Responsible Agency

1. Which agency/government body/authority is responsible for land registration?

Land Register on maintained by Land Registry Departments of county courts.

2. If the responsibility for property registration is dealt with by an agency/authority, to which government department is it responsible to?

Ministry of Justice supervises the activities of land registry departments, but in substantive issues the supervision rights belong to court.

3. How is the organization managed?

Each department consists of head of department, assistant judges (registrars) and different secretaries. Since land registry departments are part of county court structure, administrative issues are organized by director of county court. Head of department is one of the assistant judges appointed for indefinitely term by director of county court.

4. Describe the organisational framework:

There are four county courts and each of them has its own Land Registry Department. Offices are situated in Tallinn (Harju County Court), in Tartu and Võru (Tartu County Court), in Pärnu and Rapla (Pärnu County Court), and in Jõhvi and Rakvere (Viru County Court). Each department has an exclusive competence, but due to the centralized database and fully electronic procedure their decision making is not connected with territorial jurisdiction anymore. Ministry if Justice is currently planning reform regarding court registers and as a result there will be only one Land Registry Department within one county court.

5. How is the agency/government body/authority funded?

Land Registry Departments are funded from state budget. Land Registry Departments´ budget is part of county court budget and is managed by each court director and chairman of the county court.

6. Are the staff of the agency/government, department/authority civil servants?

Staff of Land Registry Departments is civil servants. Assistant judges (registrars) are appointed by Minister of Justice, others by director of county court. All staff has appointed for indefinite period. Information entered into land register is owned by land registry departments, only they can make changes in the register. Information system itself is maintained by government agency Centre of Registers and Information Systems.

7. Who is responsible for cadastral/mapping information? Is it the same organisation or a separate agency/department?

In Estonia land register and land cadastre are two separate registers. Land cadastre is maintained by Estonian Land Board. Immovables and real right related to them are registered in land register and technical information about land is registered in land cadastre. Those registers are linked and exchange data both ways.

8. What are the principal functions of the registering department/agency/authority?

Land registry departments maintain land register and marital property register, and starting from July 2014 also ship register.

9. What are the key values/principles underpinning registration of title in your system?

Estonia has a system of a strong land register which ensures the legal certainty of immovable property ownership and hedges risks of immovable property transactions because:

  • the real rights related to a registered immovable are made public through the land register and nobody can be excused of nescience of the data of the land register;
  • real rights in immovable property are created, amended or extinguished by making a respective entry in the land register and they can be relied on upon making transactions;
  • entries regarding a registered immovable are made in the order of registering applications in the land registry journal;
  • the rights entered in the land register can be amended only on the basis of the application or consent of the owner of the right or through judicial proceedings.

10. What registration system of property do you have in your country (title/deed)?

In Estonia there is a title system. All immovable and real rights related to them must be registered on land register.