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Law As the Art of War

Experts of the IX St. Petersburg International Legal Forum discussed challenges of law enforcement as a tool of war.

The talk show was moderated by Konstantin Dobrynin, State Secretary & Vice President of the Russian Federal Bar, and Russian journalist Anton Kuznetsov-Krasovskiy, Special Adviser on Media Relations, Pen & Paper Attorneys at Law. The discussion was participated by Anton Ivanov, Academic Adviser at the Faculty of Law, Higher School of Economics, Anton Imennov, Managing Partner at Pen & Paper Attorneys at Law, Andrey Klishas, Chairman of the Federation Committee on Constitutional Legislation and Statebuilding, Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, Kendall Coffey, Partner at Coffey Burlington, Christopher Meyer, Director at Svoboda Corporation, Yuriy Pilipenko, President of the Russian Federal Chamber of Lawyers.

In his opening remarks moderator Konstantin Dobrynin noted that law is a most perfect and reasonable form of war ever invented by human civilization. Discussion co-moderator Anton Kuznetsov-Krasovskiy added that the more lawyers are retrospectively engaged in historic events, the greater the number of wars. According to attorney Anton Ivanov, in law the presence of war or its share is determined by the social situation and not law itself. ‘I have always believed that amid a war waged in law, law goes second. The state of the society comes first’, he added.

To Andrey Klishas, law is a tool that can be used both to wage wars and to agree on the rules of living in peace. ‘This is the advantage of law. Having some rules is better than not to have any’, he noted.

In their discussion on law enforcement as a tool of war the participants referred to civil disputes turning into criminal prosecution, including in corporate law. Yuriy Pilipenko called upon the legal community to maintain global legal order. ‘I remember that my fellow attorneys dealing with a corporate dispute were determined to report it to the police. I would like to urge you never to refute to this method. You will destroy the global legal order, whether on purpose or not. Don’t be tempted! You won’t make your karma any better. Though amid war, let’s use law’, he added.

Anton Ivanov noted that the issue of criminal prosecution is challenged by the very structure of the criminal system. ‘Any case can be reported to criminal investigators. This is how our penitentiary system works. The problem lies with how the penitentiary system works – and not civil cases considered as criminal ones instead’, he added.

Deliberating on the policy of courts dealing with different disputes, Kendall Coffey, Partner at Coffey Burlington, shared his view on the structure of American system of justice. ‘No ideal courts exist; politics sometimes interferes in the process even at the level of the Supreme Court. Overall, however, American judges are trying to arrive at the right ruling, may it not be the ideal one’, he reported. Christopher Meyer, Director at Svoboda Corporation, referred to his own experience of working as a prosecutor and agreed with Kendall Coffey.

To conclude the discussion moderator Konstantin Dobrynin expressed his hope that in the future the topic for discussion will be formulated as ‘Law As the Art of Peace’, instead of ‘Law As the Art of War’.

St. Petersburg Legal Forum takes place 14 to 18 May, 2019 in the Eastern wing of the General Staff Building, State Hermitage.  SPBILF is supported by the Russian Federation President and organized by the Ministry of Justice of Russian Federation.