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Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

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Since 13 September 2013, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has been Dr. iur. Priit Pikamäe. His term of office will end in 2022.


Priit Pikamäe was born in Tallinn on 22 November 1973. He is married and has two children. He graduated from the Faculty of Law of the University of Tartu and defended the degree of magister iuris there after studying in the faculties of law of the universities of Poitiers and Paris I (Panthéon-Sorbonne) in France. In 2006 he obtained a Doctoral degree in law from the University of Tartu. He is a guest professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Tartu, and his main field of research is penal law: criminal procedure and imprisonment law.


Pikamäe is the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to have served as a judge at all three levels of the three-instance court system in Estonia. Previous Chief Justices – Kaarel Parts, Rait Maruste, Uno Lõhmus and Märt Rask – have come to the Supreme Court from outside of the Estonian court system. Priit Pikamäe has experience working as a judge since 2001, when he started as a judge in the former Tallinn City Court (presently Harju County Court) before moving on to the Tallinn Circuit Court. In 2006, the Supreme Court elected him as a justice of the Supreme Court, and from 2010 to 2013 he was Chairman of the Criminal Chamber. Before his career in the judiciary, he worked at the Ministry of Justice.


The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court directs the work of the highest court in Estonia, also acting as the Chairman of the Constitutional Review Chamber. The role of Chief Justice reveals itself vividly when creating an overall picture of the administration of justice and court administration in the obligation imposed on him by the Courts Act to carry out for the Supreme Court each spring a review of the situation of administration of justice and court administration in the state the previous year.


According to the Courts Act, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is appointed to office by the Riigikogu on the proposal of the President of the Republic for nine years. No one is appointed as Chief Justice for two consecutive terms.