentioned in § 1371 of the Family Law Act – or the child’s claim for maintenance – is filed with the court, the court may direct the parents to undertake mediation regarding all of the claims according to the rules provided by subsections 1–8 of this section.
[RT I, 10.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.07.2023]

 (10) Approaching the court for assistance in a situation where the agreement concerning access to the child is amended or the order concerning such access is varied is governed by the provisions that regulate the making of arrangements concerning access to the child. The court may also refer the issue of varying a judicial disposition to be dealt with by the mediation provided for by the Act on State-funded Family Mediation Services.

 (11) A subsequent parenting plan that has been approved by the Social Insurance Board regarding an underage child replaces an earlier judicial disposition or plan. A subsequent judicial disposition regarding a maintenance claim by an underage child replaces an earlier approved arrangement concerning that claim.
[RT I, 10.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.09.2022]

§ 561.  Disposing of the case by settlement

 (1) In proceedings concerning a child, the court must, as early as possible and at each stage of the proceedings, try to steer the persons concerned to settle the case by mutual agreement. The court must hear such persons as early as possible and draw their attention to the possibility of recourse to the assistance of a family counsellor – above all, for working out a shared view on caring for the child and on assuming responsibility for them. When the court steers the persons to settle the case or draws their attention to the possibility of recourse to the assistance of a family counsellor, the court takes into consideration whether one parent has used violence in respect of the child or the other parent.
[RT I, 19.03.2019, 2 – entry into force 29.03.2019]

 (2) The court may suspend proceedings concerning a child if this does not result in a delay that risks harm to the child’s interests and the persons concerned agree to undertake out-of-court counselling or if, in the court's view, there are other reasons that suggest prospects to settle the case by mutual agreement between the persons concerned.

§ 562.  Handing over items of property designated for personal use of the child

  Where the court orders the child to be returned, it may make, under the rules for interim protection measures, an order on the handing over of items of property designated for the child’s personal use.

§ 5621.  Enforceability of the order regulating access to the child and the fixing of compulsory measures

 (1) In an order by which it regulates access to the child, the court fixes compulsory measures that can be applied in the event the order is violated and explains the rules governing application of the measures that are provided by subsections 2 and 22 of § 179 of the Code of Enforcement Procedure.

 (2) The court only allows force to be used in respect of the party obligated to observe the rules fixed for access to the child if recourse to other means has been of no avail or where there is reason to presume that it will be of no avail, or where speedy enforcement of the disposition is required and the use of force is justified by the need to ensure the child’s well-being, which it is not possible to achieve by another method.

 (3) The order fixing the arrangements concerning access to the child is valid and enforceable without delay – regardless of whether it has entered into effect – as of the day on which it has been notified to the persons concerning whom it was made. The court may make the order enforceable in part or in full starting from a later date but not later than from the date of entry into effect.
[RT I, 10.12.2021, 1 – entry into effect 01.09.2022]

§ 563.  Conciliation procedure in a situation where the order or agreement regulating access to the child has been violated

  [Repealed – RT I, 10.12.2021, 1 – entry into force 01.09.2022]

§ 5631.  Communication of order

  An order rendered in a case concerning the parent’s legal custody serves as the basis for amending the person’s vital statistics information. The court sends the order to the vital statistics authority within ten days following its entry into effect for particulars concerning legal custody to be recorded in the Population Register.
[RT I 2009, 30, 177 – entry into force 01.07.2010]

§ 5632.  Separation of child from the family

  In situations provided for and in accordance with the rules provided by law, a child may also be separated from the family without a court order, provided that leaving the child in the family would risk harm to the child’s health or life and such an order cannot be obtained with sufficient speed. In such a situation, the corresponding petition must be filed such that it would be possible for the court to dispose of the petition within 72 hours following the carrying out of such separation on the grounds provided by § 33 of the Child Protection Act.
[RT I, 06.12.2014, 1 – entry into force 01.01.2016]

Subchapter 4 Adoption 

§ 564.  Petition for adoption

 (1) The court decides on adoption strictly on a petition of the person requesting it.

 (2) The petition states the name of the person whom the petitioner wants to adopt, the year, month and day of the person's birth, as well as any known particulars concerning such a person's parents are set out in the petition. If the petitioner wishes to change the child’s name, they must state this in the petition.

 (3) In the petition, the petitioner indicates the year, month and day of their birth, as well as circumstances that show that they are able to raise, care for and maintain the child.

 (4) If the petitioner is married or in registered partnership, they annex their spouse’s or registered partner’s written consent to adopt to the petition – unless, under the law, the spouse's or registered partner’s consent is not needed for the adoption.
[RT I, 06.07.2024, 6 – entry into force 01.01.2024]

§ 565.  Hearing the petitioner

  In a case of adoption, the court hears the petitioner in person unless the petitioner cannot appear in court due to a valid reason.

§ 566.  Hearing the child

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

§ 567.  Opinion of the Social Insurance Board

  [RT I, 21.12.2016, 2 – entry into force 01.01.2017]

 (1) The court instructs the Social Insurance Board to gather the information needed for deciding on the adoption and to present that information to the court.
[RT I, 21.12.2016, 2 – entry into force 01.01.2017]

 (2) The Social Insurance Board presents to the court the information concerning the health, financial situation and residence of the petitioner, and provides an opinion on whether the petitioner is able to raise, care for and maintain the child.
[RT I, 21.12.2016, 2 – entry into force 01.01.2017]

 (3) [Repealed – RT I, 21.12.2016, 2 – entry into force 01.01.2017]

§ 568.  Adoption order

 (1) The adoption order states the name of the adopted child and the childs other personal particulars to be recorded in the register and, in the case of changing the child’s given name or surname, their new given name or surname, the name of the adoptive parent and the parent’s other personal particulars to be recorded in the register, as well as the legal basis for the adoption. If the parent's consent to adoption is not required, this is mentioned in the order.

 (2) An adoption order enters into effect when it is served on the adoptive parent. The order cannot be appealed or varied.

 (3) The court sends an adoption order to the vital statistics authority after the order has entered into effect. The order serves as a basis for amending the vital statistics information of the adopted child.
[RT I 2009, 30, 177 – entry into force 01.07.2010]

 (4) The petitioner may file an appeal against an order by which their petition was denied.

§ 569.  Invalidating the adoption

 (1) In proceedings to declare the adoption invalid, the court hears the Social Insurance Board. Where this is possible, the adoptive parent is also heard.
[RT I, 21.12.2016, 2 – entry into force 01.01.2017]

 (2) In proceedings to declare the adoption invalid, the court appoints a representative to the adopted child.

 (3) An order by which the adoption is invalidated enters into effect and becomes enforceable when it can no longer be appealed.

Subchapter 5 Extending the Active Legal capacity of a Minor 

§ 570.  Initiation of proceedings

  The court decides on extending the active legal capacity of a minor on a petition of the minor themselves, of the minor's parent or guardian, or of the executive of the municipality in which the minor has their residence.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 571.  Particulars in the petition

 (1) The petition states:
 1) the reason for petitioning the court to extend the minor’s active legal capacity;
 2) the particulars that constitute the grounds for such extension.

 (2) The petition is accompanied by the consent of the minor’s statutory representative to extending the minor’s active legal capacity. Where such consent has been denied, this must be stated in the petition.

§ 572.  Commissioning an expert assessment

 (1) Where necessary, the court commissions an expert assessment to ascertain the minor’s level of development. Before giving their expert opinion, the expert must question the minor in person.

 (2) If the minor whose expert assessment has been commissioned fails to appear before the expert without a valid reason, the court dismisses the petition.

§ 573.  Municipal executive in the proceedings

  Where so instructed by the court, the executive of the municipality in which the minor has their residence collects and presents to the court the information needed for extending the minor’s active legal capacity, and, in the proceedings, provides its opinion concerning such extension.

§ 574.  Hearing of persons

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

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

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

 (4) If the minor does not appear for their hearing without a valid reason, the court dismisses the petition.

 (5) The court invites the statutory representatives of the minor to state their opinion in the proceedings. On a motion of the minor and unless this significantly delays proceedings, other persons close to the minor must be granted an opportunity to state their opinion.

 (6) [Repealed – RT I, 08.06.2022, 1 – entry into force 01.11.2022]

§ 575.  Court order

 (1) The court disposes of extending a minor's active legal capacity by an order.

 (2) The order states:
 1) the person whose active legal capacity is extended;
 2) the transactions or acts-at-law that the minor is permitted to carry out without the consent of their statutory representative.

§ 576.  Amending and setting aside the order

  The provisions concerning the order on extending the minor’s active legal capacity apply, accordingly, to varying or setting aside such an order.

§ 577.  Communication and entry into effect of the order

 (1) The order enters into effect and becomes enforceable as of its service on the minor.

 (2) The court notifies the order to other courts and public authorities where it is manifest that such notification is in the interests of the minor, of third parties or of the public. At the request of the minor, the court publishes a notice in the publication Ametlikud Teadaanded.

§ 578.  Appealing the order

 (1) The order by which the minor’s active legal capacity is extended – or an order by which such an order is varied or set aside – as well as the order by which the corresponding petition is denied may be appealed by the petitioner, the minor and the executive of the municipality in which the minor has their residence.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

 (2) The appeal cannot be filed later than five months following the date on which the order was served on the minor.

Subchapter 6 Ascertaining Filiation from a Parent and Contesting the Entry Identifying the Parent after the Person’s Death 

§ 579.  Petition to ascertain filiation and to contest the corresponding entry

 (1) The court disposes of ascertaining a person’s filiation from another person who has passed away and of contesting the entry by which the latter person has been identified as the former person’s parent in the record of their birth or in the Population Register strictly on a corresponding petition.

 (2) A petition to ascertain a person’s filiation from another person who has passed away or to contest the entry by which the latter person has been identified as the parent in the record of the former person’s birth or in the Population Register may be filed by the person whose filiation the petition seeks to ascertain or whose filiation it contests, by the guardian of such a person or by the municipal executive.

 (3) The petition states the circumstances based on which the person’s from another person is sought to be ascertained may be considered to be the parent or based on which the person identified as a parent in the record of the birth or in the Population Register cannot be considered as such.
[RT I 2009, 30, 177 – entry into force 01.07.2010]

§ 580.  Hearing the persons

 (1) The court hears the child’s other parent, the parents, spouse, registered partner and full-age children of the person who has passed away, as well as any other persons whose hearing the court deems necessary.
[RT I, 06.07.2024, 6 – entry into force 01.01.2024]

 (2) The court may decide not to hear a person mentioned in subsection 1 of this section only if the person is permanently incapable of providing a statement or if their whereabouts are unknown.

 (3) Where the petition was filed by the mother or legal guardian of an underage child, the court also invites the executive of the municipality in which the child has their residence to state its opinion.
[RT I 2008, 59, 330 – entry into force 01.01.2009]

§ 581.  Commissioning an expert assessment

  Where this is needed, the court commissions an expert assessment to ascertain a person’s filiation, provided this is possible without exhuming the person who has passed away from the place where they are buried.

§ 582.  Court order concerning a petition to ascertain a person’s filiation or to contest an entry concerning a parent

 (1) An order by which a person’s filiation is ascertained states the name of the person whose filiation has been ascertained and any other of their personal particulars to be recorded in the register, as well as the name of the person from whom filiation has been established and their other personal particulars to be recorded in the register.

 (2) An order by which it is ascertained that an entry concerning a parent in the record of a birth or in the Population Register is erroneous and the child does not descend from the deceased person states the same particulars concerning the persons who are deemed not to be related by filiation.
[RT I 2009, 30, 177 – entry into force 01.07.2010]

 (3) An order by which the court disposes of a petition to ascertain a person’s filiation or a petition contesting the entry in the record of a birth or in the Population Register concerning a parent enters into effect and is subject to enforcement on expiry of the time limit for appeal against the order.
[RT I 2009, 30, 177 – entry into force 01.07.2010]

 (4) The court sends the order by which it ascertained the person’s filiation or the error in the entry concerning the parent to the vital statistics authority when that order has entered into effect. The order serves as a basis for amending the vital statistics information of the child.
[RT I 2009, 30, 177 – entry into force 01.07.2010]

§ 583.  Appealing the order

  The order by which filiation, or the error in the entry concerning the parent, was ascertained, or by which the corresponding petition was denied may be appealed by the petitioner, by the parents, spouse, registered partner or full-age children of the deceased, or by the executive of the municipality in which the petitioner has their residence.
[RT I, 06.07.2023, 6– entry into force 01.01.2024]

Chapter 57 IMPOSITION OF CONSERVATION MEASURES ON A DECEDENT’S ESTATE 

§ 584.  Security for costs of imposition of conservation measures

 (1) The court may obligate the person who files a petition for imposition of conservation measures on a decedent’s estate – or the person in whose interests such measures are to be imposed – to pay an amount of money determined by the court into the account prescribed for this purpose in order to cover the costs of imposition of the measures, should there be reason to believe that the estate is not sufficient to cover such costs.
[RT I, 31.01.2014, 6 – entry into force 01.04.2014]

 (2) The order mentioned in subsection 1 of this section may be appealed. The order of the circuit court of appeal concerning the appeal cannot be appealed to the Supreme Court.

§ 585.  Hearing the persons concerned

  In proceedings concerning imposition of conservation measures on a decedent’s estate, the court hears the petitioner or the person in whose interests the measures are to be imposed, as well as the person whose appointment as conservator of the estate has been requested. Where this is needed, the court also hears any other persons whose rights and interests are affected by the petition.

§ 586.  Order imposing conservation measures

 (1) Unless otherwise provided by this Chapter, the court decides on imposition of conservation measures and appointment of conservator of the estate in accordance with the provisions concerning the placing of an absentee’s property under conservatorship.

 (2) The order by which conservation measures are imposed and a conservator is appointed to the estate enters into effect when it is served on the conservator. The order is also communicated to the petitioner, heirs or beneficiaries, legatees, as well as to the decedent’s creditors and to the executor of the decedent’s will.

 (3) On a motion of the heir of beneficiary, legatee, conservator of the estate, creditor of the decedent or executor of the decedent’s will, or of the court’s own motion, the court may vary or discharge conservation measures or release the conservator from their duties.

 (4) The order may be appealed by the petitione