Last edited: December 2005
Summary and Analysis
Estonian children are represented in protective proceedings by an “eestkosteasutus,” or “guardianship authority,” who also serves other protective roles, including dealing with removal and arranging care upon removal. The guardianship authority appoints a more permanent guardian, while considering the wishes of a child ten or over, or younger, mature child in deciding who this guardian is to be. The social services department of rural municipality governments and city governments is the guardianship authority for children living in their territory. The major laws which describe the child protective system is the Family Law Act 1997, The Child Protection Act 1992, and the Social Welfare Act 1995; the Code of Civil Procedure (not listed) also contains statues relevant to child protection, though not to child representation in protective proceedings.
According to the Family Law Act (§ 58) when settling a dispute regarding a child, the court proceeds from the interests of the child, considering the wishes of a child who is at least ten years of age, the guardianship authority, in making a representing the child, considers the wishes of the child in the same manner. The wishes of a child younger than ten years of age shall also be considered by both the court and the guardianship authority if the development level of the child so permits. The child's wishes have to be taken into account when determining the place of residence of a child or discussing a dispute pertaining to a child.
Estonia signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on 10/21/1991 and entered it into force on 11/20/1991. Estonia is also a signatory to the 1996 “Convention on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition, enforcement and cooperation in respect of parental responsibility and measures for the protection of children,” which desired to establish common transnational child protective measures taking into account the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child of 20 November 1989. However, there appear to be no provisions for child participation in legal proceedings in the convention.
Sources of Law (In Order of Authority)
Sotsiaalhoolekande seadus (2/8/1995)
§ 32. Isiku tahte arvestamine
(1) Sotsiaalteenuste, sotsiaaltoetuste ja muu abi andmisel arvestatakse isiku tahet, välja arvatud käesoleva seaduse paragrahvides 19, 20 ja 25 sätestatud juhud.
(2) Last puudutava küsimuse lahendamisel tuleb arvestada vanema, vanema puudumisel kasuvanema või eestkostja soovi, samuti vähemalt 10-aastase lapse enda soovi. Lapse eraldamisel kodust ja perekonnast tuleb arvestada ka noorema kui 10-aastase lapse soovi, kui lapse arengutase seda võimaldab.
17.4.97 jõust.19.05.97 - RT I 1997, 35, 538)
§ 58. Lapse huvide tagamine
Lapsesse puutuva vaidluse läbivaatamisel lähtub eestkosteasutus või kohus lapse huvidest, arvestades vähemalt 10-aastase lapse soovi. Arvestada tuleb ka noorema kui 10-aastase lapse soovi, kui lapse arengutase seda võimaldab.
17.4.97 jõust.19.05.97 - RT I 1997, 35, 538)
§ 59. Eestkosteasutuse arvamus
Lapsesse puutuva vaidluse läbivaatamisel kaasab kohus vajadusel protsessi eestkosteasutuse arvamuse andmiseks.
§ 50. Vanema õigused ja kohustused
(1) Vanemal on õigus ja kohustus last kasvatada ja tema eest hoolitseda.
(2) Vanem on kohustatud oma lapse õigusi ja huve kaitsma. Vanem on lapse seaduslik esindaja. Seadusliku esindajana on vanemal eestkostja volitus.
(3) Vanemal on õigus tagasi nõuda oma last igalt isikult, kelle juures laps on seadusliku aluseta. Vanemal ei ole õigust last tagasi saada, kui lapse üleandmine on ilmselt vastuolus lapse huvidega.
(4) Vanem ei või vanema õigusi teostada vastuolus lapse huvidega.
§ 87. Lapsendamise kehtetuks tunnistamine ja vanema õiguste äravõtmine
(1) Kohus võib lapsendamise kehtetuks tunnistada üksnes siis, kui ilmneb, et on rikutud käesoleva seaduse paragrahvides 74-76 ja 78-82 sätestatud tingimusi, samuti kui lapsendamine oli näilik.
(2) Kohus võib lapsendajalt ära võtta vanema õigused käesoleva seaduse paragrahvis 54 sätestatud alustel või lapse lapsendajalt ära võtta vanema õiguste äravõtmiseta käesoleva seaduse paragrahvis 53 sätestatud alustel.
(3) Lapsendamise kehtetuks tunnistamisel, lapsendajalt vanema õiguste äravõtmisel ja lapse äravõtmisel lapsendajalt vanema õiguste äravõtmiseta kaasab kohus protsessi eestkosteasutuse arvamuse andmiseks.
§ 93. Eestkoste seadmine ja korraldamine
(1) Eestkoste seadmise otsustab kohus eestkosteasutuse või isiku, kelle üle eestkoste seatakse, avalduse alusel.
(05.06.2002 jõust.01.07.2002 - RT I 2002, 53, 336)
(2) Eestkoste seadmise otsustamiseks vajalikud andmed kogub ja valmistab ette eestkosteasutus.
(3) Eestkostet korraldab eestkosteasutus.
§ 97. Lapse eestkostja
(1) Eestkostja on lapse seaduslik esindaja.
(2) Eestkostja on kohustatud hoolitsema lapse kasvatamise ja ülalpidamise eest
Eesti Vabariigi lastekaitse seadus
Vastu võetud 8. juunil 1992. a.
IX. Lapse abistamine
§ 58. Abistamise eesmärk
Lapse abistamise, sealhulgas ka eestkoste ja hoolduse eesmärk on tagada lapse turvatunne, areng ja heaolu tema vajadusi ja soove silmas pidades ning toetada tema iseseisvuspüüet.
Sources of Law (In Order of Authority)
Social Welfare Act
Passed 8 February 1995
§ 32. Consideration of person's will.
(1) In the provision of social services, social benefits and other assistance, a person's wishes shall be considered except in the cases provided for in §§ 19, 20 and 25 of this Act.
(2) In the resolution of issues pertaining to a child, the wishes of the parent or, if there is no parent, the foster parent or guardian and the wishes of a child who is at least ten years of age shall be considered. Upon separation of a child from his or her home and family, the wishes of a child who is less than ten years of age shall also be considered if the developmental level of the child so permits.
Family Law Act 1997
§ 58. Guarantee of interests of child
In hearing a dispute concerning a child, a guardianship authority or court shall proceed from the interests of the child, considering the wishes of a child who is at least ten years of age. The wishes of a child younger than ten years of age shall also be considered if the development level of the child so permits.
§ 59. Opinion of guardianship authority
In hearing a dispute concerning a child, a court shall, if necessary, include a guardianship authority for the purpose of hearing its opinion in the proceeding.
§ 50. Rights and duties of parents
(1) Parents have the right and duty to raise a child and to care for a child.
(2) A parent is required to protect the rights and interests of his or her child. A parent is the legal representative of a child. As a legal representative, the parent has the authorisation of a guardian.
(3) A parent has the right to demand his or her child back from any person who has control of the child without legal basis. The parent does not have the right to the return of the child if the return of the child is evidently contrary to the interests of the child.
(4) A parent shall not exercise parental rights contrary to the interests of a child.
§ 53. Removal of child from parent
(1) At the request of a parent, guardian or guardianship authority, a court may decide to remove a child from one or both parents without deprivation of parental rights if it is dangerous to leave the child with the parents.
(2) If leaving a child with a parent threatens the health or life of the child, a guardianship authority may remove the child from the parent prior to obtaining a court order. In such case the guardianship authority must file a claim with a court within ten days for removal of the child or for deprivation of parental rights.
(3) If upon removal of a child from a parent the child is left without parental care, a guardianship authority shall arrange for care of the child.
§ 54. Deprivation of parental rights
(1) At the request of a parent, guardian or guardianship authority, a court may deprive a parent of parental rights if the parent:
1) does not fulfil his or her duties in raising or caring for a child due to abuse of alcoholic beverages, narcotic or other psychotropic substances, or other reason which the court does not deem to be persuasive; or
2) abuses parental rights; or
3) is cruel to a child; or
4) has a negative influence on a child in some other manner; or
5) without good reason, has not during one year participated in raising a child who resides in a child care institution.
(2) In hearing a claim for deprivation of parental rights, the court shall include a guardianship authority for the purpose of hearing its opinion in the proceeding.
(3) Upon depriving a parent of parental rights, a court shall order removal of a child from the parent.
(4) If upon depriving a parent of parental rights a child is left without parental care, a guardianship authority shall arrange for care of the child.
§ 87. Declaration of invalidity of adoption and deprivation of parental rights
(3) In declaring an adoption invalid, deprivation of parental rights of an adoptive parent or removal of a child from an adoptive parent without deprivation of parental rights, a court shall include a guardianship authority in the proceeding for the purpose of hearing its opinion
§ 93. Establishment and organisation of guardianship
(1) A court decides on establishment of guardianship on the application of a guardianship authority or of the person who is placed under guardianship.
(05.06.2002 entered into force 01.07.2002 - RT I 2002, 53, 336)
(2) A guardianship authority collects and prepares the information necessary for establishment of guardianship.
(3) A guardianship authority arranges for guardianship.
§ 95. Guardian
(1) Guardianship is exercised by a guardian appointed by a court. A guardianship authority proposes the appointment of a person as a guardian.
(2) A person may be appointed guardian only with the person's written consent.
(3) In selecting a guardian, the characteristics and capabilities of the person to perform the duties of guardian and the person's relations with the person for whom guardianship is established shall be taken into consideration.
(4) The wishes of a child who is at least ten years of age or of a person with restricted active legal capacity shall be considered in the appointment of a guardian. The wishes of a child younger than ten years of age shall also be considered if the development level of the child so permits.
(5) A guardianship authority performs the duties of a guardian until appointment of the guardian.
§ 97. Guardian of child
(1) A guardian is the legal representative of a child.
(2) A guardian is required to attend to the raising and maintenance of a child.
Republic of Estonia Child Protection Act
Passed 8 June 1992, (revised 2004)
IX. Child Assistance
§ 58. Objective of assistance
The objective of child assistance, including the objective of guardianship and curatorship, is to ensure the child's security, development and well-being, considering the needs and wishes of the child, and to support the child's development into an independent adult.
Convention on the Rights of the Child
Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989, Entry into force: 2 September 1990
1. States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.
2. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.
Local Contact Information
Lastekaitse Liit / Estonian Union for Child Welfare
Tel./Phone: +3726 311128
Faks/Fax: +3726 311735
Additional Resources and Links
Sexual Abuse Prevention of Children in Estonia:
Estonia Reports to Treaty Bodies:
United Nations Study on Violence against Children
Response to the questionnaire received from the
Government of the Republic of ESTONIA :
Estonian Union for Child Welfare:
“Forming Child Protection Policies: Problems and Future Visions”
 Sotsiaalhoolekande seadus (Social Welfare Act), available at http://www.legaltext.ee/en/andmebaas/ava.asp?m=022, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.
Perekonnaseadus 1994 (Family Law Act 1994), available at http://www.legaltext.ee/en/andmebaas/ava.asp?m=022, and alsohere, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.
 Eesti Vabariigi lastekaitse seadus (Republic of Estonia Child Protection Act, available at http://www.legaltext.ee/en/andmebaas/ava.asp?m=022, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.
Despite our efforts we were not able to locate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in Estonian; it does not seem to be available.
Child Protection Act
Representing Children Worldwide | Copyright 2005 Yale Law School |All Rights Reserved