▪ Abstract 

This is a review, from a social scientific perspective, of law-related transformations in the formerly communist parts of Europe. It draws particularly on developments in East Central Europe. The frame of the discussion is a specific and interrelated group of questions: What are the distinctive features of these transformations, to what extent do these features endure, and what would it mean to say that the postcommunist region has entered a new phase? The review discusses the utility of the concepts “postcommunism” and “transition”; the goal of the rule of law, in the name of which many legal reforms have been made; particular problems that have arisen in relation to the judiciary, constitutional courts, and former secret police; and questions about “dealing with the past” as they have been asked about past institutions, people, and property rights. It concludes with a consideration of the likely impact of “joining Europe” on those countries that have been accepted as members of the European Union, on those that have not yet been accepted, and on those that are unlikely ever to be accepted.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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