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8.1. Justice and Equity in the Civil Law

Wednesday, May 16
15:00 - 17:00

Hall #2, General Staff Building (6-8, Dvortsovaya sq.)

To speak of fairness is much like speaking of the concepts of good and evil or of the purpose of life. A single, universally acceptable definition is hardly attainable. Life’s events have a tendency of making adjustments to the declared shared values. In the meantime, the concept of fairness or equity, filled largely with moral/ethical and ideological content, has found its reflection in constitutional law and many other legal fields, including civil law and commercial/business law.  

While there is no definition of ‘fairness’ in the corpus of law, and the term ‘fair’ remains purely estimative, invocations of fairness occur in court rulings with increasing frequency. How should the sense of fairness (the “spirit of law”) impact on understanding and application of specific provisions (the “letter of law”)? How does the social-philosophical concept of fairness become adapted to fit the method of civil and commercial law? Lawyers will ask the same question they have asked for ages: What are the criteria? And where is this written?   

It can be argued that different concepts of the meaning of “equitable judgment” could be reconciled by means of a caveat to the effect that, where the literal interpretation of a specific provision of law leads to a manifestly unfair decision, then another tool for interpretation of such provision should be sought. It would be fair to so allocate the positive and negative implications between the parties to the civil or entrepreneurial legal relationship in question, should the actual extent to which these parties are able to control (or influence) a likelihood of meeting their interests (the “Risk Doctrine”) is accounted for.     

We will undertake to find answers to these and other questions in conjunction with Russian and international legal scholars, philosophers, sociologists and practitioners, who will be joined by representatives of the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court and the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation.

Detailed program of the discussion session is available here.


Andrey Bushev

Associate Professor of Business Law Department of the St. Petersburg State University, Judge Ad Hoc of the European Court of Human Rights


Ivan Mikirtumov

Professor of Logic Department, St. Petersburg State University

Yuri Veselov

Professor of Economic Sociology Department, St.Petersburg State University

Gadis Gadzhiev

Judge, Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation

Irina Bukina

Judge, Supreme Court of the Russian Federation

Aleksandr Konovalov

Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation

Maurizio Lupoi

President, Trust Court of the Republic of San Marino

Nicholas Allard

President and Dean, Brooklyn Law School


Education, Working Experience:

2012 – till present – Dean, Brooklyn Law School;

At present – Partner, Patton Boggs;

1986 – 1987 – Administrative assistant and Chief of staff to the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan;

1984 – 1986 – Minority staff counsel, Senate Committee on the Judiciary, legal counsel to Senator Edward Kennedy;

Law clerk for Chief U.S. District Judge Robert F. Peckham, San Francisco, Law clerk for U.S. Circuit Judge Patricia M. Wald, Washington, D.C.

1979 – J.D., Yale Law School;

1976 – B.A./M.A., Oxford University;

1974 – B.A., Princeton University.

Additional information:

Nick Allard became the eighth dean of Brooklyn Law School on July 1, 2012. His continuing role as a partner with Patton Boggs will be focused primarily in the offices in New York City and Washington, D.C. His clients included domestic and international organizations, ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies. He also represents nonprofit organizations and public and private universities. In addition to his experience in private practice, Mr. Allard has significant political and legislative experience

Mr. Allard is a prolific author on a broad range of issues, including more than 20 articles on Internet law, new media and privacy. He contributes to and is on the advisory board of several legal publications, including the Hastings Communication and Entertainment Law Journal and the Shidler Center’s e-journal, Journal of Law, Technology & Art, at the University of Washington School of Law. Mr. Allard also speaks frequently before professional and academic audiences throughout the United States and abroad

Mr. Allard taught for several years as an adjunct professor at both George Mason University Law School and the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business. He is a frequent guest lecturer on university and college campuses and holds several major alumni leadership positions at Princeton University, Oxford University and the Rhodes Scholarship Trust.

Ricardo Lorenzetti

Chief Justice, Chairman of the Supreme Court of Justice of Argentina – an Interim

* The Programme may be subject to change