Civil Disobedience and Circumstances Justifying It.


  • Nikoloz Mosidze


The article addresses such an important and topical issue as civil disobedience and circumstances justifying it, taking into account the works of legal philosophers - John Rawls, Joseph Raz, Ronald Dworkin and Kent Greenawallt. Nowadays, in international legal doctrine, civil disobedience is considered as one of the most controversial concepts in the pure political-legal context as well as in the philosophical-moral terms. The issue is problematic insofar as history shows that in many countries around the world, governments elected democratically, with the support of the people, fail in fight with the passions of authoritarianism at a particular stage of governance and take the form of a façade democracy. Such regimes often neglect the requirements of the rule of law, concentrate the power of the country in the hands of a particular group and deprive the citizens of the reins of government, thereby undermining their own legitimacy.


Based on the principles of the rule of law and democratic legitimacy of government, the citizens of the country, who are threatened by the government of the already transformed illegitimate regime, have to solve the most important question – what they should do against democratically elected legitimate government which at a particular stage of governance continuously violates the fundamental principles of democracy, basic human rights and freedoms. Their choice will be significantly reflected in their fate and daily life, in the stability and development of the country – either to submit to a morally and politically delegitimized government whose actions go beyond democratic values, or to choose the other path - the path of political and legal disobedience as a last resort and radical means ensuring the protection of their fundamental rights and freedoms, and of democracy.


In the framework of the paper, a comparative research method has been used. As a result of the discussion and comparison of the positions of the above-mentioned scholars, the notion of civil disobedience, its characteristics and criteria in case of which it will be justified, have been defined.