The article constitutes a review of the changes in law in post-communist countries of Eastern Europe, conducted from the socio-legal perspective. The frame of the discussion is a specific and interrelated group of questions: what are the distinctive features of these transformations, to what extent are these changes permanent, and what would we mean by saying that the postcommunist region has entered a 'new phase'? The article discusses the aims and significance of the rule of law, questions related to the broadly understood justice system, constitutional tribunals, former secret police and a range of questions about 'dealing with the past' i.e. communist institutions, property rights etc. The article concludes with a consideration of the likely impact of European accession on those countries that have been accepted as EU members as well as on those that have not yet been accepted, and on those that are unlikely ever to be accepted.
A. Czarnota, University of New South Wales (for postal address contact the journal editor)
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