To even consider the Russian system as 'working' is farcical

Good Day,

It concerns me when I read the opinion of Sergey Matyunin, editor of Russian Law Online [the article is here].

The maxim that Justice must not only be done but be seen to be done is such a fundamental aspect of English Common Law as to rarely if ever be questioned. While still revisited in current cases when the issue arises, the maxim has been upheld over and over again to ensure that the public has confidence in the Law and that there is no real or even perceived bias, undue influence or even corruption in the Legal System.

The fact that Sergey Matyunin cannot understand how fundamental this point is to the Law tells me that he doesn’t grasp what a respected and working legal system looks like. To even consider the Russian system as “working” is farcical and, truly, beyond belief.

I doubt there would be any foreign investment in Russia without recourse to the Courts of Western Europe or the UK where the Rule of Law is respected and followed strictly. The gift to the world from the UK was the English Common Law system and the Rule of Law. Without it or a derivative thereof, a country cannot be considered a “civil society” where one’s fundamental human rights are protected.

C. Bryce Code, esq.
Calgary, Canada




Writing about Russia is indeed a treacherous venture: Russians call you a Russophobe while the Westerners, the Kremlin’s propagandist. There are many problems in Russian justice system – who would deny that? – and we write about them a lot (see, for instance here or here or here). Yet to say that it does not exist is by far an oversimplification.

On a deeper level, it seems it is being suggested that Russians should abandon their wrenching legal system and join, in some magical way, the laws of more developed countries. Is that what Russia should do? And, more importantly, can it be done?

Foreign investments, of course, are very important. We, in RussianLawOnline.Com, believe that the more Western entrepreneurs work in Russia the better. Still, should we consider foreign investments as something that trumps everything else and sacrifice our attempts to revitalise the law and order in our country for the dubious benefits of submitting it to the laws of some other nation?

As lawyers, we would like to believe that money do not go to places where the rule of law is not followed. This appeases our ego with the sense of grandeur and dignity. Yet the reality is, to our greatest regret, that investments go after the profit which does not exclude the most tyrannical and despicable regimes. The relationship between money and law is not of quantity but of quality. Russia needs better laws not because it needs investments per se but to improve the quality of life and work, which includes better investments.

Sergey Matyunin