On Summary Proceedings in Commercial Courts

Russian Parliament has adopted in the first reading a draft law on the expansion of the summary proceedings in commercial courts. Alexander Muranov and Ludmila Baleevskih from Muranov, Chernyakov & Partners discuss the draft law.

Speaking at a meeting on the improvement of the work of commercial courts last November the Russian President stressed the need to reduce the workload of judges. One such measure is the long-discussed increase of the number of cases that could be considered under a simplified procedure. Not long afterwards the relevant bill was introduced.

In March 2011, the Plenum of the Supreme Commercial Court of the Russian Federation designed and sent to the State Duma a draft law on the expansion of the summary proceedings in commercial courts (‘On Amendments to the Code of Procedure in Commercial Courts of the Russian Federation and the Second Part of the Tax Code of the Russian Federation in Connection with the Improvement of Summary Proceedings’).

The idea at the heart if this bill is that typical "simple" cases with a relatively small amount of claim (up to 300,000 roubles ($12,000) for legal entities and to 100,000

roubles ($4,000), for entrepreneurs) which do not require witnesses or experts to be called to court or the study of evidence outside the courtroom should be resolved in a simplified way without hearings.

We admit that the proposed changes will reduce the burden on judges to some extent by reducing the time needed to review certain categories of cases and by allowing greater flexibility to judges in scheduling the examination of the cases.

However it is important that the reduction of the burden on judges does not occur at the expense of justice.

The attitude to summary proceedings in Russia has been very cautious as is clearly shown by the statistics. Over the past five years the number of cases considered in a simplified way has declined almost nine and a half times.

This is largely due to the fact that the simplified procedure, as the practice has demonstrated, does not guarantee a complete and comprehensive review of a case in compliance with all the principles of justice, including the adversary character of the process and the equality of the parties.

The simplification and expedition of procedure should not occur at the expense of the ‘quality’ of justice. The resolution of cases, even typical ones, should not turn into a conveyor – this is what must be remembered by judges.

Only when these conditions are followed will the simplified procedure become popular in Russia.

Muranov, Chernyakov & Partners

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