Saint Petersburg International Legal Forum 2018: Round-Up

Gerard David

The Judgement of Cambyses, 1498

Saint Petersburg International Legal Forum 2018: Round-Up

On 15-19 May 2018, the VIII Saint-Petersburg International Legal Forum took place. This year, SPILF has gathered more than 4000 delegates from 90 countries, including the team of the Russian Arbitration Center.

16 May 2018

Constitution, Public Element and the Freedom to Choose Arbitration: How Far-Reaching Is the Jurisdiction of State Courts?

The first day of the business program of SPILF 2018 started with the interdisciplinary workshop organized by the Law Faculty of the Higher School of Economics, with the support of EPAM law firm and the Russian Arbitration Center.

The discussion focused on the arbitrability of disputes arising out of corporate procurement under the Federal Law No. 223-FZ. The panelists discussed to which extent it was possible to limit the arbitrability of disputes, that is provided by law, due to the certain public elements of dispute, as well as which approach the court practice shall adopt.

The panel of speakers comprised: Roman Bevzenko (Pepeliaev Group), Andrey Panov (Norton Rose Fulbright), Andrey Rybalov (Private Law Directorate at the Constitutional Court of Russia), Ekaterina Smirnova (Yakovlev & Partners), Yuliy Tay (Bartolius). The moderator of the discussion was Dmitry Stepanov (Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners).

The recording is available at the Youtube channel of the Russian Arbitration Center.

Plenary Session ‘Future of the Legal Profession’

During the plenary session, Russian Prime Minister mentioned the protection of human rights and enhancing the authority of law as the main goals for legal professionals. Dmitri Medvedev pointed out that the recent arbitration reform played an important role in achieving these goals  and ensured that  arbitration in Russia meets the highest international standards. As a result of the reform, Russian jurisdiction got rid of bad-faith corporate and so-called “pocket” arbitration courts and created an effective instrument for protecting entrepreneurs’ rights.
The Prime Minister could not help mentioning the growing importance of new technologies in law and the digitization of entire sectors of the economy. “This makes crucially important to prepare a future generation of lawyers capable to face completely new challenges” – said Dmitri Medvedev. In this regard, Prime Minister praised the HSE student team’s victory in Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot.

Francis Xavier (Rajah&Tann, Singapore, listed in RAC International Arbitration Database) shared a Singaporean point of view on the influence of new technologies on law. Francis said that blockchain technology itself is reliable and fraudproof, but pure blockchain has a really limited application in real life. Smart contracts, as a separate technology based on blockchain, broaden its scope of application and link it to a non-digital world. However smart contracts are not as reliable as blockchain and not fraudproof – the software can be hacked and smart contracts need information input from outside of the chain.
Francis concluded that code cannot yet replace human lawyers, as only they can solve the problems and resolve the disputes which arise from imperfection of new technologies.

Modern Arbitration: LIVE. Discussing Arbitration in a Comparative Perspective

Another seminar from the series of discussions “Modern Arbitration: LIVE. Discussing Arbitration in a Comparative Perspective” took place as a satellite event of SPILF, and focused on the topic “How to Combat “Due Process Paranoia” in International Arbitration: Perspectives of Counsels, Arbitrators and Arbitral Institutions”.

The issue of due process paranoia, that has become one of the most topical and hot issues in international arbitration practice, was addressed from three perspectives, with Prof. Mohamed Abdel Wahab (Zulficar & Partners, Egypt) acting as a stellar moderator of the event.

Aliona Bitkivskaja (SIAC, Singapore) and James Menz (DIS, Cologne) presented the perspectives of arbitral institutions regarding this problem. The views of arbitrators were voiced by Eva Kalnina (Levy Kaufmann-Kohler, Geneva) and Christer Söderlund (Morssing&Nycander, Stockholm). Also, Manuel P Bautista (King&Spalding, Singapore) and Vasily Kuznetsov (Kuznetsov, Marisin & Partners, Moscow) touched upon the positions of counsels with regard to due process paranoia concerns.

The co-organizer of the seminar is International and Comparative Law Research Center.

The recording is available at the Youtube channel of the Russian Arbitration Center.

Andrey Gorlenko Is Among the Winners of the Award “GQ Code”

The award ceremony for the winners of the award “GQ Code” took place in Saint Petersburg Academic State Capella. The expert committee, together with the editors of GQ, closely followed the lives of 30 prominent Russian lawyers in order to determine the winners for 10 nominations.

Andrey Gorlenko, Executive Administrator at the Russian Arbitration Center, received a prize in the nomination “Missionary” for the promotion and development of arbitration and ADR all over Russia.

Among other nominees were Olga Voytovich (Vice-President of legal department and member of board of directors at Interros) and Ruslan Ibragimov (Vice-President for Corporate and Legal Affairs at MTS PJSC).

More details are available at GQ website.

17 May 2018

Investment Arbitration: How to Ensure Fair Play between Foreign Investors and Host States?

The Russian Arbitration Center organized a discussion session on the most topical issues of international investment law and arbitration.

The first speaker, Mohamed Abdel Wahab (Zulficar & Partners, Egypt) produced an in-depth analysis of the recent reform and reconfiguration of the ISDS system.

Further, Francis Xavier SC (Rajah & Tann, Singapore) underlined the particularities of investment arbitration in Asia, while Aljona Bitkivskaya (SIAC, Singapore) highlighted the importance of the SIAC rules on investment arbitration.

Eric Bloom (Winston&Strawn, USA), shared his views on Chevron v. Ecuador saga. Brigitte Stern (independent arbitrator, France) and Christer Soderlund (Morssing & Nycander AB, Sweden) analysed the balance between the rights of investors and States’ regulatory powers.

Eva Kalnina (Levy Kaufmann-Kohler, Switzerland) scrutinized how to balance confidentiality and transparency in investment disputes. Maksim Kulkov (Kulkov, Kolotilov & Partners, Russia) summarized the discussion by answering the provocative question whether investment arbitration is worth it or not.

Anna Kozmenko (Schellenberg Wittmer, Switzerland) moderated the discussion.

The photos and video are available at SPILF website.

From War to Peace! Modern Trends of the Judicial Practice Development in the Field of Amicable Settlement Agreements and Other Conciliation Procedures

Andrey Gorlenko participated in the session on the current trends in amicable settlement agreements and other conciliation procedures, where he analysed the so-called “Med-Arb” agreements that provide for mediation procedure before initiating arbitration of dispute.

Andrey Gorlenko also described the possibility of resorting to mediation or negotiations during an arbitration. If these procedures are successful, an arbitral tribunal may confirm the settlement agreement in the form of a consent award, e.g., in accordance with Articles 54-55 of the RIMA Arbitration Rules. Also, the amount of arbitration fee decreases by 25% as follows from Article 8 of the Rules on Arbitration Fees and Arbitration Costs of RIMA.

In conclusion, Andrey Gorlenko underlined the possibility for the disputing parties to resort to arbitration, while deciding their dispute in state courts. This ensures confidentiality and allows for a more efficient mediation with a possibility to confirm the settlement agreement in the form of a consent award.

The session was moderated by Elena Demina (Delcredere Attorneys-at-Law).

The photos and video are available at SPILF website.

Arbitration Food Truck Is Back on Legal Street!

This year, in the run-up to the World Cup 2018, Food Truck “Cape Kron” was stylized to the football design. The guests of Legal Street treated themselves to traditional football fast food from all over the world: hot dogs, curry wurst, falafel, crispy vareniki and house style shkots.

18 May 2018

So starts the game!

The Arbitration Battle 2.0: Team Russia v. Team World took place on 18 May.

The event happened in the format of mock arbitral proceedings, where the teams of Russian and foreign lawyers presented their case in a dispute related to the construction of football stadium “Cormoran Arena” during the preparation for the World Cup 2018.

The Claimant’s case was presented by the team Russia, comprising captain of the team Elena Trusova (Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner Russia), Evgeny Raschevsky (EPAM), Ilya Rachkov (Nektorov, Saveliev and Partners). The Respondent’s case was argued by the team World that involved Clemens Trauttenberg (Wolf Theiss), Steven Finizzio (WilmerHale) and Anna Kozmenko (Schellenberg Wittmer).

The arbitral tribunal comprised Yulia Zagonek (White & Case), Francis Xavier SC (Rajah & Tann Asia) and presiding arbitrator Stefan Wilskie (Gleiss Lutz).

Both teams presented to the arbitral tribunal unexpected evidence, and were generally creative in their approaches to arbitration. As a result of the Arbitration Battle, the arbitrators adjudged the victory on the jurisdictional issues to the team Russia, and praised bright performance of the counsels, as well as surprise witnesses (who were presented by the lawyers of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner – Rimma Malinskaya, Counsel, Dispute Resolution/Arbitration practice, and Aleksander Erasov, Counsel, head of Tax disputes Group). The arbitrators also gave positive feedback regarding the issues on the merits of the dispute to the team World.

The photos and video are available at SPILF website.