Estonia: Justice Ministry plans to accelerate criminal court cases

Estonia’s Ministry of Justice plans to submit a draft bill to expedite and make the handling of criminal cases more cost-effective, ERR reports. The proposed amendments aim to reduce delays in criminal proceedings by giving judges more control, such as preventing changes in defence attorneys to delay cases, separating civil claims from criminal cases, and setting maximum time limits for court speeches. The bill also proposes earlier decisions on summary proceedings, allowing pre-trial acceptance of undisputed facts and limiting appeals. The changes would remedy the doubling of average processing times over the past five years. The draft bill is expected to take effect in 2025.