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Protection measures in civil matters can be applied under Section 1055(1) of the Law of Obligations Act, which states that if unlawful damage is caused continually or a threat of unlawful damage is made, the victim or the person who is threatened has the right to demand that the behaviour which causes the damage be terminated or the making of threats by such behaviour be refrained from. In the case of bodily injury, harm to health, infringement of privacy or any other personality rights, it may be required, inter alia, that the tortfeasor be prohibited from approaching other persons (by means of a restraining order), the use of housing or communication be regulated or other similar measures be applied. Section 475(1)(7) of the Code of Civil Procedure lays down the procedure for the application of civil protection measures, according to which proceedings on petition include the imposition of a restraining order and other similar measures for the protection of personality rights as laid down in Chapter 55 and Sections 544-549, which set out the procedure for applying a restraining order more precisely. Under Sections 378(1)(3), 546 and 551(1) of the Code of Civil Procedure, civil protection measures may also be applied as a measure for securing an action or as a provisional measure in proceedings on petition.
Pursuant to Section 1055(1) of the Law of Obligations Act, it may be required that the tortfeasor be prohibited from approaching other persons (i.e. for a restraining order to be imposed), the use of housing or communication be regulated or other similar measures be applied. Therefore the measures that may be applied for the protection of personality rights are not listed exhaustively in the Act, and the application of an appropriate and necessary measure may be requested in particular cases.
No statistics are available regarding the average period of application of measures. In Estonia it is possible to apply many measures for the protection of privacy and personality rights under Section 1055 of the Law of Obligations Act for a period of up to three years. In accordance with the analysis of case-law on restraining orders which was prepared by the Supreme Court in 2008, courts have generally applied restraining orders for a period of up to 3 years.
Regulation (EU) No 606/2013 covers protection measures applied in civil cases. It does not apply to protection measures that fall within the scope of Regulation (EC) 2201/2003. For the application of civil protection measures, it is not necessary for an unlawful act to have been perpetrated against the person at risk. It is sufficient for the defendant’s previous behaviour to give grounds to fear that the defendant may injure the victim or violate the victim’s personality rights. Protection measures in civil cases are not listed exhaustively in the Act. If necessary, a suitable protection measure, not necessarily listed in legislation, can be applied to rectify a particular situation.
The implementation of a protection measure may be applied for by a person at risk or an injured person, either in separate proceedings or in conjunction with another claim. For the application of a protection measure, a person at risk must submit a petition to a county court. The courts process petitions under proceedings on petition. Before applying a protection measure, the court hears the person with respect to whom application of the measure is requested and the person in the interests of whom proceedings are conducted for application of the measure. Where necessary, the court also hears persons closely connected with the persons specified above, or the rural municipality or city government or police authority of the persons' place of residence.
Petitions submitted to a court must be drafted in Estonian and must meet the requirements of Sections 338 and 363 of the Code of Civil Procedure. All petitions must be submitted to the court in legible typewritten form. Where possible, electronic copies of procedural documents submitted in writing should also be submitted to the court. Contractual representatives, notaries, bailiffs, trustees in bankruptcy, state and local government agencies and other legal persons submit documents to the court electronically unless there is good reason to submit the document in another form. More detailed rules for submitting electronic documents to the courts, the format requirements for documents and the list of documents to be submitted via the portal are laid down in a Regulation enacted by the minister responsible for the sector. A participant in a proceeding must, when submitting to the court written documents and appendices thereto, provide the requisite number of transcripts of those documents to be served on the other participants in the proceeding.
A state fee of 50 euros is paid upon the filing of petitions or appeals in matters reviewed under proceedings on petition. A state fee of 50 euros shall be paid upon the filing of an application for securing an action.
Under Estonian law, participants in proceedings do not require a representative in court for proceedings concerning the application of civil protection measures.
A ruling on the application or amendment of a restraining order or other measure for the protection of personality rights may be appealed against by the persons obligated to comply therewith. Such appeals are to be submitted in writing to a district court via the county court whose ruling is being appealed against. Appeals are to be submitted within 15 days of the date on which the ruling was served. An appeal against a ruling cannot be filed after five months have passed from the making of the ruling in actions or in a proceeding on petition unless otherwise provided for in law. If circumstances change, the court may cancel or alter a restraining order or another measure for the protection of personality rights. Before cancelling or altering a measure, the court hears the participants. A ruling on the application of a restraining order or another measure for the protection of personality rights is served on the persons with regard to and in the interests of whom such measures are applied.
Rulings made concerning protection measures are to be enforced from the moment they are delivered to the obligated person (the person causing the risk).
Enforcement of the ruling under which the protection measure was ordered is arranged by a bailiff. Bailiffs generally learn of the violation of a protection measure from the person to whom the risk is caused. If the protection measure was ordered before access rights were determined, the court may rule on access rights in a manner that takes into account the protection measures that have been applied. In its 2008 analysis of the case-law relating to restraining orders, the Supreme Court took the position that if a person at risk and the person causing the risk live (or work) in close proximity to one another, it would be more appropriate to regulate their contact arrangements, and the content of the prohibitions (protection measures) could primarily consist of a list of prohibited actions.
In Estonia the courts are competent to apply protection measures. In accordance with article 5, the county court that applied the protection measure is competent to issue a certificate concerning the protection measure. In order for a certificate to be issued, a petition must be submitted to a county court. The contact information for Estonian courts is available on the courts’ website.
In order to invoke a protection measure ordered in another Member State, a person must contact the bailiff that has jurisdiction over the debtor’s place of residence or location, or in whose jurisdiction the debtor’s assets are located. Bailiffs initiate enforcement proceedings on the basis of a petition and an enforcement document from the person at risk. The contact information of bailiffs can be found on the website of the Chamber of Bailiffs and Trustees in Bankruptcy.
A protection measure ordered in another Member State can, if necessary, be applied by a bailiff who is competent to carry out the enforcement of the protection measure. The bailiff who has jurisdiction over the debtor’s place of residence or location, or in whose jurisdiction the debtor’s assets are located, is competent to carry out the enforcement of a protection measure ordered in another Member State. The contact information of bailiffs can be found on the website of the Chamber of Bailiffs and Trustees in Bankruptcy.
To refuse recognition or enforcement of protection measures ordered in another Member State, an application must be submitted to the debtor’s place of residence or to the county court with jurisdiction over the intended enforcement proceedings. The contact information for Estonian courts is available on the courts’ website.
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