The Minister of Finance Jürgen Ligi and the Minister of Internal Affairs Marko Pomerants took the oath of office before the Riigikogu today.
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Märt Rask gave to the Riigikogu an overview of courts administration, administration of justice and the uniform application of law. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is required to present such an overview to the Riigikogu once a year pursuant to § 27 of the Courts Act. In the opinion of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the report remains actually the only practical way to bring the problems of administration of justice to the awareness of the society.
In his report, Märt Rask pointed out a failure in legislative performance where the Code of Civil Procedure had been in the legislative proceeding of the Riigikogu for nearly a year and had then been published in the Riigi Teataja on the last day of the year and had entered into force on the following day, 1 January. “From the point of view of courts, the legislative proceeding of the Bill on Amendments to the Code of Civil Procedure and Associated Acts, No 194, in the Riigikogu and its entry into force at the end of 2008 was probably the most unsuccessful performance of all times in the development of our legal order. The legislative proceeding of that Bill put in doubt the legal certainty of the legal system and showed the inconsiderateness of the parliament towards the addressees of law. It was not a matter of merely technical amendments but, moreover, significant legal amendments in the regulation of civil proceeding,” criticised Rask.
When speaking about state legal aid, Rask noted that the purpose of the State Legal Aid Act is to ensure the timely and sufficient availability of competent and reliable legal services to all persons. The state legal aid procedure has created court bureaucracy in Estonia which is shadowing the actual administration of justice. The provision of state legal aid is an unreasonably labour and time consuming procedure which may be taking up more state resources than legal assistance itself,” claimed the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
In his report, Rask also stressed the need to prepare a new Code of Administrative Court Procedure, in view of the development of the Estonian legal order.
The report of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court also provided an overview of courts statistics, state fee in administrative court procedure, the efficiency of judicial proceedings, the salary administration in the judicial system, and the principle of separation and balance of powers.
On behalf of the factions of the Riigikogu, comments were presented by Ain Seppik, Mai Treial, Marek Strandberg and Väino Linde.
On the motion of the Finance Committee as the leading committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Land Tax Act
), initiated by the Estonian Reform Party Faction, the Social Democratic Party Faction and the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction, was concluded. The purpose of the Bill is to grant local governments the right to exempt home owners from the obligation to pay land tax. According to the Bill, the local government may exempt a person from the obligation to pay land tax on the residential land in the use of the person to the extent of 0.3 hectares in cities and 1.0 hectares in rural municipalities if the residence of the taxpayer is in a residential building located on such land according to the data on the place of residence entered in the population register and on the condition that the applicant for the tax exemption does not receive rent on the basis of the right of use of land. The second purpose of the Bill is to harmonise the land tax exemption limits of home owners and pensioners which are provided by legislation such that local governments would also have the right to grant land tax exemption to pensioners on the residential land in their use to the extent of 0.3 hectares in cities. The third purpose of the Bill is to grant the possibility for local governments to establish land tax rates as differentiated rates according to the categories of the intended use of cadastral units. The Bill was sent to the third reading.
On the motion of the Rural Affairs Committee as the leading committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the State Assets Act
), initiated by the same Committee, was concluded. The purpose of the Bill is to provide the regulation concerning transfer of immovables used as profit yielding land which contain areas under cultivation and parcels of natural grassland (agricultural land). Upon transfer, the person who is using the land to be transferred on legal basis has the right of pre-emption. This will allow current cultivators of the land to acquire the land at the price formed at public auction. In the opinion of the initiator, this will increase the sustainability of agriculture and reduce the risks of losing the possibility to cultivate land in the middle of an obligation period. The Bill was sent to the third reading.
See the verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian):
The Riigikogu Press Service