Russia in Europe

Russina Law Contents

Russian law and legal institutions in Russia include the analysis, among others, of the following topics:

Russian legal system in context, including:

  • Russian legal system in context of comparative legal studies.
  • Legal terminology, legal translation, and Russian Law.
  • Russian legal heritage.

Foundations of Russian law, including:

  • Jurisprudential foundations of Russian law.
  • Towards a rule of law state.
  • Sources of Russian law.
  • Legal profession (advocates, jurisconsults)

Administration of Russian legality, including:

  • The Administration of Russian legality.
  • Ministries of justice.
  • Judicial system.
  • Arbitration.
  • Procuracy.
  • Notariat.
  • Administrative tribunals.
  • Registry for acts of civil stats.
  • Law enforcement agencies.
  • Role of non-state entities in the administration of legality.

State structure of Russia, including:

  • Concepts of Russian federalism.
  • Presidency.
  • Parliament.
  • Government.
  • The role of judges.
  • Subjects of the Russian federation.
  • Municipal government.

Outline of the Country´s Legal System

According to the work “Guide to Foreign and International Citations”, by the Journal of International Law and Politics (New York University School of Law):

“Russia is a federation comprised of twenty-one Republics (respublika), six Territories (krai), 49 Regions (oblast’), two federal cities, one Autonomous Region (avtonomnaya oblast’), and ten Autonomous Circuits (avtonomnii okrug)—a total of eighty-nine identifiable units which are commonly referred to as Subjects of the Russian Federation (sub’ekti Rossiiskoi Federatsii).

The Russian Constitution, which was adopted December 12, 1993, establishes the form of government. Executive power is vested in the President and the Government. The President, who is the head of state, is directly elected by the people to a four-year term. The President coordinates the function and interaction of the state agencies, acts as the Chief of the Army and appoints the Chairman of the Government. The president may enact decrees without the consent of the legislature. The Premier, who is the head of Government, is appointed by the President and must be confirmed by the lower house of the legislature. Other Ministers are appointed by the President. Collectively, the Premier and other Ministers form the Ministries of Government (or, simply, the Government).

Legislative power is vested in the bicameral Federal Assembly (Federal’noe Sobranie), but, as noted, may also be exercised by the President. The Federal Assembly is composed of the Federation Council (Soviet Federatsii) and the State Duma (Gosudarstvennaya Duma). Two Members of the 178 member Federation Council are appointed by the top executive and legislative officials of each Subject of the Russian Federation to four-year terms. Half of the 450
Members of the State Duma are directly elected by the people on the basis of proportional representation, and the other half are directly elected by the people from single-member districts.

All Members of the State Duma serve four-year terms.

Russia’s legal system is based on civil law.

Judicial power is vested in the Courts, which include the Constitutional Court (Konstitutsionnii Sud Rossiiskoi Federatsii), the Supreme Court (Verhovnii Sud Rossiiskoi Federatsii), and the Superior Court of Arbitration. Judges of all courts are appointed for life by the Federation Council on the basis of the President’s recommendations. The Constitutional Court reviews, inter alia, the constitutionality of acts of legislative and executive branches and
disputes regarding competence. Below the Constitutional Court the judicial system is bifurcated into courts of general jurisdiction, which deal with civil, criminal, and military matters and arbitration courts which deal with economic matters.

The Supreme Court is the highest court of general jurisdiction. It hears cases involving civil, administrative, criminal, and military law. The Supreme Court has appellate jurisdiction over the decisions of the intermediate appellate courts. The intermediate appellate courts for civil and criminal matters are known as the Supreme Courts of each Subject of the Russian Federation. These courts have appellate jurisdiction over the decisions of the District Courts, which are the courts of first instance. The Supreme Court and Supreme Courts of each Subject of the Russian Federation also act as courts of first instance for certain cases. There is also a system of Justices of the Peace (mirovie sud’i) which hears civil, administrative, and criminal cases of lesser importance.

All economic disputes are litigated in arbitration courts. The system of arbitration courts is also three-tiered. The highest court is the Supreme Arbitration Court (Visshii Arbitrazhnii Sud Rossiiskoi Federatsii). Ten Federal District (or Circuit) Arbitration Courts have appellate jurisdiction over decisions of the eighty-two Arbitration Courts, which hear disputes in the first instance. Presently, the system of arbitration courts is in the process of transformation into a four-tier system with two levels of intermediate appellate courts.”

Online Resources:

  • President:
  • Government:
  • Federal authorities:
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
  • Constitutional Court:
  • Supreme Court:

Further Reading

William E. Butler, Russian Law 2nd ed (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003),

William E. Butler, Russian Public Law: The Fooundations of a Rule-of-Law State – Legislation and Documents (London: Wildy, Simmonds & Hill, 2005)

V.S. Neresiants, The Civilism Manifesto: The National Idea of Russia in the Historical Quest for Equality, Freedom and Justness (London: Wildy, Simmonds & Hill, 2000)

William Burnham, Peter Maggs and Gennady Danilenko, Law and Legal System of the Russian Federation 3rd ed (Huntington, NY: Juris Publishing, 2005)

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