The Estonian Model of the Institution of Chancellor of Justice

​The institution of the Estonian Chancellor of Justice is not a part of legislative, executive or judicial power. The institution of Chancellor of Justice was created by the constitution and he/she acts only in concordance with the constitution and his/her own conscience. Once a year, the Chancellor of Justice presents an overview of his or her activities to the Riigikogu. The institution unites the functions of a watchdog of the constitution and a general petitioning agent.

The function of the ombudsman requires the Chancellor of Justice to examine the situation of basic rights and freedoms of individuals and the right to good administration. According to the right to good administration, an official can not violate legislative acts or participate in clearly unlawful activities, and he or she should also not be impolite, sloppy, unjust, delay an answer or an activity without reason, abuse the power, discriminate against individuals, treat them as if they weren’t equals etc. Good administration means avoiding any kind of administration that is lacking, flawed or irregular. With the change of the law that came into effect on January 1st 2004, the Riigikogu expanded the responsibilities of the ombudsman even further – now the ombudsman also examines local governments, public legal personalities and legal personalities governed by private law (when performing public tasks).​

​In carrying out these inherently connected activities, the Chancellor of Justice is concerned with examining how the basic principles of the Constitution – human dignity, democracy, and juridical and social nationhood – are being followed. A great deal about the level of concordance between a law and a decree by the government of the Republic, a minister or a local government and the constitution can be evaluated, using the data that the Chancellor of Justice has accumulated, to check that basic rights are guaranteed.

Details about this article