The Russian Supreme Court has extended the restrictions concerning the work of courts until 11 May 2020 and has recommended holding court sessions online

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Order No. 294 of the Russian President dated 28 April 2020 has established non-working days in the period between 6 May and 8 May 2020.

Further to this order, the Resolution of the Russian Supreme Court’s Praesidium and of the Russian Judicial Panel’s Praesidium dated 29 April 2020 has made changes to the previously published joint Resolution dated 8 April 2020 establishing restrictions concerning the work of courts.

Thus, the established restrictions concerning the work of courts have been extended until 11 May 2020 inclusive (clause 4 of the Resolution dated 29 April 2020).

Therefore, until the specified date: the restrictions regarding personal appointments with citizens in courts continue to be in force; documents should be submitted via electronic systems or by mail; and the examination of cases and the holding of court sessions are possible only in specific cases.

However, the Resolution dated 29 April 2020 has extended the options for holding court sessions.

Clause 2 of the Resolution dated 29 April 2020 (which amends clause 5 of the Resolution dated 8 April 2020) recommends that the courts examine cases not only by using a video-conferencing system, but also the web-conferencing system, provided that there is a technical possibility of doing so and taking into account the opinions of the parties to the court proceedings.

The first session using the web-conferencing system was held on 28 April 2020 at the Commercial Court for the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District[1]. For this purpose, the parties submitted the relevant motions via the My Arbitrator system. The session was held with the parties to the court proceedings using personal video broadcasting devices after having undergone authorisation on the commercial court’s website.

Both the judges and the parties to the proceedings have acknowledged that the experience was a success.

What to think about and what to do

The above clarification of the Russian Supreme Court not only makes it possible to renew the holding of full-scale court proceedings (which requires that the parties submit the relevant motions and fulfil other requirements for identifying the parties, providing evidence, etc.), but also provides the opportunity for the parties to the proceedings to exercise their rights in the future.

It is obvious that the restrictions will continue to affect the possibility of holding court proceedings in person for a long time. Even after the restrictions have been gradually lifted by the constituent entities of Russia, the holding of court proceedings in person may still be hampered by the requirements for the citizens arriving from individual constituent entities of Russia (from Moscow, in particular) to comply with the self-isolation regime for 14 days, which will prevent representatives arriving from other regions from taking part in the sessions.

In addition, such representatives may be unable to use the video-conferencing system, since for such purpose the representative is required to be present in the building where the court is located. If in individual regions restrictions on access to the courts continue to be in force, a representative from such regions will not be allowed to participate either.

Pepeliaev Group’s specialists are ready to provide assistance with organising online sessions in all courts and to provide complex legal support in court proceedings in commercial courts and courts of general jurisdiction of all levels, including when restrictions are in force. They will provide advice on any issues of conducting court cases that may arise in connection with the spread of the coronavirus infection.

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