The Constitution of the Republic of Estonia


Chapter II

§ 20. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person.
No one may be deprived of his or her liberty except in the cases and pursuant to a procedure provided by law:
1) to enforce a judgment of conviction rendered or a detention ordered by a court;
2) for the case of non-compliance with a direction of a court, or to guarantee fulfilment of a duty provided by
3) to prevent a criminal or administrative offence, to bring before a competent authority a person in relation to
whom there is reasonable suspicion that he or she has committed such an offence, or to prevent such a person
from absconding;
4) to place a minor under disciplinary supervision or to bring him or her before a competent authority to
determine whether to impose such supervision;
5) to detain a person suffering from an infectious disease, a person of unsound mind, an alcoholic or a drug
addict, if such a person is a danger to himself or herself or to others;
6) to prevent illegal settlement in Estonia and for removing a person from Estonia or for extraditing a person to
a foreign state.
No one may be deprived of his or her liberty on the mere ground of inability to fulfil a contractual obligation.

§ 21. Everyone who has been deprived of his or her liberty must be informed promptly, in a language and
manner which he or she understands, of the reason for the deprivation of liberty and of his or her rights,
and be given an opportunity to notify those closest to him or her. A person suspected of a criminal offence
must also be promptly given an opportunity to choose a counsel and to confer with him or her. The right of a
person suspected of a criminal offence to notify those closest to him or her of the deprivation of liberty may be
circumscribed only in the cases and pursuant to a procedure provided by law to prevent a criminal offence or in
the interests of ascertaining the truth in a criminal case.
No one may be held in custody for more than forty-eight hours without a specific authorisation of a court. The
decision of the court must be promptly communicated to the person in custody in a language and manner which
he or she understands.

§ 22. No one may be deemed guilty of a criminal offence before he or she has been convicted in a court and
before the conviction has become final.
No one is required to prove his or her innocence in criminal proceedings.
No one may be compelled to testify against himself or herself, or against those closest to him or her.

§ 23. No one may be convicted of an act which did not constitute a criminal offence under the law in force at the
time the act was committed.
No one may be sentenced to a penalty that is more severe than the one that was applicable at the time the
offence was committed. If, subsequent to the commission of the offence, the law makes provision for a lighter
penalty, the lighter penalty applies.
No one may be prosecuted or sentenced for a second time for an act in respect of which he or she has been the
subject of a final conviction or acquittal pursuant to the law.

§ 24. No one may be transferred, against his or her free will, from the jurisdiction of a court specified by law to
the jurisdiction of another court.
Everyone is entitled to attend any hearing held by a court in his or her case.
Court hearings are public. The court may, in the cases and pursuant to a procedure provided by law, order a
hearing or a part thereof to be held in camera to protect a state secret or a trade secret, public morality or the
private and family life of individuals, or where the interests of a minor, a victim, or the administration of justice
so require.
Judgments are pronounced publicly, except in cases where the interests of a minor, a spouse, or a victim require
In accordance with the procedure provided by law, everyone is entitled to appeal a judgment rendered in his or
her case to a higher court.

§ 25. Everyone is entitled to compensation for intangible as well as tangible harm that he or she has suffered
because of the unlawful actions of any person.


Chapter XIII

§ 146. Justice is administered exclusively by the courts. The courts are independent in discharging their duties
and administer justice in accordance with the Constitution and the laws.

§ 147. Judges are appointed for life. The grounds and procedure for release of judges from office are provided
by law.
Judges may be removed from office only by a court judgment.
Judges may not hold any other elected or appointed office, except for those prescribed in the law.
The legal status of judges and guarantees for their independence are to be provided by law.