Tijana Perić Diligenski



Institute for Political Studies


Consultant on Anti-Corruption

Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Serbia


Teaching Assistant

Faculty of Law, Belgrade University



Faculty of Political Sciences, Belgrade University



Faculty of Law, Belgrade University



Faculty of Law, Belgrade University



Tijana Perić Diligenski is a Research Associate at the Institute for Political Studies, editorial secretary of the journal Administracija i javne politike (Administration and Public Policies). Published several papers on judiciary reform and anti-corruption policies of the Republic of Serbia, notably in the context of EU integrations. Consultant on anti-corruption in the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Serbia. Participated in the preparation of the Action Plan for Negotiation Chapter 23 (Judiciary and Fundamental Rights – sub-chapter: fight against corruption) with the European Union and engaged in the process of revision of the Action Plan for the implementation of the National Strategy for the Fight Against Corruption (2013-2018).



In the text of the paper, legal nihilism is understood as a selective, arbitrary and informal political-command implementation of law that results in its abuse. Political actors, judicial officials and citizens are detected as legal nihilists and all of them are characterized by deficient legal consciousness, which is reflected in the disrespect or relativization of legal norms and values incorporated into them. Following theoretical considerations of legal nihilism as a manifestation of non-legal consciousness, the practical side of this phenomenon is portrayed primarily through the Russian and secondarily through the Serbian archetype. It is concluded that legal nihilism occurs in the contexts of legal uncertainty, authoritarian tendencies, and omnipresent political-cultural matrix. Paradigmatic examples include Russia and Serbia as states where the rule of law and the ethos of civic obligations have never truly taken root. Legal nihilism turns the judiciary into a politically dependent category that circumvents the juridical logic. The criminal, political, corrupt and informal behavior of the justice deliberator is manifested in all sorts of manifestations such as the de facto purchase of court decisions, selective and false investigations (false suing, prosecution of innocents) and prosecutor's failure to act. Reducing nihilistic sentiment primarily depends on decision makers' capacity to build institutions of trust, credibility and integrity. The contribution of citizens as private actors who will refrain from seeking rents as well as public officials seeking a bribe following the process of democratization should not be ignored. When the order to invest in legal activities comes to life, legal nihilism will be consequently reduced, as “the most unpleasant of all guests”.