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The Legal Status and Effect of WTO Law in the Estonian Legal System

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This article aims to offer an in-depth explanation of the role of WTO law in the Estonian legal system and the way it has changed over the years. A comparative analysis of the legal status and effect of WTO law prior to and after Estonia’s accession to the European Union in 2004 has been conducted. Given the significant influence of EU law on the Estonian legal order, key developments regarding WTO law at EU level are highly relevant and have been discussed in considerable detail.The article concludes that the role of WTO law in the Estonian legal system has changed considerably since 2004. Today, WTO law should be viewed in Estonia first and foremost as part of EU law. Constraints stemming from EU law have to be taken into account when resorting to WTO law in domestic courts. As a result, the extent to which WTO law can be referred to in Estonian courts has decreased. Although WTO law is generally not directly applicable in domestic courts, there are nevertheless certain ways in which it can be relied on. The Estonian Supreme Court has in several cases made reference to WTO law with the aim of interpreting ambiguous national provisions. This practice is to be welcomed. In conclusion, the article suggests that in order for Estonia to be able to successfully navigate in the globalizing marketplace, it is desirable to ensure that the overall awareness of WTO law continues to increase.


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