Organisation of the judicial system

Judicial organisation

The territory of the Republic of Estonia is divided into four judicial counties – Harju, Tartu, Pärnu and Viru – consisting 17 courthouses and prosecution offices (covering judicial districts).

Enforcement authority is Estonian Prison Service, which is one of the four departments of the Ministry of Justice.

All court and prosecution offices function in the administrative field of the Ministry of Justice.


Court Organisation

There are 4 district courts with total 17 courthouses which all deal with both criminal and civil cases.

The decision of the district court can be appealable to one of two Court of Appeal. The decisions of the courts of appeal can be appealed in the Supreme Court.

There are also two administrative courts, which decisions can be appealable by the same route as the decisions of county courts.

No more special courts in Estonia.


Judicial cooperation

General description of the national system for international judicial cooperation in criminal matters

A centralized model (via Ministry of Justice and in some cases via Prosecutor General’s Office) for judicial co-operation in criminal matters is established in Estonia. However, since 1 January 2015 all courts documents must be sent directly to the competent courthouse covering the district where the person lives. 

The Ministry of Justice acts as the Central Authority.

Incoming requests:

In MLA regime, all requests must be send to the Ministry of Justice. Between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, also between Estonia and Finland based on bilateral agreements requests for judicial 
assistance in preliminary investigation stage must be send to the Prosecutor General’s Office.

In mutual recognition regime – all EAW-s and other requests must be send to the Ministry of Justice with the exception of request in regard of confiscation or freezing, which must be send directly to the Prosecutor General's Office. 


Text in original language, English and/or other available languages of the relevant national laws/provisions of the Criminal procedure codes on judicial cooperation in criminal matters:

Links to some sections of the EJN website

Links to the relevant sections of the Council of Europe and United Nations Treaties Offices websites containing information on the conventions to which Estonia is party

Useful national links