HOW THE CENTRAL AUTHORITY WORKS IN ESTONIA

This article will provide guidance on how the central authority works in Estonia.  The Constitution of 1992 established Estonia as a unitary republican state.  The Constitution ensures the right to self-governance at the local level by stating that all issues pertaining to a particular jurisdiction are decided and handled by that jurisdiction’s authorities, who are empowered to carry out their responsibilities in compliance with the law independently.  Click Here for information on the Code of Civil Procedure in Estonia!

The Ministry of Justice in Estonia is the Central Authority.  Once the requests reach the Ministry of Justice, they are carefully reviewed. If everything is in order, the papers are sent to the court in the addressee’s region for execution. Following its return to the Ministry of Justice, the court will deliver the certificate of service or non-service together with the attached papers to the State that requested them. Click here for a video on International Process Service.

Expertly proving proper service of process is what we do at Undisputed Legal. In judicial procedures, it is essential to have documentation, such as affidavits or certificates of service, to confirm the legality of service. Estonian law may be complicated, and the legitimacy of the service might be challenged if experienced process servers do not handle it. By working with a trustworthy agency like Undisputed Legal, you can lessen the likelihood of these problems and be certain that your service will be carried out legally. Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers!

Court System in Estonia

The county courts are responsible for hearing civil cases. As the first instances of law, county courts have jurisdiction over civil disputes. 

The first step in starting a civil case is to go to a county court and file a claim or petition. The party against whom the claim is being brought, the nature of the claim, the facts supporting the claim, and the proof supporting each situation must all be included in the court’s statement of claim.

The Rules of Civil Procedure (tsiviilkohtumenetluse seadustik) govern the way in which civil procedures are to be conducted. When deciding whether the court has the authority to consider a case, familiarity with the rules of jurisdiction is essential. The three domains that make jurisdiction are [A.] standard jurisdiction, which is based on the individual’s domicile; [B.] discretionary jurisdiction; and [C.] exclusive jurisdiction 

Estonia has three levels of court, each with its unique function. All civil disputes are heard by the county courts (maakohus), the courts of first instance. In cases involving civil disputes, the district court (ringkonnakohus) hears appeals from the county courts that fall within its geographical authority. Other things that are within the jurisdiction of a district court are also decided by that court.

On appeals in cassation and appeals against judgments, the district court’s decisions in civil issues are reviewed by the Supreme Court (Riigikohus). The Supreme Court hears appeals of lower courts’ rulings, selects a new court to hear cases, and decides on any other things that fall within its purview as a result of statutes and other legal provisions. The Constitutional Court of Estonia is the highest court in the nation.

In accordance with the Brussels I Regulation (recast), which regulates the recognition and enforcement of judgments in cross-border cases, the ‘exequatur’olished, and parties with an enforceable judgment procedure is ab issued in one Union Member State can approach the enforcement authorities in another Member State where the debtor possesses assets, for example. Click here for information on How The Central Authority Works in Estonia.

Transmission of papers In Estonia

The goal of the recast European Parliament and Council Regulation (EU) 2020/1784 on the transmission of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters for service between Member States is to streamline and improve the process of serving these documents within Member States. 

Examples of papers that fall within the purview of the rule include summonses that initiate proceedings, statements of defense, injunctions, appeals, and extrajudicial documents like notarized acts that must be delivered in a different EU nation than the residence country.  Article 5(3) translation requirements under the Hague Service Convention stipulate that individuals may use Estonian, English, or French to request service, but the documents to be provided must be in either English or Estonian. Documents are often provided at no cost. A bailiff may be used to serve procedural papers with one notable exception. In this case, the cost of using a bailiff might range from thirty to sixty euros. Including the ‘invoice’ (with payment details, due date, etc.) with the paperwork being returned to the applicant is important. 

The delivery of a procedural document must be recorded in the required format and adhere to the formal standards set out by law. Procedural papers may be served by a person whose business is providing postal services, a bailiff or court security guard, or another competent court official. Involving a private process service agency like Undisputed Legal can help ensure your papers are served in accordance with the court’s internal regulations or by any other means required by law.

Service of documents in Estonia

A procedural document is considered served upon the receiver upon delivery of the document or a certified copy or printout of it. Court officials or advocates who are competent may certify transcripts of the procedural papers in accordance with the court’s internal regulations. It is unnecessary to certify transcripts of procedural papers or appendices to such documents if the parties involved submit or deliver them to the court.

In the event that a document reaches a party involved in a legal process that was required to receive it or could have been delivered in accordance with the law, but certification of delivery is not possible, or if the legal procedure for service is infringed upon, the party is considered served as of the moment the document reaches the receiver. 

As a general rule, if a procedural document is sent by mail, it is considered received three days after the post. However, if the document is sent to a foreign state, it is considered received fourteen days after the post. This is unless the party involved in the proceeding can prove to the court that they received the document later or did not receive it. If the court so chooses, the time it takes to consider a document submitted could be extended.

The receiver must sign an acknowledgment of receipt of the procedural document, and the time of issuance must be mentioned in the file before it may be served on them on court grounds. The court’s minutes will reflect any document served during a session.

The court has the authority to notify the addressee of the document’s availability via means of electronic communication being [A.] the addressee’s presumed social media account page, [B.] an email address or phone number listed on a public computer network or [C.] any other virtual communication environment where the addressee is believed to be active based on the information made public, or where the addressee is believed to be located upon transmission. The court publishes the notice on the assumed user profile page of a social media platform or another online communication platform in a way that only the intended recipient may view it, if at all feasible.

Who can serve papers in Estonia

The Minister of Justice has the authority to make regulations that provide more specific guidelines for the electronic service of documents and their availability via the information system.

A bailiff, court security guard, another competent court official, police authority, state agency, local government or its agency, or another individual whom the court agrees to serve as a messenger can also be used to serve a procedural document as long as it follows the court’s internal rules. If a party to a procedure has filed a document that needs to be served or another procedural document has to be served for their benefit, they may ask the court to have it served by a bailiff.

Any party to a case who has filed a document that must be served or whose interests are involved in another procedural document that must be served may independently ask the court to arrange for the document to be served. Only a bailiff may serve procedural papers on a party involved. The court will establish a deadline for the procedural document’s service. During this deadline, the party involved should inform the court of the service’s outcome. At Undisputed Legal, we try to be on good terms with the authorities to ensure that your papers are cared for. This includes local authorities, so your papers can be served quickly and efficiently.

process Service via the Hague Service Convention

Per the Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters or another international agreement, a procedural document may likewise be served in a foreign state. If parties need to serve a procedural document in a foreign state, they may do so by sending a registered letter with a delivery notice. To confirm delivery, the parties need to return the delivery confirmation.

The court may use the foreign state’s competent administrative agency or an ambassador or consular officer representing the Republic of Estonia to serve a procedural document abroad.  The Republic of Estonia’s Ministry of Diplomatic Affairs may also arrange for the service of procedural papers on extraterritorial people, such as citizens of the Republic of Estonia working for an Estonian diplomatic mission residing in another country. The court hearing the case will file a request to serve a procedural document on the individual listed. The document is certified as served when the administrative agency or official who served it issues a written certification.

The court has the authority to require the party involved in the case to provide the translation. Alternatively, the court can specify that the party pays for its translation if a procedural document has to be served in a foreign state. The court has the authority to decline to serve the procedural document if the party involved does not comply. To understand jurisdiction in Estonia, our Undisputed Legal local process servers are highly attuned to the requirements of the various courts. Our servers are cognizant of both local as well as international laws. We guarantee that service is accomplished to the fullest.

About the Ministry of Justice 

The Ministry of Justice is known as the Justiitsministeerium in Estonia. At the highest level of the Estonian government’s Ministry of Justice sits the Minister of Justice, whose Estonian name is justiitsminister. Supporting the judicial system and offering a legal perspective while proposing new legislation are responsibilities of the Ministry.

Structures and responsibilities of the Ministry of Justice are manifold: including correctional Facilities, since the Ministry is in charge of the Estonian Prison Service. Further, the Ministry is responsible for the Legal System Patent Office Prosecutor’s Office as well as the Data Protection Inspectorate.

The Republic of Estonia’s Minister of Justice, Kalle Laanet, took office on April 17, 2023.  The Ministry of Justice works with other institutions to combat crime and reduce its negative impact on society while boosting public safety. The role of the Ministry is to ensure that cases are handled efficiently and provide legal assistance. Additionally, the Ministry must ensure that economic rights are protected, that notarial services are available and that the quality of court records is improved. These actions will lead to economic growth and strengthen the foundations of a democratic state based on the rule of law.

Notarial Services in Estonia

Documents issued in Estonia are certified with an apostille in accordance with the Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents (the Apostille Convention.) This certification eliminates the need for consular legalization or any other additional form of certification, significantly reducing the time and expense associated with document certification

An apostille is not enough to validate documents for countries that have not ratified the Hague Convention. Since this is a public document, it must undergo the process of consular legalization.

According to the Ministry of Justice, notaries in Estonia are now the official agents authorized to issue apostilles. The Ministry of Justice oversees notaries, although apostilles are not issued by that ministry or any other. Within the parameters set forth by the Minister of Justice, the Chamber of Notaries is responsible for keeping the register mentioned in Article 7 of the Convention.

Estonian apostille stamps are square and have the word ‘Apostille’ in Estonian, with a French reference to the 1961 Hague Convention (Convention de La Haye du 5 october 1961.) The minimum length of the sides of the apostille certificate is 9 cm. The methods to get an apostille for a document in Estonia usually include getting the primary document that needs an apostille and having the authorized body check the signature on the paper. For these documents, it is important to have a legitimate organization stamp a document with an apostille. 

 Including several papers from various nations might make this procedure more time-consuming. It is important to seek advice from experts knowledgeable about the rules and processes to guarantee an accurate and trouble-free apostille process. At Undisputed Legal, our process servers’ knowledge and experience can aid in having your papers apostilled quickly and easily.

The original stamp should be on the document with the issuing authority’s name visible. Each application for a stamp must have the applicant’s printed name and signature. It is also important to note the official title or position of the person who stamped the document.

Power of attorney in Estonia  

When dealing with legal issues in Estonia, a power of attorney may be useful for a variety of commercial tasks. If a business owner is unable to be present to oversee daily operations, they may appoint a third person to act on their behalf by drafting a power of attorney. In order to get all the required legal paperwork for starting a corporation in Estonia, a power of attorney might be used.

A general or special power of attorney is defined by the specific authority it grants to another person. When someone is named the general representative of a corporation in Estonia, they are essentially signing a general power of attorney. This agreement grants the designated individual the authority to act on behalf of the firm in any legal matter, including but not limited to entering into contracts for employment or other purposes, making purchases or sales as needed, managing accounts and bank accounts in Estonia, collecting payments, and a host of other responsibilities. The designated agent may be legally obligated to pay taxes or attend to other matters specified under a general power of attorney.  

In Estonia, a special power of attorney grants the designated representative limited authority to act on behalf of the business. This kind of power of attorney grants authority to execute particular things, such as finalizing a specific transaction, as opposed to a generic power of attorney. For instance, a particular power of attorney might provide an employee the authority to manage a particular assignment on behalf of the business. 

Our goal at Undisputed Legal is to serve legal documents across international boundaries efficiently. Understanding the complex regulations, legislation, and procedures required to transmit legal documents to other nations means that we can easily serve documents to Estonia. Maintaining first-rate document servicing is our top priority.  Undisputed Legal has extensive expertise in international document service, and we prioritize the utmost care in translating into the local language while maintaining cultural sensitivity. If you found this article helpful, kindly consider leaving us a review. Click the link to share your feedback, and we would greatly appreciate a five-star review.

Our Process

Documents can be faxed at (800)-296-0115, emailed to ps@undisputedlegal.com, 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.

DOMESTIC COVERAGE AREAS:

Alaska | Alabama | Arkansas | Arizona | California | Colorado | Connecticut | District of Columbia | Delaware | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Iowa | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maryland | Massachusetts | Maine | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | North Carolina | North Dakota | Nebraska | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | Nevada | New York | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Virginia | Vermont | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming

INTERNATIONAL COVERAGE AREAS:

Albania | Andorra | Anguilla | Antigua | Argentina | Armenia | Australia | Austria | Azerbaijan | Bahamas | Barbados | Belarus | Belgium | Belize | Bermuda | Bosnia and Herzegovina | Botswana | Brazil | British Honduras | British Virgin Islands | Bulgaria | Canada | Cayman Islands | Central and Southern Line Islands | Chile|China (Macao) | China People’s Republic | Colombia | Costa Rica | Country of Georgia | Croatia | Cyprus | Czech Republic | Denmark | Dominican Republic | Ecuador | Egypt | Estonia | Falkland Islands and Dependences | Fiji | Finland | France | Germany | Gibraltar | Gilbert and Ellice Islands | Greece | Guernsey | Hong Kong | Hungary | Iceland | India | Ireland | Isle of Man | Israel | Italy | Jamaica | Japan | Jersey Channel Islands | Jordan | Kazakhstan | Korea | Kuwait | Latvia | Lithuania | Luxembourg | Malawi | Malaysia | Malta | Mauritius | Mexico| MonacoMontenegro | Montserrat | Morocco | Namibia | Netherlands | New Zealand|Nicaragua | Norway | Pakistan | Panama | Paraguay | Peru | Philippines | Pitcairn |Poland | Portugal | Republic of Moldova | Republic of North Macedonia | Romania |Russian Federation | Saint Vincent and the Grenadines | San Marino | Saudi Arabia | Serbia | Seychelles | Singapore| Slovakia | Slovenia | South Africa | Spain | Sri Lanka | St. Helena and Dependencies | St. Lucia | Sweden | Switzerland | Taiwan | Thailand | Tunisia| Turkey | Turks and Caicos Islands| UkraineUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland | Uruguay| US Virgin Islands | Uzbekistan | Venezuela | Vietnam

OFFICE LOCATIONS

New York: (212) 203-8001 – 590 Madison Avenue, 21st Floor, New York, New York 10022
Brooklyn: (347) 983-5436 – 300 Cadman Plaza West, 12th Floor, Brooklyn, New York 11201
Queens: (646) 357-3005 – 118-35 Queens Blvd, Suite 400, Forest Hills, New York 11375
Long Island: (516) 208-4577 – 626 RXR Plaza, 6th Floor, Uniondale, New York 11556
Westchester: (914) 414-0877 – 50 Main Street, 10th Floor, White Plains, New York 10606
Connecticut: (203) 489-2940 – 500 West Putnam Avenue, Suite 400, Greenwich, Connecticut 06830
New Jersey: (201) 630-0114 – 101 Hudson Street, 21 Floor, Jersey City, New Jersey 07302
Washington DC: (202) 655-4450 – 1101 Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite 300, Washington DC 20004

for assistance serving legal papers in Estonia

Pick up the phone and call Toll Free (800) 774-6922, or click the service you want to purchase. Our dedicated team of professionals is ready to assist you. We can handle all your Estonia process service needs; no job is too small or too large!

Contact us for more information about our process-serving agency. We are ready to provide service of process to all our clients globally from our offices in New York, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C.

“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives”– Foster, William A

Sources

1. The Code of Civil Procedure, Chapter 34, specifies the methods for serving procedural documents

2. Section 311 addresses the service of procedural documents in court premises. Section 312 addresses the service of procedural documents through postal service providers. 

Section 316 addresses the service of procedural documents in foreign states and on extra-territorial citizens of the Republic of Estonia.

 Section 316(1) implements Regulation (EC) No. 1393/2007 of the European Parliament and the Council. Section 317 addresses the public service of procedure.

3. Council Regulation (EC) No. 1393/2007 was superseded by this Regulation as of July 1, 2022.

4. The mandatory use of a decentralized IT system for sending and receiving requests, forms, and other forms of communication will not be enforced until 1 May 2025, which is the first day of the month after three years have passed since the implementing act mentioned in Article 25 entered into force (for more information, see Article 37 of Regulation (EU) 2020/1784).

5. The delivery of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial disputes among the Member States was regulated by Council Regulation (EC) No. 1393/2007 (Strasbourg, 13 November 2007).

6. Section 306.  ‘Procedural document service’ RT I 2008, 59, 330]

7. Section 307.  Process of determining which papers need to be served

8. Section 3111.  Process papers served electronically

  1. By sending a notification that the document is accessible in the selected information system, a court may electronically serve procedural documents:
  1. to the court’s designated email and phone number;
  2. to the phone number and email address that are on file with an Estonian registration that pertains to individuals or businesses;
  3. to the contact information (phone number and email address) of the person or entity represented in the population registry;
  4. to the addressee’s and legal representative’s email and phone numbers in another state’s registry database, where the court may independently verify the information by computer inquiry;

9. The recipient is considered to have opened a procedural document when they either confirm receipt in the information system without opening the document or when another person to whom the recipient has granted access to view the documents in the system does the same. When a document is served, the information system will immediately record it.

10. Following the steps outlined in § 314 the Estonian Code, a procedural document may also be served in a foreign state.

11. A confirmation from a police authority, rural municipality, or city government stating that they are unaware of the recipient’s whereabouts or other evidence meeting the conditions listed in subsection (1) of this section may be required by the court from a party seeking the public service of a procedural document. Upon request, the participant in the proceeding will be provided with such confirmation by a police authority, rural municipality, or city government. The court also makes independent inquiries to establish the recipient’s address if needed.

12. Legalisation is not required for any type of Estonian civil status papers or certificates of no obstacle for marriage issued in compliance with the CIEC Convention following the International multilingual model. 

13. Furthermore, in accordance with the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents (Apostille Convention), the Estonian Chamber of Notaries unveiled a Category 2 e-Register in December 2017 and began issuing e-Apostilles as part of the electronic Apostille Programme (e-APP). The new website allows users to check the validity of Apostilles registered in the e-Register, apply for both electronic and physical Apostilles, and more.

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