082 Post-Communist Judiciaries: Access, Independence, and Popular Trust

Tuesday, June 25, 2013: 4:00 PM-5:45 PM
2.03 (Binnengasthuis)
Analyzing the behavior of post-communist courts is crucial for assessing the level of the rule of law in the region.  The papers will examine three crucial interrelated issues:  access to justice, judicial independence, and popular trust in the judiciary.  Citizen access to the judiciary is an essential component of the rule of law, but so is an efficient judiciary.  Thus a delicate balance has to be struck between opening the courts to all who wish to use them to resolve disputes and ensuring that judges are not so overloaded that they cannot decide cases thoughtfully and efficiently.  The Hendley paper will assess the judicial access situation in Russia.  Judicial independence is another essential component of the rule of law.  Even Russia’s Vladimir Putin has repeatedly extolled the virtues of a strong and independent judiciary.  Are post-communist judges independent, i.e. generally free from interference and pressure by extrajudicial actors?  What institutional setup of the judiciary can better foster the development of an independent judiciary, which is trusted by citizens? The Bobek and Popova papers will address these questions in the context of judicial development in Central Europe, the Balkans, and Russia.  Finally, degrees of access and independence are likely to influence the level of popular trust in the judiciary.  The Epperly paper will examine the reasons behind the purportedly low levels of popular trust in the post-Communist judiciaries.
Aneta Spendzharova
Aneta Spendzharova
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