Maria-Lavinia Tec, Protection of Persons with Mental Health Disorders in Romania in:

OER Osteuropa Recht, page 277 - 287

OER, Volume 66 (2020), Issue 2, ISSN: 0030-6444, ISSN online: 0030-6444, https://doi.org/10.5771/0030-6444-2020-2-277

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Maria-Lavinia Tec* Protection of Persons with Mental Health Disorders in Romania Abstract In Romania, the protection of persons with mental health disorders concerns various legal institutions central to civil law. The protective instruments in place vary between general instruments of civil law (Civil Code of 2009 and special measures in specific legislation, in particular the Mental Health Law of 2002. The Mental Health Law pro‐ vides for medical measures, in particular voluntary and compulsory hospitalisation in a psychiatric hospital or compulsory ambulatory medical treatment. The Law also provides for procedural safeguards in case of compulsory measures. When it comes to legal capacity, the Civil Code provides for certain protective regimes that can be esta‐ blished for adults with mental disorders. A person that is unable to take care of its interests may be put by court under “judicial interdiction” meaning that legal capacity is reduced to small transactions with immediate performance, and a special guardian is to be appointed. Another instrument, the assistence of elderly people, has been in‐ troduced by a special law. Key words: legal capacity; limited capacity; incapacity; medical law; mental health; Romanian Civil Code Introduction The New Romanian Civil Code,1 which entered into force on 1 October 2011, pays particular attention to the natural person. Whereas the Romanian Civil Code of 1864 took account of the protection of natural persons in its provisions on “parental autho‐ rity” (Title IX), “minority, guardianship, and emancipation” (Title X), “majority, in‐ terdiction, and judicial council” (Title XI), and family law, the New Romanian Civil Code has added novel elements, most significantly the will of the protected person and the administration of the property of others. Despite this extension, the Civil Code does not contain all the legislative provisions for the protection persons with mental health disorders and thus specific legislation also applies. By examining the legislative provisions in force in Romania, this article provides an insight into the le‐ gislative framework protecting persons with mental health disorders. I. * Maria-Lavinia Tec, Phd. Associate professor – Faculty of Law, University of West Timișoa‐ ra. 1 Monitorul Oficial, nr. 511/24.7.2009; hereinafter “Civil Code”. OER 2/2020, DOI: 10.5771/0030-6444-2020-2-277 Applicable legislation The legislation in force distinguishes between the object of protection, more precisely the protection of personality rights and the protection of personal property. For the former, the specific provisions of the “law on and the protection of persons with men‐ tal health disorders nr. 487/200222 (hereinafter “Law 487/2002” or “Mental Health Law”) apply, whereas the Civil Code regulates the latter. At the time the Law 487/2002 was adopted, the Romanian Civil Code of 1864 was in force, which did not devote much attention to personality rights, in contrast to the New Civil Code. The protection of personality rights (and also patient rights) under Law 487/2002 are the‐ refore lex specialis in relation to the Civil Code; however the corresponding provisi‐ ons of the Civil Code may serve a supplementary function. Additionally, the Law on the Rights of the Patient nr. 46/2003 applies. Protected persons Mental Health Law (Law 487/2002) According to Law 487/2002, the protective measures contained in the legislation app‐ ly to persons with mental health disorders and persons with serious mental health dis‐ orders. Within the meaning of Art. 5 a) Law 487/2002, a person with a mental health dis‐ order means, inter alia, a person with a mental imbalance or with insufficient mental development or dependent on psychoactive substances, whose manifestations fall within the diagnostic criteria in force for medical practice. A person with a severe mental disorder is a person with a mental disorder who is unable to understand the significance and consequences of her behaviour, and therefore needs immediate psychiatric help.3 Law 487/2002 does not expressly define “mental incapacity”; it does, however, define the notions of “mental capacity” and “mental handicap”. According to Art. 5 h) mental capacity refers to the mental state which, at a certain time, is compatible with the exercise of rights and freedoms; in contrast Art. 5 i) considers a mental handicap as the inability, resulting from a mental disorder, to cope with life in society. Civil Code The Civil Code protects persons who, by not having reached the age of majority, do not have the capacity to be responsible for the consequences of their actions, but also persons who, due to a change in their mental or physical faculties (e.g., through age, illness or physical infirmity), may be unable to exercise their rights and fulfil their ob‐ ligations regarding themselves or others, and their assets. II. III. 1. 2. 2 Monitorul Oficial, nr. 589/8.8.2002; Monitorul Oficial, nr. 652/13.9.2012. 3 Art. 5 b) Law 487/2002. 278 Maria-Lavinia Tec A person that has reached the age of majority is – paradoxically – automatically presumed to have full capacity and responsibility. However, there are certain situati‐ ons in which such persons, despite being of the age of majority, cannot exercise their rights and obligations by themselves, defend their interests, or manage their assets. Such situations may apply to persons with mental disorders. Means of protection Mental Health Law (Law 487/2002) Law 487/2002 provides for the following protection measures: a) voluntary or forced admission to a psychiatric unit; b) medical treatment with or without the consent of the patient. Admission to a psychiatric unit According to Art. 49 Law 487/2002, the admission to a psychiatric unit is done only for medical reasons, based on diagnostic and treatment procedures; close proximity to the patient’s place of residence is a key factor in determining the psychiatric unit to which the patient is to be admitted. Voluntary admission The voluntary admission to a mental health service implies the patient’s consent exer‐ cised on the basis of the right of access to medical services and mental health care.4 In principle, patients admitted voluntarily have the right to be released on request, at any time, though hospitalization against the patient’s will may continue if particular con‐ ditions are satisfied.5 Involuntary admission Involuntary admission is defined as hospitalization against the patient’s will or with‐ out the patient’s consent.6 Such exceptional measure is especially serious as it devia‐ tes from the principle of the person’s autonomy and from the principle of the inviola‐ bility of the human body. Accordingly, it is applied only after attempts at voluntary admission have been exhausted,7 and always under judicial control. Law 437/2002 contains detailed provisions surrounding the conditions for involuntary admissions. Involuntary admission is only performed in psychiatric hospitals that have ade‐ quate conditions for specialized care under specific conditions.8 IV. 1. a) i) ii) 4 Art. 51, 5 o) Law 487/2002. 5 Art. 52 Law 487/2002. 6 Art. 5 p) Law 487/2002. 7 Art. 53 Law 487/2002. 8 Art. 55 Law 487/2002. Protection of Persons with Mental Health Disorders in Romania 279 ● Mandatory participation of an authorized psychiatrist Involuntary admission is only made if an authorized psychiatrist decides that the person suffers from a mental disorder and considers that: (a) due to this mental disorder, there is an imminent danger of harm to herself or to others; (b) in the case of a person suffering from a serious mental disorder, non-admission could re‐ sult in the serious deterioration of her condition or prevent her from being adequa‐ tely treated.9 ● Requesting the involuntary admission of a person Involuntary admission may be requested by: the family doctor or the specialist psychiatrist who takes care of this person; the person’s family; representatives of the local public administration with attributions in the social-medical and public order field; representatives of the police, gendarmerie or fire service, as well as the prosecutor; the civil court, whenever it considers that the state of mental health of a person during the proceedings may require involuntary admission.10 The request for involuntary admission must contain information on the identity of the applicant, a description of the circumstances leading to the request, informati‐ on on the identity data of the person concerned and the known medical history.11 The request is examined in order to confirm its veracity and in order to prevent abusive requests. ● Information obligation Following the assessment of the mental health status and of the opportunity of in‐ voluntary admission, the psychiatrist is obliged to immediately inform the respec‐ tive person and her legal representative about the decision to undertake psychiatric treatment, as well as to subject the person to involuntary admission.12 ● Referral to specialty committees Within no more than 24 hours after the assessment, the psychiatrist has to submit the necessary documentation for the proposal of involuntary admission to a com‐ mittee consisting of three members (appointed by the hospital manager, namely: two psychiatrists and a doctor of another specialty or a representative of civil so‐ ciety),13 by the management of the respective medical unit, and informs the per‐ son concerned that it will be examined by this committee, bringing it to the atten‐ tion of the patient’s designated representative (“legal representative”) or the per‐ son who agrees to assist or represent their interests (“conventional representati‐ ve”).14 ● Decision of the specialty committee The decision of the specialty committee includes the diagnosis, the solution adop‐ ted together with the reasons for such solution, and the signatures of all committee members.15 The committee’s decision of involuntary admission will be recorded 9 Art. 54 Law 487/2002. 10 Art. 56(1) Law 487/2002. 11 Art. 56(2) Law 487/2002. 12 Art. 58 Law 487/2002. 13 Art. 61(2) Law 487/2002. 14 Art. 58 Law 487/2002. On the definitions of “legal representative” and “conventional representative” see Art. 5 m) and n), respectively. 15 Art. 61(4) Law 487/2002. 280 Maria-Lavinia Tec in the patient’s medical file and will be communicated immediately to the latter, as well as to her legal or conventional representative; based on this decision, the pati‐ ent will be admitted involuntarily.16 The decision of involuntary admission of the commission will be submitted by the management of the medical unit, within 24 hours, to the court in which the medi‐ cal unit is located, together with the medical documents relating to the patient concerned.17 Until the decision of the court regarding the confirmation of the de‐ cision of involuntary admission is pronounced, the committee will examine the in‐ voluntarily admitted patient periodically, at an interval that will not exceed five days.18 ● Patient representation According to Art. 45 Law 487/2002, the patient has the right to be represented in the admission or treatment procedure by her legal or conventional representative. Art. 45 Law 487/2002 concerns the patient’s appointment of a conventional repre‐ sentative prior to treatment. In such situations, the patient has the right to appoint such representative where she has full capacity to exercise rights and the necessa‐ ry mental capacity to do so. The patient may have only one conventional represen‐ tative, who is appointed in writing and who is limited to providing assistance and representation in medical procedures; the appointment is free of charge.19 Annex II to Law 487/2002 contains a model appointment form, which shall be si‐ gned by both the patient and the conventional representative.20 The law provides ad probationem the presence of a witness, who cannot be a member of the medical staff of the psychiatric unit.21 The appointment shall contain an express declarati‐ on of the patient with regard to empowering the conventional representative to de‐ cide on the administration of electroconvulsive (“electroshock”) therapy.22 The psychiatrist may take measures to initiate the appointment of another legal or conventional representative where she suspects conflicting interests between the patient and the representative. In such instances, the psychiatrist is to inform the relevant body (e.g. social services).23 ● Court approval Art. 62 Law 487/2002 concerns the procedural aspects regarding the approval by the court of the request for involuntary admission. According to this provision, the court hearing is to be held as a matter of urgency, which – health permitting – the patient must attend and be heard; the judge can order the hearing to take place in the medical unit. The patient has the right to be defended by a lawyer; a lawyer will be appointed by the court if the patient does not have her own. The participation of the prosecutor is mandatory. 16 Art. 61(5) Law 487/2002. 17 Art. 61(6) Law 487/2002. 18 Art. 61(7) Law 487/2002. 19 Art. 45(3) a)-c) Law 487/2002. 20 Art. 45(3) d) Law 487/2002. 21 Art. 45(3) e) Law 487/2002. 22 Art. 45(3) f) Law 487/2002. 23 Art. 31 Law 487/2002. Protection of Persons with Mental Health Disorders in Romania 281 During the hearing, the patient and her legal or conventional representative may request a psychiatric forensic examination or may propose any other evidence, ac‐ cording to the law. The court may confirm or terminate the involuntary admission. Where the court considers that the patient requires treatment, but need not be admitted, it may or‐ der outpatient treatment. It is possible to appeal against the court decision, albeit within three days from the ruling; the appeal does not suspend the execution of the decision. Compulsory medical treatment By virtue of the principle of autonomy, medical treatment can be instituted with the patient’s consent. By way of exception from this principle, Art. 29(1) Law 487/2002 stipulates that the psychiatrist may treat the patient without her consent under express and limited circumstances: (a) the patient’s behaviour represents an imminent danger of harm to herself or others; (b) the patient lacks the mental capacity to understand the state of the illness and the need for medical treatment and does not have a legal representative or is not accompanied by a conventional representative; (c) the patient is a minor or is placed under interdiction, in which case the psychiatrist is obliged to request and ob‐ tain the consent of the legal representative. Where the consent of the patient, her legal or conventional representative has not or cannot be obtained, the psychiatrist may es‐ tablish the diagnostic and treatment procedures she considers necessary for a limited period to resolve the urgency. These cases will be notified and subject to analysis by the specialty committee.24 The patient or her legal or conventional representative may withdraw consent at any time. In such situations, the psychiatrist is obliged to inform the patient or her le‐ gal or conventional representative of the consequences of discontinuing the treatment. However, the psychiatrist has the right to continue to apply the therapeutic measures for the period strictly necessary if he considers that, due to the illness, interrupting the treatment will endanger the patient or others. These cases will be notified and subject to the review of the procedure review committee.25 Civil Code According to Art. 106 Civil Code, the means of protecting the minor are: parental aut‐ hority, guardianship, placement or other special protection measures, as provided by law; judicial interdiction26 and curatorship are the measures stipulated for persons who have reached the age of majority. b) 2. 24 Art. 29(2) Law 487/2002. 25 Art. 30 Law 487/2002. 26 Tec Lavinia, Codul civil comentat și adnotat. Despre legea civilă. Despre persoane. Art. 1-257 (Șcheaua Marius, Dub Mircea, Trăilă Doru, Bodu Sebastian, Rizoiu Radu), Rosetti, 2018: https://sintact.ro/#/commentary/587234353/1/tec-lavinia-i-in-codul-civil-comentat-si-adnot 282 Maria-Lavinia Tec Judicial interdiction According to Art. 164 Civil Code, the guardianship court may impose judicial inter‐ diction on a person who does not have the necessary discernment to take care of her interests, due to alienation or mental weakness. According to Art. 211 of Law nr. 71/2011,27 within the meaning of the Civil Code as well as of the private law legislati‐ on in force, the expressions mental alienation or mental weakness refer to a mental illness or a mental disability that determines the psychological incompetence of the person to act critically and predictively to the socio-legal consequences that may arise from the exercise of civil rights and obligations. Judicial interdiction has the effect of establishing guardianship and restraining the exercise of rights. Any person with full capacity may, for the future, determine by unilateral act or agreement (mandat futurum) the person to be named as guardian in the event of judicial interdiction. The guardian has the obligation to take care of the interdict and administer her estate;28 during the judicial process of establishing inter‐ diction, the guardianship court may name a special curator/guardian for this purpose. Judicial interdiction takes effect from the day that the court pronounces the defini‐ tive verdict. The court will communicate the decision in certified copy.29 Art. 43(2) Civil Code stipulates that judicial acts will be concluded by the guardian, in the name of the interdict. Art. 171 and Art. 144 Civil Code provide that the guardian requires the authorisation of the guardianship court and the approval of the family council for, for example, concluding sale or mortgage agreements as well as exercising other real rights or the right to renounce real properties. Contracts concluded in breach of these rules are voidable; low-value contracts that are executed at the time of conclusion are, however, valid. Furthermore, the guardian may not make a donation, or guarantee other obligations for the interdict; such acts will be void. However, the guardian – with the authorisation of the court and approval of the family council – can reward the interdict’s heirs, but they will not be exempted from the donation report.30 The court may lift the interdiction if the grounds for it are no longer applicable; the interdiction will cease from the moment the court’s decision is definitive.31 Curatorship According to Art. 178 Civil Code, curatorship is established in the following cases: (a) if, due to old age, illness or physical infirmity, a person, although with capacity, a) b) at-despre-legea-civila-despre-persoane-art-1-257...?keyword=tec%20lavinia%20tulburari% 20psihice&cm=SFIRST, 11.3.2020; Viorel Terzea, Noul Cod Civil adnotat cu doctrina și juripsrudența,Universul Juridic, București, 2014, https://sintact.ro/#/commentary/58722808 7/1/terzea-viorel-noul-cod-civil-adnotat-cu-doctrina-si-jurisprudenta-din-06-ian-2017-unive rsul-juridic?keyword=Viorel%20Terzea%20tulburari%20psihice&cm=SFIRST, 11.3.2020. 27 Monitorul Oficial, nr. 409/10.6.2011. The legislation concerns the implementation of the Civil Code. 28 Art. 166 Civil Code. 29 Art. 941 Code of Civil Procedure. 30 Term “donation report” further specified in Art. 1146 Civil Code. 31 Art. 177 Civil Code. Protection of Persons with Mental Health Disorders in Romania 283 cannot personally manage her assets or defend her interests under appropriate conditi‐ ons and, for good reasons, cannot name a representative or an administrator; (b) if, due to the medical condition or for other reasons, a person, although capable, cannot, either personally or through a representative, take the necessary measures in cases whose resolution does not suffer postponement; (c) if a person, being obliged to be absent from home for a long period of time, did not leave an authorized representative or a general administrator; (d) if a person that has disappeared did not leave an autho‐ rized representative or a general manager. The curatorship measure is taken only with the consent of the person concerned, unless the consent cannot be given.32 The guardianship court appoints the curator, gi‐ ving priority to the will of the person concerned, expressed in a unilateral legal act or by a mandate contract through which she has chosen her representative. The court may dismiss the will of the person concerned only for reasonable grounds expressly provided by law.33 Curatorship has no effect on the capacity of the person placed under curatorship, which remains intact.34 The provisions concerning mandate apply to curatorship unless, at the request of the person concerned or ex officio, the guardianship court decides that the appoint‐ ment of the curator shall be required with the rights and obligations of an administra‐ tor in charge of simply administering the assets of another. At the same time, if the rules of the mandate are applicable, the guardianship authority may set the terms of the mandate and may instruct the curator, instead of the represented party, in all cases in which the latter is unable to do so. Curatorship ceases when the grounds for its establishment no longer apply, and may be lifted at the request of any interested party.35 Other measures Further provisions of the Civil Code also serve to protect the natural person in cir‐ cumstances of incapacity or limited capacity, or interdiction: Art. 44 Civil Code regu‐ lates the avoidance of legal acts concluded by a person with no or limited capacity; Art. 172 Civil Code concerns this issue in instances of judicial interdiction; Art. 1205(1) Civil Code concerns the avoidance of contract concluded by a person who, at the time of its conclusion, was in a state that made her unable to realize the consequences of her act; Art. 1205(2) Civil Code regulates the voidability of the legal acts concluded by a person who, after the moment of the conclusion, is placed under judicial interdiction; Art. 1221(3) Civil Code concerns lesion (unconscionability) via- á-vis minors. c) 32 Art. 182(2) Civil Code. 33 Art. 180 Civil Code. 34 Art. 181 Civil Code. 35 Art. 185 Civil Code. 284 Maria-Lavinia Tec Social assistance for the elderly Law nr. 17/200036 concerns social assistance for the elderly and therefore may be considered a protective measure, albeit limited in scope. For the purposes of the law, the term “elderly” is used for a person who has reached the legal age of retirement (65 years for men, 63 years for women).37 The law stipulates the obligation for a repre‐ sentative of the guardianship authority to assist the elderly person (with full capacity) at her request or ex officio, in the transfer of ownership of her own assets for the pur‐ pose of her maintenance and care. Thus, the scope of the law only includes the one‐ rous maintenance contract. The law is to be criticised because it does not impose any sanction for failing to observe the legal assistance requirement. Further criticism may also be directed at the fact that the assistance to the elderly person does not extend to representation or support by the guardianship authority in the event of a dispute ari‐ sing from the non-performance of the obligations by the caretaker.38 In other words, the principle of symmetry of legal acts is not observed. The laws presume from the outset that a person of the age of majority has full ca‐ pacity, unless determined otherwise. Accordingly, as an elderly person is presumed to have full capacity, the only suitable safeguard to her patrimony is curatorship in ac‐ cordance with the aforementioned Art. 178(1) Civil Code. The rights of persons with mental health disorders According to the law nr. 487/2002, any person with a mental health disorder: a) has the right to respect of human dignity; b) has the right to the best medical services and mental health care available; c) has the right to exercise all the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as in other in‐ ternational conventions and treaties, in which Romania has acceded or is a party, except in the cases provided for by law; d) has the right, as far as possible, to live and work in society; e) has the right to receive community care, within the meaning of the law; f) as the right to respect for private life; g) benefits from the freedom of communication, especially with other persons in the care unit, the freedom to send and receive private communications without any censorship, the freedom to receive private visits from a counselor or a legal or conventional representative and, whenever possible, to other visitors, freedom of access to postal and telephone services, as well as to newspapers, radio and televi‐ sion; 3. V. 36 Monitorul Oficial, nr. 104/9.3.2000. 37 Art. 1(4) Law 17/2000. 38 Paul Vasilescu, Diferend între incapacitățile civile – de folosință ori de exercițiu?, publicat în Studia Iurisprudentia: http://law.ubbcluj.ro/ojs/index.php/iurisprudentia/article/view/28/4 2, 11.3.2020. Protection of Persons with Mental Health Disorders in Romania 285 h) benefits from the freedom of thought and opinions, as well as the freedom of reli‐ gious beliefs; i) has the right to means of education; j) has the right to buy or receive the necessary articles for daily life, entertainment or communication; k) has the right to means that allow the patient to dedicate himself to active occupati‐ ons, adapted to her social and cultural environment, encouragement to use these means and measures of professional rehabilitation that will facilitate her reintegra‐ tion into society; l) has the right to information both during the delivery or the admission, and subse‐ quently, in the form of access to all the medical documentation from the services where she was cared for, unless: (i) the disclosure of such medical documents could be to the detriment of her physical and mental health, this fact being established by the chief doctor or the attending physician; (ii) a written specification on the risk of this effect has been made on the patient’s file, applied only to persons who are currently patients, not to former patients; m) has the right to confidentiality of information, except in the situations provided by law: (i) there is a legal provision in this regard; (ii) establishing the guilt in the case of an offense provided by law; (iii ) the agreement of the person concerned; (iv)it is necessary for the exercise of the profession, provided that the person con‐ cerned is respected anonymously. However, despite this extensive list, Romanian family law does contain such limitati‐ ons for persons with mental health disorders, for instance Art. 276 Civil Code stipula‐ tes that the mentally alienated and the mentally weak cannot marry. In addition, Art. 459 Civil Code prohibits persons with mental disorders or mental disabilities from adopting a child.39 However, this prohibition does not extend to those who wish to become parents through medically assisted human reproduction. According to Art. 442 Civil Code, the law imposes only the consent requirement under such cir‐ cumstances. Therefore, there is discrimination in the exercise of the right to become a parent since mental illness and mental disability are impediments only to adoption, not to medically assisted human reproduction. 39 Ureche Lazăr-Ciprian/ Moloman Bogdan Dumitru, Noul Cod civil. Cartea a II-a. Despre familie. Art. 258-534. Comentarii, explicații și jurisprudență, Universul Juridic, 2016, https: //sintact.ro/#/commentary/587230931/1/ureche-lazar-ciprian-moloman-bogdan-dumitru-no ul-cod-civil-cartea-a-ii-a-despre-familie-art-258...?keyword=Baias%20punere%20sub%20i nterdictie%20judecatoreasca&cm=SREST, 11.3.2020. 286 Maria-Lavinia Tec Summary In Romanian civil law, a person who is of the age of majority, who suffers from a mental health disorders and who is placed under judicial interdiction, is presumed to lack capacity. Such person and her assets are protected via guardianship. The physical and mental integrity of the person with mental disorders is protected by special meaIsures such as – voluntary or involuntary – admission to hospitals, or compulsory medical treatment. During medical treatment and admission (voluntary and involuntary) to a psychia‐ tric unit, she is entitled to a conventional representative for the defence of her inte‐ rests regarding these measures. For the administration of her assets, the person with mental disorders may be represented in the patrimonial acts by a curator, to whom the rules of the mandate or the simple administration of the property of others, as the case may be, under the control of the guardianship court, apply. VI. Protection of Persons with Mental Health Disorders in Romania 287

Abstract

In Romania, the protection of persons with mental health disorders concerns various legal institutions central to civil law. The protective instruments in place vary between general instruments of civil law (Civil Code of 2009 and special measures in specific legislation, in particular the Mental Health Law of 2002. The Mental Health Law provides for medical measures, in particular voluntary and compulsory hospitalisation in a psychiatric hospital or compulsory ambulatory medical treatment. The Law also provides for procedural safeguards in case of compulsory measures. When it comes to legal capacity, the Civil Code provides for certain protective regimes that can be established for adults with mental disorders. A person that is unable to take care of its interests may be put by court under “judicial interdiction” meaning that legal capacity is reduced to small transactions with immediate performance, and a special guardian is to be appointed. Another instrument, the assistence of elderly people, has been introduced by a special law.

References

Zusammenfassung

Osteuropa Recht behandelt Gegenwartsfragen der Rechtssysteme und Rechtswissenschaft im östlichen Europa sowie deren völkerrechtliche Einbindung. Im Fokus stehen die ost-, ostmittel- und südosteuropäischen Staaten sowie der Kaukasus und Zentralasien. Die Zeitschrift dokumentiert und analysiert Gesetzgebung, Rechtsprechung und rechtswissenschaftliche Debatten in den einzelnen Staaten der Region und leistet einen Beitrag zum internationalen Rechtsvergleich. Die Zeitschrift erscheint vierteljährlich und ist peer-reviewed. Publikationssprachen sind Deutsch und Englisch. Osteuropa Recht wurde 1954 von der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Osteuropakunde e.V. gegründet.