Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date


Publication Information

22 Law & Soc. Inquiry 829 (1997) (book review)


On October 3, 1990, the German Democratic Republic (GDR) ceased to exist. On that celebrated day of German unity, the GDR incorporated itself into the legal and political system of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). Economic and social union had taken place a few months earlier.' After 40 years, a people who had become accustomed to central planning, full employment, and state ownership of almost everything suddenly found themselves compacted into a profit-driven market economy rooted in private ownership. Equally swift was the legal revolution, for Unity Day witnessed the toppling of the GDR's judicial system, along with its superstructure of socialist legality, and its replacement by West German judicial institutions. The hurried changeover touched the lives of all GDR legal professionals-judges, prosecutors, lawyers, notaries, and law professors. What some of them encountered and felt in the overnight shift from a socialist legal system to a capitalist one is the subject of Inga Markovits's remarkable book, Imperfect Justice: An East-West German Diary (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1995).



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.