Law and Courts in Authoritarian Regimes

Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Vol. 10 (2014) 281-299

23 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2014

Date Written: September 19, 2014


Once regarded as mere pawns of their regimes, courts in authoritarian states are now the subject of considerable attention within the field of comparative judicial politics. New research examines the ways in which law and courts are deployed as instruments of governance, how they structure state-society contention, and the circumstances in which courts are transformed into sites of active resistance. This new body of research constitutes an emergent field of inquiry, while simultaneously contributing to a number of related research agendas, including authoritarian durability and regime transition, human rights, transitional justice, law and development, and rule-of-law promotion. Moreover, this research offers important insights into the erosion of rights and liberties in “consolidated democracies.”

Keywords: judicialization of politics, authoritarian rule, rule by law

Suggested Citation

Moustafa, Tamir, Law and Courts in Authoritarian Regimes (September 19, 2014). Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Vol. 10 (2014) 281-299, Available at SSRN:

Tamir Moustafa (Contact Author)

Simon Fraser University (SFU) ( email )

Simon Fraser University
7200-515 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, British Columbia V6B 5K3


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