Internalizing European Court of Human Rights Interpretations: Russia's Courts of General Jurisdiction and New Directions in Civil Defamation Law


The manuscript examines the steps that Russia's courts of general jurisdiction have taken since 2002 to fashion major changes in Russia's civil defamation law. The critical element in this process has been the courts' internalization of the practice of the European Court of Human Rights in interpreting the freedom of expression provisions in Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, to which Russia acceded in 1998. The internalization movement in the Russian courts began in 2002 in isolated lower court decisions, and culminated in a generally-applicable Decree of the Russian Federation Supreme Court in 2005. The manuscript examines a number of those lower court decisions, as well as the 2005 Decree, to identify the substantive changes in defamation law and the process by which the European Court's practice has been used to fashion them. The manuscript also assesses the prospects for the courts’ further extension of the European Court's positions to remaining unresolved questions in civil defamation law. In this inquiry, I seek to identify the methodology for implementation of the Supreme Court's 2005 directive that the lower courts "take into account" the European Court's practice in deciding defamation disputes.


Communications Law | Comparative and Foreign Law | International Law

Date of this Version

March 2006