Professor of Information Technology. Databases, Data Processing and Privacy in the Field of Information and Communication Technologies
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Die Zukunft des Völkerrechts
The international legal order today constitutes a truly universal legal system. It has received guiding principles through the United Nations Charter: ever since this ‘Constitution for the world’ began operating, sovereign equality of states, self‑determination of peoples, and human rights have been key components of this architecture, which has reached a state of ‘conceptual unity’ belying the talk of ‘fragmentation’ of international law that so fascinated scholars in their debates only a short while ago. The great peace treaties of 1648, 1815, and 1919, as Euro‑centric instruments influenced by the interests of the dominant powers, could not bring about a peaceful world order. After World War II, it was, in particular, the inclusion of the newly independent states in the legislative processes that has conferred an unchallenged degree of legitimacy on international law. Regrettably, its effectiveness has not kept pace with its normative growth. Some islands of stability can be identified. On the positive side, one can note a growing trend to entrust the settlement of disputes to formal procedures. Yet the integration of human rights in international law – a step of moral advancement that proceeds from the simple recognition that, precisely in the interest of world peace, domains of domestic and international matters cannot be separated one from the other as neatly as postulated by the classic doctrine of international law – has placed enormous obstacles before international law. It must be expected that the demand for more justice on the part of developing nations will subject the international legal order to even greater strain in the near future. Currently, chances are low that the issue of migration from the poorer South to the ‘rich’ North can be resolved.
Universal legal order; migration; agreement on issues essential for the survival of mankind; erosion of matters under exclusive national jurisdiction; equal participation of newly independent states in law-creating processes; legitimacy and stability of international law; self-determination of peoples and human rights; sovereign equality
Legal Methodology in the German Dictatorships
The article compares the legal methodologies in the National Socialist State (NS, 1933–1945) and in the German Democratic Republic (GDR, 1949–1990). Their concept of law differed in a significant way from the preceding periods. Law was no longer regarded as the will of the community but as the will of the dictator (the ‘leader’ or the party) and at the same time as the utterance of the official ideology. This antinomy between voluntaristic and ideological principle characterises the legal methodology in both dictatorships. The theories of the sources of law are dominated by the voluntaristic, authoritative element. Therefore, the will of the ‘leader’ or the party, i.e., the statute, is the only real source of law. Customary law is negligible, judge-made law is not approved, a court’s right of inspection doesn’t exist. The ideological principle gains much greater importance in the interpretation of the law. In the NS, the law must be interpreted in accordance with the ‘National Socialist ideology’, in the GDR, which is ‘partially’ socialist, according to the communist ideology. The former voluntaristic ‘subjective-historical’ interpretation is abandoned. Jurisprudence in the NS and GDR also demanded ideological, ‘essential’ concepts, whereas the precedent ‘bourgeois’ theory preferred ‘functional’ concepts according to the specific purpose of a statute. The formation of systems failed in both dictatorships, probably because of the ideological setting.
German dictatorships; system formation in law.; conceptualization in law; jurisprudence; subjective-historical interpretation; ideological interpretation; interpretation of law; court’s right to inspection; judge-made law; customary law; statutes; sources of law; ideological principle; voluntaristic principle; concept of law; German Democratic Republic; National Socialism
Das im Generalgouvernement in den Jahren 1939–1945 angewandte materielle Strafrecht
In der Zusammenfassung möchte ich nämlich feststellen, dass die von den deutschen Besatzungsbehörden für das Generalgouvernement in den Jahren 1939–1945 im Bereich des materiellen Strafrechts gebildete Gesetzgebung eins der wesentlichsten Elemente der Repressions- und Exterminationspolitik war. Meiner Meinung nach waren die im Generalgouvernement von verschiedenen Organen des nationalsozialistischen Dritten Deutschen Reichs eingeführten Vorschriften des materiellen Strafrechts besonders streng. Als Beispiel möchte ich hier nochmals an die Todesstrafe für die Juden erinnern, wenn sie in die Ghettos nicht übersiedelten oder deren Grenzen verließen, die auch alle anderen Personen betraf, die ihnen Zuflucht gewährten und insbesondere wenn sie die Juden außerhalb der Ghettogrenzen unterbrachten, sie fütterten oder versteckten. Nach meinem Wissen hatten die Deutschen während des II. Weltkrieges auf keinem der ihnen untergeordneten Gebiete so drastische Vorschriften eingeführt.
A Look at the European Court of Human Rights Case Law on Moral Issues and Academic Freedom
Ethics is constantly topical, and times of economic crises, issues of migration and refugees, and threat of terrorism are no exception. In almost all cases brought before it, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg faces morally oriented issues to some extent. The article examines key dimensions of ethics as addressed by it (the common ethical grounds and European values on which the decisions are often based; areas of differences in ethical grounds in cases wherein no European consensus on a given issue seems to exist; and the independence, impartiality, and internal ethics of the Court and its judges), and it discusses some central topics related to moral issues in its case law.
The case law addresses matters from serious human‑rights violations to rights of prisoners and refugees, but the article pays particular attention to case law defining human dignity, which is closely connected with ethics. It elaborates on the beginning of life and reproductive rights: cases have dealt with access to lawful abortion, embryo donation and scientific research, home birth, medically assisted procreation, precautionary measures to protect a newborn baby’s health, prenatal medical tests, sterilisation, surrogacy, and an unborn child’s right to life. With regard to the end of life, the Court has found that the right to life could not, without a distortion of language, be interpreted as conferring the diametrically opposite right, a right to die. The article also considers the delicate issue of withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment. Also considered is the case law related to freedom of research and the responsibility of researchers and universities, with focus on the essence of academic freedom and morals, classical and other types of cases in connection with questions related to procedural rights before the Court that involve academic freedom, and the use of research results and academic freedom. The author presents conclusions related to the careful, pragmatic balancing among rights, between European and state level, and of public and private interests. There need not be a ‘European ethics’, but there certainly exist certain common values and understandings.
European Court of Human Rights; academic freedom; withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment; right to die; surrogacy; abortion; end of life; beginning of life; human dignity; ethics
Provision of Health-care Service over the Internet – the Legality of E-consultations in Estonia
The number of Web sites providing medical consultations is growing constantly. They offer common information and advice, patient education, and general and individualised consulting. In certain cases wherein Web sites offer consultations, the service is subject to the same legal regulation as conventional health-care provision. The article discusses when consulting via the Internet (i.e., e-consulting) can be considered provision of health-care service and which requirements it has to meet if so. The author concludes that what matters here is not how service providers present their service but whether the essence of e-consultation corresponds to the definition of a health-care service – if it does, e-consultation has to be considered one. Among the obstacles in providing e-consultations is fulfilling the requirement of having consultation premises at the time of applying for the necessary permit. Health-care providers are required to have a physical location where they can provide the services.
Also addressed in the article is e-consultation as information-society service. It is concluded that if this is an intermediary service, then – if the design of the service so indicates – legal regulations applicable to health-care service provision do not apply. The author finds that, in general, e-consultations are possible and legitimate in the current legal framework.
e-consultation; licence; information-society service; health-care service; telemedicine
Legal Arrangements Similar to Trusts in Estonia under the EU’s Anti-money-laundering Directive
According to EU Directive 2015/849, all Member States must establish a central register of data on ultimate beneficial owners of corporate legal entities and also of trusts and legal arrangements similar to trusts. First of all, this requires identification of the latter arrangements in the individual Member States, which is not an easy task: the definition related to being ‘similar to trusts’ is quite vague.
The main aim with the article was to determine the arrangements in Estonian private law that should be considered in implementation of the UBO-register rules. Therefore, a brief overview is provided of trusts and two types of arrangements used in civil-law systems for the same purposes – the Treuhand and fiducie. The piece then highlights the similarities between these and the trust, with the conclusion being drawn that being ‘trust-like’ in the context of the directive boils down to situations wherein from the outside the property has one person as an owner but there also exists an internal relationship that obliges the title-holder to observe certain duties and that may grant another person the economic benefit from the property.
Next, the article turns to the Estonian legal scene. Under consideration are family- and succession-law devices (e.g., executorship of a will), various forms of shared ownership and communities (in particular, silent partnership and contractual investment funds), mandate and commission contracts, intermediated holding of securities, and fiduciary ownership for security purposes. The conclusion is that there indeed are arrangements in the Estonian legal system that fall into the category of trust-like arrangements under the directive but that the registration of UBO data for all of them would not be without difficulties. Finally, some criteria for registration of the relevant arrangements are proposed.
anti-money-laundering directive; contractual investment funds; silent partnership; mandate; civil law; arrangements similar to trusts; trusts; UBO register; ultimate beneficial owners
Duties and Liability of the Members of the Supervisory Board of Limited Companies in Estonia: The First Cases from the Supreme Court of Estonia
Andres Vutt, Margit Vutt
Similarly to German law, Estonian company law provides two-tier management for all public limited companies. Legal regulation of the liability of members of the management board and supervisory board is the same, and therefore the question arises of whether there is any difference in liability between members of different boards. The Estonian Supreme Court recently made two decisions regarding the liability of members of the supervisory board. The main research question of the article is ‘what is the scope of the duties of the supervisory board in comparison to the duties of the management board, and how does the difference in duties affect the liability?’ As the main task of the supervisory board is to exercise supervision, the question is what the actual standard of supervision is. The main conclusions in the article are that the Supreme Court of Estonia has not given an answer to the question about the standard for the liability of members of the supervisory board and leaves open many other important questions about boundaries of their duties.
director liability; corporate governance; corporate law; Company law; German Stock Corporation Act; Estonian Commercial Code; one- and two-tier systems; supervisory board
Court Supervision of the Determination of the Votes at the First General Meeting of Creditors in Estonian Bankruptcy Law
Estonia’s first Bankruptcy Act was passed in 1992 and has been continuously under amendment. Estonian bankruptcy law has provided three distinct procedures for the determination of votes at the first general meeting of creditors: 1) in 1992–2003, the votes were determined only by the trustee; 2) in 2004–2009, the votes determined by the trustee were approved by the court; and 3) under the current law, the court intervenes only if there is a dispute over the determination of the votes. All the amendments notwithstanding, the process of determining the votes under Estonian bankruptcy law remains problematic. The current procedure for the determination of the votes at the first general meeting of creditors does not protect the rights and interests of the creditors, protect the common interests of the creditors, or follow the principle of procedural economy. The law should provide a term that specifies the time by which court rulings on the determination of the votes should be made. Thereby, important decisions could be adopted at the same general meeting, and bankruptcy proceedings could continue. Furthermore, to ensure that disputes are resolved within reasonable time and that the principles of speed and efficiency are honoured, insolvency courts should be created.
There is also the problem of determining which issues belong to the disputes about votes. A creditor assigned votes must file proof of claim, together with documents proving the circumstances, with the trustee in three working days. For protecting the creditors’ interests and ensuring a fair and equitable system, the trustee, in co operation with the court, has the right and obligation to verify and evaluate the documents substantiating the claim, in order to prevent unjustified claims from conferring control over the bankruptcy proceedings.
court supervision; insolvency court; procedural economy; protection of the creditors’ interests; common interests of the creditors; proof of claim; the principle of speed and efficiency; bankruptcy proceedings; first general meeting of creditors; determination of votes
Special Job-sharing regulation – a Promoter of Flexible Working?
The need for additional flexibility and the search for ‘tailor-made’ employment relationships have given rise to new forms of employment all over Europe. Discussions on national level are held about whether and how to integrate emerging new forms of employment into national labour law. Some European Union countries where the new forms of employment have emerged in a larger extent or been evident for a longer time have inserted specific provisions in their national labour legislation. At the same time, many of the EU member states where new forms of employment are practised lack such specific regulation, and standard labour regulation is applied there when new forms of employment are used. The situation leads to a question as to whether the basic labour regulation is sufficient and clear enough to make the application of new forms of employment effective.
The paper explores whether it is possible to determine, by proceeding from the example of job‑sharing (as a new form of work) and Estonian labour law, whether the absence of special job-sharing regulation on national level precludes or unreasonably restrains opportunities for parties to an employment relationship to increase the flexibility and enter into a job-sharing regime, in comparison to those countries where special job-sharing regulation exists.
Comparative analysis that considers Italian, German, Slovakian, Hungarian, and Lithuanian job-sharing regulations enables covering the theme from the perspective of all existing national normative sources available in the EU. References to all of the job-sharing regulations and practices of EU countries where job-sharing is specifically stipulated help to offer solutions for the problems detected with regard to this research area. The results presented in the article enable other Member States to decide on the necessity of special job‑sharing regulation.
job-sharing; atypical work; non-standard work
Die Verantwortungsstruktur bei der Privatisierung der Rehabilitationsleistungen im estnischen Sozialrecht
Mit der jüngst erfolgten Umstrukturierung der Dreiecksbeziehungen der sozialen Rehabilitation wurden zahlreiche Rechtsfragen aufgeworfen. Vor allem war das Verhältnis des neuen Modells zum vertrauten System der Verwaltungskooperation und ihre Einordnung als öffentliche Aufgabe weitgehend unklar, was durch widersprüchliche Gesetzesbegründung noch verschärft worden ist.
Das gewählte Marktmodell, das in seiner Ausgestaltung grundsätzlich dem Universaldienstmodell ähnelt, unterscheidet sich von der Ausgestaltung anderer Sozialleistungen dadurch, dass der Gesetzgeber hier auf seiner Erfüllungsverantwortung ganz verzichtet hat und die Erbringung der Leistungen an zugelassene gewerbliche Anbieter völlig überlässt, ohne die Leistungserbringung als Erfüllung öffentlicher Aufgabe zu werten. Da das Verwaltungskooperationsgesetz von einer originären staatlichen Erfüllungspflicht ausgehend konzipiert ist, bei der sozialen Rehabilitation an dieser aber fehlt, wird die Anwendbarkeit des VwKG ausscheiden. Das hat zur Folge, dass auch nicht die durchaus nötigen Anforderungen an der Kontinuität, Qualität, Wirtschaftlichkeit und Beachtung der Rechte der Betroffenen sowie des öffentlichen Interesses greifen, obwohl es auch materiell gesehen im vorliegenden Fall um gemeinwohl- und grundrechtsrelevante Aufgaben geht. Es wäre daher sinnvoll, die erhöhte Begründungspflicht auf solche Fallgestaltungen, wie die Vorliegende, auszudehnen.
Es steht fest, dass der Staat sich bei der Losbindung von der Erfüllungsverantwortung nicht ganz zurückziehen darf, sondern nur seine Rolle wechselt, indem er (in diesem Fall eine vergleichbar umfangreiche) Gewährleistungsverantwortung wahrnimmt. Vor allem darf nicht alleine darauf vertraut werden, dass die Marktkräfte eine flächendeckende Versorgung mit den Leistungen sicherstellen können. Der estnische Gesetzgeber hat der staatlichen Gewährleistungsverantwortung, die die Verantwortung für die Regulierung, Aufsicht, Finanzierung, Schaffung des Wettbewerbs und erforderlichenfalls Auffangsverantwortung umfasst, nur partiell Rechnung getragen und wird aufgerufen, die Lücken zu schließen.
Die Frage eines angemessenen Interessenausgleichs im asymmetrischen Leistungserbringungsverhältnis nach dem Marktmodell konnte in diesem Beitrag nur am Rande behandelt werden. Ein Folgebeitrag, gewidmet auf die individuelle Rechtsstellung des Leistungsberechtigten, der gleichzeitig als Verbraucher zwischen öffentlichem und Privatrecht steht, wäre durchaus zu begrüßen.
Sozialrecht; Bedarfsermittlung.; Erfüllungsverantwortung; Gewährleistungsverantwortung; öffentliche Aufgabe; Verwaltungskooperation; Vermarktlichung; Privatisierung; soziale Rehabilitation; Sozialdienstleistungen vom allgemeinen Interesse
The Pension System of Ukraine: On Its Way to a Fundamental Reform
Research focused on the sphere of the Ukrainian pension system is an important element of welfare research as a whole. Being an integral part of the economy, the pension system is subject to both positive and negative trends. The article examines legislative changes in the field of special pension, which are observed to be intensifying, and the introduction of an accumulative pension system is noted. The problems that exist with Ukraine’s pension legislation and its application by the courts are examined.
pension; reform of pension legislation.; pension system
Internally Displaced Persons and Their Legal Status: The Ukrainian Context
The article examines the issues of social protection of internally displaced people as a new subject of social-security law. The legal foundations with regard to these individuals are on their way, under development. Ukraine’s law On the Rights and Freedoms of Internally Displaced People is established as the initial indicator that this subject is becoming recognised as a field of social-security law – specifically, internally displaced people and determining legal regulation. This law presents a definition of ‘internally displaced people’, presents a compilation of their rights and obligations, determines the legal status of such people, provides guarantees of social protection, and addresses related matters. Nonetheless, several issues still require legal regulation. The authors conclude that, for the qualitative improvement of legal regulation of the status of IDPs and their social protection, there must be complex interaction within both legal science and legislative entities and that bodies with special competence in this field must be established to engage in dialogue with civil and international organisations.
internally displaced people; registration of internally displaced people; social protection; legal status; displacement within a country; guiding principles on internal displacement
A Review of Magda Papede’s Verwertungsgesellschaften im europäischen Kontext – Das Beispiel der baltischen Staaten
Magda Papede's work on Baltic collecting societies, recently published by Carl Heymanns Verlag, Karlsruhe, is an exemplary analysis of the genesis, practice, and challenges of the three royalty-collecting societies in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – small entities between which there are large differences. The work, titled ‘Verwertungsgesellschaften im europäischen Kontext – Das Beispiel der baltischen Staaten’ (meaning ‘Collecting societies in the European context – the example of the Baltic States’) not only examines the existing legal frameworks for collecting societies in the Baltic States but also sets them in a European and hence comparative context. This renders the work highly instructive for non-Baltic legal scholars and practitioners alike. Its only flaw can be detected in its lack of the courage to outline specific proposals addressing how to deal with the challenges raised in future.
Collecting societies; harmonisation; comparative law; intellectual property; Baltic States
Professor of Information Technology. Databases, Data Processing and Privacy in the Field of Information and Communication Technologies