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Guide To Regional Arbitration (volume 4 - 2016)

Ones to Watch: Eastern Europe

06 November 2015

Russian Arbitration Association (RAA)

How old is it?

It was founded in April 2013, but its rules came into force in July 2014. It’s yet to administer a case.

Isn’t this listing a bit premature?

It certainly fits the bill as “one to watch”. It’s got some very big names on its board (Vladimir Khvalei is chairman, with David Goldberg and Ilya Nikiforov as his deputies), the rules seem to have been well received, and people are rallying behind its mission to improve arbitration’s presence in the country.

Why’s that necessary?

See above. As it stands, the Russian system, as represented by MKAS, is characterised by low transparency, efficiency and quality.

How does the RAA propose to fix that?

It’s promising several positive innovations: greater involvement of practitioners; transparent fees policy; steps to avoid conflicts; regular news updates; and, perhaps most importantly, higher arbitrator fees than those offered by the local competition.

It’s also going to train arbitrators in the manner of CIArb so that the work from existing centres improves (it’s a sad fact that, even when arbitrating abroad, Russian businesses seldom pick Russian arbitrators); it’s going to suggest changes to the laws and other steps that would improve domestic arbitration; and it’s going to begin providing more easily accessible resources on Russian arbitration law and practice (and potential arbitrators) on its website.

Commentators think, at the very least, the RAA will give a shot in the arm to competitiveness among arbitration providers in Russia, raising standards across the board. Some expect it to be the go-to institution in the not-too-distant future.