This article will provide guidance on the Code of Civil Procedure in Estonia.   The law of Estonia is based on the Civil Law tradition of continental Europe. The Code of Civil Procedure is the law that governs civil litigation. Since Estonia is a member of the European Union, EU law is likewise followed there.

Estonia's judicial hierarchy comprises the Supreme Court and regional and county courts. In Estonia, civil cases are first heard by county courts, appeals from those courts are heard by circuit courts (also based in Tallinn and Tartu), and the Supreme Court evaluates those cases (court of highest instance, located in Tartu). Estonia does not have any kind of specialized judicial system. As of right now, Estonia does not have any kind of pre-action protocol in place.


Average statutes of limitation are three years, but they might be as long as ten (depending on the seriousness of the issue). The statute of limitations for establishing ownership and establishing succession is thirty years. The statute of limitations is considered substantive law under Estonian law. The action is submitted to the court, and a ruling is made on whether or not it will be accepted. For the action to be relevant, the most important part of the process is the delivery of papers. The receiver gets the pleadings either by mail or in person at the courthouse (other ways can be used in certain cases, e.g., bailiff, fax)

Service of process is accomplished in a foreign state and on extraterritorial citizens in the manner described above unless otherwise mandated by law. EU law may interpret (extra-)judicial paperwork differently in civil and commercial cases. It is possible to file a motion to alter a pleading in Estonia. The plaintiff may move to modify the cause up to the time of the court of the first instance's summations or the end of the period for submitting the documents, whichever comes first.

The only way to amend the action after the deadline is with the defendant's or the court's approval. A higher court will only change action if necessary due to new evidence.

There is no established procedure for allocating cases to courts; thus, claims must be filed in line with internal jurisdiction unless an exception applies. The court must do all its power to reach a fair resolution throughout the procedures. For this aim, the court may, among other things, offer the parties a draught contract of compromise, require the parties to appear in court, suggest that they resolve the disagreement outside of court, or appoint a conciliator to mediate the conflict.

The plaintiff and the defendant can change the action's purpose, modify the number of damages sought, or drop the case altogether. A party has procedural rights, including the ability to appeal a court's decision. The parties may mutually agree to end the case. When a judgment is issued, a party may ask for it to be enforced by the court. In a procedure on the petition, a party has the same rights as in any other process.

If the court refuses to accept the petition and sends it back, or if an action is not heard or a judgment ends the procedure, the plaintiff is responsible for all associated costs. Unless otherwise agreed upon, the settling parties must each incur their procedural costs in the event of a settlement.  


When making factual claims, any party may do so under Estonian law if they have adequate evidence to support their position. The court makes an unbiased determination based on both sides' facts and arguments.

The Estonian legal system accepts individual testimony, physical proof in papers, material proof, and expert testimony. There may be demands about the nature of the evidence presented. If evidence is not presented to the court in the form required by the rules of procedure, it will be thrown out.

Qualified professionals, such as those hired by a state forensic institution or recognized as experts in their field, perform expert assessments. The court is allowed to seek additional experts' opinions to use specialized knowledge. Each party may submit questions to the expert. 

A party to a process may ask the court to take evidence on their behalf if they cannot do so. Participants in the procedure must provide evidence, and the court is empowered to suggest that both sides provide further evidence. 


A court makes a judgment based on the evidence presented. The court is responsible for judging any procedural motions filed by the parties and establishing rules of procedure for the hearing. There are several types of judgments, such as the final judgment, an error repair judgment, an interim judgment, a partial judgment, and a supplementary judgment (as well as certain specific judgments for specific proceedings).

If damages have been established in a proceeding, but the exact amount of the damage cannot be established, or establishment thereof would involve major difficulties or unreasonably high costs, including if the damage is non-patrimonial, the court will decide the number of damages according to the conscience of the court and taking into account all circumstances. Suppose the obligor fails to fulfill a financial obligation by its due date. In that case, the obligee may demand that the obligor pay interest on the delay (a penalty for late payment) for the period beginning when the obligation was due and ending when the performance was conforming. The court can decrease a hefty fine if it finds it excessive.

If a civil case is heard under Regulation (EC) No 861/2007 of the European Parliament and the Council establishing a European Small Claims Procedure, the rules set out in the Code of Civil Procedure about the simplified procedure will apply in conjunction with the Regulation. 


Estonian Courts hear actions following simplified rules at their reasonable discretion regarding the general procedural principles. In the simplified procedure, courts guarantee that the fundamental rights and freedoms and the essential procedural rights of the participants in proceedings are observed and that participants are heard if they so request. A court session need not be held for this purpose. Participants in proceedings must still be notified of their right to be heard by the court. Courts may simplify the procedure but are not obliged to do so.

An application for initiating the European Small Claims Procedure can be filed electronically or by post with a court.  The court may deem an application or any other procedural document submitted by e-mail by a participant in proceedings to be sufficient even if it fails to comply with the requirement of bearing a digital signature, provided that the court has no doubts about the identity of the sender and the sending of the document.


Procedural documents must be served on advocates, public notaries, bailiffs, trustees in bankruptcy, and state or local government agencies electronically via the information system designed for the purpose. Their service in any other manner is only permitted with good reason and as sanctioned by the court. In the simplified procedure, the formal requirements regarding the serving procedural documents may be deviated from; however, this option should be considered cautiously. The rules regarding serving procedural documents may not be deviated from when serving statements of claim on defendants and judicial decisions on participants in proceedings.

The state fee rate is determined based on the value of the civil case, which is calculated considering the amount of money requested to be paid. The total value of a civil lawsuit includes not only the amount of the primary claim but also any collateral claims that may be applicable. Suppose a late payment penalty is sought via the European Small Claims Procedure but has not yet become due. In that case, the applicant must include an additional sum equal to the penalty's amount due for one year in the sum computed as of the date of the application. 

Suppose a decision rendered under the European Small Claims Procedure is not voluntarily complied with after it has become effective. In that case, the party seeking enforcement must turn to a bailiff to begin enforcement procedures.

A decision rendered in litigations conducted under the Regulation will only be enforceable in Estonia if rendered in Estonian or English or if a translation into Estonian or English is attached to the certificate of judgment as required.


In a written procedure, the simplified process case may be discussed. The court will ensure that everyone's basic liberties and procedural rights are respected and that everybody who asks to be heard in a case will have their day in court. No court session is required for this purpose. The court may waive a written pre-trial process or court session.

The descriptive component of a judgment provides a clear and simple account of the claims, accusations, counterclaims, and evidence that was at issue in the case. The statement of reasons for a decision details the findings of fact, the conclusions drawn from those findings, the evidence upon which those conclusions are founded, and the statutes that were applied in reaching those conclusions. 

Any findings of fact that the court finds to be incongruous with those of the plaintiff or the defendant must be supported by the court in its conclusion. In reaching a verdict, the court must consider all of the evidence. If the court chooses to ignore any evidence, it must explain. An alternative claim's rejection need not be justified if that claim is granted.


At the end of a judgment, the court makes its final, definitive ruling on the merits of the parties' claims, any outstanding requests from the parties, and any concerns relating to the effectiveness of the measures taken to secure the action. The verdict's bottom line must make sense and be enforceable even if the reader cannot access the remainder of the opinion.

The judgment's appeal deadline and process are also laid out in conclusion. This includes information like which court the appeal should be filed with and whether or not an oral hearing will be required to evaluate the matter on appeal. The right to submit a petition to vacate a default judgment is spelled forth in the judgment itself. In addition, the appeal must be submitted within the appeal period to meet the time limits of the case if the appellant wishes to receive procedural aid for appealing (such as relief from the payment of the state fee on the appeal).

A decision rendered by a court of first instance under the European Small Claims Procedure may be appealed to the circuit court within the jurisdiction of the county court that rendered the verdict. If the third party's appeal does not conflict with the appeal of the plaintiff or defendant in whose support the third party is participating in the proceedings, the third party may submit its appeal. An interested party has the same time limit as the plaintiff or the defendant in whose support the interested party is engaging in proceedings to file an appeal or make other procedural actions.

A foreign court's ruling may be enforced in Estonia only if an Estonian court rules that it can be unless an exception is made for the ruling under Estonian legislation or an international agreement. Judgments issued by EU courts are subject to Council rule No. 44/2001. In addition, Estonia has signed five bilateral legal assistance agreements that streamline the process of recognition and enforcement.


Documents can be faxed at (800)-296-0115, emailed to, mailed to 590 Madison Avenue, 21 Floor, New York, New York 10022, or dropped off at any of our locations. We do require pre-payment and accept all major credit and debit cards. Once payment is processed, your sales receipt is immediately emailed for your records.

Drop-offs must call and make an appointment first to be added to building security to permit access to our office. Documents for service must be in a sealed envelope with payment in the form of a money order or attorney check (WE DO NOT ACCEPT CASH) payable to UNDISPUTED LEGAL INC.; Our receptionist receives all documents.


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1. When a case is dropped or withdrawn, the court may rule that the losing party must pay the defendant's legal fees and costs. After an action is brought, if the plaintiff decides to drop or withdraw it because the defendant has paid off the plaintiff's claim, the court may order the defendant to pay the plaintiff's legal fees.

Unless the defendant's actions justify the suit, the plaintiff is responsible for any court costs incurred after the defendant concedes the lawsuit.

2. The court in a maintenance case might ask for evidence of a party's income and assets from the employer, pension board, insurance companies, tax and customs board, and banks.

3. In a marital, filiation, child-related, or petition procedure, the court may, absent special statutory provisions to the contrary, accept evidence on its initiative

4. Under subsection 405(3) of the Code of Civil Procedure, courts may hear cases following simplified rules without having to make a separate ruling concerning this fact.

5. According to paragraph 59(1) of the State Fees Act (riigilivuseadus),

6. The bailiff conducting the enforcement procedures, in addition to a court, may issue a stay under the circumstances outlined in section 46 of the Code of Enforcement Procedure (täitemenetluse seadustik).