Status of Digitalisation of ESCP Enforcemnt Procedures
Electronic communication is preferred, and parties are encouraged to file their documents via e-mail to the respective court or submit them into the online information system called E-File, where the parties and their representatives can electronically submit documents to the courts, keep track of the progress of the proceedings related to them, and dispute the claims and decisions. An electronic document is deemed to have been submitted to a court once it has been recorded in the database for the receipt of court documents.
ESCP Procedural Aspects
1. Competent Enforcement Authority
Enforcement of judgements is regulated by the Code of Enforcement Procedure (Täitemenetluse seadustik – TMS). ESCP rulings in Estonia are enforced by independent bailiffs (enforcement agent). An application for enforcement proceedings to be commenced is to be submitted to the bailiff of the debtor’s place of residence or domicile or at the location of the assets.
2. Rules on Service
Procedural documents must generally be served electronically, service of documents using other methods is permitted if there is a good cause. The acceptance of documents is communicated electronically via the E-File system or by e-mail or fax. If a court serves a procedural document through the public e-File procedural information system, the court will send the recipient a notice via e-mail or phone number that the document has been made available in the system. A procedural document is deemed to be served when the recipient opens it in the information system or confirms its receipt in the information system without opening the document and also if the same is done by another person to whom the recipient has granted access to see documents in the information system. The information system registers the service of the document automatically.
In case that the E-File system cannot be used, the court may serve procedural documents on the recipient electronically by email or fax. In such cases a procedural document is deemed to be served on the recipient when the recipient confirms the receipt of the procedural document in writing, by fax or electronically. The confirmation must set out the date of receipt of the document and bear the signature of the recipient or their representative.
Requirements for submitting documents electronically are provided for in section 336, which states that electronic documents must include a digital signature of the sender or similar to be able to identify the sender and whether the forms need to be submitted via e-mail to the respective court or an online information system called e-File (e-toimik), which is a portal where parties and their representatives can electronically submit the procedural documents to courts and observe the progress of the proceedings related to them.Only the Estonian ID card or Mobile ID can be used to log into the e-File system, and only the procedural parties have access to cases which are directly related to them.
3. Language of the Certificate and Documents to be Appended
Pursuant to section 4051(3) of the Code of Civil Procedure (TsMS), the accepted languages are Estonian and English. Thus, a decision made in court proceedings conducted under the regulation is accepted for enforcement in Estonia only if it is drawn up in Estonian or English or if Estonian or English translation is annexed to the certificate.
4. Enforcement Fees
The enforcement costs are laid out in section 37 of the Code of Enforcement Procedure (Täitemenetluse seadustik). Enforcement costs include the enforcement agent’s fee, the cost of service, on the debtor, of the enforcement notice and of any documents enclosed with the notice as well as expenditures which are necessary for enforcement proceedings and which have been incurred by the enforcement agent and the party seeking enforcement, or a third party, after the commencement of enforcement proceedings.
The renumeration of enforcement agent’s official operations is regulated in the Enforcement Agents Act (Kohtutäituriseadus) Division 5. The enforcement agent’s fee may consist of a fee for the commencement of proceedings, of a principal fee for proceedings and of additional fees for enforcement operations. Where an enforcement notice is served on a debtor by e-mail or electronically through a designated information system, the fee for commencement of enforcement proceedings is 15 euros; by another method provided for by the Code of Civil Procedure, the fee for commencement of enforcement proceedings is 30 euros.
The agent’s principal fees are based on the amount of the claim and set out in a table provided by section 35 of Enforcement Agents Act. For example, the maximum possible fee for a 5000 euro claim would be 570 euros + VAT.
Other enforcement agent’s fees for termination of proceedings, compiling an enforcement profile of the debtor, and fees for issuing copies or documents or certificates are described in sections 41 and 42 of the Enforcement Agents Act.
5. Refusal, Stay, or Limitation of Enforcement Procedures
An application for a review of decisions is lodged with the court that made the judgment in the matter of the application for a European Small Claims Procedure. Where necessary, a petition to set aside a default judgment is dealt with in a court hearing. If the petition is satisfied, the proceedings will be reopened, and the ESCP will continue in the situation it was before the failure to perform the procedural act which resulted in the judgment in default. Appeals against rulings are filed with the circuit courts (Ringkonnakohus) or with the Supreme Court (Riigikohus) in the case that the circuit court rejects the appeal. As pursuant to section 335 TsMS, in the case of filing an appeal against a judicial disposition, the original appeal must be submitted within ten days.
In case that a judgment given in the ESCP is appealed, the measures specified in Article 23 of the ESCP Regulation will be taken by the circuit court with which the appeal is filed. If a judgment is made by default and a petition is filed to set aside the default judgment, the application for the measures must be submitted with the court hearing the petition. If no appeal has yet been filed, the measures specified in Article 23 of the Regulation are taken by the court which made the decision. The measure specified in Article 23(c) of the Regulation (staying the enforcement proceedings) can be taken by the county court within the jurisdiction of which the enforcement proceedings are or should be conducted. In some cases, specified in section 46 of the TMS, enforcement proceedings may, in addition to a court, also be stayed by the bailiff conducting the proceedings.
There is little to no discussion surrounding ESCP judgements enforcement procedures in Estonia, nor is there a lot of information regarding the process. This is because there is merely one short section in the TsMS (4051) on the application of the ESCP Regulation in the Estonian legal framework, which establishes that in Estonia the ESCP cases are handled the same way as domestic small claims/ simplified procedure cases would be.
This means that the information regarding the European Small Claims Procedures specifically is not reflected on the Estonian courts’ websites, nor is it described in detail anywhere but the European E-justice portal, which has gathered and combined the information from several different Estonian legal acts, which otherwise a person filing an ESCP claim in Estonia would have to find themselves.
Täitemenetluse seadustik (Code of Enforcement Procedure) https://www.riigiteataja.ee/akt/113062012002?leiaKehtiv
Information on enforcement of ESCP rulings in Estonia https://e-justice.europa.eu/354/EN/small_claims?ESTONIA&member=1 and https://e-justice.europa.eu/42/EN/small_claims?ESTONIA&member=1
 Täitemenetluse seadustik (Code of Enforcement Procedure) RT I 2005, 27, 198. Available at: https://www.riigiteataja.ee/akt/112032022008?leiaKehtiv
 Kohtutäituriseadus (Enforcement Agents Act) RT I 2009, 68, 463. Available at https://www.riigiteataja.ee/akt/120062022008?leiaKehtiv
 Täitemenetluse seadustik (Code of Enforcement Procedure) https://www.riigiteataja.ee/akt/113062012002?leiaKehtiv
 Information on enforcement of ESCP rulings in Estonia https://e-justice.europa.eu/354/EN/small_claims?ESTONIA&member=1 and https://e-justice.europa.eu/42/EN/small_claims?ESTONIA&member=1