Much of what we think we know about Russian law centers on high-profile cases brought against political dissidents. Politics invariably trumps law in these cases. But these cases of “telephone law” are the exception, not the rule. Few ordinary Russians find themselves caught up in disputes that have political resonance. This lecture focuses on how law is experienced in everyday life in Russia. Over the past few years, Hendley has conducted field research at the newly-created justice-of-the-peace courts (mirovye sudy). These courts now constitute the portal of entry to the judicial system for most cases. The ever-increasing number of cases has created challenges for judges. She looks at the operation of these courts from the point of view of both judges and litigants. Using survey data, she analyzes disputants’ level of satisfaction with their experiences in the JP courts.
Kathryn Hendley is the William Voss-Bascom Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she has taught since 1993. Her research focusing on legal reform in post-Soviet Russia has been supported by grants and fellowships from many sources including the National Science Foundation, National Council for Eurasian and East European Research, World Bank, and Fulbright Scholar Program. She has published widely on legal and economic reform in Russia and on issues relating to how ordinary Russians experience law. She received her J.D. from UCLA School of Law and her Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley.
Sponsors: CREES, WCED
Part of the series Pluralism in Politics and Culture, a new initiative jointly sponsored by CREES and WCED that examines the foundations of free and open societies. The project builds on the university’s rich legacy of study and support of the dissident culture in the former Soviet Union and on several existing efforts at U-M. The series focuses on multiple facets of political pluralism, including its legal, cultural, and economic dimensions, and explore them in a broader historical context.