1. Why are English translations published and what is their status?

The purpose of making English translations of Estonian legislation available is to introduce Estonian law to our partners in the European Union and elsewhere in the world. Another purpose of doing so is to enable investors to understand Estonian law.

English translations of acts of Parliament (the Riigikogu) are updated, but they cannot be used in official proceedings in Estonia. Estonian is the official language and only Estonian legislation has legal force.

2. What makes consolidated texts in Estonian have legal force?

In Estonia amending instruments are passed in order to either enforce new original legal instruments or amend current consolidated texts. Official consolidated texts of legislation are made on the basis of the original text and contain any and all amendments. All consolidated texts are published on the same date as the amending instrument on the basis of which the consolidated texts were drawn up.

Consolidated texts get legal power in two respects. Firstly, consolidated texts having legal power is stated formally. Subsection 1 of § 3 of the Riigi Teataja Act clearly states that official consolidated texts are published and, therefore, they have legal power.

Secondly, in terms of content there are the following rules:

• No sole provision shall be left behind in the amending act. All the provisions that are included in the amending act must be carried over to the consolidated text. That means implementing or transitional provisions in the wording must also be supplemented with the specific new amending provisions, when necessary. The provision regulating the entry into force of the new wording(s) is not worded as a provision amending the consolidated text but will be determined when adding the validity data of the consolidated text. See subsection 2 of § 3 of the Riigi Teataja Act. Validity data is essential for the automated time machine of law to function, i.e. the predetermined chronological sequence of consolidated texts and displaying all the added data and links to the user automatically, dependant on the time dimension of the wording. By default, the user is always shown the consolidated text that is in force at the time of the search, including all present data, however, the user can search for wordings that were previously in force or what will be in force in the future.

• When preparing the consolidated text, the will of the act issuer, i.e. the amending instrument is strictly followed. Cases, where it is not possible to carry amendments over to the consolidated text due to uncertainties, are very rare. In these instances, the issuer is consulted to find a solution.

• An important prerequisite for compiling error-free consolidated texts is to have normative rules. These rules have been put in place considering the necessity of compiling error-free consolidated texts and giving them legal force. See Rules for Good Legislative Practice and Legislative Drafting, subsection 8 of § 34 for example.

When consolidated texts are published alongside the amending instrument, only the consolidated text is left with legal power. When amendments enter into force, they do it by being incorporated into the consolidated text that enters into force. What the amending act amends is the consolidated text and when the consolidated text including all the amendments has been published and has thereby entered into force, the amending act loses its independent effect. Essentially, the amending act becomes irrelevant after amendments have entered into force. This is how the logic works, although this has not been clearly stated anywhere as such. After the amendments have entered into force, the text to be amended further down the line is, after all, the consolidated text, not the previous amending acts.

3. What legal instruments are available via the English version of Riigi Teataja?

Translations of consolidated texts of acts of the Legislature currently in force are published in Riigi Teataja. In addition, some regulations of the Executive are also available.

Upon launching the English website of Riigi Teataja, the translations of nearly 260 Estonian laws (acts of Parliament) became available. The consolidated texts of all of the nearly 400 Estonian acts will be translated into English by the end of 2014. Translations will be kept up-to-date so that current Estonian legislation is available in English at all times. This means that whenever an act is amended, a translation of the new consolidated text containing the recent amendments will be published usually no later than by the date of entry into force of the amendment.

A consolidated text is a wording of a legal instrument which contains all the amendments published in Riigi Teataja. The wordings of consolidated texts have a term of effectiveness that is indicated in the last column of search results and in the upper left-hand corner of a legal instrument that is opened. Upon launching the English website of Riigi Teataja, all the consolidated texts translated and in force at the time are available. Occasionally, former (repealed) wordings may also be available.

In addition to translations of up-to-date consolidated texts, translations of past (repealed) wordings as well as of wordings that have been passed by the Riigikogu but that will enter into force in the future are also available, provided we have been able to translate and publish them. The issuer of the instrument may amend wordings that are yet to enter into force. In such a case, the published consolidated text will become a wording that has not entered into force and it will not show up in search results, but it will be available as a published instrument in the list displayed on the opening page of instruments. The details of such a consolidated text will contain the words ‘wording has not entered into force.’

4. How to search for legal instruments?

You can search for legal instruments using all of the fields on the search form, but filling in just one of the fields will do. By default, the search focuses on texts in force on the date of the search – future and repealed wordings will be displayed under separate tabs, taking into account the parameters entered on the search form.

If you wish to find the wording of a consolidated text in force on a particular date, you will have to change the date of the wording accordingly. To find the desired wording of the consolidated text, you can also move to the desired wording via the displayed wording of the consolidated text by moving forward (the button ‘Future wordings’) or back (the button ‘Previous’) in time. The wordings of a consolidated text that has entered into force will not be amended, except for correcting possible mistakes. When a mistake is corrected in a text, a correction notation with an explanation and the date and time of correction is added.

Repealed wordings are displayed in separate tabs. When an instrument is repealed, its last wording, stripped of contents, is published with a notation of repeal. You can access the contents of the last wording by moving from the wording with the notation of repeal to the previous wording.

If the legal instrument serving as the basis for a translation has been amended and the translation has not yet been published, the final date of effectiveness based on the entry into force of the new amendment is added to the wording of the consolidated text. If the term of effectiveness of the wordings has ended, you can find them by changing the date of the wording in the search window in such a manner that it corresponds to the possible period during which the consolidated text was in force. They are also available in the list of instruments published on the opening page.

Details of effectiveness are given in the upper left-hand corner of each consolidated text. These include the date of entry into force and the final date of effectiveness (if any) of the wording of the consolidated text. Instead of the final date of effectiveness, the notation ‘Repealed’ is added to consolidated texts that are no longer in force.

The header of each consolidated text contains amendment notations that refer to the time of publishing and entry into force of the original instrument. They consist of the date of the amending instrument, the number of the amending instrument (if any), the publication notation, the date of entry into force and, where necessary, a text concerning differences in dates of entry into force.

The same publication notations are given below the amended provisions or other elements, along with the date of entry into force of the amendment of the respective provision.

In each view of a consolidated text you can compare the wordings of the consolidated text in force in different periods. Differences between the wordings are highlighted in different colours. Red marks repealed text and green marks added text. In addition, you can compare the English translation with the Estonian source text.

5. Who translates these legal instruments?

Certified translators (also called sworn translators) translate acts. Certified translators are holders of public office who have passed the Ministry of Justice examination in translating legal texts. The state has authorised them to certify the truthfulness of documentary translations and imposed on them the public duty to translate Estonian acts into foreign languages and international agreements into Estonian.

Translations of regulations are usually not made by certified translators. The translation of regulations is organised by ministries, which forward their translations to the Riigi Teataja Division for publishing. Translations of regulations are not kept up-to-date.

Certified translators have been translating acts into English since 2011. The Riigi Teataja Division of the Ministry of Justice coordinates this translation. The Division is the publisher of Riigi Teataja and also publishes finished translations in the Riigi Teataja information system.

6. How can I embed a link in my website that always opens the current version of the consolidated text of the legal instrument when someone clicks on it?

To do this you will need to add ‘?leiaKehtiv’ at the end of the link of any version (wording) of the legal instrument.

For instance, in the case of the Employment Contracts Act the link is https://www.riigiteataja.ee/akt/13198475?leiaKehtiv.

The former link form ‘&leiaKehtiv’ also remains functional. A new legal instrument whose first version will enter into force in the future does not currently have a valid version. In such an event the earliest version to enter into force will be displayed. Upon adding a link to an instrument that will enter into force in the future, bear in mind that the instrument may be amended prior to its entry into force. In such an event the link will not refer to the version that entered into force.

7. How can I produce a link that opens a translation of a legal instrument currently in force and takes the user immediately to the desired section?

To do this, add ‘/consolide/current’ to the end of the link of the translation.

For example:

You can even add a reference to the desired section, subsection or clause of the translation.

With an accuracy of one section you can copy the link from the address line if you click on the desired section in the table of contents or add ‘#para’ + number.

For example:


In the case of a reference with subsection precision, add ‘#para’ + number + ‘lg’ + number to the end (#para70lg4). In the case of a reference with clause precision, add ‘#para’ + number + ‘lg’ + number + ‘p’ + number to the end (#para70lg4p3).

For example: 

If you need to refer to a provision containing a number in superscript, add ‘b’ + number in place of the superscript number in the link (e.g. #para3b2lg5p3b2, which means § 32 subsection 5 clause 32).

By combining these steps you can produce a link that opens the translation of the legal instrument currently in force with the precision up to the clause.

For example:


If a link referring to a provision of an instrument published in Riigi Teataja is given in a Word file but does not open directly from Word, you can fix the problem by adding the following key to the Windows registry: