Russian Federation - annual reports 2013

Länderbericht Russland 2013Working meeting on the “Role of local authority self-administration in regional development” in St. Petersburg

General – Conceptual orientation

Legal policy starting point

The starting situation is virtually unchanged in comparison to the previous year. There is still the "Act on NGOs", in accordance with which non-governmental organisations that are funded from foreign sources have to refer to themselves as "foreign agents". This however only has a limited impact on the specific work of the IRZ, particularly since the IRZ does not have its own local office. The problems in the context of the sets of criminal proceedings which were the subject of strong international criticism were alleviated for the moment towards the end of 2013 by the release of some of those concerned. The public protests from civil society appear to have abated somewhat. Changes in the judicial system of the Russian Federation are also significant for the work of the IRZ: The Supreme Court and the Supreme Commercial Court will be merging in mid-2014. The newly-formed Intellectual Property Court began work in mid-2013, and is likely to become a cooperation partner of the IRZ, also in cooperation with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

Cooperation to date

Cooperation with the Russian partners at all levels has been very strong for many years. An important role has also been played in the past two years by cooperation within the initiative on legal cooperation funded by the Federal Foreign Office within the German-Russian modernisation partnership. After the IRZ was able to accompany the civil and commercial law reforms for many years, and important reforms came into force such as the principle of "good faith", the modernisation of Russian civil and commercial law was also supported by the German side in 2013 by means of consultation. Specialist discussions in Bonn on property law as well as on selected questions of the law on obligations and of company law should also be particularly mentioned in this context. Cooperation on intellectual property was also intensified. To this end, a seminar took place in Moscow in the autumn of 2013 on copyright for representatives of the Intellectual Property Court and of the Research Centre of Private Law. Because of the considerable interest in stepping up cooperation with Germany, it would also be possible to evaluate this as a launching point for the abovementioned cooperation programme. The promotion of the practical application of peaceful dispute resolution methods took place in the context of a German-Russian conference "Business mediation in practice", which was organised by the IRZ together with the Chamber of Trade and Industry of the Russian Federation in Moscow. Cooperation on the law on notaries, the law on lawyers, the humanisation of the prison system, the refinement of the commercial courts, as well as basic and further training measures in other areas of the law, were also continued in 2013. Cooperation with the Russian Federation also works in the other direction when German legal experts seek information on Russian law, such as at specialist conferences held at the German Judicial Academy in Wustrau (2012, 2014) or during a study visit by German judges on questions of the Russian practice of e-justice.

Major partners

  • Supreme Court
  • Supreme Commercial Court
  • Research Centre of Private Law under the Russian President
  • Administration of the President of the Russian Federation
  • Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation
  • Law Academy at the Ministry of Justice
  • Federal Bar
  • Federal Chamber of Notaries
  • Federal Prison Service
  • Federal Bailiffs Service

Foci of activity in 2013

Civil and commercial law

  • Specialist discussions on the topic of property law as well as on selected questions of the law on obligations and company law for representatives of the Supreme Commercial Court and of the Research Centre of Private Law
  • Seminar on the topic of "Copyright and neighbouring rights – civil law liability for violation of exclusive rights on the Internet" in Moscow
  • German-Russian conference "Practice of business mediation" in Moscow • Seminar on insolvency law in Moscow for representatives of the commercial courts
  • Conference "Cooperation between notaries and bailiffs" in Moscow
  • Role-play on the law on the topic of "The law on prenuptial contracts in Russia and Germany" in the context of the German Week in St. Petersburg

Administration of justice

  • Participation at the international conference in Yekaterinburg on the topic of "Procedural forms and methods of dispute resolution"
  • International academic and practical conference entitled "Topical problems of enforcement against the debtor's assets: National approaches towards increasing the efficiency of enforcement" of the Federal Bailiffs Service of the RF in Yekaterinburg
  • Working meeting on simplified procedures at the Supreme Commercial Court in Moscow
  • Study visit on the topic of "E-justice and the use of audiovisual media in Russian court procedure" in Moscow
  • Roundtable on the topic of "Professional ethics for lawyers" in Berlin
  • International Lawyer's Forum "Lawyers as judges – a matter for the legal profession" in Berlin
  • Congress of notaries in St. Petersburg on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Russian system of freelance notaries
  • International conference of the Russian Federal Bar "The status of lawyers and the Bar" in St. Petersburg
  • Roundtable within the legal forum on the topic of "Cooperation between courts against the background of competition between jurisdictions: current challenges"
  • Joint conference between the Russian Federal Bar and the German Federal Bar in Moscow on questions of the "Safeguarding and quality of legal services"
  • Conference on the topic of "The law on notaries as a tool and guarantor for legal certainty" in Moscow
  • Study visit for representatives of the Supreme Commercial Court on the topic of "Self-administration of the courts and the senior judicial officer system" in Dresden

Public law

  • Participation by representatives from the Russian Federation at the international conference of the Judges' Associations in Astana on the topic of administrative justice
  • Specialist conference on the topic of "The role of local authority selfadministration in regional development" in St. Petersburg
  • Conference on the topic of "Modern local authority self-administration Boosting or impairing economic regional development?" in Perm

Criminal law and the law on the prison system

  • Working visit by a delegation from Bruchsal Prison on various topics related to the structure of the prison system as well as of a school and training systems to Lipetsk
  • International conference in Voronesh at the Institute of the Federal Prison Service on the topic of "Technology and security of the objects of the prison system"
  • Seminar and colloquium in Voronesh with students as well as lecturers of the Institute of the Federal Prison Service on selected topics related to the prison system

Basic and further training

  • Participation by representatives from the Russian Federation at the multilateral internship programme for legal experts, for the first time also from the administrative court

Outlook

The IRZ will continue its cooperation with the Russian partners and step it up in individual areas in 2014. This is likely to relate above all to the area of intellectual property. There are also plans to support the Russian Federation in the development of administrative courts. Furthermore, the IRZ will continue consultation on the modernisation of the Civil Code. Another information event will take place in the summer of 2014 on Russian law for German judges at the German Judicial Academy in Wustrau.

Russian Federation - annual report 2014

Länderbericht Russland 2014
Conference entitled “Introducing technical knowledge in patent procedures” in Moscow: Lyudmila Novoselova, President of the Court of Intellectual Property; Lyubov Kiriy, Acting Head of the Russian Patent Office (Rospatent); Oliver Schön, judge at Munich Regional Court; Stefan Göhre, judge at Frankfurt Higher Regional Court (left to right)

Strategic framework

Legal policy starting point

The framework has been made more difficult as a result of an open political conflict for the first time since the start of cooperation with the Russian Federation. Particularly in such a situation, it is important – and desired by the Federal Government – not to permit the dialogue to break down, and to maintain the intensive relations with the partners at operational level which have been developed over the years.

Certain reservations of a more formal nature can be observed in relation to the joint activities with the IRZ as a foreign organisation within the cooperation with the Russian partners. This however does not affect the factual openness in questions within the reform discussions.

A major development for the legal life of the Russian Federation in 2014 was the abolition of the Supreme Commercial Court, the jurisdiction of which was transferred to the new Supreme Court. It is still difficult to estimate at the moment whether this will impact the ongoing cooperation.

Furthermore, the reform of the Civil Code continues to be at the core of the discussion, and a clear focus was placed on the reform of property law in 2014. In this context, there was intensive discussion once more of the role of notaries in the conclusion of real estate transactions. An appropriate law, which provided for the mandatory involvement of a notary in contracts to purchase real estate, was not adopted. It is however anticipated that an Act will be adopted at the beginning of 2015 which will at least strengthen the function of notaries in real estate transactions.

Despite the political events, it has been possible to largely maintain the contacts with the long-term partners, so that it was possible to implement a number of events in the year under report, including within the further training programme on the promotion of rule-of-law structures – an initiative of the Federal Foreign Office.

Overall concept

The IRZ placed a clear focus in 2014 on cooperation in the field of industrial property rights. The cooperation that was initiated last year with the new court for intellectual property was successful, and amongst other things it was possible to win over the President of the Federal Patent Court to attend the international conference on trademark law and a subsequent seminar for judges. Parallel to this, the IRZ took up cooperation with the Russian patent lawyers.

The IRZ addressed civil law reform at several levels: The IRZ attended the International Legal Forum in St. Petersburg for the fourth time. The IRZ concentrated here amongst other things on questions related to property law and the participation of notaries in real estate transactions, and a roundtable was organised specifically for this. Moreover, further German experts recruited by the IRZ also attended other discussions. Further events were implemented on current civil law topics in cooperation with the Research Centre of Private Law.

Cooperation with the Federal Prison Service was continued in the area of prison work. Topics such as respect for human rights in prison, protection of these rights, adjustment to European standards, as well as questions related to prison service arrangements, remain topical, and will continue to be the focus of cooperation. Consultation with the Federal Bar of the Russian Federation continued in the tried-and-tested manner.

The IRZ has also supported for quite some time the strengthening of local self-government as a wellspring of democracy in the Russian Federation. It was able to work together for the first time with the Civil Initiatives Committee in this field, in which amongst others former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin is involved.

Foci of activity in 2014

Civil and commercial law

  • Specialist discussions in Moscow on copyright, patent and trademark law
  • International conference in Moscow entitled “Granting and repealing trademark protection: Problems in theory and practice”
  • Further training seminar in Moscow on trademark law for judges of the Court for Intellectual Property
  • German-Russian roundtable in St. Petersburg entitled “Property, other rights in rem and modern asset transactions” within the Legal Forum
  • Study visit to Munich for Russian patent lawyers (within the initiative of the Federal Foreign Office)
  • Conference in Moscow entitled “Introduction of technical knowledge in patent proceedings” and subsequent judges’ seminar (within the initiative of the Federal Foreign Office)
  • Seminar in Moscow entitled “Registration of legal entities” (within the initiative of the Federal Foreign Office)
  • German-Russian roundtable in Moscow entitled “Problems in legislation in the field of property law” (within the initiative of the Federal Foreign Office)

Administration of justice

  • Study visit to Düsseldorf and Cologne on “Electronic legal transactions, focus on the protection of personal data” for judges of the Supreme Commercial Court
  • Roundtable in St. Petersburg on lawyers’ fees in Berlin
  • Conference entitled “Bailiffs and notaries: rights and duties in Russia and in Germany” within the German Week
  • Seminar in Wustrau entitled “The Russian judiciary and the Russian court system”

Public law

  • Conference in Moscow entitled “Current models of local self-government: design, practical experience, development perspectives” (within the initiative of the Federal Foreign Office)

Criminal law

  • Conference in St. Petersburg on commercial criminal law
  • Working visit to Lipetsk and Voronezh by a delegation from Bruchsal Prison
  • Working visit to Düsseldorf by representatives of the prison service and of the Institute at the Federal Prison Service of Voronezh region on the topic of “Practice and theory of the prison system in Germany”

Basic and further training

  • Internship for lawyers (partly within the initiative of the Federal Foreign Office)
  • Internship for notaries (partly within the initiative of the Federal Foreign Office)

Outlook

In 2015, the IRZ would like to increase cooperation with lawyers, as well as with notaries, whose work forms an important link between the judiciary and civil society. Furthermore, the IRZ is planning consultation in the context of the modernisation of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation. It is to be continued in cooperation with the Research Centre of Private Law and the Association of Lawyers. Cooperation with the new Supreme Court is to be recommenced where possible. Further priorities will be on the exchange with the Court for Intellectual Property, the introduction of an administrative court, pre-litigation administrative procedure, the quality of coercive execution, strengthening local self-government, as well as the humanisation of the prison system.

As far as possible, and depending on political developments going forward, the IRZ would also like in 2015 to make its contribution towards consolidating and strengthening the rule of law, together with the Russian partners.