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Everyday Law in Russia$
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Kathryn Hendley

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501705243

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501705243.001.0001

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The View from the Trenches of the Justice-of-the-Peace Courts

The View from the Trenches of the Justice-of-the-Peace Courts

(p.179) 5 The View from the Trenches of the Justice-of-the-Peace Courts
Everyday Law in Russia

Kathryn Hendley

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines how litigants experience Russia's justice-of-the-peace courts (JP courts). The views of judges are unlikely to mirror those of litigants. For judges, the judicial process represents routine behavior, whereas for most litigants, it opens a Pandora's box of formal rules and informal norms that are unfamiliar and mysterious. This is particularly true for the JP courts, which handle the simplest cases. The chapter first provides an overview of access to justice in Russia before turning to legal literacy, and especially how Russians negotiate the JP courts without a lawyer. It then considers the availability and use of legal expertise by Russians, along with litigants' participation in judicial hearings as performance and their satisfaction with the JP courts. It also describes the image of JP courts and suggests that litigants' willingness to turn to the courts provides a window into the demand for law and, more generally, Russian legal culture.

Keywords:   litigants, Russia, justice-of-the-peace courts, judicial process, justice, legal literacy, legal expertise, judicial hearings, law, legal culture

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