New Publication from POPBACK: "The Rule of Law as an Emergent Social Norm"

New Publication from POPBACK: "The Rule of Law as an Emergent Social Norm"

News | 05.10.2021

Svetlana Borodina, Simon Deakin, and John Hamilton (POPBACK) published a new study in the Law and Development Review – Congratulations!


We study attitudes to legality and the rule of law in Russia through analysis of interviews with legal and business professionals conducted in 2013–14, the high point of the stabilisation of the Russian economy and polity following the transition of the 1990s. The annexation of Crimea occurred during the course of our fieldwork but the effects of the cooling of relations with the west and the introduction of sanctions were yet to be felt. We observed a perception that the administration of civil justice was not uniformly corrupt, but that in ‘political’ cases, that is, those involving state officials or powerful private interests, judicial decisions could in effect be bought and sold. This commodification of civil justice was the result of an empowered but predatory state. While the state was strong enough to engage in predation, however, it was seen as lacking the capacity to manage the economy in an effective way or to deliver essential public goods. We consider the implications of our findings for a conception of the rule of law as an emergent social norm. We conclude that the 1990s policy of weakening the state through privatisation and the removal of regulatory controls, a policy designed to ensure that the command economy did not return, has left Russia with a dysfunctional public order, under which the ‘normality’ envisaged by the reforms of the 1990s is a distant prospect.

You can find the full article here

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