The government on Thursday gave the green light to a bill put forward by the Ministry of Justice that would expand the possibilities of the governing bodies of all legal persons to adopt decisions without their members being physically present at meetings.
Justice Minister Raivo Aeg (Isamaa) said: "Although the use of digital means is especially necessary now, the means put forward in the bill are meant to be used also after the end of the emergency situation."
The bill would add a provision to the General Part of the Civil Code Act to enable participation in a meeting of the governing body of a legal person by means of electronic participation. This possibility does not have to be provided for by the statutes of the association, whereas it will be possible to specify the conditions for electronic participation in the statues.
Also after the amendment has taken effect, the final choice and decision as to how a meeting is to be conducted will be made by the person authorized with the organization of the meeting. This means that while the law would provide for the possibility of electronic participation, it would not be possible for each participant to require to be granted that possibility.
Under valid law, the possibilities to use electronic means for the conduct of meetings and passage of decisions differ a lot by type of legal person. To a certain extent such possibility is available for private limited companies and public limited companies, while nonprofit associations, commercial associations, foundations and apartment associations are virtually barred from using it.
The minister said that since the deadline for filing annual reports is due soon for the overwhelming majority of legal persons in Estonia, it is essential that the legislative amendment step into force before that.
The need to quickly expand the possibilities for the passage of decisions has been highlighted also by several organizations in their joint appeal to the Riigikogu legal affairs committee and the Ministry of Justice.
Editor: Helen Wright