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Publication type: Article in scientific journal
Type of review: Peer review (publication)
Title: Burning the Rechtsstaat : legal institutions and protection of the rule of law
Authors: Hartwell, Christopher
Urban, Mateusz
et. al: No
DOI: 10.1017/S1744137420000302
Published in: Journal of Institutional Economics
Volume(Issue): 17
Issue: 1
Page(s): 105
Pages to: 131
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher / Ed. Institution: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 1744-1374
Language: English
Subjects: Estonia; Institution; Lega institution; Poland; Rule of law; Transition; K40; K15; P26
Subject (DDC): 320: Politics
340: Law
Abstract: The economic literature is clear that transparent and impartial rule of law is crucial for successful economic outcomes. However, how does one guarantee rule of law? This paper uses the idea of ‘self-reinforcing’ institutions to show how political institutions may derail rule of law if associated judicial institutions are not self-reinforcing. We illustrate this using the contrasting examples of Estonia and Poland to frame the importance of institutional context in determining both rule of law and the path of legal institutions. Although starting tabula rasa for a legal system is difficult, it worked well for rule of law in Estonia in the post-communist transition. Alternately, Poland pursued a much more gradualist strategy of reform of formal legal institutions; this approach meant that justice institutions, slow to shed their legacy and connection with the past, were relatively weak and susceptible to attack from more powerful (political) ones. We conclude that legal institutions can protect the rule of law but only if they are in line with political institutions, using their self-reinforcing nature as a shield from political whims of the day.
Further description: Erworben im Rahmen der Schweizer Nationallizenzen (
Fulltext version: Published version
License (according to publishing contract): Licence according to publishing contract
Restricted until: 2027-01-01
Departement: School of Management and Law
Organisational Unit: International Management Institute (IMI)
Appears in collections:Publikationen School of Management and Law

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