By: Kayce Champion | February 10, 2017

Russia is known for having a Civil Law System. A civil law system is essentially authoritative in that any modifications of the constitution are passed through legislative. This is mostly categorized through an inquisitorial system, which mainly resides in European countries such as Europe. An inquisitorial system is a system that gives the judge the power of court process and final prosecution. This is why Civil Law is also known as European Continental Law. In ECL, “The seised court of a Member State has to assess on the basis of these European rules whether it has jurisdiction to take the case into consideration and to render a judgment on it. Furthermore, the courts of the Member States have to determine on the basis of these European rules whether it must recognize a judgment of the court of another Member State as a valid and effective judgment and even whether it must ensure that this foreign judgment can be enforced and executed in the Member State of the seised court” (ECL’S European Civil Law).

One court case that exemplifies this type of court system is the acclaimed most important court trial in Russia. Oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his pal and business partner Platon Lebedev stole $25 billion dollars, or £16 billion pounds worth of oil (Ostalski “Russia’s Most Important Court Trial”). The two men were convicted of stealing from their own oil company and were sentenced to fourteen years. The men were placed in a Siberian prison. Despite Khodorkovsky being seen as a political and business figure in Russia, he and his business partner were sentenced for each count of tax evasion, laundering, and theft (Furnaro “European Court Says Khodorkovsky’s Trial Was Not Political”).

This court trial shows that the law in Russia is direct and that regardless of the wealth of a person or their social status of the person, they will be condemned just as the rest. This legal system is more effective in regarding everyone as an equal when account to actions being taken against the convicted. The person’s wealth, status, gender, etc. will not allow anyone to go free if they’ve broken any law in Russia. It’s also efficient in that the law system is quick and orderly to disallow prolonging a trial for the better of the accused.

“ECL’s European Civil Law.” ECL’s European Civil Law,

Furnaro, Kaitlin. “European Court Says Khodorkovsky’s Trial Was Not Political.” Public Radio International, 25 July 2013,

Ostalski, Andrei. “Russia’s Most Important Court Trial.” BBC News, BBC, 15 Dec. 2010,      


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