The volume of international judicial cooperation grows considerably every year, as increasingly more Estonians are living abroad and there is more communication both in civil and criminal proceedings
When in 2011, the Ministry of Justice processed 3174 first-time requests for legal assistance, in 2012 the corresponding number was 3497 and in 2013 already 4131. Compared to 2012, the total number of requests has increased by 18.1%.
In case of people who have moved abroad it is the number of maintenance support that has especially stood out. Within a year, the requests have witnessed a 52% increase. However, compared to 2011 the number of proceedings has nearly quintupled.
“The cooperation in maintenance support matters is most active with Finland, more specifically with the Finnish Social Insurance Institution – Kansaneläkelaitos. The number of these parents has also considerably grown who request the return of a child by a parent who has left to other country together with the child or who look for solutions for the problems in establishing the procedure of visitation of the child,” said Astrid Laurendt-Hanioja, Director of International Judicial Co-operation Division.
“I am glad about the people’s increased legal awareness in the matters concerning the receipt of maintenance supports. This means that it is no longer so easy to hide away from one’s obligations in just another country,” marked Minister of Justice Andres Anvelt.
Legal authorities involved in the collection of debts have also become more active (bailiffs, payment orders department) in order to examine the possibilities of establishing the debtors’ whereabouts in foreign countries.
In 2013, 6.3%, i.e. 113 more requests for legal assistance were processed in criminal matters compared to 2012. The number of requests for legal assistance in pre-trial procedure, for videoconferences and for recognition of pecuniary punishment has increased. The number of summons from Finland has grown. Ministry of Justice is a central authority in case of cross-border cooperation but in case of some countries requests for legal assistance in certain areas may be submitted by the Office of the Prosecutor General of the Central Criminal Police. More detailed statistics can be looked up at the Ministry of Justice web page.