Digest 130

April 30, 2020 Subsribe


About 300 000 participated in the online LF 9½: Rule of Corona, representing 102 countries

Forum, or better to say, a tremendous TV marathon, held in April 10-12, 2020, attracted circa 300 000 participants from all over the world. Broadcasted live at LF Academy – legal education portal – the event was also available in social media and on partner websites. Up to nine thousand viewers watched the most popular discussion sessions at the same time. Forum’s business agenda comprised 23 online panels – speakers from 20 countries joined remotely from the safety of their homes. Gazprombank supported the event as General Partner.

Recordings of LF 9½: Rule of Corona are available at LF Academy for a fee

LF Online

There were 124 speakers from 20 countries among the participants of the St. Petersburg International Legal Forum 9 ½: The Rule of Corona. Dmitry Medvedev, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, Marija Pejcinovic Buric, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, Konstantin Chuychenko, Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation, K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law of the Republic of Singapore, and Zhenghua Fu, Minister of Justice of the People's Republic of China, took part in the Forum among others. International organizations, including the Council of Europe, UN core commissions, the International Labour Organization and others, have all expressed a strong interest in the SPBILF programme.

To name just some of the organisers of Forum roundtables:

  • Council of Europe
  • Russian Ministry of Justice
  • Russian Ministry of Trade and Industry
  • Russian Ministry of Labour and Social Protection
  • Federal Tax Service of Russian
  • Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia
  • Bank of Russia
  • The State Hermitage
  • Association of Corporate Counsel (RCCA)
  • International Law and Comparative Research Center
  • Russian Federal Bar Chamber
  • Russian Federal Notary Chamber

Key Topics

Russian and foreign experts, has discussed how to assist business amid COVID 19 pandemic and what support measures were introduced by tax authorities worldwide. They came to a conclusion that the countries would have to focus on resuming their efforts in the area of digitalization and digital transformation of tax administration 

“The world will never be the same, but the mission of law must be preserved”. Speakers of the Plenary Session elaborated on prospective joint global initiatives and corresponding international conventions to outline common principles of global cybersecurity, put a ban on trade wars and unilateral sanctions, eliminate discrimination in international affairs, ensure global financial stability, give backing to the countries that suffered most from the pandemic, put in place a mechanism to fight poverty ► 

The measures to be introduced by countries for overcoming COVID-19 and the international strategy in the event of potential future crises were discussed at the Open Meeting of the Ministers of Justice. “We must predict which of these acts will be much needed after the end of the epidemic and will be transferred from the pilot mode to the permanent regime of application, and which will require prompt cancellation, otherwise risking to damage the normal state of the legal system”, Konstantin Chuychenko, the Russian  Minister of Justice explained 

How shall governments resolve the conflict of the right to life and health on the one hand and the right to freedom of movement on the other? During a discussion session involving the President of the European Court of Human Rights experts discussed the controversy of human rights restriction and protection amid pandemic ►

Culture in Quarantine: Limitations and New Opportunities. Museums, art galleries, theatres, cinemas and libraries have closed for visitors for the sake of social distancing and hence safety their employees and visitors. What are the challenges the museum community has faced in these trying times and whether it is possible to find solutions?  

Pandemic might be a positive force when it comes to long-discussed and sought-after regulatory changes which otherwise would have took years to be fulfilled by the state or business community. In many countries, such are rush but necessary changes in the social protection and welfare. It’s time for revolutions, and not humble corrections – this was unanimous experts’ verdict 

A shift to remote working has exerted its influence on many fields of labour market and has put a number of complicated points before both Russian and foreign companies. It is, first of all, about continuous work organization, information security and employees’ comfort. These issues have been discussed at the session ‘Remote Working: Challenges and Solutions for Employers, Employees and Professionals’  ►

The global pandemic has apparently demonstrated that the civil legal turnover is bound to move into ‘on-line space’. Representatives of Russian and international notary community elaborated on how notaries public should set up their activities in restrictive settings, what reliable digital capacities are available to notaries in response to COVID-19 pandemic and will be demanded to ensure safety and stability of civil legal turnover across innovative digital formats 

How should antitrust regulation be transformed in the age of the pandemic? What new challenges do antitrust agencies face and what new practices do both Russian and international regulators already apply? These and other questions were discussed by experts at LF 9 ½: Rule of Corona ►

How to Resolve Disputes with Counterparties? How should companies do to survive if contractual parties fail to fulfill their obligations and what instruments to implement in order to sustain damages? Presumably, the crisis is the high time to pursue tradeoffs and discard persistent legal relations in favor of formats of interaction  

The pandemic has gravely affected the operation of courts, as they had to work literally behind closed doors and hastily switch to online channels. Judges from the European Court of Human Rights, UNCITRAL and the Supreme Court of Russia discussed practical issues which state courts and arbitration institutions face while resuming their operations in the era of social distancing ►

COVID-19 forced educational institutions to go online – and there are both advantages and drawbacks in such a transformation. Session panelists shared their views on forms of remote and online learning, related issues and ethical matters that should be resolved ►

Force majeure circumstances in legal sense suggest an extraordinary, and particularly noxious turn of events that is not typical of day-to-day life, as well as it is unavoidable, in other words it is impossible to avoid its impact. What may be rendered force majeure and may the COVID-19 pandemic be treated this way? Distinct law scholars from China, Germany, Italy and Russia debated on the matter ►

“We need to provide additional protection for debtors, thus, the pandemic will facilitate the development of rehabilitation procedures both in Russia and abroad” - experts from Russia, Great Britain and Germany have discussed bankruptcy procedure issues and details under the conditions of the coronavirus pandemic  ►

How the world in general, and the work of lawyers in particular, will change after the coronavirus pandemic, was discussed on Saturday, 11 April, at the session “New World after Coronavirus, From Creative Destruction to Renaissance?” of the St. Petersburg International Legal Forum. According to one of the panelists, lawyers should be ready to an increased number of divorces, insolvencies, labour disputes, fraud cases, and other criminal offences starting from mid-summer ►

International Labour Organization, ‘The crisis, world economy is facing now, will be the worst in the postwar period’. How to preserve your business and discharge obligations to employees? What amendments to employment laws are now possible or permitted? Are employment contracts going to be squeezed out by services agreements?

Remote work, social distancing, a ban on mass events and personal contacts except for the most vital. How could joint stock companies and financial organisations take corporate actions in such an environment? The law allowed for annual meetings to be held in absentia and postponed deadlines. But what to do with offers and buybacks, payments under securities and other corporation actions? How to avoid mass violations of investor rights under the guise of fighting the epidemic? Bank of Russia brought these questions to the experts’ table ►

“Our regulators, which have always been very conservative, and this is true for the Russian Health Ministry, Federal Service for Surveillance in Healthcare and Ministry of Industry and Trade, managed to act faster than their foreign counterparts and adapted their regulations and procedures to accelerate the decision-making for the sake of COVID 19- positive patients. This speed deserves a lot of respect and may serve as a best practice for most of the countries worldwide.” Lawyers and pharmaceuticals: SPBILF discussed accelerated registration of medicines ►

Despite the difficult working conditions during the pandemic, the bar should draw attention of the government to the rule of law. Bar leadership from Azerbaijan France, Germany, Russia and the UK presented on how lawyers can continue their work during the fight against the coronavirus and what measures are taken by countries to support them at “Pandemic and Legal Profession: Who Wins?” session ►