Institute of Law and Public PolicyMoscow, Russian Federation
Published March 29, 2007
Championing constitutional and legal reform in Russia
Born a year after Soviet Union’s dissolution and a year before a constitutional crisis in 1993, the Institute of Law and Public Policy has quickly moved from the sidelines to the center of Russia’s transition to constitutional democracy.
It began as a modest initiative created around a legal journal, the Russian-language Comparative Constitutional Review, originated at New York University. But soon its emboldened leaders were building an organization with a broad institutional and educational agenda. It is now Russia’s leading non-governmental research, policy and training institution in the field of constitutionalism and law.
Helping spearhead a growing movement of reform-minded Russian lawyers and scholars, the Institute’s programs and campaigns have had a significant impact on the development of democratic institutions and constitutional and legal change in an old nation reinventing itself through new legal and political structures. This work underscores the central role legal ideas and dialogue can have in a nation’s political evolution.
Using a flexible pool of top legal specialists, regional workshops, published analyses, and international conferences, the Moscow-based Institute is helping to shape a new generation of specialists in the fields of Russian law and public policy. It is creating advanced legal education and training. The Institute is working to strengthen democracy by analyzing critical constitutional issues, developing scholarly and political links between Russian and American experts and government representatives, and facilitating Russia’s integration into the international legal community. It has collaborated with European Union experts to examine and enhance Russia’s legal reform. And its Comparative Constitutional Review is now distributed in Russia and 33 other countries.
Since it was established, the Institute has served as the most prominent independent advisor to Russia’s Constitutional Court. In 2006, it partnered with the Court to hold a landmark forum exploring the integration of Russia’s international human rights commitments into the country’s constitutional system. The event included participation of the Chair of the European Court for Human Rights and constitutional court judges from different corners of the world.
Over 15 years, the Institute has become a champion of and expert on constitutional and legal reform in Russia. In a period of complex political changes and legal challenges in Russia, the Institute has served as a critical institutional anchor in the development of the country’s capacity for policy research and analysis. Recognizing a significant and unmet need in Russia’s legal community, the Institute will be establishing a training facility to develop curricula, partnerships and support for the advanced and reform-driven education of Russian lawyers, covering such pressing topics as civil service, local self-government, non-governmental organization law, and international defense of human rights.
The Institute of Law and Public Policy will use its $500,000 MacArthur Award to offer additional training opportunities for Russian lawyers.
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