- making judicial process less transparent, and
- giving attorneys a monopoly for court representation - just like it is in the U.S., which is familiar for American law firms that are now cultivating the Russian soil.
But, apparently, not for long.
The lawyer lobby has pushed for monopoly and, lo and behold, a bill is pending, authored by the Russian Federal Bar Association - of course, supposedly for the benefit of consumers, even though consumers did not ask for it, and their access to legal services will be restricted, while prices will go up as a result of the introduced requirement for a "mild monopoly" - that court representatives must have formal legal education.
But, Russian lawyer lobby was pushing for this legislation for a long time, so it is not a surprise.
And, while pushing it, it hypocritically refers to the U.S. experience, claiming that the regulation of the legal profession
(in violation of antitrust laws, see e.g. judicial decisions were
- the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that regulation of a market by market players without neutral state supervision is violation of antitrust law, and where
- a D.C. court ruled that regulation of railroads by Amtrak is a violation of due process of Amtrak's competitors)
through "bench bar associations" is handled supposedly in a "comfortable, sincere and open manner, without accusations of corruption". I bet, there are no accusation of corruption among licensed attorneys against judges, their own regulators - for a single reason that has nothing to do with "comfort, sincerity or openness" - it is fear, fear that the judiciary will surely and quickly exterminate the critics' right to earn a living.
But, the suggestion that the foxes are absolutely the best guardians of the chicken coop (access to justice) and of one another to ensure that the chickens are safe, is a long-entrenched concept in American occupational licensing in general, and in American attorney licensing in particular.
What came as a complete surprise to me is another piece of Russian pending legislative bill - which echoed with what is going on in our courts: elimination of the so-called "motivational" part of court decisions.
At this time, Russian judges MUST issue two-part court decisions: one part is the so-called "decisional" part (what is it that the court requires to be done), and the other part is "motivational" - the court provides legal basis/authorities, analysis and basis for the court decision.
In America, as a contrast, while people have a due process right to be adequately explained the reasoning why a court would take away their children, liberty, property, or life, it often happens that courts do not provide any explanations at all.
They issue one or two-word decisions like:
And that's it.
No explanation, no motivation, no legal grounds, no reasoning.
So, that's what is about to be introduced in Russia, too.
And, in connection with introduction of this peculiar assault on transparency and fairness of judicial decisions, it was interesting to see the proposed justification for such a feat.
It is explained to the Russian public that it takes just too long for a judge to put together and write the motivational part for any particular court decision - 5 days on average per court decision.
So, it will save the court system considerable time, the reasoning goes, to just cut out that time and allow the judge to issue decisions without the motivational part - just a judgment, and no explanation is needed.
But, that raises peculiar questions about the specific though process in Russia, as well as in the U.S. where such though process is practiced.
A reasonable reader of this proposal may ask - whoa, wait a minute, aren't we putting a cart before the horse here?
Shouldn't a judge FIRST do some legal research, analysis and reasoning, and only THEN arrive at the decision.
And, if that is the write order of the judicial thinking, why is it so difficult to put all these precedents and results of analysis you just did to arrive at your decision on paper as a motivational decision? Why would it take so much time.
Yet, if what is cut is not writing the motivational decision, but the reasoning, legal research and analysis that comes with it and is supposed to lead to the "decisional" part, doesn't it then mean that judges arrive at decisions without ANY thinking, without ANY reliance on legal research or analysis.
And, won't allowing the "one-word" "decisional" judicial orders, made without any explanation, encourage judges not to think, not to do any research and analysis, but to jump to conclusions and rule arbitrarily, because nobody can demand them to explain why the h*ll they made a decision as stupid and unlawful (or corrupt) as the one they made without a motivational part?
Of course, it was claimed that parties to litigation in Russian courts will still be able to ask for the motivational part of judicial decisions, after the resolution of the case, but, that is a lame excuse for the legislation allowing the court to FIRST, by default, to arrive at a decision, without any explanation - in ALL cases, BY DEFAULT, and only then, IF asked by the parties, to try and invent a motivational part fitting the decision that was likely made without any legal analysis, just to do things quickly (or for a bribe).
The sad part in all of this is that, while in Russia this bill is only being pushed through, in the U.S., the supposed beacon of democracy, making judicial decisions without a motivational part, without any explanation as to reasoning or legal grounds, has long become a rule rather than exception.
So, the rule of judicial thinking in both Russia and the U.S.A. will soon be the same - first decide and never think, reason or provide honest legal analysis or grounds.