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4.7. Justiciability and the 'Political Question' Doctrine in National and Supranational Litigation

Friday, 17 May
13:30 - 15:30

Hall #7, General Staff Building (6-8, Dvortsovaya sq.)

In the traditional view, judicial authorities decide legal matters strictly on the basis of law while remaining politically neutral. But is this so in actual fact? At this roundtable, we propose to discuss a topic widely debated in scholarly literature worldwide, namely, 'justiciability' and the doctrine of the 'political question.' The intent of the discussion is to answer this question: What will the courts do when, in the course of their business, they encounter the need to resolve a political matter?  

In today’s world, we witness instances of conflict between politics and law with increasing frequency. This is particularly true for international justice. The ECHR has an institution dedicated to the handling of inter-state complaints, which may involve political aspects. The International Court arbitrates disputes of a political nature even more often. Some of the highlights have been the status of Kosovo and the construction of the Israeli Wall.

What would be some of the possible ways for a court of law to decide a 'political question'? What would be the advisable conduct of business for a court (national or international) facing the necessity to rule in a case strongly associated with politics (whether pertaining to the domestic policy of a state or the domain of diplomatic relations)? What instruments do courts currently resort to whenever they face a political dilemma? And here is the central question: Do political matters even belong in the jurisdiction of a court of law? How do we identify the fine line the judiciary may not overstep for fear of trespassing on political territory? While the proposed roundtable will surely pose a lot more pointed questions than it gives clear and accurate answers, we deem this discussion highly relevant in the light of the increased activity of international justice in recent time.


Mikhail Galperin

Representative of the Russian Federation in the European Court of Human Rights - Deputy Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation


Gerardus Josephus Maria Corstens

Former President, Supreme Court of the Netherlands

Anton Ivanov

Academic Adviser at the Faculty of Law at the HSE University, Former Chairman of the Supreme Commercial Court of the Russian Federation

Anatoliy Kovler

Head of the Center for foreign legislation and comparative law, Institute of Legislation and Comparative Law under the Government of the Russian Federation

Ekaterina Kudelich

Deputy Director of the International Law and Cooperation Department, Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation

Sophie Lamb QC

Partner in the London Office – Global Co-Chair of the Firm's International Arbitration Practice, Latham & Watkins

Gabriela Wurcel

VP Global Partnerships & Cooperation, Philip Morris International

* The Programme may be subject to change