Execution of court decisions of the Constitutional Review Chamber of the Supreme Court 2004–2009
The article discusses execution of court decisions of the Constitutional Review Chamber of the Supreme Court and their impact on the legislator and courts, on the basis of the Constitutional Review Chamber of the Supreme Court decisions from 2004 until 2009.
The article points out how the legal framework has changed after the Supreme Court has declared a provision unconstitutional and invalid or has ascertained a legal gap. It does not cover court decisions in which constitutionality of issuing of Regulations by the executive power or a local government was assessed, and individual complaints and election complaints. The purpose of the article is to assess the activities of the legislator subsequently of every court decision and to make generalisations on the basis of that. The questions studied are the following: if the substance of the provisions which have been declared unconstitutional have been changed; if the legal gap has been filled where failure to issue a legislation of general application has been ascertained; what the response has been to Supreme Court decisions with so-called “mitigating effect” (e.g. granting of a term for execution of a decision; declaration of a legal provision unconstitutional but not invalid; declaration of a provision partially invalid).
In consideration of the object and scope of the analysis, it discusses 31 court decisions of the Constitutional Review Chamber of the Supreme Court in which unconstitutionality of a provision or a legal gap was ascertained. As a result of the analysis, it appears that in 2/3 of the cases the activities of the legislator are in conformity with a court decision of the Constitutional Review Chamber of the Supreme Court or anticipate it. In addition, the serious intention of the legislator to address a problem indicated in the constitutional review proceedings is also revealed in the cases where the time spent on obtaining approval of a decision is in correlation with complexity of the problem. They both together constitute ¾ of the cases. Only in three cases can the legislator be reproached for passivity or ignoring of a Supreme Court decision. It is interesting to note that the Constitutional Review Chamber has resolved these three cases within the framework of the specific control of the rules. In general, the statistics shows that, during the recent six years, the Estonian legislator has given its best in most cases to comply with the interpretations given in repealing legislation of general application or ascertaining of a legal gap in the constitutional review proceedings of the Supreme Court. It can be concluded that the legislative and the judicial power supplement and balance each other in the creation and ensuring of a legal order that recognises fundamental rights and freedoms and is without gaps. Execution of decisions of the constitutional court is ensured through public pressure which motivates the legislator to act voluntarily and solve even complicated problems.