When can the Chancellor of Justice help?

Legislation is not in conformity with the Constitution and other laws

If you find that legislation is not in conformity with the Constitution or other laws, you have the right of recourse to the Chancellor of Justice to review the conformity of an Act or other legislation of general application with the Constitution or the law.

The Chancellor of Justice supervises the following types of legislation:

  • acts of the Riigikogu;
  • decrees of the President of the Republic;
  • regulations of the Government of the Republic;
  • regulations of Ministers;
  • regulations of local governments, rural municipality governments and city governments;
  • legislative acts of legal persons in public law.

An official violates your rights

If you find that an authority, an official or a legal person governed by private law performing public duties violates your constitutional rights and freedoms, treats you unlawfully or against the principles of sound administration (e.g. is impolite, unjust, delays in answering or does not reply, gives incomplete or false information), you can turn to the Chancellor of Justice in the duties of an ombudsman with an application for checking the activity of that authority or official.

The Chancellor of Justice supervises the following authorities:

  • government agencies and the agencies under their administration (e.g. Ministries, agencies, inspectorates, county governments)
  • local governments and the authorities under their administration (e.g. rural municipality governments and city governments)
  • legal persons in public law (e.g. the Bank of Estonia, universities)
  • natural persons performing public duties (e.g. notaries, trustees in bankruptcy, bailiffs)
  • legal person in private law, performing public duties (e.g. a public limited company providing parking or ambulance services)

You are being ill-treated in a closed institution

If you find that you are being ill-treated in a place of restraint you can turn to the Chancellor of Justice as a national preventive mechanism with an application to check the activity of that institution or official. Ill-treatment is torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The Chancellor of Justice supervises the following closed institutions:

  • child care and educational institutions (e.g. specialised schools for children with special disciplinary or health needs);
  • social welfare and health care institutions (e.g. care homes, children’s homes, psychiatric hospitals);
  • military units;
  • detention facilities (e.g. prisons and houses of detention at police prefectures, expulsion centres);
  • other establishments that do not allow for a person to leave on his or her free will.

You are being discriminated against

If you find that you are being discriminated against by a natural or a legal person governed by private law (e.g. employer) because of your gender, race, nationality, skin colour, language, origin, religion or religious beliefs, political or other opinion, proprietary or social situation, age, disability, sexual orientation or other status named in law, you can turn to the Chancellor of Justice who has the authorities for conducting a conciliation procedure.

You are not satisfied with the activities of a judge

If you find that a judge violates the obligations of his or her office in adjudicating your case, you can submit an application to the Chancellor of Justice. He has the authorities to initiate disciplinary proceedings against judges.

A wrongful act of a judge lies in the failure to perform their official duties (e.g., a judge has not replied to inquiries or applications), in appropriate performance of official duties (e.g. judicial proceedings last unreasonably long, a judge does not follow the time-limits of proceedings) or commitment of an indecent act (e.g., impolite conduct by a judge). A complaint regarding a judge can also be submitted to the chairman of the court or the Supreme Court that also has authorities to look into activities of judges.

The Chancellor of Justice has no right to interfere with the administration of justice. If you are not satisfied with a court judgement or regulation you can contest it in a higher court under the terms and conditions of the law. The procedure of contestation is explained and the contestation deadline is set by judge in his or her decision or regulation.