Courts and Transition in Russia: The Challenge of Judicial Reform

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

five year period -- i.e., 2000-2005 and 2005-2010; while a more pessimistic (but equally teleological) one might treat each phase as a ten-to- fifteen year unit. The same reasoning might be applied to the realization of key legal changes. Only with propitious economic and political development can one imagine a rapid abandonment of traditional and conservative approaches to the administration of justice among key players, which would be necessary for the realization of the legal changes advanced in this report. The deep and multifaceted divisions over the draft criminal procedure code, which have existed for some years and are if anything sharper now, are a case in point.

The enormity and long-term nature of judicial reform in Russia suggests the need for all involved, including Western organizations, to take satisfaction in small steps and to pursue with vigor whatever can be done now to improve the performance of courts and their public image. In retrospect, the years 1991-1993 were a special time of achievements in judicial reform, but what made them possible were the struggles and smaller steps of the years that came before. Now, too, it is time to lay the ground for future breakthroughs, whose exact timing cannot be predicted.


Notes
1.
In preparation for Russia's potential admission to the Council of Europe a joint team of Council-appointed scholars from Western Europe and Russian experts met a number of times and prepared recommendations for Russian legal reform. In addition, a number of general Council documents, for example concerning aspects of "Access to Justice," have been translated into Russian and distributed widely. Finally, the admission of Russia into the Council imposed a number of obligations on Russia, some of which relate to its courts. All of these developments add useful perspectives to debates over judicial and legal reform in the Russian Federation, but we do not believe that every practice used in Western Europe should be imported directly into Russia without careful consideration of its implications and feasibility. Thus, we have argued against the recommendation of the Council of Europe that the Resolutions (or Explanations) of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation be eliminated. We agree with the majority of Russian judges that those resolutions play a largely positive role in the Russian judicial system. See, for example, "Konferentsiia po reforme sudebnoi sistemy RF", Advokat, 1996, No. 12, pp. 3-14; Inga B. Mikhailovskaia , "Problemy organizatsii sudebnoi sistemy v svete vstupleniia Rossii v Sovet Evropy", in "Kruglyi stol 'Sudebnaia sisterna v Rossiiskoi Federatsii, Moscow, 14 marta 1997 g.'", pp. 1-14; "Dostup k pravosudiiu", Rossiiskaia iustitsiia, 1997, Nos. 6 through 11 (various pages); "Russian Federation: A Review of the Compliance of the Russian Federation with Council of Europe Commitments and Other Human Rights Obligations on the FirstAnniversary of its Accession to the Council of Europe",

-193-

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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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