Chief Justice: Administrative Reform decision won’t be delayed, second round of disputes to be expected for 2017
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Priit Pikamäe said on Thursday that the court’s decision whether or not the Administrative Reform Act was constitutional would be made in about four months’ time, and that there would not be any further delays. Pikamäe also expects the matter to return to the court in 2017.
Pikamäe said in his interview with Maaleht published on Thursday that he expected a second round of disputes once the government started enforcing the Act, and forced mergers began in earnest in 2017. Because of this, on Oct. 4 the court had also discussed the question what the dispute procedure would have to be once this became an issue, Pikamäe added.
The court’s constitutional review chamber heard the complaints of 26 municipalities on Oct. 4. The municipalities want the Administrative Reform Act repealed at least in part, namely where the forced merger of municipalities is concerned.
A point made by the complainants’ legal representatives was that a minimum requirement of 5,000 inhabitants per municipality was unreasonable, another that the time allowed for merger negotiations was too short.
The municipalities that complained to the Supreme Court were those of Kõpu, Juuru, Tõstamaa, Abja, Emmaste, Illuka, Järvakandi, Kambja, Kullamaa, Kõo, Käina, Leisi, Luunja, Lüganuse, Mäetaguse, Nõo, Pala, Pöide, Pühalepa, Rakke, Tudulinna, Vaivara, Ülenurme, Haaslava, and Karksi. The only city that complained was Loksa.