Why Dismiss a Good Case? Origins of the “Positive Inadmissibility” Practice and its Rationale in the Russian Constitutional Court
The Russian Constitutional Court (RCC) has over time developed a practice of adopting so-called “Positive inadmissibility decisions” (Pozitivnoe Opredelenie) which complements (but also undermines) the existent formal procedure of only delivering decisions on merits with Judgments (Postanovlenie). The paper explores the uses of this peculiar practice. I show that the Positive inadmissibility doctrine is used by the Court to overcome the rigidity of the formal procedure where this is necessary for reasons of inter- or intra-organizational expediency. To do that I construct and analyze quantitatively a unique comprehensive dataset of all decisions handed down by the RCC in 1995–2015. I show that “Positive inadmissibility decisions” are handed whenever a subpar case is deemed too important to be simply dismissed: in particular, if it is submitted by a powerful petitioner, or when the case is assigned to a longer serving member of the Court for judicial report.