Codification of Private Law in Estonia

  • Irene KullEmail author
Part of the Ius Gentium: Comparative Perspectives on Law and Justice book series (IUSGENT, volume 32)


Estonia as a state had a chance to develop its legal system for the first time only in the twentieth century. The civil law reform starting from 1991 was politically influenced by the resolution of Estonian Parliament from 1992, which stated that new laws should follow the laws and codes which were in force before 1940. In practice, this meant that legal acts from the first period of independence were to be studied and, if possible, followed. That decision was one of the main dominants in the choosing of the system and method of the codification and models for establishing Estonia’s own civil law system. Estonian Civil Code consists of five separate laws which have been enacted at different times as separate laws but functioning as one codification. These five laws are the General Part of Civil Code Act, the Property Law Act, the Law of Obligations Act, the Law of Succession Act and the Family Law Act. As Estonian private law is based on the unitary concept of regulation of legal relations in the civil law field, there are no commercial or consumer codes. Estonian Constitution contains a detailed catalogue of fundamental rights and freedoms and is characterised as being more liberalistic and individual by nature in comparison to many other Western constitutions. Future of the codification of private law regimes in Europe may be put into the context of following problems: the need for a national private law codifications and choice between monistic and dualistic systems in implementation of EU consumer law. In conclusion Estonian private law system which was basically initiated with a blank slate, with no predetermined authorities, meant a unique opportunity to realise number of harmonisation ideas that are under the discussion today in Europe.


Estonia Civil Code Recodification in former socialist countries Private law codification Civil code relations with other branches of law 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Civil LawUniversity of TartuTartuEstonia

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