This paper explores the rise of rights-based regulation through litigation as a distinctive feature of legal culture in Central and Eastern Europe post-1989. This type of adversarial legalism was born at the intersection of post-communist, European integration, and neoliberal discourses, and is characterized by legal mobilization at national and supranational levels, selective adaptation of adversarial mechanisms, and the growth of rights consciousness. The paper distinguishes Eastern European developments from both American and Western European types of adversarial legalism, assesses the first quarter century of post-communism and represents a first step towards constructing a genealogy of the region’s legal culture post-1989.

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