Die Transplantate vom deutschen Recht für die Reform des Privatrechts in Estland. Am Beispiel des Abstraktionsprinzips


  • Villu Kõve




property law, abstraction principle, Law of Property Act, land reform, legal history


Estonia is one of the few countries where the abstraction principle (Abstraktionsprinzip) is recognised as the basis for title transfer in property law. Derived from the works of Savigny and from Germany’s strong land-register system, it is also among the basic principles of property law in Germany (the foundations of the BGB). In most countries, however, transfer of title is causal. The article describes how Estonia adopted and adapted German legal doctrine and thinking in this important field of law. This path was a long one, even though Estonian law has deep connections to German traditions. Before 1940, Estonia’s most important legal act was the Baltic Private Law Act, wherein the abstraction principle clearly was not recognised and the causal transfer of title formed the grounds in property law. In the Soviet era, though property law was given far less emphasis, the causal approach still served as its basis. When Estonia became independent, in the early 1990s, a new system of property law was urgently needed for purposes of land reform and for implementing the land-register system. German support for preparing the new Law of Property Act along the lines of German law was accepted, and the new law entered into force in 1993. Remarkably, at the beginning of this process it was not certain whether the abstraction principle would get implemented, but it became accepted through almost a decade of case law, and the new laws were later amended such that the principle was – unlike in German law – clearly formulated (in the General Part of the Civil Code). The abstraction principle has been an important part of Estonian property law and legal thinking ever since, firmly established both in legal theory and in case law. This process demonstrates well how a legal transplant from a given legal system can work in another.


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How to Cite

Kõve, V. (2021). Die Transplantate vom deutschen Recht für die Reform des Privatrechts in Estland. Am Beispiel des Abstraktionsprinzips. Juridica International, 30, 123–131. https://doi.org/10.12697/JI.2021.30.14