Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


Igor I. Kavass

First Page



The Documentation Office for East European Law at the University of Leyden in the Netherlands is one of the most prominent and active research institutions in the West dedicated to the study of the laws and legal systems of socialist countries. Established in 1953 for the purpose of gathering and interpreting information about legal developments in the socialist countries, the Documentation Office is reputed to have now one of the most comprehensive collections of rare and generally inaccessible documents in its area of specialization. This collection attracts researchers from around the world. The staff of the Documentation Office is widely known for producing some of the best analytical and statistical reports on legal developments in socialist countries, as well as timely translations of important laws of these countries. Commanding an excellent reputation among specialists, the Documentation Office has been able to attract the participation of many leading United States and Western European scholars in its projects. Aside from several institutions of similar standing in the Federal Republic of Germany, where a systematic study of socialist legal developments is taken seriously, nothing comparable to the Documentation Office exists elsewhere in the Western World. Even the United States, despite an intensive preoccupation with the Soviet Union, does not have a permanent scholarly establishment of the same dimensions and importance as the Documentation Office.