Andrey Mikonin, the Head of litigation at the law firm S&K Vertical commented on the several provisions of the draft Federal Law “On making alterations into the Arbitral Code of Practice of Russian Federation”

24 June 2009

The Courts of Arbitration shall be reformed again – the draft law that essentially changes the procedure of the economic disputes’ consideration by the Court was introduced into the State Duma. These changes will come for the businessmen (the parties to the disputes) to approximately a billion of rubles and the extension of time taken by the resolution of conflicts. But on the other hand these will entail the implementation of the “electronic justice”.

In order to decrease the load of judges there is a proposal to develop the procedure of the parties’ notification. The lack of notification constitutes the doubtless ground for withdrawal of the Court’s decision. “At present there exists a cumbersome and formalized procedure of notification, which either was not observed by the Courts themselves or led to baseless long period of time taken for complying with such procedure, which resulted in the remand of the hearings again and again” – considers Andrey Mikonin, the Head of litigation at the law firm S&K Vertical.

In case the introduced alterations are adopted the plaintiffs shall have to produce to the Court the extracts from the Integrated State Register of Legal Entities (EGRUL) in respect of themselves and every defendant. At that, the extracts should have been received not less than one month prior to filing the suit. The Court of Arbitration shall send the documents at the address specified in the extracts not less than 15 days prior to the appointed date of the hearing. The absence of the addressee, its failure to take the mail at the post office or any other forms evasion to receive the notifications shall not be taken into consideration by the Court.

It also remains unclear the way the plaintiffs can receive the extracts regarding the plaintiffs of another town – they are issued by the tax inspectorates at the place of the organization’s registration. “In turn, the extracts that were received via the Internet are not regarded as a document, there is no responsibility for corruption of their content and their information is often produced to the Court in the corrupted form” – says Andrey Mikonin – “It would be rather logical to provide the Courts of Arbitration with the access to the EGRUL and therefore the opportunity to check the information concerning the parties to the dispute themselves”.

The letters will be addressed to the parties to the dispute only once and further the conflicting parties should watch over the information regarding the case on the website of the Court. “The idea of notification itself is focused on the increase of the justice’s quality except for the fact that even today the information on the website of the Court does not correspond to the text of the awarded decisions (the date, time and room of the hearing are wrongly specified)” – points out Andrey Mikonin – “Perhaps, according to the idea of the draft’s authors, there should flourish the events of producing to the Court the notarized graphic images of the Court’s website containing the wrong information as the grounds for the withdrawal of the judicial act”.

The adoption of the alterations will also entail the lack of opportunity for the parties to the dispute to “skip” the instance of the Court of Appeal (the second one) by laying the claims against the judicial act awarded by the Court of Arbitration directly to the Court of Cassation.

The procedures shall be expedited by implementation of the “electronic justice”: the submission of the documents to the Court can be accomplished via the website of the Court of Arbitration and sending them to the other parties can be executed vie the e-mail etc. This, according to the draft’s authors, may promote cutting the expenses of the parties to the dispute as regards its consideration by the Court (travelling to and lodgment nearby the Court in order to file the documents).

However, this is going to occur in the far and beautiful future: the introduced alterations will come into force after adoption of the Federal Law act “On electronic justice in the Courts of Arbitration”, which is not yet elaborated.

As for now it only remains to point out the increase (almost double) of the quantity of disputes in the region of the Capital and as regards the country in the whole – the rise of the amount of cases by 1,6-1,7 times. There is a more stable situation in St. Petersburg and Leningradskaya Oblast Court of Arbitration: for the five months of the year 2009 there were nearly 30 thousand actions brought to the Court, which comes approximately to a half of all the suits that were filed in the previous year (i.e. the increase is approximately by 20%).

Saint Petersburg Business Guide

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