The Estonian legal system is similar to other continental legal systems, such as the German, as it is based on the priority of legislative acts and their precedence over other sources of law such as judicial practice, doctrine or custom. Estonian law is basically divided into private and public law. Private law consists of civil and commercial law; public law consists of international law, constitutional law, administrative law, criminal law, financial law and procedural law.
As Estonia is a Member State of the European Union, it is subject to European Union law as well as international law, and parts of both form a part of the Estonian legal system.
Access to the State Gazette containing all the legislation is free for everyone and since 1996 it has been published online, which makes access even easier. The Ministry of Justice has also created an e-Law system, which allows the public to access every piece of draft law that has been submitted since February 2003.
The Estonian legal system has many benefits – the courts are independent, which means that they are kept separate from the other branches of government. In addition the judges are appointed for life and are prohibited from holding any other elected or appointed public office. Only members of the Estonian Bar Association may provide legal services as attorneys.
The Estonian court system is divided into three levels: courts of first instance, courts of appeal and the Supreme Court, which also acts as a constitutional court.
Credit information and reports on Estonian companies are available in a matter of moments through Krediidiinfo. In addition the Estonian Credit Register was established by the Estonian banks in 2001, which contains information on delayed payments for companies and private persons. This protects companies from chronic debtors, making doing business in Estonia safer.
It is possible to use the order for payment process for an accelerated procedure of claiming back debts for amounts of less than €6400. It operates faster and without a trial, requires less evidence and is cheaper than the normal proceedings in court. The application for such proceedings can only be made online, which means it can be done from the convenience of your home or office.