RASK successfully represented the client in the dispute over the refusal of the city of Tallinn in the geological survey permit procedure.


RASK's lawyers Villy Lopman and Sandra Kaas successfully represented the client in a legal dispute where the refusal of the Tallinn Environmental and Municipal Board's opinion on the client's request for a geological survey permit was under dispute.

The focus of the litigation was on two questions: 1) whether the local government has the right to withdraw the previously granted consent; and 2) on what grounds can a local government refuse to give consent to an application for a geological survey permit.

The court took the position that, although the withdrawal of the previous consent was not formally illegal, when issuing a new negative opinion, the Tallinn Environment and Municipal Authority unlawfully assigned a determining meaning to those circumstances, which must be taken into account primarily when giving consent to a mining permit, but not when giving consent to a geological survey permit. Thus, the Tallinn Environmental and Municipal Authority violated the rules of discretion when refusing to grant consent.

The court explained that the purpose of the geological exploration permit approval procedure is not to prevent the issuance of a mining permit at the earliest possible stage. The main purpose of this procedure is to find out whether the survey as such and the accompanying activities and impacts will lead to such negative effects on the local government unit and the community, including the environment, that outweigh the right of the permit applicant to conduct a geological survey of mineral resources.

When exercising the right of discretion, i.e. giving its opinion, the local government must therefore distinguish between whether the consent is requested for an exploration permit or a mining permit. Both permits carry different purposes and have different consequences for the interests of the municipality and the community as well as for the environment and social impacts. The exploration permit does not result in mining and the associated impact on the local government and community. On the basis of the exploration permit, only surveys are carried out and thus information about mineral resources is collected.

In summary, the court recognized the rejection opinion of the Tallinn Environment and Municipal Board as illegal and ordered the city of Tallinn to decide again on the approval of the client's study permit.