Call for papers

Access to justice has become an important issue in many justice systems around the world. Access to justice enables individuals to protect themselves against infringements of their rights, to remedy civil wrongs, to hold executive power accountable and to defend themselves in criminal proceedings. It is an important element of the rule of law and cuts across civil, criminal and administrative law. Access to justice is both a process and a goal, and is crucial for individuals seeking to benefit from other procedural and substantive rights. Access to justice is considered to be a human right and well protected by the international treaties and national legislations. Access to justice under EU and CoE law is twofold: it includes right to a fair trial and right to an effective remedy (art. 6 and 13 of the ECHR).

One of the fundamental problems in access to justice is a concept of equal justice. In conventional usage, the concept seems largely procedural. “Equal justice” is usually taken to mean “equal access to justice,” which in turn is taken to mean access to law. But as is frequently noted, a purely procedural understanding by no means captures our aspirations. Those who receive their “day in court” do not always feel that “justice has been done,” and with reason. Procedural hurdles and burdens of proof may prevent the have-nots from translating formal rights into legal judgments. And post-judgment power relations between the parties may make legal victories too expensive and difficult to enforce, or may prompt legislative backlash. Those who win in court may still lose in life.

The popular image of the Russian judicial system is dominated by two contradictory narratives. One emphasizes its dysfunctional elements, focusing on the public's distrust of the courts. This narrative delights in presenting high-profile cases in which the outcomes are blatantly dictated by the desires of the Kremlin as representative. The other looks more to the day-to-day reality of the courts and stresses the burden on judges caused by the avalanche of cases brought before them. There is a logical inconsistency to the two images. Remarkably, both have more than a kernel of truth to them. To a considerable extent, they feed on one another. Overworked and exhausted Russian judges make mistakes that contribute to low public esteem for courts. Yet court administrators continue to push judges to absorb ever-greater numbers of cases as a way of proving the value of courts. Among other things, e-justice has been seen by the administration as an effective remedy against backlog and inability to provide efficient access to justice. Similar narratives are applicable to other post-Soviet countries, many of whom have been undergoing a wide range of changes in an attempt to integrate into a variety of regional and global legal orders.

The Faculty of Law in cooperation with Aleksanteri Institute of the University of Helsinki is pleased to announce the annual conference in Development of Russian Law, which will take place in Helsinki on November 19-20, 2018. This conference continues the series of workshops, seminars, and conferences in Russian law, organized by the Faculty of Law since 2008. This annual event is devoted to discussions of the new and important topics within the field of Russian law and legal studies. This year’s focus is on access to justice in the post-Soviet space in the context of regional and global cooperation, especially with the EU.

We encourage submissions of individual papers and full panels in the following themes and beyond:

  1. Comparative approaches to access to justice and concept of equal justice;
  2. National, regional and global justice systems;
  3. Judicial reforms and efficiency of justice in post-Soviet and Eastern European countries;
  4. Privacy, data protection and human rights in relation to access to justice;
  5. Equal access to justice in Eurasia vs EU;
  6. International public law and legal institutions (ICC, ECtHR, BRICS, Commercial arbitration and others) and Eurasian legal changes and adjustments;
  7. Judiciary and its professional culture;
  8. Regional models of judicial cooperation;
  9. Electronic access to justice and its remedial powers.

We welcome legal researchers from across disciplines to join our discussions of current issues in legal studies and law. We especially encourage younger scholars and graduate students to apply.

The working language of the conference is English. All presentations and discussions are held in this language.

For individual paper submissions, please, include:
- Name;
- Affiliation;
- Contact information;
- Title of your talk;
- Abstract (200-400 words).

For session proposals, please, include:

  • Title of your session;
  • Organiser’s name, affiliation and contact information;
  • Session’s Chair and Discussant;
  • Session abstract (400 words);
  • Each presenter’s name. affiliation and contact information;
  • Each presenter’s title and abstract (100 words).

The proposals shall be submitted by 25 September 2018 via the online submission system.

If you have any questions, please contact Prof. Marianna Muravyeva at marianna.muravyeva@helsinki.fi.