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At today’s sitting, Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise gave the Riigikogu an overview of her activities in 2021–2022. The Chancellor of Justice noted that her Chancellery had had to solve problems in nearly all spheres of life in Estonia.

Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise thanked the members of the Riigikogu for the help and support they had provided when resolving people’s concerns. “Thanks should also be extended to the ministers and officials in state agencies and cities and municipalities, as well as to businesses who have been accommodating and have resolved people’s problems,” Chancellor of Justice said.

In Madise’s words, in most cases, problems that are of a systemic nature and concern many people reach her Chancellery. “For example, we constantly need to look for a solution in the cases where damage has occurred because there is a gap in the law, the body implementing the law is superficial, or increasingly more often because they say that the information systems do not allow certain things,” she said. She underlined that the Riigikogu and people’s fundamental rights must not be hostage to information systems. “Information systems are not there to be served; rather, information systems should help the Riigikogu and officials do their work, always for the benefit of people.”

In constitutional review, in Madise’s words, in the majority of cases it had been necessary to make proposals to local governments to bring their regulations into conformity with the Constitution and the law. She added that such corrections had mostly been needed to be made in social welfare, in property maintenance, in construction, in issues relating to the discrimination of people with disabilities, in waste handling and in sewage treatment. “The overwhelming majority of these proposals were implemented and there was no need to turn to the Supreme Court. There were Regulations of ministers as well, and, again, in most cases the ministers got their Regulations right,” Madise added.

In Madise’s words, the rule of law has seen a decline. “Unfortunately, already now it can be heard from various camps fairly often that, when we have a crisis, be it a health crisis or a war in a neighbouring country, one does not have to comply with the Constitution and laws. They are saying that they will be complying with the Constitution again when times have calmed,” Madise said. Chancellor of Justice emphasised that such a mindset was extremely dangerous. “A lot of determination is needed here, and courage to be against public opinion, because public opinion is prone to even demand violation of the Constitution when driven by great fear and anger.”

In her speech, Madise pointed out that there were Acts that were lacking. “Patient’s will. There exists a theoretical right of a person to make arrangements for the time when he or she will no longer be able to give consent to life-sustaining treatment or resuscitation from clinical death. However, there is no practical solution to take this knowledge to a doctor. It will definitely need to be found,” she emphasised. In Madise’s words, it will also need to be written into law that doctors have the right to restrain aggressive people before surgery or in ambulance until anaesthesia starts to have an effect or the person reaches hospital.

Chancellor of Justice also said that a law must be understandable and not so confusing that everyone can read whatever they want out of it. “The solution is that the authors of Bills are made to explain in clear and plain grammatically correct Estonian what will actually happen once the Bill is passed. Your 101 life experiences provide a very good basis for envisioning such potential cases and asking questions about them.” Madise said.

During the debate, Heljo Pikhof took the floor on behalf of the Social Democratic Party Faction, Mihhail Lotman on behalf of Faction Isamaa, Anti Poolamets on behalf of the Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction, and Maris Lauri on behalf of the Reform Party Faction.

The first reading of a Bill was adjourned

Due to the end of the working hours of the sitting, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Municipal Council Election Act (594 SE), initiated by members of the Riigikogu Helir-Valdor Seeder, Heiki Hepner, Tarmo Kruusimäe, Raivo Tamm, Üllar Saaremäe, Priit Sibul, Andres Metsoja and Mihhail Lotman, will continue at the plenary sitting beginning at 2 p.m. tomorrow.

The Bill provides that aliens residing in Estonia, except for citizens of the European Union, will no longer have the right to vote in local elections. Under the current Act, the right to participate in local elections extends to aliens who reside in Estonia on the basis of a long-term residence permit or the permanent right of residence, who have attained 16 years of age by the election day and the address details of whose permanent place of residence have been entered in the Estonian population register.

Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian)

The video recording of the sitting will be available to watch on the Riigikogu YouTube channel.
(Please note that the recording will be uploaded with a delay.)

Riigikogu Press Service
Merilin Kruuse
Phone: +372 631 6592, +372 510 6179
E-mail: [email protected]
Questions: [email protected]