Julia Laffranque

Professor, Judge of the European Court of Human Rights



  • Estonia – a European Rechtsstaat?!

    Estonia is a European Rechtsstaat, however, attached to this generally true statement there are still a few „buts” that require more detailed explanations. The principle of Rechtsstaat or the rule of law is to protect a person from the arbitrary exercise of public authority. It is of great importance that all legislation was in accordance with the rule of law, that all three powers of the state – the legislative, the executive and the judicial power – respected the Constitution. At the same time it may happen that the laws and court decisions alone are not enough, that from legal point of view everything seems to be all right, but in reality... Therefore the European Court of Human Rights in its case law has constantly upheld the position that the purpose of the European Convention on Human Rights is not to ensure theoretical or illusory rights but the rights that are effective and that can be exercised in practice.

  • The Lisbon Agreement: superficially reform of the existing situation, but in essence the Constitution?

    The Lisbon Agreement signed in Lisbon on 13 December 2007 does not represent a new Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe – at least not in the formal sense. This agreement only changes, and does not supersede, the current European basic agreements, but on the other hand, the changes are in essence similar to those which would have resulted if the European Constitution had entered into force.

  • European Court of Justice preliminary decisions and their effect on Estonian judicial practice

    In only over two and a half years, Estonia has had to get used to the fact that it is not only in the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg but also of the European Court of Justice, the judiciary institution of European Union.

  • Dissenting Opinions

    15 December 2004


    RiTo No. 10, 2004

    In the general sense, dissenting opinions can differ from majority opinions in terms of justification, or justification and conclusions.

  • The European Union as Influence on Legislation

    19 December 2001


    RiTo No. 4, 2001

    European Union (EU) decisions are made not only in Brussels. The homework performed in each member state is what matters. If we want this to go smoothly and want one common vote representing the state of Estonia in Brussels in the future, then now is the time to start thinking what the procedure of EU-related decision-making could look like in Estonia. It is true that first a number of foundational issues should be settled: conducting a referendum, possible amendment of the Constitution - which should not be confined to politics, but should also be carefully contemplated and justified also judicially.

  • European Union Charter of Basic Rights: a Natural Development in a Uniting Europe?

    18 June 2001


    RiTo No. 3, 2001

    The decision taken by the European Supreme Assembly in Cologne, in 1999 - to create the Charter of Basic Rights of the European Union (hereafter the Charter) - has been implemented today. The Charter was prepared in less than a year. Such a pace reminds one of Estonia, where in the course of the legal system reform, acts had to be written several times faster than in countries with a long tradition of democracy. The European Union (EU) neither can nor wishes to be left behind in general developments or to prevent expansion. In addition to the speed, the preparation of the Charter has been characterised by democracy and transparency. In the process of creating the Charter, interest was also shown towards the opinions of candidate states.1