Chancellor of Justice Indrek Teder asked the Riigikogu to pay attention to the continuing impact of invalid excessive state fees on justice proceedings.
Having analysed the size of the state fees applied from 1 January 2009 to 30 June 2012 as well as the provisions that regulate their calculation, Chancellor of Justice Indrek Teder came to the conclusion that they contravene the Constitution. The Chancellor of Justice therefore proposed to the Riigikogu that the State Fees Act, the Code of Civil Procedure and the Code of Administrative Procedure be made to comply with the Constitution and to adopt a new regulation to guarantee lawful treatment of people who go to court and smooth litigation.
The Supreme Court has decided that many of the norms that prescribed the size of state fees from 1 January 2009 to 30 June 2012 contravene the Constitution and are invalid. It is likely that the majority of the remaining similar norms will also be declared invalid in the time remaining until the court cases initiated in this period are concluded with enforced court rulings. The Chancellor of Justice finds that it is necessary to regulate a situation where the court has declared the norm that prescribes the amount of a state fee to contravene the Constitution and where it must determine the new size of the state fee itself. Court practice shows how different the opinions of courts are when it comes to the correct size of the state fees in specific cases. As the differences are sometimes remarkable (e.g. after declaring state fees of exactly the same size to contravene the Constitution, the new state fee determined was 1,000 euros in one case and 2,636.36 euros in another case), the Chancellor of Justice sees the situation as problematic. He finds that the cost of litigation is not predictable (legally clear) in such cases. Equal treatment of parties to proceedings is also not guaranteed.
The Chancellor of Justice also said that it is the legislator and not the courts who should determine that the state fees applied in court cases in which justice proceedings were or may be initiated due to the excessive state fees valid from 1 January 2009 to 30 June 2012 contravened the Constitution. The Chancellor of Justice is of the opinion that this is justified by the number of cases where the excessive state fees valid from 1 January 2009 to 30 June 2012 have been justified, the predictability of the outcome (considering the current practice of the Supreme Court) and the unnecessary burden on parties to proceedings, the court system as well as all other institutions that must present their opinion. Considering the importance of the right to go to court and the extent of the state fee problem, declaring that single state fee amounts contravene the Constitution one by one in the Supreme Court would not be adequate.
The Chancellor of Justice submitted a presentation and proposal to resolve the issue of invalid excessive state fees to the Riigikogu.