The Riigi Teataja (State Gazette) is an official publication of the Republic of Estonia, the first issue of which was published on November 27, 1918. Riigi Teataja is published by the Ministry of Justice of Estonia.
As of 1996 the acts printed in Riigi Teataja were made available in an electronic format on the Internet. From June 1, 2002, Riigi Teataja was published both in the traditional paper format and electronically on the Internet. The electronic issue was published simultaneously with the printed issue.
Since the creation of the eRT the number of subscriptions of the printed version of Riigi Teataja had decreased by an average of 20% per annum, while the number of sessions the eRT has been accessed has increased 2 to 3 times. Last paper copy of Riigi Teataja was published on May 31, 2010.
As of June 1, 2010, with coming into force of the new Riigi Teataja Act, the eRT became the only official publication of the Riigi Teataja.
As of 2013 the eRT will also serve as the medium in which regulations issued by local governments are published. Thus the state provides local governments an act publication service.
One of the preconditions of understanding legislation is the legislation’s availability, which is why the eRT web-database can be used free of charge. Everyone has a legal right to use eRT free of charge at almost 600 public libraries and almost 240 local government offices. The librarians and local government officials have completed a training course on using the eRT and are obligated by law to provide persons with instructions and help them in finding the necessary acts.
The new eRT software was created in 2010 by AS Webmedia. Database engine is Solr, web application is Java-based. The texts in eRT are kept in XML format, published in HTML-format, with some appendices in PDF-format.
The “Search”-section in electronic Riigi Teataja has been divided into four sections:
- Search from consolidated texts (laws and Regulations of the Government of the Republic are available from 1990, all other official and enforced consolidated texts from laws and regulations of ministers from June 1, 2002).
- Search from original texts (all original texts and original/consolidated texts published in Riigi Teataja).
- Search from local government original texts.
- Search from other websites like EUR-Lex or European e-justice portal etc.
The most significant difference and advantage of the eRT, when compared to the printed Riigi Teataja, is its publication of consolidated texts of legislative acts. The consolidated text is a legislative act which reflects all the changes that have been made to it. The consolidated texts are drafted on the basis of the original texts published in Riigi Teataja. The first original text is always also the first consolidated text (original/consolidated text).
Original texts of the following legislative acts are published in eRT:
- an Act along with a reference to the resolution of the President of the Republic on proclaiming the Act;
- a decision of a referendum;
- a decree of the President of the Republic;
- a draft act and a draft resolution submitted to a referendum;
- a regulation of the Government of the Republic, the National Electoral Committee and a decree of the Governor of Eesti Pank (Bank of Estonia);
- a contract under public law entered into by a ministry, the State Chancellery and other state authorities to regulate an unlimited number of cases;
- a judgment of the Constitutional Review Chamber of the Supreme Court or the Supreme Court en banc, containing a decision on the constitutionality of legislation of general application published in the Riigi Teataja;
- an Act on the entry into or termination of an international agreement along with a reference to the resolution of the President of the Republic on proclaiming the Act;
- an international agreement made in Estonian or its translation into Estonian, if the text of the international agreement is available only in foreign languages, and in at least one foreign language serving as the basis for interpretation. An international agreement shall be published along with the Act discussing the entry into the international agreement or, if it has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union, a reference and a link to the international agreement or to the order of the Government of the Republic where it was decided to enter into the international agreement;
- a notice of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs concerning the entry into force and expiry of an international agreement and, where necessary, other information concerning the international agreement;
- an order of the Government of the Republic concerning foreign relations;
- a resolution of the President of the Republic concerning appointment and removal of a diplomatic representative.
- a resolution, statement, declaration and address of the Riigikogu (the Parliament of Estonia);
- a resolution and directive of the President of the Republic, except a resolution on proclaiming an Act and on reviewing an appeal for pardon of a convicted offender;
- an order of the Government of the Republic;
- an order of the Prime Minister whose publication in the Riigi Teataja has been provided for in the Government of the Republic Act;
- a directive of a minister whose publication in the Riigi Teataja has been provided by law;
- a resolution and report of the Governing Council of Eesti Pank on the activities of Eesti Pank;
- a resolution of the Board of the Riigikogu concerning the assumption of office as a member of the Riigikogu by an alternate member of the Riigikogu and the termination of their authority, approval of the membership of a standing committee of the Riigikogu, and registration and approval of the membership of the factions of the Riigikogu;
- a decision of the National Electoral Committee;
- a notice of the National Electoral Committee concerning the postponement or cancellation of a referendum;
- a notice concerning the assumption of office by the Government of the Republic or a minister;
- an overview for the Riigikogu by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Auditor General and the Chancellor of Justice;
- the budget, management report and audited annual accounts of the Estonian Health Insurance Fund;
- a guideline of the Estonian Accounting Standards Board;
- a notice of the Security Police Board published in the Riigi Teataja on the basis of the Procedure for Registration and Disclosure of Persons who Have Served in or Cooperated with Intelligence or Counter-intelligence Organisations of Security Organisations or Military Forces of States which Have Occupied Estonia Act;
- a declaration of the economic interests of an official and another official notice, provided that publication thereof in the Riigi Teataja has been prescribed in the Anti-corruption Act.
Other information published in Riigi Teataja:
- Links to other legislation and databases containing legal information may be added to legislation published in the Riigi Teataja and explanatory memoranda and other procedural information of legislation of general application issued by the state and data related to legislation may be made available.
The consolidated texts of the following legislative acts are published in eRT:
- Laws (seadused) - drafted by the Ministry of Justice;
- Decrees of the President of the Republic (Vabariigi Presidendi seadlused) - drafted by the Ministry of Justice;
- Regulations and orders of the Government of the Republic (Vabariigi Valitsuse määrused ja korraldused) - drafted by the Ministry of Justice;
- Regulations of ministers (ministrite määrused) - drafted by the corresponding ministries;
- Regulations of the Governor of the Bank of Estonia (Eesti Panga presidendi määrused) - drafted by the Bank of Estonia;
- Regulations of the National Electoral Committee (Vabariigi Valimiskomisjoni määrused) -drafted by the Chancellery of the Riigikogu;
- Resolutions of the Riigikogu (Riigikogu otsused) - drafted by the Ministry of Justice.
Each time when a legislative act is changed, a new consolidated text is drafted and published along with the information pertaining to the draft’s term of validity. The consolidated text is published electronically simultaneously with the amendment being printed or coming into force.