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Comments on ruling No. 821 of the Presidiums of the Russian Supreme Court and Council of Judges of 8 April 2020 (as amended on 29 April 2020)

  • Russia

    05-05-2020

    On 28 April 2020, the Russian President issued Decree No. 294 On Prolonging Measures To Ensure Sanitary and Epidemiological Wellbeing of the Population in the Russian Federation due to the Spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). The following day the Russian Supreme Court (the "Supreme Court") updated its earlier clarifications in ruling No. 821 of 8 April 2020 (the "Clarifications") with amendments to paragraph 5 and new paragraph 5.1.[1]

    Under paragraph 5 of the Clarifications, as amended, courts are advised to hear cases specified in paragraphs 3 and 4 of the Clarifications using videoconference and/or web-conference systems, taking into account the Supreme Court's experience, and subject to not only technical availability, but also the opinions of the participants in the proceedings. To participate in such hearings, the participants in the proceedings shall submit a motion to the court, which shall be supported by electronic copies of the documents confirming their identity and authority.

    It is emphasized, firstly, that the opinions of the participants in the proceedings should be taken into account before any decision is made to hear the case turning to either of the formats above and, secondly, web-conference systems are a good alternative to videoconference systems when it comes to hearing cases.

    However, the wording of paragraph 5 of the Clarifications ("subject to the opinions of the participants in the proceedings") suggests that the court will ultimately decide on whether to use the systems above or not at its own discretion. This approach of the Supreme Court seems appropriate, considering the ever-changing epidemiological situation, as well as the risk that the participants in the proceedings may abuse their procedural rights and interfere with the hearing, taking into account the urgent and exceptional nature of the cases under consideration.

    New paragraph 5.1 of the Clarifications compels courts to comply with the guidelines established by the Russian Chief State Sanitary Doctor and regional high-alert regimes, including social distancing. This provision, in our opinion, duplicates regulations, which already exist.


    [1] Please refer to our Effect of the Coronavirus on Contractual Relations and Statute of Limitations alert for a more detailed discussion of the previous edition of the Clarifications, published on our website on 27 April 2020, available at https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/global/en/what/articles/index.page?ArticleID=en/coronavirus/Coronavirus_-_Effect_of_the_coronavirus_on_contractual_relations_-_Russia

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