Supreme Court to hear pension reform bill case in August

The present-day Supreme Court of Estonia building in Tartu.
The present-day Supreme Court of Estonia building in Tartu. Source: Supreme Court of Estonia

The Supreme Court is to hear the pension reform bill case on August 4. The bill, which first passed at the Riigikogu in late January has met with controversy, with President Kersti Kaljulaid exercising her constitutional right to refuse to promulgate it.

The Supreme Court will consider the president's case en banc, having written formal notice of its intention to the relevant institutions - namely the President of the Riigikogu (Henn Põlluaas-EKRE), the government, Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise, Minister of Justice Raivo Aeg (Isamaa), the National Audit Office (Riigikontroll), the Bank of Estonia, the FSA and the association of insurers (Eesti Kindlustusseltside Liit).

Timeline of the Pension Reform Act

  • January 29: The bill to reform the Estonian pension system, which would primarily make membership of the so-called second pillar, referring to employee contributions, optional where it had been mandatory for most wage earners since 2010, passes at the Riigikogu. 56 MPs voted in favor and 45 against, at the 101-seat chamber. The coalition also linked the law's passing to a vote of confidence.
  • February 7: President Kersti Kaljulaid rejects the bill, citing six constitutional violations, and returning it to the Riigikogu for debate.
  • March 11: The Riigikogu re-adopts the Pension Reform Act in a substantively unchanged form.
  • March 20: The President opts not to promulgate the Pension Reform Act for a second time and appeals to the Supreme Court to declare it unconstitutional.

The court hearing will take place on August 4 at 1 p.m. in Tartu, where the Supreme Court is located.

The Supreme Court en banc means all 19 supreme judges will sit. The court has opted to hear the case via oral proceedings, which are favored when there is a need to obtain the widest possible picture of the possible consequences of a court decision and when the matter has a significant public interest.

The Estonian state is represented by the Chancellor of Justice, at Supreme Court hearings.

Pension reform was the brainchild of the Isamaa party, who managed to get the policy into the coalition agreement it signed with EKRE and Center in April 2019.

Last year, the Supreme Court overruled the claim that the bill slashing alcohol excise duty in Estonia was unconstitutional and so the law passed into effect.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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