International and National in Law: Development and Reciprocal Impact
This Juridica International, titled International and National in Law, on the one hand seeks to continue a tradition that was born with its very first issues published in the second half of the 1990s—to serve as an Estonian journal of law. On the other hand, the vocabulary and content of the articles imply international target audiences. There is also another tradition that we have committed ourselves to preserving, namely to dedicate each issue to a certain topic that consolidates approaches located at various distances from the centre, while some are closer and some are further away.
There are inherent controversies in both aspirations.
To focus on a single topic in an issue would turn it into a collective monograph, probably adding research value; yet with a population of 1.3 million, Estonia simply lacks sufficient research capacity for such efforts. Abandoning a central axis would certainly expedite the work of an author, but he or she would no longer need to consider the matters that are existential to Estonian research—to avoid ambiguity, to seek to address the most important topics, with little regard to perhaps intriguing but still marginal issues.
Focussing one’s attention on only internationally significant topics would discount the simple fact that the law in the world these days is still largely national law, and it is the development of national law that drives the progress in classical international, supra- and transnational as well as European law. If the reader now takes a look out of the window, he or she will immediately realise that there is no abstract global national environment but it is the tree growing by his or her window that is unique. The constitutional rules must pass an international human rights’ test, while the Constitution still governs the functioning of a particular country and its population. A referendum must be carried out with due regard to democratic principles, but it is the people who vote, not abstract subjects of law. Consumer protection has been thoroughly regulated on the EU level, but it is essentially experienced as the treatment you receive in a nearby supermarket or the amount of trust you have in your publisher’s agent.
The second part of the title, Reciprocal Impact, sets out to demonstrate that it is a two-way street. The above reference to Estonia’s population implies that we do not have the resources available to address all research topics. Yet we do not distinguish strictly between important and unimportant topics. All the topics discussed here are important, and only time will tell in due course which of them will have more influence on us and which will become our contribution to the development of internationally recognised jurisprudence. Perhaps some topics will sink into oblivion, but we are lucky not to know that yet; this is not likely either, given the substance and quality of the articles.
Dear reader, come and learn about Estonian law by reading this issue. And do not be concerned, you will not be leaving the international dimension while you go through the articles, based on their content and level. Estonian law does not detach itself from international jurisprudence, it is the very jurisprudence.