Education and Training
22. August 2011
The second chapter of the Forensic Examination Act establishes special requirements for persons working as forensic experts in a state forensic institution:
- the person must have active legal capacity; must be proficient in Estonian to the extent established by law or on the basis of an Act;
- must have acquired higher education required in their field of expertise in an institution of higher education of the Republic of Estonia or education that corresponds to the said level;
- has been employed in their field of expertise in a forensic or research institution or in another position for at least two years immediately prior to commencing employment as a forensic expert.
The Estonian Forensic Science Institute trains experts of crime scene investigation. The training lasts two years.
In order to work as forensic experts and court psychiatrists, doctors have to complete a 4-year special residency (in the field of pathology and forensic medicine or in the field of psychiatry, respectively).
Persons who have successfully completed training in the Institute will sign a personal declaration of oath of a forensic expert along with their expert employment contract.
The competence of experts is examined by a vocational committee established in the EFSI, which comprises representatives of the specialty, university or research institution, a representative of the EFSI and a representative of the Ministry of Justice.
The competence of forensic pathologists is regulated by the professional standards approved by the Law and National Defence Council on 11 December 2006. Professional standards III, IV and V have been established for forensic pathologists.
The competence of crime scene investigators is regulated by professional standards Expert IV and Expert V, as established by the Law and National Defence Council on 12 May 2009.
The purpose of the system of professional standards is to motivate experts to participate in in-service training, in order to ensure the consistency of their qualifications.
Acquisition of a professional level is voluntary, but advisable. It serves as the basis for assessment of the qualifications of an expert or submission of expert opinions.
Professional standards are evaluated once every 4 years and the basis for the evaluation is the in-service score system as well as a report on practical activities.
The Ministry of Justice has authorised the EFSI to keep a list of other experts acknowledged by the state (OSE – officially certified experts). The qualification requirements of the experts included in the list have been set out in the third chapter of the Forensic Examination Act.
For the purpose of ensuring the consistency of the competence of the employees of the Institute, the training policy approved by the Education & Training steering committee of the ENFSI (European Network of Forensic Science Institutes),
the requirements of the ISO 17025 and ISO 9001 standards, the in-service curriculum of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Tartu, the 4-year training curriculum of the experts of the Institute and the annual expert training plan of the Institute.
The competence of the experts of the Institute is evaluated using regular international competence tests.
The Institute carries out expert training for national investigation bodies and other partners and participates as an instructor in international cooperation projects.