In November, the Government of the Russian Federation presented its annual report on the monitoring of law enforcement to the President. It contains a summarised assessment of the effectiveness of Russian laws. The report also includes the results of a study conducted by experts from St Petersburg University.

St Petersburg University is a leading academic and expertplatform for methodological support of monitoring law enforcement in Russia.

The University has been conducting a systematic and continuous study and analysis of judicial practice for more than 25 years: it collects and consolidates the information on the application of laws and other normative acts. This research explains how a norm is implemented and interpreted and whether there are problems with its understanding and interpretation when applied. ‘We assess whether the result is consistent with the purpose for which the norm was established. This helps to identify normative gaps and eliminate cases of conflicts in the application of laws. Thus, we get a higher-quality legislation, which in turn results in the protection of the rights of citizens and the strengthening of guarantees,’ said Sergei Belov, Dean of the Faculty of Law and head of the project.

In 2019, lawyers from St Petersburg University prepared 17 reports. They reviewed the issues of: child health protection; creation and expansion of specially protected areas; early retirement of citizens; application of international regulations on copyright protection; and bankruptcy of insurance companies. Full reports are available on the website of St Petersburg University ‘Monitoring Law Enforcement’.

Experts from St Petersburg University developed their own methodology for analysing law enforcement practice. 'It significantly complements and develops the established monitoring methodology,' said Sergei Belov. In his opinion, the University technique is unique and differs significantly from the tools used by state bodies or other academic centres. ‘There are differences in the approach to determining research areas, the way the research is conducted and the scope of law enforcement practice covered,' said the Dean.

This autumn, researchers from St Petersburg University analysed more than 50 provisions related to coronavirus which were adopted in the spring and summer of 2020. The monitoring was commissioned by the Russian State Duma.

The research on law enforcement practice is an ongoing process; experts are already preparing new reviews and working on the plan of the Government of the Russian Federation for 2020. In spring 2021, the results will be submitted to the Ministry of Justice to produce the next report to the President.