Academic Legal Education in Estonia: Current State and Perspectives (Faculty of Law of the University of Tartu)
In recent years, the state of academic legal education, its analysis and future activity plan have been at the centre of attention at the Faculty of Law. First and foremost, this is a result of radically changed conditions in society which gave rise to a direct need for a development plan both for the immediate future and for the longer term.
There is a great demand for academic legal education in Estonia today. This is testified to by the number of applications for admission to the Faculty of Law of the University of Tartu which in the last two years exceeded 1 000. During the course of study, a lot of students acquire experience abroad. They study at a foreign university for a semester or two, or attend summer courses, conferences or seminars. As a result, students can compare their experience gained at a foreign university with that at the University of Tartu. The author of this article can only hope that the opinion they develop is not unfavourable to the home university. While studying abroad, students of the Faculty of Law of the University of Tartu introduce their university and faculty to others. This article may be of primary assistance in providing an overview of the main principles of Estonian academic legal education.
During the last five years, the system of instruction at the Faculty of Law of Estonia’s sole classical universitas has undergone substantial change. A transition from a system of fixed courses to a system comprising majors, minors and electives has taken place. In addition, the curriculum has been reformed, the structure of the faculty has been reorganised and new staff have been employed. All the reforms that have occurred are perhaps not radical enough in nature but at the same time they reflect the current state in Estonia today and lay a foundation for further transformations. The following overview seeks to deal with all reforms as accurately as possible, aiming to provide a thorough description of the Faculty of Law of the University of Tartu in 1996. In evaluating different aspects, it should be borne in mind that the legal education system has been characterised by dynamic and continuous development in the last five years.
In its content, this overview follows the structure of an analysis conducted for an assessment of the curriculum of the Faculty of Law. The analysis was carried out during the spring semester by a committee established by the faculty board comprising the following members: Doctor Peep Pruks, Dean; Professor Kalle Merusk, Assistant Dean; Docent Jaan Ginter, Assistant Dean; Professor Raul Narits, Director of the Institute of Public Law, and Professor Inge-Maret Orgo, Director of the Institute of Private Law.
Most of the factual information presented in this article is current as of May 1996 or is of a later date.
I hope that this overview will significantly contribute to the provision of information about the faculty and to the establishment of contacts and the exchange of information with colleagues abroad.
To date, the faculty has published two introductory brochures of which the most recent one also contains the curriculum and an outline of the legal institutions relating to the faculty:
1.1. The Mission and Course of Development of Academic Legal Education
The main tasks of the Faculty of Law of the University of Tartu in academic legal education and research are based on the following circumstances:
In order to fulfil the above-mentioned tasks, the Faculty of Law prepared a development plan for Estonian legal education in 1990, which was sent to the Ministry of Justice and its agencies and to the university management. Its main positions were published in the law journal Eesti Jurist. *1 This document described the current state of legal education, the level of instruction, the student body and academic staff, the split between educational institutions providing legal education, their material resources and accessibility of information, the state of further training of lawyers in Estonia and the measures planned for the development of legal education. At the same time, two lecturers of the Faculty of Law (R. Narits, H. Pisuke) participated in the activities of a working group at the Ministry of Education and Culture which prepared the concept for legal education.
By 1994, a great part of the above-mentioned development plan had been implemented but new problems had arisen. The Faculty of Law amended and refined the plan and in the spring semester of 1994 prepared an amended version of the development plan which at present is the basis for the development of the faculty.
The main emphasis in the most recent version of the development plan is the need for enlargement of the faculty with the aim of:
Within the framework of this development plan, the Faculty of Law is constantly seeking to raise the standards of instruction and research, to create necessary material resources and to develop the faculty’s master’s and doctoral programmes.
The Faculty of Law as a faculty within a university with classical traditions is required to:
In order to fulfil these tasks, the Faculty of Law attaches great importance to the comprehensive development and enhancement of the three level system of degree programmes, the promotion of master’s and doctoral programmes, the publication of educational materials, involvement of students in research and legislative drafting, the development of special programmes for teaching students of other faculties, the constant improvement of the qualifications of the academic staff and the training of new instructors.
1.2. Educational Administration
The Faculty of Law has not only been involved in the formation of education policy for the instruction of law but, to a certain extent, during the last five or six years has also been involved in the establishment of Estonian higher education policy in general. This has involved mainly laying the corresponding legislative foundation which has taken the form of the Education Act, the Universities Act, the University of Tartu Act and the University of Tartu By-laws.
Since the restoration of Estonia’s independence, the Faculty of Law has prepared its curriculum independently, taking into account the curricula of law faculties of other European classical universities and the needs of the Estonian state in training lawyers.
The faculty management prepared a draft curriculum based on the main directions of reform of the curriculum. New disciplines in the curriculum were introduced on the initiative of departments and institutes. After appropriate amendments were made, the curriculum was reviewed by the faculty board’s Methods Committee, which finally adopted the curriculum.
Until 1995, the faculty board was the final instance at the faculty to determine the content of the curriculum. Since 1995, the rights of the university in this respect have been extended. All curricula are analysed in terms of their content and form by the Academic Committee of the University of Tartu Council. Thereafter, the University of Tartu Government approves summaries of curricula and areas of specialisation of the University of Tartu. Thus, curricula and their amendments must receive prior approval. Finally, the curricula are approved by the University of Tartu Council.
Lawyers are taught on the basis of the Faculty of Law curriculum, although individual courses prescribed in the curriculum are also taught in an adjusted form to students of the Faculties of Economics and Social Sciences. Consequently, based on their interests, students of the University of Tartu have the possibility to take courses which form part of the Faculty of Law curriculum and this practice is becoming more frequent every year. However, a shortage of lecture halls and lecturers imposes certain limitations.
In order to raise the standards of instruction, the Faculty of Law considers it important to encourage its graduate and undergraduate students to express their opinion on the standards of instruction and the need for practical training by students in their special field of study. Student surveys have been periodically conducted. An extensive survey of graduates was conducted in the mid 1980s and most recently in 1995.
In the 1995 survey, 2700 questionnaires were sent to those who graduated from the Faculty of Law during the period from 1953 to the present. The received questionnaires provide valuable information on the teaching standards of different courses, the need to increase or reduce the scope of particular courses, the need for further training and related issues, the success rate of graduates and the role of the Faculty of Law therein.
1.3. Legislative Drafting, Specific Features of Jurisprudence and Estonian Society
In connection with the restoration of Estonia’s independence, it was necessary to establish a legal system for an independent state. As a result, the role of the Faculty of Law in Estonian society changed significantly. Members of the academic staff of the Faculty of Law have been involved in legislative drafting since the 1990s. Therefore, lecturers have had the duty to consider which courses should be taught as they must also take care of laying the legislative foundation.
Below, specific criteria of jurisprudence in the current circumstances of Estonia are discussed.
Jurisprudence like any other branch of study has its own theoretical and practical aspects. While the philosophy of law, history of law, international law and other branches of law are, to a greater or lesser extent, independent of the law in force and national jurisprudence, the majority of branches of law are related to national issues and have a practical nature. Legislative drafting is an essential outlet for such branches of law.
At the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s, research conducted by members of the academic staff of the Faculty of Law mainly focused on making proposals in research articles for the amendment of legislation. These proposals received little attention and, on reflection, the work done in this field was largely pointless. At the same time, members of the Faculty of Law repeatedly expressed a wish to participate in the drafting of legislation.
The situation changed drastically when Estonian legislative drafting began to develop. At the initial stage of original legislative drafting, draft legislation was mostly prepared outside of and ignoring the Faculty of Law. As a result, the quality of legislation suffered a great deal, even falling considerably below the former standards. The regulatory effect of such legislation proved minimal since the preparation of draft laws did not involve an initial analytical stage. Keeping jurists away from the preparation of draft legislation left the legislation without the required conceptual basis.
Agencies responsible for legal policy have recently become aware of the need to improve the state of legislative drafting in Estonia. Members of the academic staff of the Faculty of Law have become involved in preparing the concepts of the main branches of law and with the most relevant legislation as authors of development plans and draft laws. This process involves much work and presumes an in-depth analysis of related problems, comparative studies of the legal practice in other countries, an orientation in international law, background studies of socio-economic factors and knowledge of history and traditions.
In this process, members of the academic staff appear most suitable for the task due to their academic qualifications. Other lawyers, although they know the law in force and the problems arising in the application thereof, have had no time to work on new materials in the course of their everyday work. Therefore, draft laws introduced by them were often unprofessional and did not involve a conceptual approach.
Participation in legislative drafting has an inevitable impact on instruction. Members of the academic staff who have dealt with legislative drafting, have reviewed specialist literature necessary for the drafting of a law and have analysed legislation and court practice of other countries and thus, are much more competent to teach students the law in force and to explain to them its academic, legal and political bases.
Proposing amendments to the law in force in specialist literature, criticism of existing legislation in lectures and concentration on purely academic issues concerning particular branches of law would have been an alternative to direct involvement in the legislative drafting process. However, in this way jurists would have excluded themselves from the process of establishing the legal structure of the Estonian state and would have assumed the role of opposition in legislative drafting. This in turn would have had an adverse effect on the quality of research conducted by lecturers both from social and educational perspectives.
Legislative drafting in a narrower sense means the preparation of a draft law and its accompanying conceptual basis. One of the specific features of the developing Estonian legal system is that before the preparation of a particular draft law it is necessary to develop a concept for the development of the corresponding legal institution or branch of law or for an entire area of law. Such concept is a guarantee that the specific draft laws prepared on its basis will be grounded on solid academic foundations. In essence, the preparation of a development concept requires genuine academic research and only a person with academic qualifications is capable of this. Members of the academic staff of the Faculty of Law are and, without doubt, will be involved in developing such concepts.
A reform of the branches of law was initiated already before the proclamation of Estonia’s independence, particularly in such areas of law as civil and commercial law, labour law and criminal law. The development plans for substantive law and procedural law were prepared by the leading law lecturers of the corresponding specialisation and the plans became the foundation for the reform of these branches of law. Members of the academic staff of the Faculty of Law have also been involved in the drafting of education legislation. They contributed to the preparation of the Education Act, the Universities Act, the University of Tartu Act, draft laws on research organisation and the University of Tartu By-laws.
All departments of the Faculty of Law participate in the drafting of laws in their corresponding area either as heads or members of working groups. It is clear that the activities relating to legislative drafting must continue since during the years 1991-1996 the so-called transitional laws were primarily drafted. At present, the main objective is the preparation of amended stable laws considering Estonia’s integration into Europe.
In order to fulfil the tasks connected with legislative drafting, the Faculty of Law promotes:
In the future, legislative drafting priorities may change. For example, with Estonia’s accession to the European Union, approximation of the existing legislation and legislation to be drafted with international and European Community (EC) law will become a first priority. Further, the role of jurists and the criteria for evaluating research will also change in a state with a stable legal system.
1.4. Structure of the Faculty of Law of the University of Tartu and the Faculty of Law Board
In the 1980s and at the beginning of the 1990s, the Faculty of Law was one of the smallest faculties within the University of Tartu. As a result of a rapidly growing demand for lawyers, the Faculty of Law has increased admission each year as much as possible. Consequently, the faculty is now among the medium sized faculties of the University of Tartu. In the immediate future, no decrease in the number of students is foreseen as the social demand for lawyers persists or even continues to grow. It should be borne in mind that the need for lawyers is directly connected with the performance of functions of an independent state and the direct “consumer” is the developing Estonian state. The principle of the establishment of the rule of law leaves no room for an opposing view.
During the academic year 1992/1993, the structure of the Faculty of Law underwent a substantial reform which resulted in the following currently existing structure:
Doctor Peep Pruks, Dean
Professor Kalle Merusk, Assistant Dean
Associate Professor Jaan Ginter, Assistant Dean
INSTITUTE OF PUBLIC LAW
Professor Raul Narits, Director
Jaan Sootak, Head of Department,
Professor of Criminal Law
Kalle Merusk, Acting Head of Department,
Acting Professor of Constitutional and Administrative Law
Raul Narits, Head of Department,
Professor of Comparative Jurisprudence
INSTITUTE OF PRIVATE LAW
Professor Inge-Maret Orgo, Director
Peeter Järvelaid, Head of Department,
Professor of History of Estonian Law
(opened on 28 October 1994 by a resolution of the University of Tartu Council)
Hannes Veinla, Acting Head of Department,
Lecturer of Environmental Law
Irene Kull, Acting Head of Department,
Lecturer in Civil and Commercial Law
Inge-Maret Orgo, Head of Department,
Professor of Labour and Social Welfare Law
The Faculty of Law Board
(clauses 5, 6 and 17 of the Faculty of Law By-laws)
The Faculty of Law Board is the highest collegial body of the faculty.
The Faculty of Law Board comprises the Dean, Assistant Deans, the directors of the institutes by virtue of the offices they hold, members elected by the faculty’s full-time academic staff and researchers, and representatives of the students of different years.
The Faculty of Law Board:
1. reviews and approves the annual report submitted by the Dean;
2. adopts and submits the faculty development plan to the university council for approval;
3. makes proposals to the university council for changing the structure of the faculty and for the establishment and dissolution of departments;
4. decides on the composition of institutes based on the specialisation profiles of departments;
5. elects the academic staff and researchers of the faculty, except professors;
6. makes proposals to the university council for election of professors;
7. makes proposals to the university council for establishment of a procedure for admission to the faculty;
8. adopts the faculty curriculum and amendments thereto and submits these to the university council for approval;
9. approves the curricula for master’s and doctoral students;
10. approves syllabi;
11. decides the awarding of scientific and professional degrees, higher education diplomas and professional certificates;
12. reviews reports on instruction and research by the structural units of the faculty, including heads of department, and evaluates their work;
13. approves the budgets of the institutes of the faculty and their amendments;
14. discusses issues raised by the Rector, Deans, the university council and the institutes of the faculty; and
15. if necessary, forms from among its members permanent or ad hoc committees dealing with issues relating to the organisation of instruction and research and other individual issues.
The right to award master’s and doctoral degrees was granted to the faculty board by the University of Tartu Council Resolution of 26 May 1995. The curricula for master’s and doctoral programmes and the following degree titles were also approved by the same Resolution:
field of study: law
degree awarded: magister iuris
field of study: law
degree awarded: doctor iuris
In view of the needs of Estonian society, the Faculty of Law has endeavoured to respond accurately to an increased demand for lawyers. While for years including the 1980s the number of full-time students admitted to the faculty was 50-55, within the last five years the numbers have significantly risen (see Figure 2.1.). A historical comparison is presented in Figure 2.2. The growth in admission reflects the increased demand for lawyers in a market-oriented society. The demand for lawyers has increased enormously and the Faculty of Law has not been able to increase admission as quickly as state agencies would like. It is clear that admission to the Faculty of Law can be increased only to a certain extent under the present conditions, without loss in quality.
Admission to and applications per position for the full-time course of study,
and graduates of the Faculty of Law in 1991-1996
|Year||Number of applications||Admission||+||Applications per position||% of those admitted completed studies on time||Graduates (Total)||+||Graduates cum laude||+|
|^||^||Full-time||By corre-spondence||Full-time||Full-time||Full-time||By corre-spondence||Full-time||By corre-spondence|
Admission to the Faculty of Law in 1921-1938
|Year||Number of entrants||+||+||Number of students||+||+|
|^||University of Tartu||Faculty of Law||%||University of Tartu||Faculty of Law||%|
In 1996, the number of applications submitted for the 120 student positions at the Faculty of Law totalled 1 011. More than 800 persons wished to study law as their first preference. Thus, 8.43 entrance applications were submitted per student position. Six hundred and twenty one applicants passed the entrance exams successfully or 5.18 applicants per student position.
Fifty-five (45 per cent) of the admitted students were men and 65 (55 per cent) were women. The gender ratio of first year students was the same last year.
As at 10 September 1996, 684 students (including 121 correspondence students), 71 master’s students and 6 doctoral students study at the Faculty of Law. This makes 25.4 students (including master’s and doctoral students) per filled instructor position. The average at the University of Tartu is 9.8 students per filled instructor position. It is clear that a greater number of students would interfere with the possibilities to conduct individual work with students.
2.2. Specifications of Admission
The persons admitted are predominantly between 17 and 19 years of age, but every year there are also persons of 21 years of age or older. The persons admitted are mostly from cities: 35.0 per cent from Tallinn and 22.7 per cent from Tartu. The number of persons admitted who come from North-East Estonia is very small, at only 2.7 per cent.
Foreign students have so far been admitted only to the bachelor’s programme for 1-2 semesters or for the full-time course of study. Before admission, foreign students must pass an Estonian language test and those who fail the test may apply for admission again only after studying Estonian at the Language Centre for 1-2 semesters. Admission of foreign students is decided by the faculty. A majority of foreign students who applied for admission to the Faculty of Law are currently at the stage of language studies. In the academic year 1995/1996, three foreign students and one foreign visiting student studied at the Faculty of Law.
2.3. Quality of Knowledge of Students Admitted
In recent years, admission to the Faculty of Law has been highly competitive which has allowed for the selection of a strong uniform student body. However, the only variable factor is the students’ knowledge level of foreign languages. Therefore, foreign language groups in the bachelor’s programme are formed on the basis of the results of a foreign language test conducted during the entrance examinations.
A prerequisite for admission to the master’s or doctoral programmes is the possession of a bachelor’s or master’s degree, respectively. Students are admitted to the master’s and doctoral programmes on the basis of an individual evaluation process. The main evaluation criteria are academic progress and the research conducted in the bachelor’s programme. Admission to the master’s and doctoral programmes is determined by the Faculty of Law Board.
2.4. Admission Requirements and the Open University
Students are admitted to the Faculty of Law on the basis of admission requirements which are separately prepared for each academic year and are approved by the University of Tartu Council. Entrance conditions together with the specification of areas of specialisation and entrance examination programmes are published in a separate directory.
The Faculty of Law has experimented with different systems of entrance tests. Oral examinations are no longer held because of potential subjectivity on the part of the evaluator. Moreover, it is quite difficult to conduct an oral examination, for example in history, when more than 1 000 student applicants are participating. An essay and a foreign language test have always been used. In addition, the secondary school grade point average has been taken into account, and an IQ test and a written examination in history have been applied. Since the grading standards of secondary schools vary to a great extent, the University of Tartu no longer considers secondary school grades in order to avoid discrimination of students coming from stronger schools. The attempt to use the results of IQ tests has proved successful, but in recent years the faculty board has decided to use only an examination in history in addition to the essay and foreign language test as entrance examinations.
In 1996, the applicants wishing to study law were required to pass the following examinations: history, an essay and a foreign language test in English, German or French. Examinations were taken on the basis of programmes specified in the University of Tartu directory. As an exception, applicants who had completed their secondary education in Russian and who applied to study specialities taught in Estonian had to take a test in Estonian before they were able to sit for the entrance examinations.
There were no exemptions for applicants who wish to study law. Students were admitted on the basis of their entrance examination results. In the case of an equal total number of points, the Dean’s Office of the Faculty of Law made the final selection.
All 120 full-time student positions are financed from the state budget. Admission of correspondence students to the University of Tartu terminated in 1992. To date, the faculty has not yet created student positions commissioned by legal persons as provided for in § 52 of the Teaching Regulations. At a session of the University of Tartu Government held on 23 April 1996, it was established that the cost of a student position financed by a legal person is 20 000 kroons in the academic year 1996/1997.
Under § 53 of the Teaching Regulations, all faculties of the University of Tartu have the right to arrange for the preparation, for a fee, of those students who have passed the entrance examinations to the University of Tartu under the general conditions for examinations of non-regular students. Those who prepare for non-regular student examinations are called auditing students. These students can study together with registered students according to the same curricula. The number of auditing students at a faculty is determined by the University of Tartu Government.
The Faculty of Law does not admit auditing students since the number of state financed student positions is too large to allow for the admission of applicants financed from other sources to the full-time course of study.
However, in 1996 the bachelor of laws programme was initiated at the Open University in the form of correspondence study. As the Open University, the University of Tartu awards the baccalaureus artium degree in law to those students who have completed the required graded and pass/fail examinations and defended a graduation thesis (160 credits).
Classroom work in the form of lectures and seminars is mainly conducted in cycles and averages 45 days of study per year. Independent study has a predominant role. A course of study at the Open University is fee-based. In 1996, 60 students were admitted.
There are no entrance examinations to the master’s degree programme. Students are admitted on a competitive basis. A student’s academic progress as recorded in the grade certificate, the results of defending a bachelor’s thesis, participation in and results of student research competitions and the student’s research orientation are also taken into account. Applicants for the master’s programme are required to have a bachelor of laws degree. The final decision on admission of an applicant to the master’s degree programme is made by the faculty board, which will also designate a research supervisor for each master’s student.
The doctoral programme of the Faculty of Law is still at the development stage and therefore students are admitted to this programme on an individual basis. One of the main objectives of the doctoral programme is to prepare lecturers for the faculty. A decision on admission to the doctoral programme is made by the faculty board. As a rule, the doctoral programme requires a magister iuris degree.
2.5. Language of Instruction
Instruction at the Faculty of Law is mainly conducted in Estonian. In past years, study by correspondence was carried out in two separate groups, specifically Estonian and Russian. As a result of the restoration of Estonia’s independence and the establishment of Estonian as the state language, the possibility to operate as a lawyer without knowing the state language ceased to exist. Therefore, there was no longer any objective need for Russian language legal education in Estonia. Graduates from Russian language schools can enter the Faculty of Law after passing an Estonian language test. However, such applicants have the right to write their entrance essay in Russian which grants them an equal opportunity to compete with applicants who have graduated from Estonian language schools.
Visiting lecturers mainly hold their lectures in English or German.
2.6. Opportunities for Academic Mobility and Choice of Academic Pace
With the support of several foreign funds, students of the Faculty of Law have been able to attend various summer courses and other academic programmes and to study in degree programmes of universities abroad. Academic mobility within Estonia has been considerably more limited since other law schools have only started operation. At present, higher legal education is also offered at four private educational institutions based in Tallinn.
The Faculty of Law recognises the results of a course of study outside the University of Tartu depending on the university where the course of study was undertaken. The calculation of credits is based on the system used in awarding credits for the courses offered by the faculty, that is, one credit corresponds to 40 hours of study (classroom work: lectures, seminars, colloquia and independent study).
Every student may plan a course of study according to his or her possibilities. The curriculum comprises required courses which a student must complete for acquisition of a degree and electives from among which he or she must take a definite number of courses in order to complete a total of 160 credits.
Generally, completion of the curriculum is expected to take four years. A student is expelled due to a failure to complete the curriculum if he or she has collected less than 75 per cent of the required credits. Thus, students may use an additional year for completion of the curriculum. In addition, students are entitled to academic leave. In recent years, academic leave has been increasingly sought for economic reasons. For example, in 1995, 11 students applied for academic leave.
A qualitatively new curriculum for the Faculty of Law was prepared in the academic year 1992/1993 and was adopted at a meeting of the faculty board on 17 May 1993. Professor J. P. Grant from the Faculty of Law of the University of Glasgow (Scotland) conducted the first international evaluation of the curriculum and submitted his written expert analysis on 28 August 1993.
Foreign experts have emphasised the following aspects:
In the following years, the curriculum was amended and adopted in its current form at a meeting of the faculty board on 12 May 1995 and was thereafter approved by the University of Tartu Council on 26 May 1995.
The current curriculum is undoubtedly a step forward. First and foremost, the number of private law disciplines has increased. This change was not only based on the above-mentioned expert opinion. Similar evaluations were given of the faculty curriculum by other institutions during the last three years. Further, problems relating to the curriculum have repeatedly been discussed at meetings of the faculty management with the EuroFaculty.
In preparing the new curriculum, the socio-economic changes which have occurred in Estonia were taken as the basis. Also, the integration of the Estonian legal system into the continental European legal system was taken into account. The current curriculum is far from ideal and, in many respects, is a compromise between the possibilities and expectations.
The curriculum is aimed at the provision of an academic legal education on three levels: the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programmes.
The curriculum of the Faculty of Law of the University of Tartu and those of other universities and law schools differ both in content, designation and scope of courses. However, these are not the main differences. In comparison with the curricula of other universities, the curriculum of the Faculty of Law is more systematic and the share of legal theoretical analysis is larger.
3.1. Objectives of the Curriculum
The system of courses and course programmes have been created in accordance with the objectives of the curriculum. A student who has completed courses in the curriculum is familiar with the Estonian legal system, has knowledge of both public and private law and of specific branches of law.
Further, students obtain knowledge of public and private international law and of European law. The curriculum as a whole and individual courses involve the treatment of both theoretical and practical aspects of law. For example, some courses only focus on legal theoretical problems. Such courses include Overview of Law, History of the Philosophy of Law, and Issues of General Theory of Law. Theoretical aspects of a given branch of law are taught to students through the corresponding courses. For example, the main issues of administrative law theory are dealt with under the Administrative Law course. In addition, courses focus on positive law. Graduates of the Faculty of Law are familiar with and are able to apply the law in force. At the same time, their legal theoretical knowledge allows them to function in the entire legal system even if new laws with different principles are adopted.
Students also acquire a general education through required minors which are mostly law related courses or courses dealing with subjects which lawyers might need in their activities such as economics, ethics, logic, foreign languages, Latin, political science, financial accounting, philosophy, sociology and Estonian. These general disciplines are mainly covered by electives.
In the master’s programme, legal theoretical issues are treated more thoroughly within the framework of general legal theory and the theory of the corresponding branch of law. Electives in areas of specialisation require students to work independently on specialist literature in foreign languages. In this way, students also obtain some knowledge of the continental European and Anglo-American legal cultures.
The master’s programme also includes required courses, electives and special seminars concerning the current legislation of other countries, especially that of European countries.
3.2. Curriculum Content, the Possibility of Integration into the Educational System of Advanced European Countries and the Use of Visiting Lecturers
In most countries, legal education is based on the national legal system. Therefore, a complete integration into the educational system of the advanced European countries at the present stage of development is not feasible. Nevertheless, the Faculty of Law curriculum enables students to learn the main concepts, principles and legal theoretical treatments valid in continental European legal culture. The transformation of the Estonian legal system into a continental European system in which uniform legal principles apply has also objectively facilitated this process. At present, the main objective of the Faculty of Law curriculum is to prepare lawyers for the Estonian legal system. At the same time, practice has shown that students of the Faculty of Law have sufficient knowledge to continue their course of study at Western European or American universities.
There is no doubt that visiting lecturers contribute a lot to the exchange of ideas. In connection with curriculum reform, visiting lecturers have been of more importance than usual. Visiting lecturers teach disciplines which are temporarily not taught at the Faculty of Law due to a lack of corresponding teaching staff. With the assistance of visiting lecturers, members of the academic staff of the Faculty of Law have had a chance to amend and develop their courses and apply new teaching methods.
The following international co-operation programmes have enabled the faculty to employ visiting lecturers:
Civil Education Project (CEP);
Fullbright Fellowship Program;
American Bar Association Central and East European Law Initiative (CEELI) and others.
During the last two academic years, a number of visiting lecturers have conducted longer lecture series at the Faculty of Law. These lecturers have included Michael Listgarten (U.S.A.; EC Law, Private International Law), Richard C. Visek (U.S.A.; International Law, Comparative Legal Systems, EC Law), Michael Gallagher (U.S.A.; Legal Writing), Charles Lipton (U.S.A.; International Arbitration, International Business Agreements), Dora Bentsen (EC Competition Law), Suvianna Hakalehto (Finland; Torts), Vesa Lappalainen (Finland; Contract Law, Competition Law) and Katariina Kaukonen (Finland; Contract Law).
A complete fulfilment of the objectives of the curriculum is impeded by several factors which may arbitrarily be divided into objective and subjective ones.
The Estonian legal system is still in the development stages and therefore certain areas are not regulated by law or are regulated by laws originating from the Soviet legal system. Consequently, these areas can be covered in courses only in comparison with the legislation of other countries based on the lege ferenda principle. The law of obligations serves as a good example. As a result, the preparation of graduates in such areas of law is incomplete and requires lawyers, upon the adoption of the corresponding law, to later fill in the gaps themselves or make use of the possibilities offered by further training.
One of the subjective factors is the fact that certain areas of law lack teaching staff with high qualifications. Although the faculty is constantly engaged in training new instructors, the results can only be felt in the future. For example, issues relating to the Department of International Law still remain unsolved. There is no full-time instructor to teach EC law. Further, there is a lack of instructors in several other promising areas of law such as environmental law; financial law, including tax and insurance law; local government; the philosophy of law and sociology; medical law and others.
3.3. General Structure of the Curriculum, Options and Changes in the Curriculum
The curriculum structure is based on the University of Tartu Teaching Regulations. The total extent of instruction in the bachelor’s programme is 160 weeks of study or credits.
Disciplines fall into majors (104 credits), required minors (31 credits), alternative minors (9 credits) and electives (16 credits).
A major forms the core of an area of specialisation and includes both general legal courses such as Overview of Law, History of the Philosophy of Law, Introduction to Comparative Law, History of Estonian Law and special courses such as Civil Law, International Law, Commercial Law, Criminal Law, Constitutional Law, Labour Law, Administrative Law and others.
The system of courses for a major is constructed systematically, from the general to the specific. The course of study begins with general legal courses, continues with a general treatment of the corresponding disciplines and is followed by the so-called special courses. A logical sequence of legal courses to be completed by students is ensured by a system of prerequisite courses. In order to take a particular course, students are informed through the course register of the requirement to pass a graded or pass/fail examination in a prerequisite course. For example, an examination in the Law of Property requires completion of the General Principles of Civil Law Course.
Required minors have an assisting function in legal education and, on their basis, future lawyers develop a general education background. The required minors include ethics, economics, logic, computer training, foreign languages, Latin, political science, financial accounting, philosophy, sociology, Estonian, and civil defence.
Alternative minors (public or private law courses) are courses in law which serve the purpose of specialisation.
Electives can be chosen by students based on their interests. In principle, electives may be courses which are not related to law.
In order to provide students with an opportunity for further specialisation and enhancement of professional training, the departments of the Faculty of Law also offer electives in law. At present there are 18 courses (20.5 credits) of this kind.
Visiting lecturers from European and American universities have frequently been used in the instruction of electives in law (see visiting lecturers). In fact, the instruction carried out by visiting lecturers mainly involves such courses. In fact, the system of electives allows for a fast response to changes occurring in the legal system. Thus, if a legal institution is created, its main issues can be taught to students through electives relatively quickly.
The total number of credits in the master’s programme is 80, consisting of master’s courses (40 credits) and a master’s thesis (40 credits). Master’s courses comprise the Theory of the State and Law course (5 credits), electives and seminars in the area of specialisation at the department to which the master’s student is assigned (25 credits), other electives in the humanities (5 credits) and the master’s examination (5 credits). The Theory of the State and Law course is obligatory for all master’s students. Electives in an area of specialisation and special seminars are the basis for a master’s student’s narrower field of specialisation. After assignment to a department, a master’s student drafts a curriculum which includes electives in his or her area of specialisation and special seminars offered by the department. Subject to specialisation, electives of other departments may also be incorporated into the curriculum.
Other electives in the humanities are chosen by the master’s student and his or her supervisor based on the student’s area of specialisation. These are general education courses which have an assisting function in legal education. A course of study in the master’s programme is based on an individual curriculum, which prescribes attendance of the required courses and individual study by semesters. The curriculum covers the whole period of the master’s programme and is approved by the supervisor of the master’s thesis. At the end of each academic year, a master’s student must submit a report to the corresponding department, on the basis of which the department will decide on the continuation or termination of the course of study by the master’s student. This decision is approved by the faculty board.
The total number of credits in the doctoral programme is 160 consisting of doctoral courses (40 credits) and completion of a doctoral dissertation (120 credits). The doctoral courses include Theory of the State and Law (2 credits), Comparative Law (2 credits), European Law (2 credits), electives in an area of specialisation and special seminars at the department to which the doctoral student is assigned (22 credits), other electives in the humanities (2 credits) and the doctoral examination (10 credits).
A course of study in the doctoral programme is based on an individual curriculum, which prescribes attendance of the required courses and individual study by academic year. The curriculum covers the whole period of the doctoral programme and is approved by the corresponding department.
The curriculum includes alternative minors (9 credits), which in principle, divide into public law and private law courses. Based on students’ interests and the need for specialisation, students can choose either public law or private law courses. In addition, students can also freely choose courses (16 credits) from electives in law offered by the Faculty of Law and courses taught by other faculties of the University of Tartu. As well, students may take courses at other universities in Estonia or abroad. Thus, students can choose courses within the framework of the curriculum to the extent of 25 credits.
Considering the objectives of the curriculum, such scope of options is currently optimal at the faculty and any increase would damage the requirement for the multi-faceted training of lawyers.
From 1993 until the present, more than 30 new electives including electives in law were introduced. New courses for a major are, for example, Law of Property, Administrative Procedure, Commercial Law, Intellectual Property, Standards of Legislative Documents, Introduction to Comparative Law and others. New elective courses in law include Employment Relations and Public Service, International Agreements and National Labour Law, EC Environmental Law, International Law of War, EC Law, American Legal Terminology, Medical Law and others.
In addition to the introduction of new courses, the internal proportions of the curriculum between public law and private law have changed. The share of public law has decreased and that of private law has increased. In spite of the actual shifts, the faculty does not consider the achieved proportions optimal. The share of private law courses must further grow in the immediate future at the expense of general legal courses and public law. However, the fulfilment of this objective is impeded by a lack of instructors and, therefore, the corresponding changes can only occur gradually depending on the manner and speed of training of new instructors through both the master’s and doctoral programmes.
3.4. Structure of Master’s and Doctoral Programmes and Opportunities for Acquisition of Academic Degrees
As mentioned, the master’s programme (80 credits) comprises master’s courses (40 credits) and completion of a master’s thesis (40 credits). Master’s courses include Theory of the State and Law (5 credits), electives in the area of specialisation and special seminars at the department to which the master’s student is assigned (25 credits) and other electives in the humanities (5 credits). Before defending a master’s thesis, a master’s student is required to sit for the master’s examination (5 credits) the programme of which is prepared by the corresponding department. Master’s courses may be divided into three parts:
As mentioned, the doctoral programme (160 credits) comprises doctoral courses, a doctoral examination (10 credits) and a doctoral dissertation (120 credits). The doctoral programme includes general legal courses such as Theory of the State and Law (2 credits), Comparative Law (2 credits) and European Law (2 credits), specialisation courses which consist of electives in an area of specialisation and special at the department to which the doctoral student is assigned seminars (22 credits), and electives in the humanities (2 credits) which are chosen by the doctoral student depending on his or her area of specialisation or interests.
An applicant for a master’s or doctor’s degree must, as a rule, have completed the master’s or doctoral programme and passed the master’s or doctoral examination. Under the University of Tartu Academic Degrees Regulations, a faculty board has the right to permit an applicant for a degree who has not completed the master’s or doctoral programme but whose academic publications meet the requirements for a master’s thesis or a doctoral dissertation and who has passed the master’s or doctoral examination to defend his or her thesis or dissertation. Such applicant must have completed higher education or must have a bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree is generally a prerequisite for applying for a doctor’s degree.
At present, there is no possibility to acquire a master’s professional degree. On the one hand, this is caused by the fact that the state has not yet expressed its demand but, on the other hand, by insufficient teaching and material resources.
3.5. Ratio Between a Major and Electives and its Nature
A major constitutes the core of an academic legal education without completion of which a future lawyer is unable to cope with his or her functions. Alternative minors such as private law and public law courses form a set of disciplines which enable students to specialise. Their ratio in the curriculum to a major is 8.5 per cent. Private law courses include Competition Law, Bankruptcy Law, Insurance Law, the Residential Law, Copyright, Legal Bases for Foreign Economic Activity, Law of State Procurement and State Reserves.
Public law courses focus on criminal law and criminal procedure including the topics of pre-investigation methods, involvement in crime, arrangement for expert analyses, general provisions concerning imposition of punishment, special features of criminal procedure in the investigation of juvenile crime, liability in international law, duress and human rights in criminal procedure (9 credits).
A major, required minors and alternative minors (altogether 144 credits) form a fixed compulsory part of the curriculum. Alternative minors enable students to choose between public law and private law.
According to the curriculum, a student may choose electives to the extent of 16 credits. This forms 10 per cent of the credits prescribed by the curriculum. There are no restrictions on taking such courses and these are based on a student’s interests. In principle, a student may complete these credits outside the faculty, that is, at other faculties of the University of Tartu or at other universities in Estonia or abroad.
3.6. Students’ Practical Training in a Special Field of Study, Reports, Course Papers and Graduation Theses
In connection with the introduction of the new curriculum, the organisation of students’ practical training in their special field of study was reformed. Earlier, students’ practical training occurred in both state and local government agencies and in private companies. As a result of discussions and analyses, the faculty board decided that the organisation of students’ practical training at a court was most effective since the courts deal with the main problems relating to the application of law from substantive and procedural aspects.
Since 1993, the students’ six-week practical training has been held at a court. Issues relating to students’ practical training are co-ordinated by a member of the faculty who, in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice, selects places for such training and assigns students thereto. In the places of practical training, supervisors are assigned to students. Each student also has a faculty appointed supervisor. Students are provided with instructions which they must observe in the course of their training. At the end of the training, students must write a report which is submitted to the corresponding department together with the opinion of the supervisor of the place of training.
Unfortunately all students cannot be assigned to practical training at a court as the court system itself is relatively young and in the development stages, and suitable supervisors are difficult to find. Further, the course of study is organised such that students’ practical training can only be carried out within a relatively limited period of time. However, the faculty has established good working relationships with the Supreme Court. It is important to note that seminars and workshops are mostly conducted by judges of the Tartu Circuit Court and the Supreme Court. Thus, the location of the Supreme Court in Tartu has greatly facilitated academic instruction at the Faculty of Law.
The defence of practical training reports is held before committees established at the institutes. Completion of a student’s practical training is assessed as a pass or fail.
According to the curriculum, students of the first three years must write one course paper each academic year. The subject matter of a course paper is proposed by an instructor based on the discipline taught by him or her and is posted for inspection at the beginning of each academic year. Students choose the subject of their course paper according to their interests.
A course paper is written under the direct guidance of a supervisor. The supervisor will discuss the outline of the paper, its methods of analysis, sources and the problems arising in the course of writing the paper. After the course paper is completed, it will be defended at the corresponding department. In evaluating the course paper, both the content and form are considered.
A course paper is one of the most important elements of the curriculum and has several intrinsic values. First, through supervision of a course paper, individual work with a student is carried out which cannot always be done at lectures or seminars. Second, the writing of a course paper provides a student with an experience of independent work and an opportunity to develop skills of analysis and to express his or her ideas in writing.
The subject matters of bachelor’s theses together with the names of supervisors are also posted for inspection at the corresponding departments at the beginning of each academic year. By agreement with the supervisor, a student may himself or herself formulate the subject matter which most interests him or her. Practice has shown that a lot of students develop their course papers into a bachelor’s thesis.
A preliminary defence of papers is held at the corresponding departments at the beginning of April of each year. During defence, the problems which arose in the course of writing the paper are addressed and the level of the paper is assessed. According to established practice, the defence of graduation theses is held twice a year, in June and December.
The subject-matter of a master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation is chosen together with the supervisor who is assigned to the student by the faculty board. A master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation is written under the guidance of the corresponding supervisor.
At the end of each academic year, a master’s student must submit a report on his or her course of study and the completion of the thesis. The report is reviewed at the corresponding department.
As an academic degree in law cannot be acquired at Estonian universities other than the Faculty of Law of the University of Tartu, applicants for an academic degree are also sent to universities abroad. Such students are, as a rule, first admitted to the master’s programme at the Faculty of Law, a supervisor is assigned from the faculty and then the student is sent to study abroad (“student abroad”). The assigned supervisor maintains contact with the student, monitors his or her progress and is also responsible for the results of research conducted by the student.
3.7. Admission to Master’s and Doctoral Programmes and Possibilities for a Part-time Course of Study
Since initiation of the master’s programme, admission to the programme has been increasingly competitive (in 1995, 1.5 candidates per position; in 1996, 2.9 candidates per position). In the immediate future, admission to the master’s programme is likely to become more competitive since, pursuant to the Public Service Act, completion of an academic degree is financially encouraged in the civil service (10 per cent pay rise). To date, applicants have been admitted to the doctoral programme based on individual selection (in 1996, 2 candidates per position).
As the best graduates apply for the master’s and doctoral programmes, the level of master’s and doctoral students is high. Graduate students are generally students who have completed the bachelor’s degree cum laude or with good or excellent grades. The master’s and doctoral programmes are conducted at the corresponding departments and involve specialisation in a specific area of law. At present, the number of master’s students at departments is not sufficient to establish lecture groups. This is only possible in the case of general legal courses. Thus, the studies of a master’s student are conducted in the form of independent work and individual consultations, seminars and colloquia. This also permits a part-time course of study.
A part-time course of study does not differ from a full-time programme. However, the main difference lies in the fact that the scope of independent work is larger in the case of part-time study as the programme must be fully completed.
3.8. Continuing Education
Apart from the contribution of the Faculty of Law to legislative drafting, the progress made in continuing education also deserves mention. Until stability of the Estonian legal system is achieved, an important function of the Faculty of Law is to provide by its academic staff:
For these reasons, the Faculty of Law initiated the creation of a system of continuing education and requalification for lawyers.
Lawyers Training Centre
The Lawyers Training Centre (LTC) was founded on 14 February 1994 on the initiative and with the financial support of the Open Estonia Foundation by the Faculty of Law of the University of Tartu, the Ministry of Justice and the Supreme Court.
The purpose of the LTC as an independent legal person is to arrange for continuing legal education in Estonia and within its framework:
1. complex study programmes directed at different target groups of lawyers are implemented;
2. a series of lectures, study days and seminars are conducted under the guidance of both Estonian (lecturers of the Faculty of Law of the University of Tartu and judges of the Supreme Court) and visiting lecturers;
3. students of the LTC are prepared for examinations for non-regular students at the Faculty of Law; and
4. legal literature is published.
The highest body of the LTC is the board which comprises a member of the Open Estonia Foundation’s management board, a prorector of the University of Tartu, the Dean of the Faculty of Law, the heads of the Institutes of Public Law and Private Law, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Justice, the Public Prosecutor, the Chairman of the Bar Association and the Chairman of the Chamber of Notaries. The Dean of the Faculty of Law is the chairman of the board.
Significant facts in the current activities of the LTC
1. Systematic continuing education programmes have had an important role in continuing education. So far two complex programmes have been prepared and implemented: one for practising lawyers (124 hours) and the other for chiefs of police (136 hours).
The purpose of the first programme is to provide lawyers with a complete overview of the changes which have occurred in the Estonian legal system and, to some extent, the different aspects of the treatment of general legal theoretical issues. The need for such a programme arose from the rapid development of Estonian legislative drafting due to which many lawyers were only able to keep track of new legislation and related interpretative and theoretical positions in their own specialty within the profession. Also, a lot of lawyers with higher education had not practised law for some time as they had taken up administrative positions, had given up their career to raise children or for other reasons. Thus, the programme was directed at those who wished to acquire a complete overview of the current state of the Estonian legal system. The programme has been run twice in a modified form.
Chiefs of police formed the target group of the other programme. On the basis of the programme prepared in co-operation with prefectures, 9 two-day training sessions were held from 12 December 1995 to 16 May 1996. A pass-fail examination was conducted at the end of the training sessions. All chiefs of police and some senior officials of the Police Administration attended the sessions.
2. Of the diverse training activities conducted by the LTC, mention should be made of the following:
3. The LTC is also involved in the preparation of its students for examinations for non-regular students at the Faculty of Law of the University of Tartu with the aim of enabling the students (114) to acquire the lawyer’s diploma.
4. A very important area of activity which supports the conduct of continuing education is the publication of legal literature. In 1995, two study aids and one textbook were published with the financial support of the Open Estonia Foundation. In 1996, 4 study aids will be published.
The address of the Lawyers Training Centre is:
Ülikooli 18-230A, EE2400 Tartu
Tel./fax: (27) 43 20 72
IV. Academic process
4.1. Reform of Academic Process
In recent years, the academic process has been undergoing reform aimed at raising the standards of the curriculum and the instruction based thereon to a contemporary level.
From 1945 to the second half of the 1980s, the main emphasis in the instruction of law was on public law which was conditioned by the structure of society. In view of the proportion between the disciplines taught, 2/3 of the total number of courses dealt with public law and 1/3 with private law. With respect to the structure of jurisprudence, the main emphasis was on the instruction of legal dogmas as a component part of jurisprudence through the corresponding branches of substantive law and procedural law. The history of law and the history of legal thought (part of the philosophy of law) were also taught to a certain extent. The sociology of law was not dealt with at all.
Changes in Estonian society opened up possibilities for transforming and upgrading the academic process. Foreign experts gave considerable support to the faculty and, based on their recommendations, the reform of the curriculum continued. The faculty board established a methods committee which analysed the curriculum by department. First, the Methods Committee dealt with those departments which had received comments and recommendations from experts.
Up to the present, the courses offered by the Departments of History of Estonian Law, Criminal Law, and Comparative Law and the possibilities for their reform have been scrutinised. Corresponding proposals were submitted to the faculty board. In conclusion, as a result of this work, the share of courses in public law and private law has changed considerably. The proportion between these courses has come closer to that recommended, that is 1/3 for public law and 2/3 for private law.
However, it is clear that a mere increase or decrease in the share of courses in the curriculum cannot give the expected results. A change in the proportion must be accompanied by a change in the quality of instruction and by a practical implementation of reforms. In this respect, the contribution of visiting lecturers who have worked at the faculty is enormous. Visiting lecturers have come to teach at the faculty through the EuroFaculty, CEP and on their own initiative. The main problem at present is that there are no full-time instructors to teach particular disciplines or their qualifications do not meet the required standards.
The results of the work of visiting lecturers have contributed to the practical initiation of reform. There is no doubt that lecturers who have accepted the direction and principles of the reform in teaching have also assisted in implementing reform. In conclusion, the faculty as a whole has supported the reforms. However, the determination of the proportion of courses within the curriculum has resulted in heated debates.
4.2. Teaching Methods
In general, teaching methods may be divided between traditional methods and contemporary or active methods. The reform of the curriculum (its initial phase) and the youth of the legal system itself require that traditional methods take precedence. In a situation where essentially new disciplines are introduced into the curriculum but contemporary textbooks are not yet available for students (there is a lack of textbooks in Estonian), the extent of study in the classroom (lectures, seminars, workshops and colloquia) is relatively great.
In principle, the faculty follows the requirement specified in the University of Tartu Teaching Regulations under which the proportion between classroom and independent study is equal (50 per cent). Since the requirement applies to the whole curriculum, the amount of study in the classroom in some courses of the bachelor’s programme is more than 50 per cent. As students’ opportunities to do independent work increase, the amount of study in the classroom will decrease. Language and computer courses considerably increase the extent of study in the classroom. In fact, these courses do not form part of the academic curriculum but, considering the current capabilities of secondary schools and upper secondary schools, the faculty must bridge the gaps in language and computer training. It is difficult to imagine a lawyer with an academic degree who is able to communicate only in his or her mother tongue and who has no experience of working with data bases and text processors.
There is no doubt that more attention must be paid to so-called group work (seminar, workshop, colloquium). With group work, students develop a sense of social responsibility which also raises the quality of final results. A lack of instructors and the fact that in connection with the introduction of the master’s and doctoral programmes, the workload of leading instructors in teaching these programmes has significantly increased are an impediment in this process. This also hinders the conduct of seminars in the bachelor’s programme. At the same time, a lack of group work is also reflected in examination results.
The faculty seeks to increase the share of active and individual forms of study, particularly in the bachelor’s programme. However, this change can only be implemented gradually as the required instructors and necessary material resources become available.
In the master’s and doctoral programmes, a greater emphasis is laid on independent and individual study which relies on co-operation with a supervisor. Courses are often arranged in cycles which enables a larger number of master’s students to participate.
Research papers written by students are one of the most important results of independent study. Students start preparing reports for courses in the history of law and the introductory course to comparative law. According to the curriculum, a course paper must be prepared each academic year. In order to complete the bachelor’s programme, students are required to write three course papers and prepare and defend a graduation thesis. The requirements for the preparation and defence of a bachelor’s thesis are analogous to those for a master’s thesis or a doctoral dissertation. This helps to ensure conformity in legal research studies.
Computer training has an important place in the Faculty of Law curriculum. Although it was pointed out earlier that this discipline does not form part of the academic curriculum, considering the current situation, it is clear that without general computer skills and a knowledge of standard software, a lawyer will be unable to operate successfully. In addition to attending courses in information science, students may use the computers in the faculty study laboratory for preparing course papers and reports and to access the legislation register “ESTLEX”. From the end of 1994, the faculty has been connected to the INTERNET which has opened up new possibilities such as the faculty home page which is currently being developed. The database LEXIS-NEXIS is also available in the study laboratory.
4.3. Students’ Workload in Completion of Curriculum
The workload of students in completing the curriculum is based on the content of the curriculum (disciplines) and forms of study applied for this purpose. Under § 37 of the University of Tartu Teaching Regulations, the ratio between classroom and independent study in the curriculum of the bachelor’s programme as a whole is approximately 1:1. This means 3200 hours for both forms of study. According to the academic calendar of the University of Tartu, study is conducted in the classroom 32 weeks per year or 128 weeks during a four year course of study. Consequently, the average amount of study in the classroom is 25 hours per week. In practice, the amount of classroom study in different disciplines and academic years varies. In the first academic year, its amount is the greatest (61 per cent) and in the last year, the smallest (28 per cent). In the fourth year, students have six weeks of practical training and are also required to write a bachelor’s thesis.
Figure 4.1 indicates a student’s average number of hours per week in the classroom in required courses (major, required minors and alternative minors) by academic year.
A student’s average number of hours per week in the classroom in required courses by academic year
|Year of study||Credits||Average number of hours per week in classroom (approx.)|
According to the curriculum, electives (16 credits) are also included in the programme and therefore an average of 2.5 hours per week must be added to the number of hours in the classroom each academic year. In practice, the curriculum is organised such that students can focus on electives in their third or fourth year.
The number of hours prescribed by the curriculum differs from that in practice since students can apply for academic leaves and extensions during their course of study as prescribed in the Teaching Regulations. Thus, a student who has completed 75 per cent of the 160 credits by the end of the fourth year may continue his or her course of study in a fifth year with permission of the Dean.
The average number of credits granted to a student each academic year by the faculty is indicative of the actual intensity of the course of study (Figures 4.2 and 4.3).
Credits per bachelor’s student of the Faculty of Law in the academic year 1994/1995
|Credits granted by the Faculty of Law||+||Number of bachelor’s students||Total number of students||Credits granted per bachelor’s student||+||Credits granted per student (bachelor’s master’s, doctoral)|
|14 762||15 371||651||704||22.7||32.9||21.8|
It is important to note that 31 credits or 21.5 per cent of the required courses in the Faculty of Law curriculum are granted by lecturers of other faculties. Generally, the required number of credits granted by the Faculty of Law per year is 28 (excluding the electives in law).
Credits granted by the Faculty of Law in the academic years 1993/1994 and 1994/1995
|^||To students in the Faculty of Law||+||+||To students in other Faculties||+||+||Total|
|^||By Institute of Public Law||By Institute of Private Law||Total||By Institute of Public LawBy||Institute of Private Law||Total||^|
|1993/1994 year||5 041.5||8 119||13 160.5||408||465||1 281||14 441.5|
|1994/1995 year||7 176.5||8 193.5||15 370||–||–||1 786||17 156|
|Bachelor’s||7 002.5||7 759.5||14 762||171||1615||1 786||16 548|
In the academic year 1994/1995, the number of credits per filled instructor or researcher position was 459. The average of the University of Tartu was 208 credits per filled instructor or researcher position.
In the academic year 1994/1995, the number of credits per student was 21.8. The average of the University of Tartu was 24.2 credits per student.
4.4. Assessment of Students
Course programmes contain specific requirements which students must meet at graded or pass/fail examinations. As a rule, students’ work throughout the period of study for a particular course affects their examination results. Further, the work done at seminars and workshops, including seminar presentations and reports, is taken into account at examinations. For this reason, the Faculty of Law has established the rule that instructors must record students’ participation in the active forms of study, that is, all forms of study excluding lectures.
The relevant requirements for a particular course are communicated to students at the first lecture of a course and these cannot normally be changed during the course. A relatively large number of students in different academic years has caused the share of written forms of assessment to increase at the expense of oral examinations. However, the application of tests as a form of examination has been avoided. Tests can and are used in assessing the current work of a student during a particular course. The forms of assessment such as tests are fixed in the course programme.
As the academic process at the Faculty of Law is organised pursuant to the University of Tartu Teaching Regulations approved by the University of Tartu Council on 30 June 1995, the collective assessment of academic progress conducted in the form of examinations and supplemental examinations is carried out under these Regulations.
Part 4 of the Regulations is the basis for the organisation, conduct and assessment of graded and pass/fail examinations and defences. Supplemental examinations are possible twice and for this a student must normally register at the corresponding department.
V. Resources of academic Activity
5.1. Academic Staff of the Faculty
A lack of new instructors is an acute problem concerning the membership of the academic staff. A general tendency to undervalue teachers’ work has caused difficulties in employing new academic staff at the Faculty of Law. The payroll system effective at the beginning of the 1990s has brought about the development of a negative attitude towards the master’s programme, research and the profession of a teacher in general. The salary level at the university could not compete with that received by lawyers elsewhere. As a result, in recent years, several instructors left the university for the private sector and the court system. The recruiting of young promising graduates to the faculty still remains a problem.
At present, there is a transitional period with a change of generations. In view of formal (the number of instructors) and essential factors, this means that both older and younger generations are necessary.
The age structure of full-time employees by position
|up to 30||–||–||6||1||7|
|30 - 39||2||1||8||–||11|
|40 - 49||6||2||2||2||12|
|50 - 59||–||1||–||–||1|
|60 - 65||1||2||1||–||4|
|Total number of positions||9||6||17||3||35|
5.2. Material Resources
The Faculty of Law uses the Library of the University of Tartu which houses a collection of most textbooks, contemporary periodicals and research literature. In recent years, departments have mostly ordered textbooks and academic periodicals using the budgetary funds allocated to the faculty.
Further, additional possibilities for acquisition of contemporary legal literature have intensively been sought. The faculty study laboratory possesses the most recent teaching and research literature, including dictionaries and a collection of approximately 1 400 other books, obtained with the assistance of colleagues at universities abroad. A terminal for the database LEXIS-NEXIS is located in this room. The computers in the study laboratory are connected to the INTERNET. The database ESTLEX containing a register of Estonian legislation has been installed and databases on CD-ROMs are also available.
In addition, the reading room of the University of Tartu Humanities Library contains the library of the Estonian Law Centre which contains the American Legal Literature Collection comprising approximately 4 000 books. The shelves, photocopier and two computers which contain the catalogue for the books systematised in the PRO-CITE programme were purchased with the resources of the Estonian Law Centre.
5.2.2. Publication of Educational Materials, Textbooks and Study Materials During 1991-1996
It is essential that lawyers acquire a sufficiently broad base of knowledge (high level academic legal education) on which they can build their qualifications in a particular area of specialisation. Contemporary legal education has undergone rapid development in recent years as the legislative drafting process has become very active. Therefore, particular attention is being paid to the publication of new textbooks and is one of the priorities in current legal education.
There is no doubt that state support for the publication of legal literature is necessary. However, the state is not yet sufficiently aware of the social demand, created by the restoration of Estonia’s independence, for the intensive development of legal education and jurisprudence. However, it is a pleasure to state that in recent years, an attempt has been made to create a more favourable situation in the area of legal textbooks through the support and assistance of the Open Estonia Foundation.
Textbooks and Study Materials
1. Kergandberg, E. Sissejuhatus kohtumenetluse õpetusse. (Introduction to Court Procedure). AS Juura Publishing, 1996, 112 pages.
2. Orgo, I.-M., Merusk, K. Töösuhted ja avalik teenistus. (Employment Relationships and Public Service). Textbook for students of the Faculty of Law of the University of Tartu. AS Juura Publishing, 1996, 160 pages.
3. Vissak, H. Eesti-vene vene-eesti juriidiline sõnastik. Abiks juristile. (Estonian-Russian/Russian-Estonian Legal Dictionary. For Lawyers.). Lawyers Training Centre, 1996, 168 pages.
4. Ginter, J. Eesti Vabariigi õiguskaitsesüsteem. (System of Legal Defense in the Republic of Estonia). Lawyers Training Centre, 1996.
1. Narits, R. Õiguse entsüklopeedia. (Encyclopaedia of Law). Textbook for students of the Faculty of Law of the University of Tartu. AS Juura Publishing, 1995, 140 pages.
2. Orgo, I.-M., H. Siigur. Tööõigus. (Labour Law). Textbook for students of the Faculty of Law of the University of Tartu. AS Juura Publishing, 1995, 156 pages.
3. Merusk, K., Koolmeister, I. Haldusõigus. (Administrative Law). Textbook for students of the Faculty of Law of the University of Tartu. AS Juura Publishing, 1995, 160 pages.
4. Merusk, K. Kehtiv õigus ja õigusakti teooria põhiküsimusi. 2., parandatud ja täiendatud trükk. (Law in Force and the Main Issues in Legislation Theory). Second edition, revised. Tartu: Lawyers Training Centre, 1995, 32 pages.
5. Sootak, J. Kuriteod elu ja tervise vastu. (Crimes Against Life and Health). Study material for students of the Faculty of Law of the University of Tartu. Tartu, Lawyers Training Centre, 1995, 36 pages.
6. Lindmäe, H. Menetlustaktika I. (Procedural Tactics. Part I). Lawyers Training Centre, 1995, 152 pages.
7. Vutt, A. Äriühingute põhikirjad ja lepingud: näidised ja kommentaarid. (Articles of Association and Contracts of Commercial Enterprises: Examples and Comments). Tartu: Fides, 1995.
8. Vutt, A., Kõve, V., Kama, P., Vutt, M. Kommentariy k kommertseskomu kodeksu. Tallinn: Iz pervyh ruk, 1995.
1. Merusk, K. Kehtiv õigus ja õigusakti teooria põhiküsimusi. (Law in Force and the Main Issues in Legislation Theory). Tartu: Faculty of Law of the University of Tartu, 1994, 30 pages.
2. Sootak, J. Veretasust kriminaalteraapiani. Peatükke kriminaalõiguse ajaloost. (From Blood Money to Criminal Therapy. Selected Texts from the History of Criminal Law). Tartu: Faculty of Law of the University of Tartu, 1994, 143 pages.
3. Luts, M. Friedrich Carl von Savigny (1779-1861) meetodi ja süsteemiõpetus. (The Study of Method and the System of Friedrich Carl von Savigny (1779-1861)). Tartu: Fontes Iuris, 1994, 142 pages.
4. Grant, J. P., Kostabi, L., Soobik, L. English for Lawyers. Edited by P. Pruks. Tartu, 1994, 287 pages.
Ginter, J. Criminality in Estonia, pp. 135-137.
Kergandberg, E. Criminal Procedure I and II, pp. 124-126; 131-132.
Kull, I. Law of Contract, pp. 76-77.
Lindmäe, H. The Police, pp. 142-143.
Merusk, K. Citizenship, pp. 46-47.
Merusk, K. Administrative Law, pp. 50-52.
Narits, R. The Concept of Law, pp. 31-33.
Orgo, I.-M. Labour Law, pp. 63-64.
Pisuke, H. Protection of Intellectual Property, pp. 93-95.
Põld, J. Constitutional Law I and II, pp. 36-37; 41-42.
Siibak, A. Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, pp. 99-101.
Sootak, J. Criminal Law, pp. 118-120.
Veinla, H. Environmental Law, pp. 57-59.
Veinla, H. Land Law, pp. 106-108.
Vutt, A. Civil Law, pp. 69-70.
Vutt, A. Succession Law, pp. 89-90.
5. Orgo, I., Põld, J., Siigur, H. Viron työsopimuslaki. Tekstin suomennos ja kommentaari. Viron työaikalaki. Tekstin suomennos. (Estonian Employment Contracts Act. Text and Comments in Finnish. Estonian Working Hours Act. Text in Finnish). Kuopio TT-Kustannustieto, 1994, 192 pages.
1. Grant, J. P., Soobik, L. Inglise-eesti juriidiline sõnastik. (English-Estonian Legal Dictionary). Tartu, 1993, 136 pages.
2. Kask, P. and others. Soome-eesti õigussõnaraamat. Suomalais-virolainen lakikielen sanakirja. (Finnish-Estonian Legal Dictionary). Helsinki-Tallinn: Lakimiesliiton Kustannus, 1993, 164 pages.
3. Siigur, H. Põhiteadmisi tööõigusest I. (Basic Information on Labour Law. Part I). Tartu: Koolmeister ja Ko, 1993, 67 pages.
1. Merusk, K., Saunanen, M., Kull, A. Valimik normatiivakte riigi- ja haldusõigusest. (Selected Legislation of Public and Administrative Law). Tartu, 1992, 167 pages.
1. Lindmäe, H. Ütluste seostamine olustikuga: Valikkursuse õppevahend. (Tying of Statements with Circumstances). Study material for an elective course. Tartu: University of Tartu, 1991, 87 pages.
2. Sootak, J. Tekste kriminaalõiguse ajaloost I. (Selected Texts from the History of Criminal Law. Part I). Tartu: University of Tartu, 1991.
1. Aarnio, A. Õiguse tõlgendamise teooria. (Theory of Interpretation of Law). Preface by Raul Narits. Translated by V. Jalakas. Tallinn, AS Juura Publishing, 1996. [Original title: A. Aarnio “Laintulkinnan teoria.” Yleisen oikeustieteen oppikirja. - Juva, 1988.]
2. Mason, J. K., McCall Smith, R. A. Õigus ja meditsiinieetika. Preface by Jaan Sootak. Translated by Heli Kergandberg. Tallinn, AS Juura Publishing, 1996, 223 pages. [Original title: J. K. Mason, R. A. McCall Smith “Law and Medical Ethics.” Fourth Edition. Butterworths: London, Dublin, Edinburgh, 1994.]
3. Inglismaa ja Walesi kohalik omavalitsus. (Local Government in England and Wales). Translated by Vallo Olle. Lawyers Training Centre, 1996.
4. Schwab, K.H., Prütting, H. Asjaõigus. (Law of Property).Translated by V. Tamm. Tallinn, AS Juura Publishing, 1995, 366 pages. [Original title: Schwab K.H. Sachenrecht: ein Studienbuch / von Karl Heinz Schwab. Fortgef. von Hanns Prütting. 23., neubearb. Aufl. des von Friedrich Lent begr. Werkes. München: Beck, 1991.]
5. Hattenhauer, H. Euroopa õiguse ajalugu I. (History of European Law. Part I). Translated by J. Sootak, M. Luts. Järvelaid P. Lisa: Euroopa ja Eesti. (Appendix: Europe and Estonia). Tartu: Fontes Iuris, 1995, 255 pages. [Original title: Hattenhauer H. Europäische Rechtsgeschichte. Heidelberg: C.F. Müller Juristischer Verlag, 1992. 825 S.
6. Peltonen, J. Põhimõisted. Kohus. Advokatuur. (Basic Terms. Court. Bar Association). Tartu: Fontes Iuris, 1994, 87 pages.
7. Šoti õigussüsteem. (Scottish Legal System). Translated by H. Kergandberg. Tartu, 1994, 54 pages.
8. Soome õigusajaloo põhijooned. (Basic Characteristics of Finnish Legal History). Compiled by Pia Letto-Vanamo. Tartu: Fontes Iuris, 1993, 335 pages.
9. Ylikangas, H. Miks õigus muutub? Seadus ja õigus ajaloolise arengu osana. (Why Does Justice Change? Law and Justice as part of Historical Development). Translated by Jaan Isotamm. P. Järvelaid. Lisa: Õiguse muutumine Eestis. (Appendix: Change of Justice in Estonia). Tartu: Fontes Iuris, 1993, 240 pages.
10. Edward, David A. O., Robert C. Lane. Euroopa Ühenduse õigus. Sissejuhatus. (An Introduction to European Community Law). Translated by H. Kergandberg. J. P. Grant, E. Kergandberg. Lisa: Järelsõna raamatule. (Appendix: Epilogue). Parallel texts in Estonian and English. Tartu, 1993, 93 pages.
To be Published
E. Werlauff . “EC Company Law - the Common Denominator for Business Undertakings in 12 States”. Jurist-og Okonomforbundets Forlag, 1993. Textbook to be translated by A. Avamägi.
5.2.3. Publication Projects: Open Estonia Foundation Competitions for Study Materials on Legal Subjects and the Fontes Iuris Library
Open Estonia Foundation (OEF) Competitions for Development of Study Materials in Legal Subjects for Institutions of Higher Education
The support of the OEF for the publication of study materials in legal subjects has been noteworthy to date. For the last three years, the OEF has organised public competitions for the development of study materials in legal subjects for institutions of higher education. In its support of publication projects through the years, the OEF has considered the fact that in the current circumstances publishers in Estonia are unable to concurrently fund several large projects. This would require the existence of more than one established and financially secure legal publisher. Money from the sale of textbooks is received over a relatively long period of time (up to one year) and irregularly. For companies, the first issue becomes the availability of funds. Many projects are never financially rewarding, such as books on legal philosophy, legal history and legal sociology.
Entries in an OEF competition may be:
1) textbooks or study materials to be developed discussing the legal system or an area of legislation in force in Estonia; or
2) a translation of study materials on legal theory, legal history, legal philosophy, international private law, comparative law or interdisciplinary areas.
The textbooks and study materials, twenty-two in total, which have been published within the framework of this publication project have solved the problem of the lack of Estonian-language resources in the legal field. The textbooks and study materials may also be used elsewhere in Estonia where legal courses are taught or legal professional development is offered.
The following has been published within the framework of the Fontes Iuris Library project:
1. Heikki Ylikangas. Miks õigus muutub? Seadus ja õigus ajaloolise arengu osana. (Why Does Justice Change? Law and Justice as Part of Historical Development). Translated by Jaan Isotamm. Tartu, 1993, 240 pages.
2. Soome õigusajaloo põhijooned. (Basic Characteristics of Finnish Legal History). Compiled by Pia Letto-Vanamo. Tartu, 1993, 335 pages.
3. Ilmar Tammelo. Varased tööd (1939-1943). (Ilmar Tammelo. Early Writings. (1939-1943)). Edited by P. Järvelaid. Hamburg, 1994, 223 pages.
4. Marju Luts. Friedrich Carl von Savigny (1779-1861) meetodi ja süsteemiõpetus. (The Study of Method and the System of Friedrich Carl von Savigny (1779-1861)). Tartu, 1994, 142 pages.
5. Jukka Peltonen. Põhimõisted. Kohus. Advokatuur. (Basic Terms. Court. Bar Association.). Tartu, 1994, 87 pages.
6. Erik Anners. Euroopa õiguse ajalugu. (History of European Law). Tartu, 1995, 233 pages.
7. Juhan Vaabel. Eesti riigi-maksundusõiguse põhiprobleeme. Riigi-maksundusõiguse normistiku ehitus ja rakendus. (Basic Problems in Estonia in the State’s Authority to Tax. The Structure and Implementation of the State’s Authority to Tax). Järvelaid P. Appendix: Juhan Vaabel (1899-1971). Tartu, 1995, 192 pages.
8. Hattenhauer, H. Euroopa õiguse ajalugu I. (History of European Law. I). Edited and foreword by P. Järvelaid. Tartu, 1995, 255 pages.
5.2.4. Publications and Significant Achievements in Academic Research of the Faculty of Law
Total number of publications in 1995 133
textbooks, publications and collections with
other single issue publications 2
academic articles in an academic collection
or journal 74
popular and general information articles 46
The above chart shows an average of 2.2 publications per professor or academic position filled. The corresponding University average is 1.6.
In 1995, a total of six textbooks and study materials were published with a total page count of 676.
In 1994, the total number of publications was 108, including 56 academic publications.
In 1993, the total number of publications was 115, including 79 academic publications.
Institute of Public Law
One of the most important endeavors in the academic work of the Institute was the comparative review of theoretical positions in the area of public law for drafting purposes. This work has improved the Estonian national legal system through the following Acts:
The development of the concept for penal policy which is based on a comparative analysis of the extensive corresponding academic materials and of the legal system in force was an important undertaking in criminal law.
There has also been a qualitative increase in academic research in medical law which has also been expressed in the development of a respective concept.
Institute of Private Law
The more important recent endeavours of the Institute are the following:
preparation of a bill on the Individual Labour Disputes Settlement Act which in principle changed the labour disputes settlement procedure. This Act has been passed by the Riigikogu, the parliament of Estonia.