We are glad to present you the 57th issue of the St. Petersburg International Legal Forum Digest.
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The State Hermitage was voted Europe’s Best Museum last week, and one of the world’s top three. In their feedback about the Hermitage foreign visitors name it as “one of the chief reasons to visit Russia and St. Petersburg”.
For five years St. Petersburg International Legal Forum's place of venue has been the General Staff building of the State Hermitage. We are proud of our long-standing cooperation with the museum, which serves as an impetus for us to achieve new goals.
We kindly invite you to take part in the development of the programme for the Forum 2017. We will be grateful for your concrete proposals on the topics of round tables and possible speakers of the VII SPBILF to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Organizing Committee highly appreciates your cooperation and kindly asks to forward thoroughly detailed proposals.
Conference “ARBITRATION IN THE SPOTLIGHT. WHY IS IT TIME FOR ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION?”
Moscow, October 20
Conference is hosted by LF Academy and the Arbitration Centre of the Modern Arbitration Institute, under the auspice of the St. Petersburg International Legal Forum.
On September 1, 2016 the new Federal Law «On Arbitration (arbitration proceedings) in Russia» came into force. This new law was drafted in the course of the large-scale arbitration reform which lasted for three years.
Besides completely new law that shall replace the Federal Law «On Arbitration Courts on Russian Federation» that is in force since 2002, significant amendments were made to the Arbitration Procedural Code, Civil Procedural Code, Law «On International Commercial Arbitration» and other legal acts.
What are the major amendments, how they shall be applied and what the business can expect for the new arbitration? The experts will discuss these and other issues within the conference (seminar).
To learn more or register, please visit our website http://arbitr.lfacademy.ru/en
Conference “RUSSIA AND CHINA: PARTNERS IN LAW”
Moscow, October 27
The programme covers the current agenda of the legal component of the business relations between Russia and China.
Key discussion points:
- Corporate law reforms in China;
- Protection of investors' rights in China and Russia, including issues of arbitration and dispute resolution;
- Specifics of customs legislation of both countries;
- Product certification (Russia and China);
- Investment regulations in China (M&A of Chinese companies);
- Specifics of M&A involving foreign investors (Russia);
- Financial market and banking sector of China and Hong Kong;
- Intellectual property;
- Responsibility for economic crimes in Russia and China;
- Specificity of e-commerce and Internet regulation;
- Legal aspects of doing business in the Russian Far East,
and much more.
To learn more or register, please visit our website http://rc.lfacademy.ru/en/
In 2016, SPILF Organizing Committee introduced a new format aimed at expanding the audience of not only viewers, but also participants of the Forum's programme discussions.
The project was called Legal Forum Live: legal communities from Russia and the CIS countries held their own events accompanied by broadcasts of the Forum's sessions. The Forum had 2,000 remote participants from 33 cities.
Together with organizers of the SPILF regional venues, we have summarized events' results and gladly share them with you. Follow our updates.
Mitra National Law Firm LLC
A roundtable to discuss the research and practice associated with the problem of illegal construction was held at the Intourist Hotel, Pyatigorsk, on 19 May 2016. Staged as part of the St. Petersburg International Legal Forum, the roundtable was attended by the chief legal officers of the major corporations operating in the Federal District of Northern Caucasus, who were joined by representatives of construction companies, legal estate agencies and authorities. There were judges, scholars, practicing lawyers, attorneys and media reporters among those attending. The scientific roundtable in Pyatigorsk listed upwards of 70 participants, some of whom had travelled from outside the NCFD to attend.
The keynote topic of the first part of the event was demolition and legalization of illegal structures. The topic was not a random choice. In many Russian cities – and NCFD capital Pyatigorsk is no exception – local authorities have recently been battling a wave of unauthorized construction. The discussion addressed the latest changes in the regulation of metropolitan development and land use, reviewed the nuances of contesting local self-government decisions to demolish illegal structures, and analyzed the law enforcement practices of judiciary and executive authorities.
The event was moderated by Candidate Doctor of Law Konstantin Serdiukov, who leads the private law practice of Mitra National Legal Firm. Attending as experts, speakers and debate contributors were Konstantin Sklovsky (Doctor of Law, Attorney, Researcher), Yulia Lugovaya (Candidate Doctor of Law, Judge of Arbitration Appeals Court #16), Oleg Marchenko (Judge of Arbitration Appeals Court #16), Marina Kerimova (Chief Justice of the Arbitration Court of Stavropol Region), Viktoria Bezlepko (Judge of the Arbitration Court of Stavropol Region), Elena Shatalova (Judge of the Stavropol Region Court), Sergei Pavlov (Chairman of the Municipal Property Committee of Essentuki), Angelina Ivanova (Deputy Head of the Legal Department of Pyatigorsk City Hall), Roman Dyakov (Partner, Mitra National Legal Firm).
During the second part of the roundtable, the participants listened to the online broadcast of one of the Forum’s key events, the lecture given by Valery Zorkin, Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, entitled Urgent Questions of Constitutional Development in Russia, transmitted live from the General Staff Building of the State Hermitage.
Summing up the roundtable, the participants noted its significance for the regional legal community, the relevance of the issues discussed, and excellent organization of the Pyatigorsk event.
As the host of this event, organized under SPILF auspices in the Federal District of Northern Caucasus, Mitra National Law Firm sees it as its mission to give all those interested across the region an opportunity to obtain the opinions of the leading lights of the legal profession on any of the pertinent subjects, and receive answers to some of the most complex and ambivalent questions of the application of law, as they say, first-hand.
Pepeliaev Group Law Offices
The Krasnoyarsk Office of Pepeliaev Group hosted a seminar on the Implementation of the OECD Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) in Court Practice. Early Results and Implications for Taxpayers on 19 May 2016.
Siberia CEO of Pepeliaev Group Yegor Lysenko, who moderated the seminar, made a report to explain what OECD’s Action Plan on BEPS is and how it impacts Russia’s tax dispute practice. The speaker highlighted the central idea of the BEPS action plan and its key bullet points. Mr. Lysenko devoted a section of his report to debunking the most widespread misconceptions about BEPS.
The seminar was attended by 30 listeners.
Following the BEPS seminar, the Krasnoyarsk Office of Pepeliaev Group set up an online broadcast of the SPILF roundtable «Action Against Tax Abuse through the Medium of International Treaties. The RF Federal Taxation Service Approach and International Experience». The roundtable was moderated by Sergey Arakelov, deputy chief of the Federal Taxation Service of Russia.
Puchkov & Partners Law Offices
A pianist is playing an Edvard Grieg piece on a 19th-century grand piano amid antique furniture, toys and books. The guests arrive and take their seats. The legal seminar entitled The Sacral Space of a Museum. The Criminal Law Aspect begins at the Poklevsky-Kozell Mansion, which is now an exhibition centre. In the audience, legal professionals have been joined by Yekaterinburg museum staff. Museum scholar Svetlana Korepanova admits she has come across many imperfections in museum law in her 25 years of museum work. For example, there is no law to regulate scientific research on museum exhibits, and no law on the museum business in general.
Natalia Vetrova, CEO of Sverdlovsk Regional Museum, gives a greeting address as the seminar begins. It is notable that the seminar entitled The Sacral Space of a Museum. Territory of Culture took place on May 18, World Museum Day.
Tatyana Kondrashova, Candidate Doctor of Law, bemoans the imperfections of the Museum Assets Act, saying that some of its clauses are mutually contradictory, while others say the same things twice. There has to be a common concept for penal law to effectively protect cultural assets, Kondrashova explains. In the meantime, the pertinent clauses are scattered across four chapters of the Penal Code. The scattered state of the legislation may indicate that the lawmakers are themselves not completely sure about what benefit of cultural assets comes first and, therefore, is first in line for protection: someone’s property title, state monopoly on certain acts relating to cultural assets, or the national cultural realm.
Denis Puchkov, Candidate Doctor of Law, maintains that conservation of cultural assets is as much a matter of law as it is a matter of public appreciation of culture. Puchkov cited some statistics which indicate that most Russians are indifferent to museum exhibits. When asked how they felt about museum theft, some interviewees replied that they didn’t care as long nothing was stolen from them personally, or said they had no time to think about such things. On the other hand, some market watchers testify that earnings on the antiques market are close to those in the oil and gas industry or even the market of illegal narcotics. If the statistics are to be believed, most museum thefts are perpetrated in complicity with museum employees, but the museum staff members present at the seminar resented that claim and the examples given in evidence. One of the museum staffers present said he had seen very few thefts in his more than 20 years of work, and all of them were pulled off by visitors.
The seminar at the Poklevsky-Kozell Mansion museum and exhibition centre was the first time museum workers and lawyers had a chance to discuss the legal framework of museum business face to face. The line-up of speakers included penal law gurus Ivan Kazachenko and Aleksander Mitin, Candidate Doctors of Law Tatyana Kondrashova, Denis Puchkov and Yulia Radosteva, and penal law professor Danil Sergeyev. Mr. Sergeyev used the “before and after” photos of Palmyra, Syria, to make his point about the preciousness of cultural assets: historic landmarks and museum exhibits expose us to the distant past and thus enrich our mind.
Economic Court of the Commonwealth of Independent States
A roundtable on the subject of Modern Trends in International Justice within the Post-Soviet Environment was held in Minsk, Belarus, on 19 May 2016 as part of the 6th St. Petersburg International Legal Forum.
The roundtable, hosted by the Economic Court of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), was attended by international judiciary officials, members of the judiciary bodies of the Republic of Azerbaijan, government officials of Belarus, and scholars from a number of think-tanks and educational institutions of Belarus and Russia.
The roundtable addressed the current operating agenda of the CIS Economic Court and the Court of the Eurasian Economic Community and discussed the outlook for international justice in the post-Soviet environment.
In her greeting address to the participants of the roundtable, CIS Economic Court Chair Liudmila Kamenkova noted that the CIS Economic Court, which has existed for 24 years, has made and continues to make a meaningful contribution to the shaping up and betterment of the legal framework of the Commonwealth of Independent States, assuring the uniform enforcement of the provisions of the international treaties, which constitute the contractual legal framework of the CIS.
In her report, Evelina Nagornaya, a judge of the CIS Economic Court, briefly narrated the history, reasons and purposes of the CIS Economic Court, sharing the probable modernization guidelines for the Economic Court and plans for a possible enlargement of its mandate. She noted that the CIS Economic Court has processed 123 cases and 520 petitions from individuals and corporations since it was established, which indicates that the CIS Economic Court is viewed by citizens and legal entities as a reliable assistant in matters of interpretation of CIS treaties.
Elena Dovgan of MITSO International University presented an overview of the options for the amicable resolution of international disputes related to security matters in the post-Soviet environment. She concluded that no systems currently exist in the post-Soviet environment, dedicated to the administration of justice in international security disputes, with the exception of the diplomatic means of dispute resolution and third-party arrangements (good offices, mediation and fact-finding). On the other hand, she believes there is a range of outstanding issues that require the compulsory involvement of international courts or tribunals to be resolved. There exist, inter alia, political disputes, territorial disputes, disputes over the interpretation and application of the provisions of the international treaties for sustainable peace and security, disputes over the status and mandate of the employees of the international organizations dedicated to the support of internecine peace and security, and issues pertaining to the prosecution of peacekeepers and members of other international missions.
Kirill Entin, analytical advisor to the Secretariat of the Court of the Eurasian Economic Community (EAEC), informed the roundtable about the work of the EAEC Court, established in 2015. In his presentation, Mr. Entin noted that “so far, only a relatively small number of persons are aware of the option to refer to the EAEC Court and the procedures involved. In fact, this is true for the legal community in general, not just companies and entrepreneurs. There is always a degree of distrust initially when a new remedy-at-law is established. It is, therefore, highly important for the EAEC Court at this stage to earn a reputation as a professional, independent and effective judicial authority.”
One of the crucial tasks set for the EAEC Court is to build effective dialogue with the national courts. Unless the national courts accept the practice, generated by the EAEC Court, it will not be possible to assure the uniform application of EAEC law. Given the absence of a prejudicial procedure, this objective may be achieved, pursuant to Paragraph 49 of the Statute, by having the member states expand their lists of the bodies entitled to petition the EAEC Court for clarifications. It would also be helpful to set up a research advisory body under the EAEC Court, which would lead collaborative research projects with the supreme judiciaries of the EAEC member nations.
The challenges awaiting international justice in the post-Soviet environment may be divided into two clusters: legal (these are collisions arising from the fragmenting of international law, and collisions/dis-coordination between “regional international law” and the national law of the member nations), and non-legal (the successful advancement of regional justice is predicated on the socio-cultural context of the post-Soviet realm). These thoughts were shared by Ekaterina Deikalo, Dean of International Law at the State University of Belarus. “Accordingly,” she continued, “there are two levels of debating and finding solutions for the furtherance of international justice in the post-Soviet environment. Most of the problems in the legal cluster cannot be solved fully or effectively without addressing the “regional context” issue first.”
The advancement of international justice in the post-Soviet environment is, indeed, quite strongly impacted by socio-cultural context. This impact is manifested particularly in, and reflected by the changes in the mandate, powers and certain organizational procedures of the EAEC Court. To what extent and in what measure are the regional contexts able to affect the advancement of international justice in the post-Soviet environment? How far astray can they lead it from the universal trends in international justice? According to Ekaterina Deikalo, the answers to these questions will determine further guidelines and directions for international justice in the post-Soviet realm.
The issues raised by the presenters triggered lively debates among the participants, who shared their ideas and views on many different aspects that may characterize the progress of international justice in the post-Soviet environment going forward.
Concluding the event, Chair of the CIS Economic Court Liudmila Kamenkova thanked all those present for their active contributions and praised the successful and meaningful work of the participants of this roundtable.