Most ideas that we are convinced are absolutely original and belong only to us are not that at all. Thus I cannot recall who is the author of the following thought: when something is done for the first time, the majority notice it. If it is done once again, then one may already speak of a tradition, whereas the third time everything is ... forgotten, since it has become so natural. It is clear that the above is absolutely valid as regards the third publication of Juridica International. Excellent. There is nothing more enduring than things which come naturally.
The first special English-language edition of the journal Juridica by the Faculty of Law of the University of Tartu (founded in 1632) appeared at the end of 1996. That collection, intended mostly for foreign readers, mainly described the changes that had taken place and were then taking place in the Estonian legal order (legal reform). Last year, the second edition of the compilation was centred upon a scholarly in-depth investigation of individual legal problems, some of which were related to the current state of European integration. The present compilation analyses Estonia’s present legal system and its problems in the context of European integration and through the Estonian Constitution. Thus, this compilation, appearing for the third year, should be of interest to, inter alia, the countries of Eastern and Central Europe. Many problems are held in common, and the exchange of experience and mutual co-operation are very important.
Estonia has declared its desire to join the European Union. Thus, it is inevitable that the laws of the European Union will continue to gain an increasing influence over the Estonian legal system as a whole. There will first of all take place a convergence between Estonian laws and those of the European Union, and then the process of the harmonisation of the two legal systems will begin. In the coming years, the contours of the question of in which fields and to which extent Estonia will be able to harmonise its legal system, including the foundation of the same – the Constitution – with that of the European Union will take form.
The Estonian Constitution and European integration are key words connecting the approximately twenty articles published in the compilation. At the same time, the reader will be provided with an overview of the history and present condition of legal education in Estonia. It is worth noting that the Faculty of Law at the University of Tartu, which is the only classical universitas in Estonia, is at present the only law faculty whose B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. curricula are accredited through international assessment. This is a good starting point for future ambitions, as a result of which Estonian lawyers have an opportunity to make themselves into distinguished international specialists.
This publication by Juridica International was made possible through co-operation with Interlex Legal Translations Ltd. The reader may appraise the results of this work through the present and following editions to appear in the coming years. The undersigned would like to express his honest thanks to all those who have helped with the successful completion of this project. Whereas the first and second edition of Juridica International were supported mainly by the Open Estonia Foundation, in the case of the third edition, the number of supporters has increased significantly. The publication of this edition has been supported to a considerable extent by the Ministry of Justice, the European Integration Office of the State Chancellery, Interlex Legal Translations Ltd., Kauppakaari OYJ and the Faculty of Law of the University of Tartu. I wish you all success in the publication of future compilations.