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Litigation

Last verified on Monday 26th June 2017

Russia

Timur Aitkulov and Julia Popelysheva

    Overview

  1. 1.Court system
    Describe the general organisation of the court system for civil litigation.
    1. Russian state judicial system

      There are three types of courts in the Russian state judicial system: constitutional courts; courts of general jurisdiction and commercial dispute courts, or arbitrazh courts.

      The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation (Supreme Court) is the highest judicial body for disputes considered by courts of general jurisdiction and arbitrazh courts. The Supreme Court's powers to consider disputes heard by arbitrazh courts were transferred to it in 2014 from the Supreme Arbitrazh Court of the Russian Federation (Supreme Arbitrazh Court).

      Competence of arbitrazh courts

      Arbitrazh courts have jurisdiction over economic and commercial disputes involving Russian or foreign organisations, or both. Where a natural person is involved in a dispute, an arbitrazh court asserts its jurisdiction if the individual is a registered entrepreneur, or if the law specifically establishes that the dispute is under arbitrazh court jurisdiction.

      Given that the vast majority of commercial disputes are heard by arbitrazh courts, the answers below are focused on this type of court.

      System of arbitrazh courts

      Arbitrazh courts have a hierarchical system consisting of:

      • District arbitrazh courts, which hear cassation appeals and are the first instance courts for claims seeking compensation for the violation of the right to a court hearing within a reasonable time.
      • Appellate arbitrazh courts, which hear appeals.
      • Arbitrazh courts of the constituent entities of Russia (that is, the republics, provinces (oblasts), territories (krais) and major cities (eg, Moscow)). These courts usually consider cases as first instance courts and pass judgment on the merits.

      As a result of recent reform of Russian procedural legislation, the arbitrazh court system is now supervised by the Supreme Court.

      In 2011, a specialised arbitrazh court tasked with considering intellectual property disputes was established. Since 3 July 2013 the Intellectual Property Rights Court (the IPR Court) has been considering disputes connected with protection of intellectual rights in the first and cassation instances.

      Election of judges

      Judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the Federation Council, ie, the upper house of the Federal Assembly of Russia, upon nomination by the President of the Russian Federation. However, owing to the recent reorganisation of the judicial system, the initial panel of judges of the new Supreme Court is appointed on a competitive basis. Other federal judges are appointed by the President of the Russian Federation.

      Arbitrazh assessors

      A party to a dispute may request that the dispute be considered by a panel consisting of one professional judge and two arbitrazh assessors. Arbitrazh assessors are not professional judges and usually possess specific knowledge in certain spheres of economics, finance and management. Some disputes, however, cannot be considered by arbitrazh assessors (eg, disputes arising from administrative and other relations of a public law character).

      Binding nature of judicial acts

      As a general rule, courts are not bound by the decisions of other courts. However, judicial acts of arbitrazh courts can be set aside by the Supreme Court if it finds that such acts violate uniformity in interpretation and application of Russian legislation.

      Furthermore, by operation of law, decrees of the Plenum of the Supreme Arbitrazh Court (rendered before its abolition) and Supreme Court are mandatory for the arbitrazh courts of lower instances.

      Last but not least, findings of the Presidium of the Supreme Arbitrazh Court (rendered before its abolition) and the Supreme Court (if the decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Court or the Presidium of the Supreme Arbitrazh Court makes special mention thereof) as to how a legal norm should be implemented can be cited as a newly discovered circumstance that allows judicial acts rendered earlier to be reviewed.

      For details on the res judicata effect of arbitrazh judicial acts, see question 39.

  2. 2.The legal profession
    Describe the general organisation of the legal profession.
    1. There is no division of lawyers into Bars or categories in Russia. There are also no qualification requirements for persons who represent clients in arbitrazh court (ie, a lawyer does not need to be a member of the Bar in order to represent clients in commercial dispute).

      There are a number of specific rules concerning legal assistance provided by foreign advocates.

  3. 3.General
    Give a brief overview of the political and social background as it relates to civil litigation.
    1. The system of arbitrazh courts is perceived to be the most advanced of the branches of Russia's judicial system, both in terms of technical capabilities (such as the availability of an online system providing information on all court cases before the arbitrazh courts) and the handling of complex legal questions.

      While arbitrazh courts have experience dealing with large disputes (the number of which is increasing), there is still room for improvement. For example, the tremendous caseload handled by arbitrazh courts cannot but affect the quality of the judicial acts rendered.

      Parties can also face difficulties in cases where a Russian arbitrazh court must apply foreign law concepts. Also, the integrity of the judiciary in highly political cases or where influential businesses are involved is sometimes questioned.

    Jurisdiction

  4. 4.Jurisdiction and venue
    What are the criteria for determining the jurisdiction and venue of the competent court for a civil matter?
    1. Jurisdiction of arbitrazh courts

      Please see the question 1 for criteria for determining the jurisdiction of arbitrazh courts in relation to other judicial branches.

      Venue

      The Arbitrazh Procedure Code of Russian Federation (APC RF) sets out rules for determining the venue for consideration of disputes by arbitrazh courts. The general rule is that the claim must be heard by the court at the location or place of residence of the defendant.

      Under certain circumstances, however, the claimant may have the right to choose the court that will consider the claim. For instance, if a claim is filed against two or more defendants, the claimant can choose the court at the location (place of residence) of one of the defendants (article 36(2) of the APC RF). A claim against a foreign defendant may be filed with an arbitrazh court at the place where the defendant's property is located.

      Parties to a contract are free to change the venue for consideration of disputes arising out of such contracts (article 37 of the APC RF); however, there are a number of situations where the venue cannot be changed by agreement of parties (article 38 of the APC RF). For example, claims in respect of rights to immoveable property must be filed with the arbitrazh court at the place where the property is located.

      Jurisdiction over cases involving foreign parties

      Russian arbitrazh courts may assume jurisdiction in disputes where at least one of the parties is a foreign entity.

      The APC RF sets out a list of circumstances under which arbitrazh courts have jurisdiction in disputes involving foreign entities or nationals, including where:

      • the defendant is located in Russia;
      • the defendant has assets in Russia;
      • the defendant has a representative office or branch in Russia;
      • the dispute arose from an agreement that was performed or should have been performed in Russia; or
      • there is a close connection between the disputed legal relationship and the territory of Russia.

      Some cases are within the exclusive jurisdiction of Russian arbitrazh courts including:

      • disputes over property owned by the Russian state (including disputes related to privatisation of state property and compulsory purchase of property for state purposes);
      • disputes over real property in Russia or related property rights;
      • disputes over the issuance or registration of patents, trademark certificates, industrial designs, utility models or other IP rights which require the issuance or registration of patents or certificates in Russia;
      • disputes concerning requests to invalidate entries in state registers made by the competent Russian agencies that maintain those registers;
      • certain types of "corporate disputes" (ie, disputes connected with the establishment of, management of, or participation in a legal entity) specified in article 225.1 of the APC RF; and
      • cases involving foreign legal entities and individuals arising out of administrative and other relations of a public law character (eg, public misfeasance).
  5. 5.Forum shopping
    Does your jurisdiction commonly attract disputes that have a nexus with other jurisdictions?
    1. For the reasons described in question 3, Russia is not currently considered an attractive jurisdiction for consideration of disputes with foreign parties.

  6. 6.Pendency in another forum
    How will a court treat a request to hear a dispute that is already pending before another forum?
    1. Pursuant to article 252 of the APC RF, an arbitrazh court is to leave a statement of claim without consideration (ie, dismiss the claim without prejudice) if a dispute between the same persons, in respect of the same subject matter and on the same grounds is being considered by a foreign court (except in cases where such dispute falls within the exclusive competence of an arbitrazh court).

      According to item 6 of the Informational Letter of the Presidium of the Supreme Arbitrazh Court of the Russian Federation No. 158 dated 9 July 2013, if parties to a dispute are bound by a valid prorogation agreement that refers disputes to a competent court of a foreign state, an arbitrazh court is to leave a statement of claim without consideration upon application of the respondent.

  7. 7.

    Deference to arbitration
    How will the courts treat a dispute that is, or could be, subject to an arbitration clause or an agreement to arbitrate, including in interim proceedings?

    1. Under article 148(1)(5) of the APC RF, an arbitrazh court is to leave a statement of claim without consideration if, after it has been accepted for proceedings, it establishes that there exists an agreement between the parties that the given case shall be considered by an arbitral tribunal, and either of the parties, no later than on the day it makes its first submission on the merits of the dispute in the arbitrazh court of the first instance, raises an objection on this ground to the case being considered in the arbitrazh court, except in cases where the arbitrazh court establishes that such agreement is null and void, inoperative or incapable of being performed.

      This provision of the Russian legislation is in line with Russia's undertakings under article II of the New York Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards 1958

      The existence of an arbitration clause does not preclude, per se, the filing of an application for interim relief with an arbitrazh court or the possibility of such an application being granted. If a party objects to the jurisdiction of the arbitrazh court (see above) and the court accepts the objection, the proceedings should be terminated without prejudice and consequently the interim measures should be lifted.

  8. 8.Judicial review of arbitral awards on jurisdiction
    May courts in your country review arbitral awards on jurisdiction?
    1. A court may deal with the issue of the jurisdiction of an arbitral tribunal under the following circumstances: if the arbitral tribunal rules that it has jurisdiction over a dispute as a preliminary question and a party requests, within 30 days (within one month according to amendments to the International Commercial Arbitration Act 1993, which came into force on 1 September 2016 (Amended ICA)) of receiving notice of that ruling, the court will determine the matter. The jurisdictional issue can also be invoked in enforcement and setting-aside proceedings.

      According to the Amended ICA, in certain cases the parties to an arbitration agreement can, by their express agreement, exclude challenges to the jurisdiction of an arbitral tribunal in court.

      Under Russian law, a decision that an arbitral tribunal lacks jurisdiction cannot be challenged in the courts.

  9. 9.Anti-suit injunctions
    Are anti-suit injunctions available?
    1. Arbitrazh courts do not issue anti-suit injunctions.

  10. 10.

    Sovereign immunity
    Which entities are immune from being sued in your jurisdiction? In what circumstances? In what circumstances can creditors enforce a court judgment or arbitral award against a sovereign or a state entity?

    1. The following entities are immune from being sued in Russia:

      Foreign states

      On 1 January 2016 the law on the Jurisdictional Immunities of Foreign States (the Immunity Law) came into force. The provisions of the Immunity Law will be applied unless the Russian Federation and the foreign state in question have agreed otherwise. 

      The Immunity Law is based on the principle of "functional immunity" and establishes separate rules for judicial immunity, immunity from interim measures and immunity from enforcement. The immunities of the foreign state and its property may be limited on a reciprocal basis, should the foreign state limit the immunities of the Russian Federation and its property abroad. 

      Immunity from enforcement applies to property used for purposes related to the exercise of sovereign powers of a foreign state. According to the Immunity Law, certain types of property are deemed to be used for such purposes (including, for instance, property used for diplomatic purposes, military property, etc).

      The execution of foreign judgments and arbitral awards against a state is allowed only with the consent of the competent authorities of that state, unless provided otherwise in an international treaty to which the Russian Federation is signatory or a federal law of the Russian Federation.

      International organisations

      International organisations (eg, the United Nations, the EBRD) enjoy jurisdictional immunity to the extent determined by the relevant international treaty or federal law of the Russian Federation.

    Procedure

  11. 11.Commencement and conduct of proceedings in general
    How are proceedings commenced? To what extent will a court actively lead the proceedings and to what extent will the court rely on the parties to further the proceedings?
    1. Proceedings are commenced by a claimant filing a statement of claim with the relevant arbitrazh court.

      The court is required to take procedural steps to lead the proceedings (eg, the court will schedule the hearings and invite the parties to the dispute to take certain procedural steps).

      According to the adversarial principle of civil procedure (enshrined, for example, in article 9 of the APC RF), the arbitrazh court directs the proceedings, explains to the parties to the case their rights and duties, warns them of the consequences of their performance or non-performance of procedural actions, facilitates the exercise of their rights, and creates conditions for comprehensive and thorough analysis of evidence, establishment of factual circumstances, and correct application of laws and other normative legal acts. At the same time, the parties bear the risk of taking or not taking particular procedural steps for themselves, and therefore are required to be proactive in the course of the proceedings.

  12. 12.Statement of claim
    What are the requirements for filing a claim? What is the pleading standard?
    1. As mentioned in question 11 , proceedings are started by a claimant filing a statement of claim with the relevant arbitrazh court.

      In accordance with amendments to the APC RF, statements of claim (as well as other procedural documents) can be filed through a specialised website.

      The statement of claim must be detailed, accompanied by documents supporting the claim and confirmation that the statement of claim and the attached documents have been sent to the defendant and to the other parties to the proceedings. According to recent amendments to the APC RF, which came into force on 1 June 2016 (2016 Amendments to the APC RF), as a general rule, the statement of claim must be accompanied by documents confirming that the new pretrial procedure has been complied with – see question 17.

      The court must decide within five business days of registering the statement of claim whether or not to accept it and schedule a preliminary court hearing.

      If the statement of claim has any defects, the court may defer consideration of the claim pending their rectification. If the defects are not rectified within the period of time designated by the court, the court returns the statement of claim to the claimant without considering it.

      According to amendments to the APC RF, a court may also refuse to accept a statement of claim provided that:

      • the statement of claim or application is not subject to consideration by the arbitrazh courts; and
      • there exists a valid judicial act of an arbitrazh court, a court of general jurisdiction or a competent court of a foreign state, or an arbitral award that was rendered previously in a dispute between the same parties, in respect of the same subject matter and based on the same grounds.
  13. 13.Statement of defence
    What are the requirements for answering claims? What is the pleading standard?
    1. The statement of defence also must be detailed, accompanied by documents supporting the defendant's arguments and confirmation that the statement of defence and the attached documents have been sent to the other parties to the proceedings.

      According to the APC RF, there is no time limit by which a defendant must submit its defence (which can be submitted electronically as well). Defendants must generally submit their defence before the hearing on the merits. The courts, however, can set a deadline for submitting a statement of defence. If a statement of defence is not submitted within the time frame set by the court, the latter may consider the case on the basis of the available materials.

  14. 14.Further briefs and submissions
    What are the rules regarding further briefs and submissions?
    1. Parties are entitled to make further submissions until such time as a judgment in the case (or another judicial act concluding proceedings in the first instance) is made.

      For example, a claimant is entitled to change the grounds or subject matter of its claim, increase or decrease the amount of claim, or waive the claim partially or in its entirety.

      The defendant is entitled to acknowledge the claim partially or in its entirety.

      An arbitrazh court, however, will not accept a waiver of claim, a decrease of the amount of a claim by the claimant, or acknowledgment of a claim of a defendant if the court finds that these procedural steps contravene the law or infringe the rights of third parties. The court will also not approve an in-court settlement agreement in these circumstances.

  15. 15.Publicity
    To what degree are civil proceedings made public?
    1. Court proceedings are generally public. Confidential proceedings are possible where cases are confidential, per se, by law (eg, if a public hearing would lead to disclosure of state secrets); or can be heard in private at a party's request (eg, in cases involving commercial, official or other secrets that have legal protection). If proceedings are heard in private, judgments shall not be announced in public. 

    Pretrial settlement and ADR

  16. 16.Advice and settlement proposals
    Will a court render (interim) assessments about any factual or legal issues in dispute? What role and approach do courts typically take regarding settlement? Are there mandatory settlement conferences between the parties at the outset of or during the litigation?
    1. Arbitrazh courts do not render any assessments about factual or legal issues in dispute before a judgment or an act by which the proceedings in case are finished is rendered. However, the APC RF envisages the possibility of consecutive consideration of the question of liability and quantum of liability.

      According to the APC RF, arbitrazh courts are to take measures for the reconciliation of the parties and assist them in settling the dispute. In practice, arbitrazh courts advise the parties of their right to settle the dispute. Arbitrazh courts may also adjourn proceedings at the request of either or both of the parties to allow them to reach a settlement.

  17. 17.Mediation
    Is referral to mediation or another form of ADR an option, or even mandatory, before or during the litigation?
    1. According to the 2016 Amendments to the APC RF, the pretrial settlement procedure for disputes is mandatory, unless otherwise provided by law or contract. Failure to follow that procedure can result in a case being dismissed without prejudice.

      Unless the parties agree otherwise, the claimant may file a statement of claim with the arbitrazh court upon expiry of 30 calendar days from the date that a demand letter is sent to the opposite party.

      The APC RF sets out a list of disputes for which the pretrial settlement procedure is not required:

      • affirmative proceedings;
      • disputes relating to the violation of the right to trial or execution of a court award within a reasonable time;
      • bankruptcy cases;
      • corporate disputes;
      • class actions;
      • disputes relating to early termination of a trademark for non-use; and
      • disputes relating to the challenging of arbitral awards.

      The pretrial settlement procedure is also not mandatory for economic disputes arising from administrative or other public disputes, unless otherwise stipulated by law.

      On 1 January 2011 Federal Law No. 193-FZ dated 27 July 2010 On the Alternative Dispute Resolution Procedure with the Participation of a Mediator (Mediation Procedure) entered into force. However, referral of disputes to mediation has not yet become a popular method of dispute resolution in Russia.

    Interim relief

  18. 18.Forms of interim relief
    What are the forms of emergency or interim relief?
    1. A claimant can apply for interim relief at any stage of the proceedings, even before submission of the statement of claim and formal commencement of proceedings ("preliminary injunctive measures").

      The following types of interim measures are available (although the list is not exhaustive):

      • attachment of property or funds in a bank account;
      • prohibitory injunctions barring the defendant or other persons from taking certain actions;
      • injunctions requiring the defendant or other persons to take certain steps;
      • transfer of disputed property into the custody of the claimant or a third party;
      • suspension of the ability to recover debt or property under a writ of execution; and
      • suspension of public sale of property if its seizure is challenged.

      More than one measure can be granted concurrently. A separate set of interim measures is envisaged for "corporate disputes".

  19. 19.Obtaining relief
    What must a petitioner show to obtain interim relief?
    1. Injunctive relief is granted if failure to do so may obstruct or make impossible the enforcement of the decision, or cause substantial damage to the applicant.

      When considering applications for injunctive relief, the courts assess whether the specific measure sought by the applicant is connected with (and is adequate to) the claim and will help facilitate enforcement of the judgment or prevention of damage.

    Decisions

  20. 20.Types of decisions
    What types of decisions (other than interim relief) may a court render in civil matters?
    1. Arbitrazh courts may render rulings, judgments and decrees. According to the 2016 Amendments to the APC RF, the arbitrazh courts are also authorised to issue a court order and special rulings. 

      Rulings

      Rulings are normally rendered when an arbitrazh court resolves a procedural issue (eg, requests production of evidence or schedules a hearing, denies acceptance of an appeal). However, in a number of situations an arbitrazh court will render a ruling dismissing the case with or without prejudice.

      An arbitrazh court may rule to terminate proceedings in a case (ie, dismiss the case with prejudice) if, for example:

      • the arbitrazh court cannot consider the case (eg, when the case is within the jurisdiction of the courts of general jurisdiction);
      • the claimant withdraws the claim; or
      • a prior judgment concerning the same dispute between the same parties has already entered into legal force.

      An arbitrazh court may leave a claim without consideration (ie, dismiss the case without prejudice) if, for example, the person who signed the statement of claim did not have the authority to do so, or if the claimant failed to follow the mandatory pretrial settlement procedure before applying to the court.

      Judgments

      Judgments are rendered by arbitrazh courts of the first instance after considering cases on the merits.

      Decrees

      Decrees are rendered by arbitrazh courts of appellate and cassation instances, by the Commercial Disputes Bench, Presidium and Plenum of the Supreme Court.

      Special rulings

      Arbitrazh courts may render special rulings in cases of violation of the law by state authorities, local authorities, other organisations vested with public powers, public officials, advocates and persons/bodies engaged in professional activity. In such cases the arbitrazh court sends the special ruling to the relevant body, organisation, public official, advocate's office or self-regulated organisation, which must inform the arbitrazh court of the steps taken in response within one month after the date of receipt of the special ruling. Failure to comply with a special ruling results in imposition of an administrative fine.

      Court orders

      Court orders are rendered by arbitrazh courts of first instance as a result of summary proceedings. The court order is an executive document that is enforceable through the procedure established for the execution of decisions.

  21. 21.Timing of decisions
    At what stage of the proceedings may a court render a decision? Are motions to dismiss and summary judgment available?
    1. Timing of a decision

      An arbitrazh court may render a judgment after establishing circumstances relevant to the case and hearing the parties' positions in respect of the case.

      An arbitrazh court may pronounce only the operative part of the judgment at the court session during which consideration of a case on its merits is completed. The full text of the judgment should be prepared within five working days after the date when the operative part of the judgment was pronounced.

      Motions to dismiss

      As mentioned in question 20, an arbitrazh court is entitled to either terminate proceedings in a case (ie, dismiss the case with prejudice) or to leave the claim without consideration (ie, dismiss the case without prejudice).

      Simplified proceedings

      The APC RF envisages that the following types of case may be considered through simplified proceedings:

      • cases in which the claimant is seeking to recover up to 500,000 roubles from a legal entity (according to the existing rules, up to 300,000 roubles) or up to 200,000 roubles from an individual entrepreneur (according to the existing rules, up to 100,000 roubles;
      • cases involving the imposition of administrative penalties or challenges to decisions of the administrative authorities imposing administrative penalties, provided that the only punishment available for the administrative offence is an administrative fine of up to 100,000 roubles; and
      • actions for recovery of mandatory payments and sanctions in which the sum sought is 100,000 roubles or more up to a maximum of 200,000 roubles (according to the existing rules, the maximum sum sought is 100,000 roubles).

      Some cases are considered through simplified proceedings regardless of the amount sought, including disputes relating to documented debts that have been acknowledged by the defendant and disputes relating to the protesting of a bill by a notary on the basis of non-payment, non-acceptance or undated acceptance (except for cases to be dealt with by summary proceedings).

      Cases heard through simplified proceedings must be resolved within two months. 

      Summary proceedings

      The arbitrazh courts are able to consider cases through summary proceedings.

      The main differences between simplified proceedings and summary proceedings are that

      • summary proceedings are faster than simplified proceedings;
      • in summary proceedings the court issues a court order without court hearings;
      • as a general rule, the list of cases that can be dealt with by summary proceedings differs from the list of cases that can be dealt with by simplified proceedings; and
      • as a result of summary proceedings the court issues a court order, which is an executive document.

      The following types of case may be dealt with through summary proceedings:

      • cases in which the claimant is seeking to recover up to 400,000 roubles under claims arising out of or in connection with a contract that the debtor has recognised but not performed;
      • cases arising out of or in connection with the protesting of a bill by a notary on the basis of non-payment, non-acceptance or undated acceptance, if the sum sought is up to 400,000 roubles; and
      • actions for recovery of mandatory payments and sanctions in which the sum sought does not exceed 100,000 roubles.

      The arbitrazh court will issue a court order within 10 days of the claimant's application, without any trial and without the claimant or debtor appearing.

  22. 22.Default judgment
    Under which circumstances will a default judgment be rendered?
    1. Arbitrazh courts are not entitled to render default judgments. However, the arbitrazh court can leave a claim without consideration (ie, dismiss it without prejudice) if the claimant repeatedly fails to appear at the court hearing and has not requested that the court consider the claim in the claimant's absence and the defendant does not request consideration of the case on the merits (article 148(1)(9) of the APC RF).

  23. 23.Duration of proceedings
    How long does it typically take a court of first instance to render a decision?
    1. An arbitrazh court generally sets a preliminary preparation period it deems sufficient for preparation of the case, taking into account the factual background. The main goal at the preliminary preparation stage is to ensure the case can be resolved in one court hearing on the merits.

      Cases must generally be resolved on their merits within three months after the respective statement of claim is received by the court. The three-month deadline is often met in simple cases. However, more complex commercial disputes can take considerably longer.

      Disciplinary recourse against judges for non-compliance is possible. Further, litigants can apply to the president of an arbitrazh court to speed up the process. Parties to a dispute may also apply to the court to seek compensation for the violation of the right to a court hearing within a reasonable time.

    Parties

  24. 24.Third parties – joinder, third-party notice, intervenors
    How can third parties become involved in proceedings?
    1. Third parties may file a petition to be joined to proceedings. Alternatively, a party may file a petition to have a third party joined to proceedings. The request for joinder will be granted by the court if a judicial act in the particular case may influence the third party's rights and/or obligations towards a party to the proceedings.

    Evidence

  25. 25.Taking and adducing evidence
    Will a court take or initiate the taking of evidence or will it rely on the parties to request the taking of evidence and to present it?
    1. The general rule is that evidence is to be provided by the parties to the proceedings. However, an arbitrazh court may invite any party to adduce additional evidence that, in the court's view, is important to ascertain circumstances of relevance for proper consideration of the case.

  26. 26.Disclosure
    Is an opponent obliged to produce evidence that is harmful to it in the proceedings? Is there a document disclosure procedure in place? What are the consequences if evidence is not produced by a party?
    1. Apart from the requirement that each party provide other parties to the proceedings with copies of documents and other evidence submitted to the case files, the APC RF does not set out any formal procedures for the discovery of documents. Therefore, a party generally only discloses documents that are helpful to its case.

      However, arbitrazh courts can order disclosure of specific documents. This type of disclosure is usually ordered upon a party's request to the court. Failure to comply with a request can result in financial penalties and negative inferences being drawn.

  27. 27.

    Witnesses of fact
    Please describe the key characteristics of witness evidence in your jurisdiction. Is witness preparation allowed?

    1. Witness evidence is seldom used in Russian arbitrazh courts.

      Witnesses of fact must give oral testimony in court. The court can suggest they also set out their oral testimony in writing. Each party can examine (or cross-examine) witnesses of fact.

      There are no rules prohibiting witness preparation. 

  28. 28.Expert witnesses
    Who appoints expert witnesses? What is the role of experts?
    1. Appointment of experts

      An expert or an expert organisation can be appointed at the request of either or both parties. The parties can nominate candidates for approval by the court. Expert analysis can also be ordered by the court. The parties can also challenge court-appointed experts.

      Role of experts

      An expert opinion is examined at a session of the court together with other types of evidence in the case. Expert opinions are given the same weight as other evidence, though traditionally the courts have shown a tendency to rely heavily on such opinions.

      Specialist witnesses

      A specialist is a person with relevant education and experience who gives only oral testimony and explanations related to the case. The rules of appointment of specialist witnesses are similar to those on the appointment of experts.

  29. 29.Party witnesses
    Can parties to proceedings (or a party’s directors and officers in the case of a legal person) act as witnesses? Can the court draw negative inferences from a party’s failure to testify or act as a witness?
    1. Statements of parties to proceedings are generally not regarded as witness statements but rather as another type of evidence, namely explanations of a party to proceedings. No negative inferences can be drawn from a party's failure to provide such explanations, apart from the court's findings as to whether, in the absence of such explanations, the party has discharged its burden of proof.

  30. 30.Foreign law and documentation
    How is foreign law or foreign-language documentation introduced into the proceedings and considered by the courts?
    1. Application of foreign law

      Applying foreign law, the court establishes its content in accordance with:

      • its official interpretation;
      • the practice of its application; and
      • the legal doctrine of the corresponding foreign state.

      In order to establish the content of foreign law, the courts may apply for assistance and clarification to the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation or to other competent authorities or organisations in Russia or abroad, or use experts.

      In commercial cases the courts may request the parties to prove the content of foreign law, upon which the ruling shall be rendered.

      If, despite measures taken by the court, the content of foreign law is not ascertained within a reasonable period of time, the court is entitled to apply the corresponding norms of Russian law.

      Foreign documentation

      Arbitrazh courts consider only Russian-language documents. If a document to be submitted to the arbitrazh court is in a foreign language, it must be accompanied with a certified translation into Russian.

      A document obtained abroad must be legalised. Legalisation is not required if this is envisaged by an international treaty to which Russia is a signatory (eg, the Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (concluded in The Hague on 5 October 1961)).

  31. 31.Standard of proof
    What standard of proof applies in civil litigation? Are there different standards for different issues?
    1. There is no established standard of proof as such. According to the APC RF, an arbitrazh court is required to consider evidence proceeding from its internal discretion based on complete, objective and direct examination of evidence in the case files. The court is required to assess whether the evidence provided is relevant, permissible and authentic. It is also required to take into consideration whether the evidence is sufficient and consistent with other evidence.

    Appeals

  32. 32.Options for appeal
    What are the possibilities to appeal a judicial decision? How many levels of appeal are there?
    1. There are five possibilities to appeal a judicial decision:

      • appeals in the arbitrazh appellate court;
      • appeals in the cassation court;
      • "second cassation appeal" before the Commercial Disputes Bench of the Supreme Court;
      • supervisory review by the Presidium of the Supreme Court; and
      • review in light of new or newly discovered circumstances.
  33. 33.

    Standard of review
    What aspects of a lower court's decisions will an appeals court review and by what standards?

    1. Appeals in the arbitrazh appellate courts

      The appellate court reviews the whole case again. Appellate hearings are full hearings where the same procedural rules essentially apply as in the first instance court, with some exceptions (eg, the ability to submit new evidence is restricted).

      The appellate court can uphold or amend the judgment, or reverse the judgment and resolve the case itself. The appellate court cannot remand the case to a first instance court for consideration in new proceedings. Appellate decisions have immediate legal effect.

      Appeals in the cassation court

      The cassation court checks whether the lower courts have correctly applied substantive and procedural law, and whether application of law was in accordance with the established circumstances and evidence in the court files. The parties can appear at cassation hearings.

      The cassation court can uphold or amend the previous judgment, or reverse the judgment and resolve the case itself. The cassation court can also remand the case to a lower court for consideration in new proceedings. Cassation judgments have immediate legal effect.

      Second cassation appeal

      A cassation appeal against cassation decrees of District Arbitrazh Courts is lodged with the Supreme Court. The grounds for a "second cassation appeal" are defined as "substantial violation of substantive and/or procedural law affecting the outcome of the proceedings and which led to infringement of a party's rights and legal interests".

      The decision as to whether to accept a cassation appeal against a decree of a District Arbitrazh Court is considered ex parte by a Supreme Court judge.

      If the Supreme Court judge finds the case should not be passed on to the Commercial Disputes Bench for consideration, the judge issues a decree dismissing the cassation appeal. A party may challenge such decree by filing a motion with the Chairman or Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Court, and, if the motion is granted, the case is referred to the Commercial Disputes Bench for consideration.

      After considering a case, the Commercial Disputes Bench can uphold or amend the previous court act(s), or set aside the court act(s) and resolve the case itself. The Commercial Disputes Bench can also remand the case to a lower court for consideration in new proceedings. The parties can appear at the hearings.

      Supervisory review by the Presidium of the Supreme Court

      Judicial acts of the Commercial Disputes Bench may be subject to supervisory review by the Presidium of the Supreme Court. The grounds for supervisory review are infringement of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, generally accepted principles of international law and international treaties of the Russian Federation, violation of public interests, and breach of uniform application of the law.

      Similar to the "second cassation appeal", the application for supervisory review is considered ex parte by a Supreme Court judge, and his or her decree to dismiss the application may also be contested by filing a motion with the Chairman or Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Court.

      As a result of consideration of the case the Presidium of the Supreme Court can uphold or amend the previous court act(s), or reverse the court act(s) and resolve the case itself. It can also remand the case to a lower court for consideration in new proceedings. The parties can appear at hearings.

      In 2016 the Supreme Court considered 783 supervisory appeals in economic disputes. Four supervisory appeals were referred to the Presidium of the Supreme Court.

      Challenges in light of new or newly discovered circumstances

      Judicial acts can be challenged if:

      • There are newly discovered circumstances (eg, where established by another court judgment, or due to falsification of evidence, false evidence deliberately given by an expert or witness, or deliberately misleading translation that resulted in adoption of an illegal or unfounded judgment in the case).
      • There are new circumstances in a case (eg, where a judicial act is based on another judicial act that was subsequently reversed, or where the Plenum or the Presidium of the Supreme Court of Russia subsequently decides otherwise in a similar case and it is expressly provided that the Plenum/Presidium's new position has retroactive force, or where the violation of the European Convention of Human Rights by a Russian court is established by the European Court of Human Rights). 
  34. 34.Duration of appellate proceedings
    How long does it usually take to obtain an appellate decision?
    1. Judgments can be appealed in the appellate courts within one month after the judgment is reached. Appeals must be heard within two months following the receipt of the appeal by the appellate court. However, it can take longer.

      Judgments and appellate decrees can be challenged in the cassation courts by filing a cassation appeal within two months after the judgment or appellate court decree comes into force. It should be resolved within two months following the receipt of the cassation appeal.

      The "second cassation appeal" must be filed with the Supreme Court within two months after the date when the challenged judicial act (eg, a decree of the District Arbitrazh Court) came into force.

      The application for supervisory review by the Presidium of the Supreme Court should be filed within three months from the date when the challenged judicial act (eg, a decree of the Commercial Disputes Bench) came into force.

      An application for a review in light of new or newly discovered circumstances must be filed within three months after the new or newly discovered circumstances arise. The application is filed with the court that made the relevant judgment and must be resolved within one month after filing the application. If the court accepts the case for review, the judicial act is cancelled and the case is resolved in the usual way.

    Special proceedings

  35. 35.Class actions
    Are class actions available?
    1. Class actions have recently been introduced into the Russian legal system, but they are not yet widely used in Russia and court practice on class actions remains scarce.

      A group of parties can bring a class action only by joining the representing party (that is, the party who appears in court on behalf of the group). A court can only consider a claim under the rules on class actions if at least five persons joined the claim of the initial claimant as of the date the application was made to the court. The following cases, among others, can be considered under the rules on class actions:

      • corporate disputes;
      • disputes arising out of activities of professional securities market participants; and
      • cases arising out of claims of persons who are parties to the same legal relationship.
  36. 36.Derivative actions
    Are derivative actions available?
    1. Derivative actions are available in corporate disputes. The APC RF envisages a specific set of rules that apply to such actions, but at the same time many procedural norms applicable to all litigation in arbitrazh courts apply equally to derivative actions.

  37. 37.Fast-track proceedings
    Are fast-track proceedings available?
    1. With the exception of those described in question 21, no fast-track proceedings are available in arbitrazh courts.

  38. 38.Foreign-language proceedings
    Is it possible to conduct proceedings in a foreign language?
    1. It is not possible to conduct proceedings in a foreign language. However, if a party to the proceedings does not speak Russian, that party is entitled to use the services of an interpreter.

    Effects of judgement and enforcement

  39. 39.Effects of a judgment
    What legal effects does a judgment have?
    1. Judgments are binding, which means that they are mandatory for public authorities, local government bodies, other bodies, organisations, state officials and individuals, and are subject to execution throughout the entire territory of the Russian Federation. The mandatory nature of judgments does not deprive a party who did not participate in a case of the opportunity to apply to the courts for protection of its rights and legitimate interests infringed by the judgment by appealing it.

      Judgments have res judicata effect, that is to say:

      • circumstances established by a valid judgment need not be proven again if another case involving the same parties is considered by an arbitrazh court; and
      • an arbitrazh court is required to refuse to accept a statement of claim or terminate proceedings in a case (ie, to dismiss the claim with prejudice) if there exists a valid judicial act of an arbitrazh court, a court of general jurisdiction or a competent court of a foreign state that was rendered previously in a dispute between the same parties, in respect of the same subject matter and on the same grounds.
  40. 40.Enforcement procedure
    What are the procedures and options for enforcing a domestic judgment?
    1. Enforcement of judgments is generally possible after they have entered into legal force. Mandatory enforcement is carried out through an execution procedure (ispolnitel'noye proizvodstvo). This procedure begins with the creditor filing an application with the same court that made the judgment, requesting that a writ of execution (writ) is issued.

      Once the writ is issued, the creditor can apply to the court bailiffs service, which follows certain steps to enforce judgment (eg, searching for and seizing the debtor's property, attaching accounts etc). The writ of execution may be sent by the court for execution in the form of an electronic document.

  41. 41.Enforcement of foreign judgments
    Under what circumstances will a foreign judgment be enforced in your jurisdiction?
    1. Enforcement of foreign judgments is possible through arbitrazh courts. An application for enforcement must be filed with the arbitrazh court at the place where the debtor or its property is located. Enforcement is carried out under the relevant international treaty or convention between Russia and the state where the judgment was made.

      In the absence of an applicable treaty or convention, a judgment of a foreign state court can generally be recognised and enforced in Russia on the grounds of reciprocity. Russian law indirectly permits this, and the authors are aware of several instances in which a party has successfully procured recognition and enforcement of foreign (eg, English and Dutch) court judgments, invoking reciprocity as one of its principal arguments. Reciprocity must be established on a case-by-case basis, and because of minimal case law on the matter it is difficult to predict with certainty whether a particular foreign judgment will be enforced in Russia on grounds of reciprocity.

    Costs

  42. 42.Costs
    Will the successful party’s costs be borne by the opponent?
    1. The unsuccessful party generally pays the successful party's costs. An arbitrazh court is entitled to place all costs on the party who has abused its procedural rights or has not performed its procedural duties and this has led to delays. If a claim is only partially awarded, the expenses are paid on a pro rata basis. All court expenses associated with experts, witnesses and interpreters are initially paid by the party requesting them, but can usually be recovered from the unsuccessful party.

      Recovering lawyers' fees from the unsuccessful party can be difficult. By law, the courts can only order unsuccessful parties to reimburse the successful parties' reasonable legal fees. The courts frequently view lawyers' fees that may be considered normal in the UK or US as being unreasonable in Russia, choosing not to award these fees, or at least not in full, to the winning party. The recoverable level of lawyers' fees is normally very low. However, in some recent cases the amounts recovered have been commensurate with the legal costs actually incurred.

  43. 43.Legal aid
    May a party apply for legal aid to finance court proceedings? What other options are available for parties who may not be able to afford litigation?
    1. Legal aid is usually envisaged for natural persons only, not for legal entities. 

  44. 44.Contingency fees
    Are contingency fee arrangements permissible? Are they commonly used?
    1. Legislation is silent on this issue.

      As confirmed by Russian court practice, contingency fees are not allowed (see Decree of the Constitutional Court No. 1-P dated 23 January 2007 and item 2 of the Informational Letter of the Supreme Arbitrazh Court No. 48 dated 29 September 1999, On Certain Questions of Court Practice Arising in Connection with Consideration of Disputes Connected with Legal Services Agreements). If the parties have agreed to have a contingency fee arrangement in their contract, the representative’s fees may be paid on the basis of the amount of time actually incurred by the representative.

  45. 45.Third-party funding
    Is third-party funding allowed in your jurisdiction?
    1. There are no restrictions on third-party funding of litigation. However, a third party may not be able to pay court fees. Also, there may be difficulties recovering legal costs through the court if they have been paid by a third party directly.

  46. 46.Fee scales
    Are there fee scales lawyers must follow? Are there upper or lower limits for fees charged by lawyers in your jurisdiction?
    1. There are no binding legal fee scales. Legal fees can be based on hourly rates or be task-based.

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GAR know-how provides reliable cross-jurisdictional insight to help cement the building blocks of international practice. In this section, select experienced practitioners answer commonly asked questions for key jurisdictions so allowing readers to be better-placed to solve the challenges of their working days.

Questions

    Overview

  1. 1.Court system
    Describe the general organisation of the court system for civil litigation.
  2. 2.The legal profession
    Describe the general organisation of the legal profession.
  3. 3.General
    Give a brief overview of the political and social background as it relates to civil litigation.
  4. Jurisdiction

  5. 4.Jurisdiction and venue
    What are the criteria for determining the jurisdiction and venue of the competent court for a civil matter?
  6. 5.Forum shopping
    Does your jurisdiction commonly attract disputes that have a nexus with other jurisdictions?
  7. 6.Pendency in another forum
    How will a court treat a request to hear a dispute that is already pending before another forum?
  8. 7.

    Deference to arbitration
    How will the courts treat a dispute that is, or could be, subject to an arbitration clause or an agreement to arbitrate, including in interim proceedings?


  9. 8.Judicial review of arbitral awards on jurisdiction
    May courts in your country review arbitral awards on jurisdiction?
  10. 9.Anti-suit injunctions
    Are anti-suit injunctions available?
  11. 10.

    Sovereign immunity
    Which entities are immune from being sued in your jurisdiction? In what circumstances? In what circumstances can creditors enforce a court judgment or arbitral award against a sovereign or a state entity?


  12. Procedure

  13. 11.Commencement and conduct of proceedings in general
    How are proceedings commenced? To what extent will a court actively lead the proceedings and to what extent will the court rely on the parties to further the proceedings?
  14. 12.Statement of claim
    What are the requirements for filing a claim? What is the pleading standard?
  15. 13.Statement of defence
    What are the requirements for answering claims? What is the pleading standard?
  16. 14.Further briefs and submissions
    What are the rules regarding further briefs and submissions?
  17. 15.Publicity
    To what degree are civil proceedings made public?
  18. Pretrial settlement and ADR

  19. 16.Advice and settlement proposals
    Will a court render (interim) assessments about any factual or legal issues in dispute? What role and approach do courts typically take regarding settlement? Are there mandatory settlement conferences between the parties at the outset of or during the litigation?
  20. 17.Mediation
    Is referral to mediation or another form of ADR an option, or even mandatory, before or during the litigation?
  21. Interim relief

  22. 18.Forms of interim relief
    What are the forms of emergency or interim relief?
  23. 19.Obtaining relief
    What must a petitioner show to obtain interim relief?
  24. Decisions

  25. 20.Types of decisions
    What types of decisions (other than interim relief) may a court render in civil matters?
  26. 21.Timing of decisions
    At what stage of the proceedings may a court render a decision? Are motions to dismiss and summary judgment available?
  27. 22.Default judgment
    Under which circumstances will a default judgment be rendered?
  28. 23.Duration of proceedings
    How long does it typically take a court of first instance to render a decision?
  29. Parties

  30. 24.Third parties – joinder, third-party notice, intervenors
    How can third parties become involved in proceedings?
  31. Evidence

  32. 25.Taking and adducing evidence
    Will a court take or initiate the taking of evidence or will it rely on the parties to request the taking of evidence and to present it?
  33. 26.Disclosure
    Is an opponent obliged to produce evidence that is harmful to it in the proceedings? Is there a document disclosure procedure in place? What are the consequences if evidence is not produced by a party?
  34. 27.

    Witnesses of fact
    Please describe the key characteristics of witness evidence in your jurisdiction. Is witness preparation allowed?


  35. 28.Expert witnesses
    Who appoints expert witnesses? What is the role of experts?
  36. 29.Party witnesses
    Can parties to proceedings (or a party’s directors and officers in the case of a legal person) act as witnesses? Can the court draw negative inferences from a party’s failure to testify or act as a witness?
  37. 30.Foreign law and documentation
    How is foreign law or foreign-language documentation introduced into the proceedings and considered by the courts?
  38. 31.Standard of proof
    What standard of proof applies in civil litigation? Are there different standards for different issues?
  39. Appeals

  40. 32.Options for appeal
    What are the possibilities to appeal a judicial decision? How many levels of appeal are there?
  41. 33.

    Standard of review
    What aspects of a lower court's decisions will an appeals court review and by what standards?


  42. 34.Duration of appellate proceedings
    How long does it usually take to obtain an appellate decision?
  43. Special proceedings

  44. 35.Class actions
    Are class actions available?
  45. 36.Derivative actions
    Are derivative actions available?
  46. 37.Fast-track proceedings
    Are fast-track proceedings available?
  47. 38.Foreign-language proceedings
    Is it possible to conduct proceedings in a foreign language?
  48. Effects of judgement and enforcement

  49. 39.Effects of a judgment
    What legal effects does a judgment have?
  50. 40.Enforcement procedure
    What are the procedures and options for enforcing a domestic judgment?
  51. 41.Enforcement of foreign judgments
    Under what circumstances will a foreign judgment be enforced in your jurisdiction?
  52. Costs

  53. 42.Costs
    Will the successful party’s costs be borne by the opponent?
  54. 43.Legal aid
    May a party apply for legal aid to finance court proceedings? What other options are available for parties who may not be able to afford litigation?
  55. 44.Contingency fees
    Are contingency fee arrangements permissible? Are they commonly used?
  56. 45.Third-party funding
    Is third-party funding allowed in your jurisdiction?
  57. 46.Fee scales
    Are there fee scales lawyers must follow? Are there upper or lower limits for fees charged by lawyers in your jurisdiction?