The Themis legislative forum in the service of citizens and civic organisations
To help enshrine the principles of civil society in legislation, the Estonian Law Centre Foundation has launched a project, which lets ordinary citizens participate in the drafting of the most important.
All citizens and NGO representatives can make suggestions for amendments to draft laws on the online forum (www.lc.ee/themis). The bill drafters are also included in discussions, making it especially productive and instructive for all. In the course of one year, serious suggestions have been made for eight laws. The comments have been forwarded to ministries and the legislature. In addition to the interactive participation, there is also an opportunity for round tables with wide representation of interest groups in the corresponding field. On the Themis home page there is background information on each draft law. A separate third-sector web page at (www.lc.ee/3s) was set up as a clearinghouse for such information and develop networking even further. The government has also created a similar portal, TOM (Estonian acronym for Today We Decide) albeit not comparable in terms of inviting comment on bills (there is no follow-up on suggestions received). The main emphasis is laid on getting as many ideas and suggestions as possible and putting them in practice. A comparison table between Themis and TOM is appended.