Friday, November 05, 2004

Professor Reitz Discusses Law in Russia

ILS held a very informative and intriguing brown bag lecture today on Russian law. Professor Reitz conducted the discussion and shared his extensive knowledge on the history of progress of law in Russia, incorporating his insights as a scholar in comparative law. The lecture focused on the judiciary and the direction Russia is taking with regards to the independence of judges, the implementation of jury trials, and the recognition of judicial authority. Professor Reitz made many interesting comparative points as to the similarities between Russia's judiciary code/system and those of Western Europe (especially the Dutch code). The trend of Russian legislation and reform has slid the direction of Western European civil code structures, as opposed to U.S.-style systems (notwithstanding the money and resources the U.S. has plugged into Russia's governmental reforms generally).
Another interesting point made, begging for some hypotheses and further inquiry, is that the public opinion and social perception of the fairness and effectiveness of courts in Russia actually lags behind what the statistics say about court effectivenes. Many citizen complaints against various levels/sections of government are being heard, often securing victory. Many factors may play into this phenomenon, not the least of which is left-over skepticism from Soviet times regarding the impartiality of judges towards the establishment.

A special Thank You to Professor Reitz and the ILS staffers who organized the lecture...

Please feel free to post any thoughts you have (whether or not you were present) regarding the rule of law in Russia or related countries/regions.

Some interesting links on Russia:

http://www.rferl.org/newsline/1-rus.asp (Radio Free Europe - Russia Newsline)

http://www.law.nyu.edu/library/foreign_intl/russia.html

http://law.gonzaga.edu/library/russia.htm

http://www.therussiasite.org/

http://www.ceu.hu/legal/Solomon.htm (Solomon is the scholar Prof. Reitz referenced)

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