In this article, the author examines the institution of civil and criminal supervisory review (nadzor) and its compliance with such internationally recognized legal norms as res judicata and the right to a fair trial. Nadzor generally serves as extraordinary appeal of civil and criminal judgments that already have entered into legal force. The author first examines the historical roots of supervisory review during the Soviet period. He then analyzes how the supervisory review process has been transformed by the 2002 Civil Procedure Code and the 2001 Criminal Procedure Code. The author also reviews the role played by the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights and the Russian Constitutional Court in influencing the changes to the supervisory review process. Although this process has become fairer and more transparent, the author shows that nadzor remains controversial, most notably due to the lack of finality associated with the process. The article concludes by discussing the prospects for nadzor and how this process has influenced Russia's transition to a rule of law state.
Russia is currently undergoing a spirited public debate over the role of precedent in a civil-law system. This article examines this debate from a theoretical and practical standpoint, exploring the nature of Russian court decisions and the extent to which they correspond to the Anglo-American theory of precedent. The article further analyzes how the Russian Higher Arbitrazh Court has carved out a narrow right to issue binding precedent and how this authority could impact Russia's civil-law understanding of such concepts as separation of powers and judicial independence.