Available in Russian
Author: Anton Alatortsev
Keywords: criminal law; Federal Constitutional Court
The article compares approaches to the principle of legal certainty employed in the jurisprudence of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany and that of the Russian Constitutional Court. Since the problem of legal certainty is not limited to criminal law alone, the author’s analysis is not limited to criminal cases. In some way, uncertainty in criminal law is inevitable due to the general nature of the law language – unavoidable use of generalizations, its brevity and conciseness. Nevertheless, the legislator is responsible for drafting legal norms as clearly as possible in order to prevent arbitrary court decisions. Thus, the principle of legal certainty sets requirements not only to the law enforcement, but also to the law itself. Author concludes that the Federal Constitutional Court pays much more attention to argumentation in its decisions as compared to the judicial practice of the Russian Constitutional Court. However, in certain cases instead of deciding the uncertain law unconstitutional, the Federal Constitutional Court chose to correct the law and precedents. Such approach is rather arguable from the point of view of the role of legislator in offense qualification, which was actually stated by the Federal Constitutional Court itself. If the Russian Constitutional Court would take a more detailed and profound view into of consistency of a legal rule with the constitutional principle of legal certainty, and make in its decisions the legislator responsible for certainty of law (or, at least, explain the proper law enforcement), the effectiveness of the Russian Constitutional Court judgments would not only increase, but also allow the legislator more clearly ensure constitutionally acceptable level of the legal uncertainty.
About the author: Anton Alatortsev – Ph.D. student, Faculty of Law, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia.
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