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Today, the Minister of Justice Hanno Pevkur made the annual report on the implementation of the development objectives of legal policy 2018 by government authorities to the Riigikogu.

The Minister informed the parliament that several procedures and practices regulating legislative drafting had been established, like for example the rules of good legislative drafting, good involvement practice and the handbook of requirements for legislative drafting for officials, and the requirements set out in these have so far been applied with approximately a quarter of the legislative acts which are in force in Estonia.

In the more extensive part of today’s report, the Minister analysed the situation with the involvement of target groups in the drafting of Acts. “So far we are used to target groups being involved mainly passively, meaning that materials are made publicly available. However, there are increasingly more cases where active involvement is used which means that a target group whom the amendment concerns is contacted directly,” Pevkur said.

At the same time, the Minister noted that often the ministries involve target groups too late, when a draft Act has already been drawn up. “Activities are planned but they are not sufficiently detailed, and it is often overlooked that the parties involved may need more time to gather their thoughts,” he added, and he noted that in some cases feedback is provided unevenly to the involved persons.

The Minister also reported to the Riigikogu that ministries are implementing a new method of legislative drafting where target groups and agencies are notified of a proposal for amendment of an Act before drawing up the draft Act and in this way often a number of problems and disagreements are avoided in later stages of the legislative proceedings. The preparation of proposals for draft is due to become obligatory starting from the beginning of next year.

Hanno Pevkur admitted that, in contrast to the assessment of the predicted impacts of draft Acts, we are still in our infancy in Estonia as regards post-legislative scrutiny of Acts. “We have yet no practice in this matter because post-legislative scrutiny requires the assessment of impacts pursuant to a procedure,” he stated.

Commenting the report of the Minister of Justice, the Chairman of the Legal Affairs Committee Marko Pomerants touched upon the part concerning the involvement of target groups and said that an ideal situation can never be reached in that regard.

“When we look at the target groups who have their say with different draft Acts, then we may have a very small non-profit association who has something to say in the context of every draft Act, and then there are much larger umbrella organisations who may never do so at all,” Pomerants said. He agreed with the opinion of the member of the Riigikogu Kalle Laanet according to which, when reading explanatory memorandums of draft Acts, everybody should understand for what specific purpose an amendment is needed.

In response to the Minister’s speech, Neeme Suur said that, besides the quality of the format of Acts, the quality of the content of Acts is at least equally important. “What good is involvement when an Act is carried by political, or rather political party policy goals and leaves the needs of the essential development of the field in the background,” he asked.

In the course of the debate, Marika Tuus-Laul also spoke of the fundamental rights of people, and quality and good practice in legislative drafting, and urged to find newer visions.

Igor Gräzin focused his speech on specific problems of the implementation and actual functioning of law where “law functions in a way we do not want it to”.

The Riigikogu decided to pass with 54 votes in favour the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Releasing of the Justice of the Supreme Court Märt Rask from the Office of Justice” (484 OE). The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Priit Pikamäe had submitted the draft Resolution on 17 September this year and it had provided for the release of the Justice of the Supreme Court Märt Rask from the office of justice as of 28 November 2013. The initiative of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is based on Märt Rask’s own request of 13 September this year.

The Apartment Ownership and Apartment Associations Bill (462 SE), initiated by the Government, passed the first reading today. The Minister of Justice Hanno Pevkur who presented the Bill said that the idea of the Bill was to consolidate the positions that lacked consistent regulation particularly in two Acts, the Apartment Ownership Act and the Apartment Associations Act, as well as the positions that had developed in judicial practice. When the Act enters into force on 1 January 2018, it will eliminate communities of apartment owners and in the future it will be possible to administrate apartment ownerships only in the form of an apartment association. Every apartment owner will have a clearly provided right to obtain information concerning the activities of the apartment association from the apartment association board and to examine the documents of the apartment association. The state will establish apartment associations for the existing apartment ownerships which are managed in the form of a community of apartment owners until the entry into force of the new Act. The Vice-President of the Riigikogu Jüri Ratas designated 5.15 p.m. on 29 October this year as the term for submission of motions to amend the Bill.

The Riigikogu Press Service – [email protected]