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SPBILF Prize

St. Petersburg International Legal Forum in The Hague

Litteraire Societeit de Witte, The Hague

On the 6th of March, 2013, The Hague (the Netherlands) welcomed St. Petersburg International Legal Forum.

The Forum was travelling not for the first time: the tradition of guest Conferences was laid on the 29th of January, 2013, when one of the oldest bars of England and Wales, Lincoln’s Inn in London, received the participants of the Forum, and thus the Conference in The Hague titled “Better Justice, Better Business” became the second event of this project.

Now we have to establish favourable conditions for the development and enhancement of the mediation practice. We are looking forward towards the interchange of views and cooperation with our foreign colleagues, and as the Dutch bars are leaders in the expansion of mediation in Europe, I consider the interaction in this sphere between our two countries to be utterly important and useful
Arkady Dvorkovich

The venue was chosen in view of the fact that the year 2013 is the Russia-Netherlands Bilateral Year. St. Petersburg International Legal Forum in The Hague was organized by the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation and The Ministry of Security and Justice of the Netherlands, and supported by the World Legal Forum.

Since its foundation in 1802, Litteraire Societeit de Witte, where the Forum was held, is one of the most elite and cult places of the city. De Witte was founded by one hundred and fourteen young notable men for the purpose of “conviviality and a permissible opportunity to be out and about”. The present aim of the Club is “to further develop the social interaction of its members and the practice by its members of literature, fine arts, history and other sciences” what perfectly corresponds to the ultimate goal of the present Forum.

In such a friendly atmosphere the participants of St. Petersburg International Legal Forum had the opportunity to discuss the most topical problems of mediation, international disputes and Russian-Dutch cooperation. The guest format, together with the unique composition of conference speakers from both countries, allowed paying attention to each paper, listening to the most various opinions from the followers of different legal systems, making plans regarding the future mutually beneficial relations.

The Word of Welcome was given by Ivo Opstelten, Minister of Security and Justice of the Netherlands, and Arkadiy Dvorkovich, Vice Prime Minister of the Russian Federation and Chairman of the Russia-Netherlands Bilateral Year.

The aim of this seminar is to compare the scope for dispute settlement in the Netherlands and Russia and to explore solutions to problems. I regard it as a forum for exchanging information and best practices, making comparisons and putting forward proposals for good ways to settle disputes. Given the content of the programme and the experts who will be speaking here today, the seminar has the makings of a great success
Ivo Opstelten

The first session held under the chairmanship of Arkadiy Dvorkovich and Elena Borisenko,c Deputy Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation, was dedicated to the issues of mediation in transnational disputes (“Mediation in Transnational Disputes”). The workshop was opened by a brilliant paper of Hugo Hans Siblesz, Secretary General of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, called “The Role of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)”. During this session Russia was represented by Lyudmila Novoselova, the Chair of the Intellectual Property Court, and Tsisana Shamlikashvili, President of the Centre of Mediation and Law, President of the National Organization of Mediators. The delegates to a convention also had the opportunity to hear the opinion on the issue of former Vice President of the Arnhem Court of Appeal Machteld Pel, famous for her numerous publications on mediation and family law, and Daan de Snoo, Director of the Netherlands Mediation Institute.

Lyudmila Novoselova was also the Moderator of the second session “Legal Frameworks for Better Dispute Resolution” which began with the report called “European Judicial Systems 2012” made by Frans van der Doelen, CEPEJ-member and Programme Manager at the Ministry of Security and Justice of the Netherlands. This presentation was followed by the speech of Vladimir Slesarev, Vice Chairman of the Supreme Commercial Court of the Russian Federation. The paper of Judge Ruth van der Pol (Court of Appeal Judge at the Court of Appeal Arnhem — Leeuwarden) titled “Some aspects of Russian civil law and civil procedure law from a Dutch perspective” also caused a vivid debate. Then Prof. J.H.M. (Huub) Willems, Former President of the Dutch Enterprise Court at the Court of Appeal of Amsterdam and Professor of Corporate Litigation at the University of Groningen, told about legal cooperation in the field of company and commercial law and its impact for Russian and Dutch business in his paper of the same name.

The rapid development of modern technologies and business globalisation make this "national reference" but an illusion. However, this does not mean that national lawmakers should completely withdraw from the modern dispute resolution system formation; they should rather aim their efforts to the harmonisation of law systems in the particular fields and to the creation of the universal effective international legal basis for the alternative dispute resolution methods
Elena Borisenko

The last two speakers were Prof. Jeffrey Golden, Chairman of The P.R.I.M.E. Finance Foundation (The Hague), Visiting Professor and Governor in London School of Economics and Political Science, who told about the new perspectives for international dispute resolution in the financial world, and Irena Vanenkova, Director of the International Mediation Institute, whose paper “Unlocking Outcomes Using Mediation” completed the round table.

During the third final session the delegates studied the most specific and topical issue of the Forum, i.e. the role of law in Russian-Dutch trade and business cooperation, what hopefully will increase business and cultural relations between the two countries and provide them with a fruitful working partnership (“Business Panel: Russian-Dutch Trade and Business Cooperation: Better Justice, Better Business”). Under the chairmanship of Prof. Ernst Hirsch Ballin, former Minister of Justice of the Netherlands, Professor of Dutch and European Constitutional Law (University of Tilburg), and of Human Rights (University of Amsterdam), many great authorities in the field of law and business gave their views on the problem. Among them are Frans van Zoelen, CLO Port of Rotterdam, Chair of the Legal Committee of the International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH), Chairman of the Dutch Legal Network for Shipping and Transport Foundation, Alexandra Nesterenko, President of the Union of Corporate Lawyers of Russia, Elena Bezdenezhnykh, Deputy General Director of “OJSC MMC Norilsk Nickel”, Marta Pertegas, First Secretary of The Hague Conference on Private International Law, Professor of Law of Global Transactions and Litigation at the University of Antwerp, and Reinier Nijmeijer, Head of Legal and Managing Counsel Russia, Upstream International, Shell Exploration and Production Services (RF).

After the end of the Conference the guests were invited to continue the discussions and networking during the Reception held in the Embassy of the Russian Federation.

The interchange of valuable experiences among Russian and Dutch legal experts, as well as the joint assessment of the situation have obviously given a strong impulse to the development of the Dutch-Russian partnership, and the Conference itself has become the next landmark on the way to the III St. Petersburg International Legal Forum which will be held in St. Petersburg on May 16-18, 2013.

Participants about the Conference

Ulyana Antonova

Head of Legal Department, The Joint Venture of “Afisha” and “Rambler”

The second guest Conference under the auspices of St. Petersburg International Legal Forum reduplicated the success in London, and sparked off vivid interest in Dutch colleagues

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I think the second guest Conference under the auspices of St. Petersburg International Legal Forum reduplicated the success in London, and sparked off vivid interest in Dutch colleagues.

Besides, I would like to point out the brilliant presentation of Mr. Reinier Nijmeijer – the general counsel of Shell Russia who can, in my opinion, be the model of eloquence to learn from.

The paper of Mrs. Machteld Pel, renowned expert in mediation and dispute resolution, who considered the task of making the two sides take the responsibility for their conflict and choose the right way of its resolution by their own as the matter of the first importance for every mediator, has encouraged me to familiarize with Mrs. Pel’s works more specifically, and even to take classes from her regarding dispute resolutions.

Prof. Ernst Hirsch Ballin

Former Minister of Justice of the Netherlands; Professor of Dutch and European Constitutional Law, University of Tilburg, and of Human Rights, University of Amsterdam

At this Conference we learned how important for people, business companies to have common legal principals. We have different institutes for arbitration and mediation, and it would be nice to discuss the relations between all mentioned institutions in St. Petersburg, in May.

Marina Gassiy

Judicial Support Director of SUE “Vodokanal of St. Petersburg”, Honoured lawyer of the Russian Federation

It was an unexpected pleasure to see our proposal of the necessity of strengthening of the professional society’s role at making the legal acts projects examination being discussed and confirmed on such a high level

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Everything was organized on the highest level. And the place itself was really engaging: The Hague is literally soaked with the spirit of jurisprudence — The International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the Supreme Court of the Netherlands dispose one to work hard. In the meantime the city is calm, nice, and snug.

It was also an unexpected pleasure to see our proposal of the necessity of strengthening of the professional society’s role at making the regulatory legal acts projects examination being discussed and confirmed on such a high level.

The discussion on mediation was a topical issue as well. Of course, mediation has its pros and cons. This concerns, first of all, the organizations which conclude public treaties where one of the main problems is accounts receivable. Being an extra-stage of the dispute resolution process, mediation, for sure, plays into debtor’s hands. But generally, in my opinion, the mediation procedure has the following disadvantages:

  1. Limited field of application;
  2. Extra cash expenditure;
  3. Optionality of mediation covenant performance;
  4. Dispute consideration procrastination;
  5. Limited choice of mediators.

Taking into account the foregoing, nowadays mediation cannot be obviously used as a real and effective method of dispute resolution for organizations which perform controllable activities and provide uninterrupted functioning of all the life support systems.

Roman Kvitko

Head of Legal, OJSC Gazprom Neft

I would like to thank the organizers for giving me the opportunity to dive into the atmosphere of international legal dialogue. The main idea which I have understood is the necessity of such meetings of all the types of lawyers: corporate, academic, government representatives. It is the only way to blossom out in the matter of business oriented enhancement of our legal and court system and of its competition on equal footing with foreign systems

Nataliya Luchkova

Partner TaxTeam | International Tax Experts (The Netherlands, Amsterdam-Russia, Moscow)

It is really remarkable that such travelling Forums bring together top-level experts from all over the world what allows examining the same issue from the different points of view and with account of different experiences

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Thank you for giving the opportunity to share my impressions on the Forum in The Hague.

The guest Conference format provides a perfect platform for the discussion of professional issues and pressing topics in an open interactive dialogue. It is really remarkable that such travelling Forums bring together top-level experts from all over the world what allows examining the same issue from the different points of view and with account of different experiences.»

Ivo Opstelten

Minister of Security and Justice of the Netherlands

Our countries can work together <…>, particularly on better dispute resolutions. The experts were here today and I am sure we have succeeded! That was a step forward. I am personally looking forward to take part in SPILF in May

Machteld Pel

Former Vice President of the Arnhem Court of Appeal

It was a very productive meeting. We could share experience, discuss how to implement mediation. I think it is important that leaders of the States solve their problems using mediation.

Mikhail Popov

Head of Legal, OJSC National Nonmetal Company

The Forum was organized on higher than worthy level. I liked a lot the presentations of the representatives of the Ministry of Justice and of the Supreme Commercial Court of the Russian Federation. In common, I consider the idea of meetings in London, The Hague and Rome to be really fruitful, especially on threshold of the III St. Petersburg International Legal Forum, and I am happy to see this idea being implemented.

Andrey Tyndik

Attorney-at-Law of Saint-Petersburg City Bar Association

The travelling format of St. Petersburg International Legal Forum allows its participants to acquire an invaluable experience of transnational communication, gives an additional impulse to the Forum’s improvement and promotes the Conference all over the world

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Such events as the Conference which took place in The Hague on the 6th of March, 2013 obviously cannot be overestimated from the point of view of the integration process between Russian and European legal systems.

In civilized societies the expansion of mediation is considered to be the main direction in the field of dispute resolution enhancement.

For Russia mediation is still a new and undeveloped institution.

At the same time it can be said with certainty that the application of meditation practice in the Russian Federation has its advantages even today.

The whole categories of disputes in Russian reality have mediation features.

For example, the court practice of corporate confrontation often comes to such a situation when conflicting sides advance each other dozens of claims meanwhile the outlook of their resolution is quite unpredictable, and legal costs and case duration are indeterminate.

In my opinion, nowadays mediation can be widely used at dispute resolution processes in the fields of intellectual property, unfair business competition, family and housing law and in many others.

I should also mention the high level of the Conference’s organization and an interesting and representative lineup from both sides.

The travelling format of St. Petersburg International Legal Forum allows its participants to acquire an invaluable experience of transnational communication, gives an additional impulse to the Forum’s improvement and promotes it all over the world.

Prof. J.H.M. (Huub) Willems

Former President of the Dutch Enterprise Court at the Court of Appeal of Amsterdam and Professor of Corporate Litigation at the University of Groningen

I have a pleasure to participate in project. I did feel a privilege to speak at the table headed by Ms. Lyudmila Novoselova, President of the Court for Intellectual Property Rights, Russian Federation.