Unformatted text preview: Levitt's Comparative Law Index: Comparative Legal Systems Class: Quiz 1 1/19/09 10:03 AM Welcome to Levitt's Comparative Law Links Page: Comparative
Legal Systems Class
NOTES ON THE SOCIALIST LEGAL SYSTEM
This system was in force from 1945 to 1989 in Eastern zones of Germany.
Learned writers in the field of comparative law are in disagreement concerning the issue of
whether the system of law to be found in Socialist countries should be categorized as a subsystem of
Civil Law or an entirely distinct legal tradition.
What are the major features of the Socialist legal system which are similar to the Civil Law System ?
(consider degree of codification and criminal procedure)
What are the features of the Socialist legal system which fundamentally distinguish it from the Civil
Law tradition ?
a. the leading role of the Communist Party
b. Command economy
What do Marxists believe is the fundamental connection between the legal system and the organization
of the economic structures in society ?
Consider the first line of the Communist Manifesto: "The history of all hitherto existing society is the
history of class struggles."
Consider what Lenin has to say in The State.
What does Mary Glendon mean when she refers to the Socialist Legal System, (page 274) as being
"Pseudo- Religious." What is the "social goal" of the law (page 275) ?
ACTIVITIES WHICH WERE LABELED 'CRIMINAL' IN THE FORMER SOVIET UNION AND
GERMAN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC - BUT WERE REGARDED AS 'LEGAL' IN THE WEST
POLITICAL OFFENSES AGAINST THE STATE
What type of political activities in a Socialist state are considered punishable ? Would one be
punished for expressing his views at a pub in the United States, Great Britain ?
Just before students get all carried away with quick judgments concerning how oppressive a Socialist
system is please remember:
a. After "Glasnost" in the Soviet Union- dissenting political opinions were tolerated to a greater
b. In the 1950's persons in the United States lost their jobs in the McCarthy era if they expressed the
"wrong" political opinion publicly.
c. In what significant ways did the courts of East Germany and Nazi Germany differ in their handling
of political speech which threatened communal order?
What types of activities , which are done daily in the West, are considered criminal and punishable in
Socialist legal systems?
http://www.nova.edu/~levitts/comlaw/week2.html Page 1 of 3 Levitt's Comparative Law Index: Comparative Legal Systems Class: Quiz 1 1/19/09 10:03 AM Why is speculation a crime ? How does this relate to Marxist theories of economics, law and society ?
Why did border guards in the German Democratic Republic, the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia shoot
persons attempting to leave illegally ?
How does this compare with Western beliefs about the mobility of the citizen?
NO CONSTITUTIONAL REVIEW OF LEGISLATION
At the top of page 301, Glendon says:
"The difference between a socialist judge and a common law judge is that, unlike the latter, the socialist
judge cannot invoke the principle of equity or of natural justice, to set aside an applicable (and
readily ascertainable) statutory law."
If judges cannot set aside laws because they are unconstitutional, what does that tell you about
the power of the judiciary in a Socialist legal system ?
Glendon says: (page 299)
"Neither in theory nor in practice is the socialist court regarded as a co - equal branch of the socialist
Film: "The Trial of Tamara Russo" (We may have some time to see this later) Popular movies concerning the Russian Revolution and the Socialist Legal Order
1. Nicholas and Alexandra (DK258 M3 1991 v.1 and v.2)
2. Dr. Zhivago (Einstein: PG3476.P27 D63 1998)
3. Reds (Einstein: PN1997 .R43 1999)
4. Stalin(Einstein: DK268.S8 S82 1992)
5. The Unbearable Lightness of Being
6. The Cold War: Volume 6: Reds
7. The Cold War: Volume 7: After Stalin (Einstein:E183.8.S65 C65 1998)
8. Burnt by the Sun
9. When Father Was Away on Business
10. East- West (Also known under French title: "Est- Ouest") Other materials possible
The Soviet Legal System , pp. 18- 25
Criminal Code of the RSFSR , pp. 182- 187,204- 207,222- 225, 254- 268
Justice In Moscow , pp. 16- 46,54- 57,74- 85,188- 199
Comparative Law in a Nutshell , first edition pp.316- 320. (legal education)
What types of subjects are taught in the law schools of Socialist nations - which one would hardly ever
find taught in the West?
http://www.nova.edu/~levitts/comlaw/week2.html Page 2 of 3 Levitt's Comparative Law Index: Comparative Legal Systems Class: Quiz 1 1/19/09 10:03 AM Andrew Zimbalist et. al.,Comparing Economic Systems , Chapter 6, "The Operation of Central Planning",
pp. 175- 201.
Twentieth- Century European History
i. Russian Revolution pp 53- 58
ii. War Communism pp. 109- 121
iii. Stalinist Russia pp. 246- 272 Web Materials
Communist Manifesto of 1848 from Avalon Project: Introduction
Communist Manifesto of 1848 from the Avalon Project: Part I
The Communist Manifesto of 1848 from the Avalon Project: Part II
The Fundamental Law of Land Socialization, February 19, 1918
Chronology of Russian History: The Soviet Period from Bucknell University
Constitution of the People's Republic of China
Human Rights in China Organization
Current Situation in China (Human Rights)
University of Maryland, School of Law, Chinalaw Web
Chinese Law Resources on the Internet
Lawyers' Committee for Human Rights, China and Hon Kong: A New Approach to Human Rights
Constitution of the Union of Soviet Socialists Republics
Library of Congress's Documents from the Soviet Archives including:
i. The Gulag
ii. Collectivization and Industrialization
iii. Internal Workings of the Soviet System
Return To Comparative Law Home Page
> Comments to: Stephen Ross Levitt
Updated: June 30, 2000
Copyright Stephen Ross Levitt http://www.nova.edu/~levitts/comlaw/week2.html Page 3 of 3 ...
View Full Document