The legal system in Estonia is based on the Continental European civil law model and has been influenced by the German legal system. Unlike to common law countries, Estonia has detailed codifications and issues are solved according to the codifications.

Estonian law is basically divided into private and public law. Generally private law consists of civil law and commercial law. Public law consists of international law, constitutional law, administrative law, criminal law, financial law and procedural law.

Foreign businesses

Foreign investors have equal rights and obligations with local entrepreneurs. All foreign investors may establish a company in Estonia in the same way as local investors; no special restrictions are made.

Internal law and international agreements protect foreign investments in Estonia. Estonia has concluded treaties for the protection of investments with 26 countries including USA, Germany, France, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland. Also agreements on avoiding double taxation are made with 46 countries including EU countries.

Residence and work permits for citizens of the EU, EEA and Swiss Confederation, and for third country nationals.

Amendment of the Commercial Code

Several important amendments to the Estonian Commercial Code entered into force as of January 1, 2011. The amendments concern the changeover to euro, the conversion of share capital, the submission of annual reports, the assessment of non-monetary contributions etc.

An overview is provided in the Commercial Register's reminder concerning the amendments to the Commercial Code as of 01.01.2011.