Helme criticizes justice minister administrative fine proposal ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Minister of the Interior Mart Helme (EKRE).
Minister of the Interior Mart Helme (EKRE). Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Minister of the Interior Mart Helme (EKRE) has criticized the right to an administrative fine concept, proposed by the Ministry of Justice, and notes that based on this, people could get a misleading impression that there are no important effects that would arise from the administrative fine.

The Ministry of Justice has tabled a new law which would allow for more effective responses, including much larger fines, for financial, competition and data protection law violations, and would bring domestic law more in line with EU law.

Helme notes in a letter sent to Minister of Justice, Raivo Aeg (Isamaa), that though the concept has taken on board the notes made by the interior ministry, it needs additional explanations and analysis.

Raivo Aeg says that the main aim of the proposed law is to fulfill obligations arising from EU law, which in turn would provide for effective, proportionate, and dissuasive fines for violations in certain areas.

"In the current case, a document has been submitted to express an opinion and the document is named 'concept', but we think that it is more similar to an explanatory note of a draft."

Helme notes that according to the interior ministry, the development of the draft and its coming into force will take longer than stated, namely the first quarter of 2021.

"The effects have been evaluated very generally and it doesn't explain how the changing of the composition of an offense established in the applicable law to a composition of an administrative fine will affect the work and principles of the processors. The content of the solution hasn't been explained in the concept and because of that, the effect on the work of the processors can't be evaluated and because of that people could have a misleading impression that there are no important effects that come with the administrative fine," Helme noted.

Helme presented 14 specific comments. He is asking for explanations from the justice minister why the imposition of fines has been chosen in the administrative proceedings, and why the reform of misdemeanor proceedings has not been fully analyzed.

"The justice ministry has pointed out that at present, in addition to disproportionately low fines, there have also been problems with the multiplicity of proceedings and claims arising from criminal proceedings, which have led to problems with prosecuting legal people. After being introduced to the concept, I can say that the new proceeding type may not improve the situation."

The concept states that the regulation to be established primarily concerns financial, competition, and data protection law, but the general goal is that, with the concept, a new type of administrative sanction in the Estonian legal system for the transposition of financial penalties provided under EU law, will be planned.

Helme notes that it is unclear whether the creation of an administrative fine is limited to the previously mentioned areas, where the imposition of an administrative fine is possible, or whether the amendment also applies to all other areas where financial penalties are regulated by various EU directives and regulations.

The justice ministry sent the concept of administrative fine law, which brings a new type of fine to the Estonian legal system, to the May coordination round, which, according to the ministry, would allow for a more effective response to violations of financial, competition and data protection law. Violations for which an administrative fine may be imposed in the future, together with possible fines, are provided for within special laws.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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