Legal Realism in Russia
The phenomenon of legal realism appeared in the world of jurisprudence due to the legal movements in the middle of the 20th century, which arose between the two World Wars. Because of multiplicity, popularity and diversity of the works of its respectable representatives, the term “legal realism” began to be used to refer to various movements in law, striving, among other things, for greater empiricism and pragmatism in understanding legal phenomena. Legal realists actualized the role of professional actors of law, primarily judges, sought to explain the realities of law enforcement in the discourse of interpretative skepticism, emphasizing the importance of psychological factors. Currently, “legal realism” is once more gaining popularity among theorists and practitioners, including Russian scholars, for several reasons: as a third way in law, different from natural law and positivist theories; as a modern version of legal positivism; as a prediction of judicial decisions; as a method of determining the ontological status of law; as an approach to the interpretation of law; as a theory of cognition of the legal order, etc.

American and Scandinavian versions of legal realism are considered by global and Russian science as two classic examples of realistic movements in law, whereas Russian Legal Realism remains less well-known. Though American, Scandinavian and Russian legal realists of the first half of the 20th century have different national histories, they share a common understanding of their role as an intermediary between “book” law and practical human problems. Representatives of legal realism use the prerequisite that law exists as a practical tool: in this sense American, Scandinavian and Soviet law became more of an experience, legal practice, rather than a theoretical construct, between the two World Wars. Despite the differences in the variants of legal realism, these three movements are aimed to eliminate legal formalism that prevents social development and to affirm the understanding of law as a socio-psychological phenomenon.

In particular, special workshop aspires to reveal the characteristics of the Russian version of legal realism, analyze historical patterns and essential features of the legal order formed on the territories of the former Russian Empire after the October Revolution of 1917. Russian Legal Realism is a term based, among other things, on a broad understanding of the sources of law, the concepts of the individual normative system of the subject of law, the multiplicity and parallelism of normative systems, the ideas of the psychological approach to law by Leon Petrażycki and his followers. The term is also used for the study of legislative and law enforcement doctrines, according to which declarative norms of a fair order do not necessarily coincide with legal practice.

Special workshop is aimed at defining a conceptual connection of the Russian, American, Scandinavian and other variants of legal realism, specific characteristics of Russian legal realism and detection of its significance for Russian jurisprudence from the middle of the 20th century to the present day. To sum up, special workshop offers to discuss Russian legal realism in two ways:
1) as a specific phenomenon in Russian jurisprudence;
2) in the context of American and Scandinavian legal realism and its other types, which are recognized by representatives of world science and practice, such as Italian Legal Realism, Continental (Psychological) Legal Realism, New Legal Realism, etc.

Moreover, all researchers of Russian legal theory, philosophy, sociology and psychology are welcomed to the discussion.

Interested applicants are invited to send titles and abstracts of 100-800 words (in DOC, DOCX or PDF) in English at e.tonkov@mail.ru and dmitrii.tonkov@gmail.com before 31st May, 2022. Institutional affiliation and/or brief biography are requested. Working language of the special workshop is English.

Evgenii N. TONKOV – associate professor of the Department of Jurisprudence of the North-West Institute of Management (Branch of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration), Ph.D. in Law, barrister

Dmitrii E. TONKOV – lecturer-researcher of the Institute of State and Law of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Bachelor and Master of Laws (LL.B. and LL.M.) of the Saint-Petersburg State University