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Case Selection in the Russian Constitutional Court: The Role of Legal Assistants

The Institute for the Rule of Law, European University in St. Petersburg, 3A Gagarinskaya Street, 191187 St. Petersburg, Russia
Received: 17 July 2017 / Revised: 31 July 2017 / Accepted: 8 August 2017 / Published: 15 August 2017
PDF [671 KB, uploaded 16 August 2017]


Constitutional courts throughout the world are highly selective in forming their agenda. Scholars who have studied the setting of agenda have not reached agreement on the role of legal clerks in this process. This article focuses on the role of the Secretariat of the Russian Constitutional Court in the case selection process. The Russian Constitutional Court receives about twenty thousand petitions annually. Nevertheless, only dozens of them are decided on their merits by judges. Through the description of the case movement process we show that the Secretariat does have at least moderate influence on case selection. Using data received from observation and interviews with the Court’s staff and judges, we find that legal assistants’ decision on whether to promote a case to judges is based on different logics of decision making. First, they are bound by legal requirements. However, bureaucratic logic and the logic of appropriateness can also influence the amount of incentives to promote cases to judges. View Full-Text
Keywords: constitutional courts; case selection; law clerks constitutional courts; case selection; law clerks

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Dzmitryieva, A. Case Selection in the Russian Constitutional Court: The Role of Legal Assistants. Laws 2017, 6, 12.

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