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Liviu Damsa


Welcome to my ePortfolio!

My name is Liviu Damsa, I am a doctoral student (in Law) at Warwick doing research on "transitional justice themes" related to post-communism, mainly restitution and administrative justice (lustration), under the supervision of Professor Istvan Pogany.

During my PhD research I have done comprehensive literature reviews and research in all transitional justice areas, respectively criminal prosecution, administrative purges, compensation for past wrongs, transitional justice schemes implemented in various countries, corrections for “historical injustices,” etc. However, I limited my thesis and dissertation to Central Eastern Europe post-communist “restitution” and to an analysis of the ECtHR impact on matters related to post-communist “restitution” in Central and Eastern Europe. Nevertheless, I extended the concept of “restitution” to the more (legal) philosophical problems posed by the property, and by property transformations in general, and I argued for the inclusion of the most widely used mechanism for property transformations in post-communism, namely “privatisation”, in a general theory of transitional justice applicable to post-communist transformations. The law in context approach to legal studies I adopted in my research and dissertation, favouring an anthropological. sociological and comparative approach to law, and the way I linked previously disparate scholarly contributions related to “restitution” in such diverse fields as “transitional justice”, “correction of historical wrongs”, or legal and political theory, in a more encompassing theory applicable to post-communist property transformations was judged by the examiners as highly original, reflecting a “huge amount of library work,” and as a possible work of reference for legal scholars, policy makers and practitioners

Prior to starting with my PhD, I obtained a LLM degree from Illinois. I also did legal work in Romania (where I am qualified as a lawyer) and in the U.S.A., and I was involved in a variety of transactional and litigation matters.

At Warwick I am involved with or I follow the work done on the Legal Theory Research Cluster, the Contract, Business and Commercial Law Research Cluster, the International Law and the Development and Human Rights Research clusters, and the Centre for Human Rights in Practice. I also maintain the Warwick's Law School Doctoral Students Writing and Research Group.

In addition to this page, you could also check my personal pages on Academia edu or on SSRN.


Title of thesis:

Justice Through Transitional Waters. A study on post-communist Central Eastern Europe "restitution" and property transformations



The thesis examines the post communist property transformations and the role of restitution in such transformations. The argument developed in the study is that the theorisation of restitution is incomplete in the transitional justice literature, and in the literature on the correction of historical wrongs, and therefore of lesser applicability in the case of post-communist restitution. It is argued in the study that for a more complete theorisation of (post-communist) restitution, the transformations of property in postcommunist societies should be studied in a more holistic way, and that the main legal vehicles used for such transformations, privatisation and restitution should not be studied separately and in abstract, but in their reciprocal relationship, and in rapport to the dimension of justice which each could achieve.
The theorisation of “restitution” in transitional justice literature and in the literature on the correction of historical wrongs is examined in detail in the study, in order to provide a general analytical characterisation of restitution, applicable to the postcommunist settings. Several of the main normative arguments advanced in these literatures against restitution are examined, and a rebuttal of them, respectively a discussion of their applicability in post-communist contexts is offered. Similarly, the justifications provided for property transformation in post-communist societies are examined in detail, and a critical assessment of themis offered in the study.
Post-communist legislation having as object “restitution,” implemented in CEE countries, is examined from a law in context and interdisciplinary perspective, in order to show that the agendas of post-communist “transitional” governments were dominated by measures transforming property, assessable from a distributive justice perspective, and not by a retributive or corrective justice framework.
The study offers a more complete theorisation of “restitution” than that generally found in the transitional justice literature, or in the literature on correction of historical wrongs. Because of its interdisciplinary character and the legal concepts and themes it analyses and discusses, it also contributes to the comparative law literature and to the legal theory on property and restitution.




Liviu Damsa

L dot T dot Damsa at warwick dot ac dot uk