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International judicial cooperation


International judicial cooperation means proceedings of requests for assistance of judicial authorities (courts, prosecutor's offices, notaries public) by a competent legal authority in the territory of another country.

International agreements allow for mutual recognition of court judgements and performance of procedural acts (delivery of documents, collection of evidence, legalisation of documents issued abroad) in the territory of another country and resolution of various legal issues with the help of the public authorities of another country.

The competence of the judicial authorities in international communication depends on the laws of the state and on international agreements (conventions, legal assistance agreements, EU legislation). As a rule, in the framework of an international agreement one authority is assigned to coordinate the provision of legal assistance. Usually, it is the Ministry of Justice, but depending on the judicial system of the state this function may be performed, for example, by the public prosecutor's office or other judicial authorities.

In Estonia, the organisation of international judicial cooperation has been placed within the competence of the Ministry of Justice. 


International judicial cooperation includes both civil and criminal matters.

International legal assistance includes the performance of, for instance, the following procedural acts:

  • interrogation of the parties to proceedings
  • collecting evidence
  • recognition of court judgements
  • admission of enforcement of court judgements in the territory of another country
  • child abduction proceedings
  • proceedings of applications regarding the right of guardianship of children
  • proceedings of letters rogatory regarding the performance of maintenance obligations
  • mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, which lies in the exchange of information as well as in the extradition and surrender of people in the framework of criminal proceedings



Last updated: 19 May 2014