Courts and Transition in Russia: The Challenge of Judicial Reform

By Peter H. Solomon Jr.; Todd S. Foglesong | Go to book overview

PART THREE
Improving Performance

In the following three chapters we analyze ways of improving the performance of the administration of justice in Russia through the reform of procedural law and institutions other than the courts (those involved in the pre-trial phase of criminal cases and the implementation of civil judgments). Throughout we pay close attention to the merits and feasibility of a wide variety of proposals offered by Russian jurists, and we adopt moderate positions on most issues. This moderation reflects both the lessons of the introduction of radical reforms in other countries and a holistic approach to the study of Russian justice.

First, recent attempts in other countries to resolve domestic judicial crises through procedural borrowings and other legal imports have had mixed results. In some cases, reforms have been hard to implement and led to distortions in practice. 1 In others, the introduction of legal "transplants" has triggered allergic reactions by the host organism, sometimes with lethal consequences for the reform initiative. 2 Though the sociology of comparative law and justice is in its infancy, the considered opinion of most scholars is that law is not infinitely fungible, and judicial procedure is not "separately portable." 3 This received wisdom alone should urge caution among reformists in Russia who seek salvation in the adoption of foreign legal instruments. 4

Second, our analysis is informed by an appreciation of the institutional politics implied by procedural arrangments in the administration of justice. Western studies of justice reform have revealed that the practical meaning of any procedure or institution (in civil and criminal justice) reflects the interests and needs of the officials who implement it; and that, as a rule, reforms do not get implemented properly unless they take those interests into account. 5 At the same time, it is a truism in

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Courts and Transition in Russia: The Challenge of Judicial Reform
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables and Figures vii
  • Preface ix
  • Notes xii
  • Part One - Courts and Their Reform in Post-Soviet Russia 1
  • 1 - Judicial Reform in Russia: Politics and Policies 3
  • Notes 20
  • Part Two - Building Judicial Institutions 27
  • Notes 28
  • 2 - The Independence of Courts and Judges 29
  • Notes 43
  • 3 - The Autonomy and Accountability of Trial Court Judges 47
  • Notes 61
  • 4 - Jurisdiction, Power, and Prestige 67
  • Notes 85
  • 5 - Staffing the Courts: Recruitment and Training 92
  • Notes 108
  • Part Three - Improving Performance 111
  • Notes 112
  • 6 - The Administration of Justice: Simplification and Efficiency 114
  • Notes 135
  • 7 - Criminal Justice: the Pre-Trial Phase 142
  • Notes 157
  • 8 - Civil and Commercial Judgments: the Problem of Implementation 163
  • Notes 174
  • Part Four - Strategy: the Agenda for Reform *
  • 9 - What Remains to Be Done 177
  • Notes 193
  • Appendix A - Key Laws in Russian Judicial Reform (1991-1998) 199
  • Appendix B - Composite List of Recommendations 202
  • Appendix C - Survey of Judges: Selected Questions 206
  • Appendix D - List of Persons Consulted or Interviewed 211
  • Index 215
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