2019/ 2020

Csaba Győry

Mobility Phase: Polish Academy of Sciences - Legal Research Institute, Warsaw

Judicial Reforms and the Rule of Law in Central and Eastern Europe

Photo: Joanna Scheffel

Csaba Győry is an Assistant Professor of Law at the Centre for Law and Society at ELTE University, Faculty of Law, Budapest, and a Researcher at the Institute for Legal Studies, Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Previously, he worked for the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law in Freiburg, Germany. He has also been Visiting Lecturer at Manchester University School of Law. He studied law and philosophy at ELTE University in Budapest, Hungary and Humboldt University of Berlin, holds a JD from ELTE University Faculty of Law, and defended his PhD in law at the Albert Ludwig University of FreiburgGermany. Csaba also serves on the Executive Board of the European Society of Criminology. He has two main research interests: corporate crime, especially criminality on the financial markets; as well as sentencing and criminal justice. In his dissertation, which combined comparative legal analysis with the ethnographic study of everyday practices at regulatory agencies, he looked at the regulation and enforcement of securities fraud in the United States and Germany. Recently, his interest increasingly turned towards the operation of criminal justice in Central and Eastern Europe, especially to the challenges caused by penal populism and politicization of the judicial process.

Judicial Reforms and the Rule of Law in Central and Eastern Europe

The broader aim of the project is to find a theoretical frame and language which can be used to describe the challenges to the rule of law in Central and Eastern Europe. To do this, it will attempt to adapt Ernst Fraenkel’s dual state concept to the Eastern European context. Although this has been done before to describe the operation of the law in countries like Singapore, Russia, Egypt, Chile and others, the project will argue the findings of these studies are not directly applicable to EU-member constitutional democracies of Central and Eastern Europe.

The project will attempt to analyze the effects of recent judicial reforms on everyday judicial practices in Hungary and Poland. While the academic discourse on the rule of law in Central and Eastern Europe mostly focuses on law in the books, the project will concentrate on the law in action. It will start from the assumption that, in the shadow of larger institutional changes, there are also subtle shifts in the everyday practices in the judicial system triggered by the reforms, which might be equally important to understand whether the justice system retains its independence and whether the rule of law is upheld. Such practices could only be explored empirically and qualitatively. The project will thus combine legal analysis with semi-structured interviews with prosecutors, judges and other stakeholders such as policymakers.