Federal Centre for Educational Legislation
Rus|Eng  

Branch of Science

According to the doctrine accepted by most Russian scholars, education law in Russia is scrutinised in three different conditions: as a branch of law, an academic discipline and a branch of legislation. Both education law and policy of the last 10-15 years were characterised by rapid and sometimes inconsistent changes readily embracing innovations but lacking conceptual strategy. However, the newest endeavor of the Ministry of Education and Science to generate an integral legislative act, comprehensively regulating educational activities in all their complexity and diverseness, has brought about conceptual changes both to education law in its three conditions and education policy.

The question whether education law can be acknowledged as an independent branch of law remains one of the most controversial disputes among Russian scholars. According to prof. Syrikh , one of the most distinguished education law theoreticians in Russia, education law per se possesses all the properties of a self-contained branch of law: a distinctive subject of legal regulation, a set of specific methods of regulation, a comprehensive body of laws and sublegal normative acts, as well as a unique pattern of legal relationships involving the participants of educational process. The supporters of the concept of affirmation of education law as a self-contained independent branch of Russian law insist on matureness of this legal phenomenon, on its uniqueness and consistency .
However, those who oppose autonomisation of education law name at least five reasons for that: 1) conservatism of the majority of scholars, criticising emerging of all new branches of law; 2) insufficient number of scholars specialising on the issues as narrow as the problems of education law; 3) rather superficial investigation of the core structure of education law and its interconnections with other branches of law; 4) lack of a legal norm or a group of norms indisputably dedicated to legal regulation of pure educational relationships free from being attributed to another branch of law either wholly or to a certain extent; 5) unreasonably redundant clauses of education acts which unnecessarily duplicate relevant clauses of civil law, labor law, administrative law or another ‘classical’ branch of law, thus intensifying illusory perception of education law as a derivative legal phenomenon lacking unique characteristics.
It is worth mentioning that in soviet period education law was beyond dispute pigeonholed as a subdivision of administrative law due to absolute superiority of hierarchical relationships between state and municipal supervision and control authorities, educational institutions and students. In the meantime, the Law on Education of 1992 introduced a substantial number of civil law instruments enhanced and developed by the present day. Currently education law is a balanced combination of administrative (hierarchical) relations dictated by public interests and legal instruments of private law aimed at protection of educational institutions as independent legal entities, whereupon issues of academic autonomy, admissibility, academic rights and freedoms constitute the core of pure education relations being a subject of education law as a branch of law in its pure form.