Justice chancellor: Appeal to administrative courts on face-mask order

People wearing masks in Tallinn.
People wearing masks in Tallinn. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Individuals challenging a government order to wear face-masks must recourse to the first-tier administrative courts, Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise says.

Madise, whose office says she has received dozens of complaints, appeals or other approaches about the government order which came into effect earlier this week and which makes wearing of masks mandatory in enclosed public spaces and on public transport.

The justice chancellor has responded by referring to the order itself (link in Estonian), which states that the order can be contested by filing an appeal with an administrative court within 30 days of the order's announcement.

There are two administrative courts in Estonia, in Tallinn and Tartu. These courts are on the same tier as the county courts, with the circuit court occupying tier two, followed by the Supreme Court in Tartu.

AS reported on ERR News, a former justice chancellor, Allar Jõks, says that there is no legal basis for fining individuals for non-compliance; Tallinn's Municipal Police (MuPo) has also said it will not be fining people who don't don a mask on public transport, leaving enforcement of the order at least in the capital a moot point.

Lawyer Andrei Vesterinen, partner in a Tallinn law firm of the same name, told ERR's Russian-language TV channel ETV+ show "Kto, Kogo" Wednesday evening (link in Russian) that he is preparing to bring an action against the requirement, either individually or on behalf of a non-profit organization.

Vesterinen told "Kto, Kogo" that: "It is a human right to appeal against the decision of the government of the Republic of Estonia."

The order has been open to interpretation and has caused chaos in society, Vesterinen, who is reportedly one of the organizers of a planned anti-mask demonstration in central Tallinn on Friday, says.

The government order states that the nose and mouth can be covered via other suitable means. This might include for instance using a scarf, in lieu of purchasing and using and actual face-mask.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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