No. 20




The Basic Principles of the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia: Its Essence and Possibilities of Finding It

17 December 2009


RiTo No. 20, 2009

  • Raul Narits

    University of Tartu, Professor of Comparative Law

As the fundamental principles of the Constitution have a regulatory effect – they are binding – the need for finding them is undisputed.

We should begin our search with the general legal theoretical knowledge, and for arriving at an integrated notion, we have to consider the principles guaranteeing consistency and contextuality. We should continue by focusing on the search for a method, and one effective method seems to be that connected to value-jurisprudence. It is this way that the catalogue of the fundamental principles of the Constitution is compiled. This catalogue cannot be a closed catalogue; the catalogue of the fundamental principles can only be open. Alongside value-jurisprudence and the cognition of the fundamental principles, consideration of the authority dilemma – a situation involving the problem of method and of the finder of the fundamental principles as a jurist/legal practitioner – also has its place. We should not forget that in attempting to find the fundamental principles, we should be able to connect ourselves with our cultural background in both the modern and retrospective context. Certainly, finding and articulating the fundamental principles is not an everyday task for a jurist. One can reach all the way to the fundamental principles (to specifying values) not through deductive decisions, which are a usual method for jurists, but through values. I would call this aspect of the work of practitioner of jurisprudence the “specification of the fundamental principles”.

Full article in Estonian