Between spring and fall of 1997 a questionnaire written by us was administered to judges throughout the Russian Federation as part of the program of the joint project "Reform of the Russian Judicial System," under the joint auspices of the Constitutional and Legislative Policy Institute ( Budapest) and the Centre for Constitutional Research of the Moscow Public Science Foundation. Surveys were distributed to a meeting of the chairmen of the regional councils of judges, to a regional meeting of district court judges, and, most importantly, by mail for distribution by the chairmen of regional councils of judges to judges within their regions. Of the approximately 2,000 blank forms that were handed out, we received 321 completed questionnaires.
Although the distribution did not produce a random sample of judges across the Russian Federation, the characteristics of those that were completed give us confidence in the representativeness of our findings. Slightly more than half of the respondents were women (52.3%); slightly more than half had received legal education by correspondence or part-time (53.0%); about one quarter work as chairmen of (district) courts (the rest as judges mainly at district courts, but around twenty at regional courts). The respondents also cover the full gamut of experience as judges, ranging from persons who had worked only four years (25.5%) to veterans with more then fifteen years experience (26.2%), including at more than twenty years (10.7%); the median judge, however, had eight years experience. It is clear from the written comments, the occasional self-identifications, and the envelopes that reached us that the respondents hailed from many parts of the Russian Federation, and represented not only large cities but smaller towns and rural districts as well. In short, we can assert with confidence that the characteristics of our sample came close to those of the judicial corps as a whole.
Here we reproduce a selection of questions, especially those that produced results that we report in the body of this study.