Chancellor of Justice of the Republic of Estonia
The institution of the Chancellor of Justice is established by the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia. The Chancellor of Justice is an official who is independent in his or her activities. The legal state of the Chancellor of Justice and the work procedures of the Office of the Chancellor of Justice are stated in the Chancellor of Justice Act.
The Chancellor of Justice is appointed by the Riigikogu (parliament) for seven years, according to the proposal of the President of the Republic. On 20 January 2015, the Riigikogu appointed Prof Dr Ülle Madise as the Chancellor of Justice. She gave the oath of office and assumed the office of the Chancellor of Justice on 31 March 2015.
Under the Chancellor of Justice Act, with regard to issues of police authorities the Chancellor is competent to verify conformity of legislation with the Constitution and existing statutes (i.e. constitutional review competence) and to verify the activities of representatives of police authorities (i.e. the ombudsman competence). Since 18 February 2007, the Chancellor of Justice is the national preventive mechanism stipulated in the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, whose duty is to inspect institutions where the freedom of people is restricted in order to prevent torture and other cruel or degrading treatment. In addition, from 1 January 2015 the Chancellor of Justice has the competency to supervise compliance with fundamental rights and freedoms when the covert gathering, processing, use and supervision of personal data and related data by agencies of executive power (e.g. by secret police) is organised. Since 1 January 2019, the Chancellor of Justice is also the National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) and performs the functions of promoting the implementation, upholding and monitoring of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
Once a year, the Chancellor of Justice presents to the Riigikogu an Annual Report of the Chancellor of Justice’s activities. On one hand, this is a report of the Chancellor of Justice to the parliament about fulfilment of his/her main tasks during the previous 12 months. On the other hand, presenting such an overview allows the Chancellor of Justice to draw the attention of the Riigikogu to shortcomings and legal problems discovered by him/her that have appeared upon implementing the Constitution.
The main constitutional duty of the Chancellor of Justice is to ensure that:
• laws and regulations would be constitutional and in compliance with other laws.
The main duty of the Chancellor of Justice under the Chancellor of Justice Act is to ensure that:
• authorities and officials performing public duties would not violate people’s constitutional rights and freedoms, laws and other legislation of general application, as well as the principles of sound administration;
• persons held in places of detention would not be treated in a degrading, cruel or inhumane way;
• the rights of children would be protected and activities of child care institutions are legal. The Chancellor of Justice also deals with the promotion of the rights of children and raising awareness;
• all disabled persons are able to exercise their fundamental rights and freedoms on equal grounds with other persons;
• the constitutional rights and freedoms of people are not violated when the covert gathering, processing, use and supervision of personal data and related data by agencies of executive power is organised.
Other tasks of the Chancellor of Justice under the law are:
• submission of opinions to the Supreme Court in constitutional review proceedings;
• reply to the interpellations of the Members of the Riigikogu;
• reply to written questions of the Members of the Riigikogu;
• make proposals for waiving immunity;
• initiate disciplinary proceedings against judges;
• resolve discrimination disputes;
• submission of opinions to the drafts of legislation of general application.
Cases about police authorities
OFFICE OF THE CHANCELLOR OF JUSTICE, Kohtu Street 8, 15193 Tallinn, Estonia
Phone: +372 693 8404
Complaint form: https://www.oiguskantsler.ee/en/application-to-the-chancellor-of-justice