Marat Baglai, Chairman of the Constitutional Court, January 2003:“Our system of law is not an Anglo-American, but European continental one, which is based, so to speak, on the statute law, not a judicial precedent. Is it good or bad? Judicial precedent does surely have certain advantages: for example, it promotes the stabilization of judicial practice in the long run, but it also has certain disadvantages, and, most importantly, we do not have yet any grounds for introducing the law of precedents neither in customs nor in judicial practice, because we have very clear principle of judge’s independence in the judicial process – this is a constitutional principle, from which it follows that a judge when deciding an issue determines by himself what to rely upon in adopting his decision. And in the first place he should be guided by statute.
But there is one very interesting aspect related to the growing law of precedent, and it is directly connected with the European Court of Human Rights. This Court has been working for more than 50 years, it accumulated a great number of judicial precedents, which are for us a source of law, and we sometimes dig into these old archive books and add to our arsenal these decisions, many of which were, I repeat, formulated long ago. And here the precedents of the protection of human rights have immense importance for us, we even to some extent borrow them.
In the European law the significance of the European Court as a central body verifying the conditions of human rights, from the point of view of the regulatory impact of the European Convention on Human Rights, is growing more and more. And in all European countries in one way or another the precedents of the European Court are relied upon”.
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