Estonia must pay damages for not adopting implementing act of civil partnership law

  • 2017-02-08
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - By not adopting the implementing provisions of the gender neutral Registered Partnership Act, Estonia has caused damage to interested parties and has to pay damages, the Tallinn administrative court ruled on Tuesday regarding the complaint of Reimo Mets, a lawyer known for protecting sexual minorities.

The complaint was submitted to the court to determine whether not adopting the implementing provisions of the civil partnership law is a violation of the complainant's subjective rights and whether any damages need to be compensated to him due to the lack of regulation. Mets found that the state's failure to act has caused damage to him and he wanted the Ministry of Justice to pay him 10,000 euros as compensation for damage.

The administrative court on Tuesday partially satisfied Mets's complaint, ordering the ministry to pay Mets 1,500 euros for non-patrimonial damage. The court found that the complainant has indeed suffered non-patrimonial damage due to the legislator's failure to act. He has suffered damage to his dignity and inviolability of private life, and there is causation between the legislator's failure to act and the damage suffered by the complainant.

The court found that a prolonged vagueness in legislative drafting, which results in a group of people in the society not having security in how a life situation will work out and which interpretation of the law an official will choose when solving a situation regarding them, infringes the inviolability of private life of a person and might result in damage to a person's dignity. The group of people in the society the court referred to were the people who have entered into registered partnership acts, including same-sex civil partnerships.

"The infringement constantly influenced the complainant, causing him to constantly feel fear, stress, and uncertainty, rather than degrading through concrete incidents," the court added.