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Rule of Law Fellow Valerie Hans Observes the Russian Jury System at Close Range

In October 2011 the Paul Klebnikov Fund awarded its most recent Rule of Law Fellowship to Cornell’s Valerie Hans, Professor of Law. One of the foremost authorities on the jury system, Hans has written extensively on citizen participation in legal proceedings and jury decision-making.

Hans spent her two-week fellowship at Moscow State University. In Moscow, she gave four formal presentations about jury systems worldwide; met many knowledgeable Russian scholars, students, judges, lawyers, and policymakers; and engaged in fruitful discussions about the Russian jury system.

“As a scholar of the jury system, I have long been fascinated by Russia’s modern democratic experiment with trial by jury,” says Hans. “The Paul Klebnikov Fund Rule of Law Fellowship offered me an unparalleled opportunity to observe the Russian jury system at close range.”

Hans plans to write and present a paper summarizing her observations at an international law and society meeting in June 2012. “As the Russian jury experience becomes more fully understood,” she adds, “I am confident that it will provide important lessons for scholars and policymakers alike about how best to employ citizens as legal decision makers.”

Hans' Rule of Law Fellowship visit to Moscow State University follows that of Theodore Eisenberg, an expert in empirical research and fellow Cornell Law School professor. A Rule of Law Fellowship also brought Gayane Davidyan, Associate Professor of Law at Moscow State, to Cornell in 2010. 

The Paul Klebnikov Fund Rule of Law Fellowship was designed to deepen ties between the Russian and American legal communities and provide opportunities for collaborative research. The fellowship program is made possible by the generous support of the US-Russia Foundation and the assistance of numerous individual supporters.