Summary Proceedings


Up to 40% of all business disputes will be resolved in a summary proceeding if the draft law, already adopted by the State Duma in the first reading, gets approved.

The bill has been proposed by the Supreme Commercial Court aiming to relieve judges ‘from small and insignificant’ cases. According to the chairman of the court Anton Ivanov the caseload on commercial courts is 'prohibitive'. For example, a judge of the Moscow Commercial Court considers about 100 cases a month.

As the law stands today, certain disputes can be considered in a simplified way, prompter and without hearings. In practice, however, this hardly ever happens: a dispute can be tried summarily only with the consent of both parties, and the other party almost never agrees. The new law is going to deprive the defendant of the right to oppose summary proceedings, and the scope of cases to which it can be applied is to be significantly widened.

At the moment, a summary proceeding is possible for miniature suits: between companies for up to 20,000 roubles ($670) and between sole traders for up to 2,000 roubles ($67). The new law will raise the threshold to 300,000 roubles ($10,000) for organizations and to 100,000 roubles ($3,500) for independent contractors. In addition, a simplified proceeding will apply to collection of taxes and fines for up to 100,000 roubles.

Summary proceedings take place without the parties appearing in person; a judge builds his/her decision on the basis of the evidence and documents submitted by mail. All documents will be posted on the court’s website so that only the parties to the case are able to access them. For this, all paper documents will be scanned.

Decisions will be speedily enforced. The time for appeal will be reduced to ten days.

Many members of Parliament do not support the bill. They worry that small businesses, the main recipients of the simplified system and the electorate too, will suffer. Alexei Mitrofanov of the Liberal Democratic Party called the law ‘political’. 'The Supreme Commercial Court will get lesser caseload, and we’ll get angry voters’, he said.

In response, Anton Ivanov said that the only alternative to a summary proceeding is the collapse of the court system. If Parliament does not approve the bill, he warned, 'judges will be considering disputes by the science-based standards, 15-17 cases per mo