No. 4




An Assessment of Legal and Regulatory Impact of Legislation

19 December 2001


RiTo No. 4, 2001

  • Raul Narits

    University of Tartu, Professor of Comparative Law

In the European Union (EU), integration works mainly through legal instruments. In formal addresses, the community is often referred to as a “legal community”, “une communauté du droit“, “Rechtsgemeinschaft“. Legal forms are the focus of the whole of the EU’s operation. Indeed, in terms of legal influences, membership in the EU differs radically from the common activities of other international associations. What makes the situation a complicated one, both for Estonia and several other countries of Eastern and Central Europe, is that the legal reforms introduced during recent years have not been completed.

The article mainly considers the following problems in connection with the legislation of Estonia as one candidate state for membership in the EU: law as a means of development of a society and state; formation of a legal system and Estonian legal culture; the need for accommodation with legislation characteristic to Europe; on some threats related to Estonia’s integration into the EU.

In a society organised as a state, issues related to development of legislation have always been on the agenda in the past, are today, and will be in the future. Moreover, as community life becomes more sophisticated, the social processes also become increasingly complex. From the legal point of view, this means that there is a need for even more perfect legal solutions that would reflect the changed situation and account for social problems as well. It may be argued that in contemporary legal systems, the quality of a legal solution, its relation to its social cause, and the effectiveness of the legal system constitute the key issues for consideration.

Investigation of the regulative influences of law is in its initial stage in Estonia. However, the importance and meaning of this is perceived not solely within legal circles. The social mechanism of development of legislation is a sophisticated and dynamic creature that contains multiple aspects. The positive trend is that practices assessing the influences are on the agenda both in the EU and in the candidate states. Despite the diversity of the assessment practices, we have arrived at harmonisation of the so-called good legislation, even to the point where they meet certain standards. I am convinced that in Estonia, too, the analysis of regulatory influences will be put on the Riigikogu‘s agenda in a more comprehensive form, as this has actually already been included in the rules of the Riigikogu chairmen.

Full article in Estonian