Review of necessity

When you are held in custody, you have the right to regular review of the need to continue the custody.


In Estonia, upon taking a person into custody, a preliminary investigation judge shall issue an authorization for up to two months to hold the suspect or the accused in custody. The preliminary investigation judge may extend the specified time limit based on a reasoned request of the prosecutor's office by up to two months at a time. The Code of Criminal Procedure explains who can initiate and conduct the review of holding you in custody, when and how.


You have the right to be present at the hearing in front of the investigative judge or the court and to explain your arguments as to why you should be released. Your lawyer must also be allowed to participate and help you at the hearing. If you do not understand and/or speak Estonian, the investigative judge or the court has a duty to arrange a State paid translator during the hearing. 

Reasoned decision

The investigative judge or the court has to examine all the facts for and against your continued holding in custody. The judges must be very diligent in doing this. The investigative judge must issue a well-reasoned decision, especially if he or she has decided to continue to hold you in custody. This means that the decision must very clearly explain the grounds on which you will be held in custody and why that is still necessary at this stage of the proceedings. The reasons cannot be superficial, generic or repeat the same reasoning as in the previous decisions about taking or holding you in custody. The longer you have been hold in custody, the more thorough and well-founded the reasons for prolonging holding you in custody should be. If you do not understand Estonian, the court must provide you with a translation of the decision without delay in a language that you understand. 

Timely decision

Human rights require that the lawfulness of holding you in custody must be decided speedily. It means that the investigative judge or the court has to consider holding you in custody after the two months are passed carefully and without unjustified delay. If the court has not made a decision to extend the time of your custody based on prosecutor’s request and two months are passed, then there are no lawful grounds to hold you in custody any longer. 


In Estonia you can submit an appeal to a court decision regarding the extension of the time limit of holding you in custody according to Code of Criminal Procedure

What human rights violation may there be?

If the review process was not made available to you or did not correspond to the given requirements, it may result in a violation of the right to liberty and security of a person.


Last updated 21/07/2017