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Recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in the Russian Federation
Khristofor Ivanyan, Partner
Step-by-step plan
Step 1 – Overview of enforcement procedure in RussiaStep 2 – Identifying applicable rulesStep 3 – General requirements for recognition and enforcementStep 4 – Possible objections against recognitionStep 5 – Procedural issues
Overview of enforcement procedure
Enforcement
Enforcement by judge
Enforcement by bailiff
Bailiffs– officers of theFederal Bailiffs Servicewith broad powers,inter alia, to summon persons, to make enquiries, to search for property and persons, to impose restrictions on property and persons, to exact the property.
Liability for non-obedience to the bailiffs’ orders:
penalty of 7% of the amounts that are to be recovered
fine of up to 50 000 roubles (20 000 for individuals)
fine of up to 70 000 roubles (20 000 for individuals)
Overview of enforcement procedure limits
Time limits
The proceedings may be initiated within3 years
The enforcement must be completed within2 months
Territorial limits
Enforcement actions can be bindingwithin the territory of the Russian Federation
Garnishmentapplies only to the debtorssituated within the Russian Federationunless a treaty provides otherwise
Limits as to the types of property
No exceptions as to the types of property
Certain property necessary for the day-to-day survival of an individual and certain purpose funds of an organisation can be non-attachable
Limits as to the types of property
No veil piercing is allowed on the enforcement stage
Step-by-step plan
Step 1 – Overview of enforcement procedure in RussiaStep 2 – Identifying applicable rulesStep 3 – General requirements for recognition and enforcementStep 4 – Possible objections against recognitionStep 5 – Procedural issues
Identifying applicable rules
According to the article 15(4) of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, itsinternational commitments prevail over federal laws.Thus the principle choice of the applicable rules will be between the laws of the Russian Federation and the treaties.
1. As far as we know, thebilateral treatieswith the following countries are at the moment in force for the Russian Federation:Azerbaijan, Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Belorussia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Vietnam, Greece, Egypt, Iraq, Spain, Iran, Italy, Yemen, Cyprus, China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Cuba, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Mongolia, Poland, Romania, Tunis, Finland (family and inheritance matters), Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia, Serbia, Macedonia.
2. Themultilateral treatiesto which the Russian Federation participates providing for the recognition of foreign court judgments are the two following CIS instruments:Convention on legal assistance and legal relations in civil, family and criminal matters (January 22, 1993) andAgreement on the procedure of adjudication on commercial disputes (March 20, 1992).
Identifying applicable rules
3. Even in the absence of any bilateral or multilateral treaty the following treaties can still be applied in conjunction as a basis for recognition and enforcement:- Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation Establishing a Partnership between the European Communities and Their Member States, of the One Part, and the Russian Federation, of the Other Part (Corfu, 1994) and- Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (Rome, 1950)
These agreements does not provide for any special procedure for recognition and enforcement of foreign acts, however, if these agreements are in force between the forum country and the Russian Federation,the international comity principle need not be applied as a ground for recognition.It is to be mentioned however, that these treaties were conclusively applied in two cases so far (case No 5-G02-64Several banks v. OJSC Oil Company Yukosand the recent but already well-known case No A41-9613/09Rentpool B.V. v. Pod’emnie tekhnologii LLC). In both cases the applicability of international comity was nevertheless proved.
Step-by-step plan
Step 1 – Overview of enforcement procedure in RussiaStep 2 – Identifying applicable rulesStep 3 – General requirements for recognition and enforcementStep 4 – Possible objections against recognitionStep 5 – Procedural issues
General requirements for recognition and enforcement
There are two general grounds which can be deduced from the Russian law provisions on recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. Those are: (1) existence of international treaty providing for recognition and (2) the decision shall be on the merits.
Nowadays this requirement is not strict. In the absence of international treaty foreign judgment may be recognised and enforced on the basis of the principle of international comity. This view is supported by extensive case law dating back to 2002, introduced by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation in its Ruling dated June 7, 2002 and therefrom to the decisions in theRentpool B.V.case cited aboveThe principle of international comity as understood by the Russian courts implies the reciprocity requirement. The fact that the Russian judicial acts are enforced in the forum country must be proved by the applicant
2. The decision is on the merits. Neither post merits nor the pre-merits judicial acts can be recognised (the Information Letter of the RF CAP dated July 7, 2004 No 78 and Order of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation dated December 15, 2009 No 78-G09-44).The most important practical application of this rule is the impossibility to recognise any interim remedies granted by a foreign court.
Step-by-step plan
Step 1 – Overview of enforcement procedure in RussiaStep 2 – Identifying applicable rulesStep 3 – General requirements for recognition and enforcementStep 4 – Possible objections against recognitionStep 5 – Procedural issues
Possible objections against recognition
Article 244(1) of the RF CAP provides for a limitative list of grounds for the refusal to recognize a foreign court judgment (the Article 412(1) of the RF CCP provides for very similar grounds for non-recognition). Those grounds are:The foreign court decision did not gain legal effect yet;The party against which the decision was taken was not properly informed of the date and place of the court session;The dispute is subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Russian Federation on the basis of an international treaty or a federal law;There is a decision of a Russian court that entered into legal force with regard to the dispute between the same parties, on the same subject and on the same grounds;There is a case pending before a Russian court with regard to the dispute between the same parties, on the same subject and on the same grounds, the proceedings of which were already commenced prior to the commencement of the proceedings in the foreign country;The enforcement of the foreign court decision is already time barred and not reactivated by the arbitration court;Enforcement of the foreign court decision would contradict Russian public policy.
Possible objections against recognition: exclusive jurisdiction
Two instances of exclusive jurisdiction of Russian arbitration courts merit further examination here. Both are provided for in article 248(1) of the Code of Arbitration Procedure of the Russian Federation.(1)Subparagraph 1 of the mentioned article: the Russian courts are exclusively competent to adjudicate onthe disputes concerning the state property of the Russian Federation.Some of the legal entities which belong to the state (acting on their own behalf and sometimes active internationally), namely the state unitary enterprises and the state establishments are not legal owners of their property – rather the Russian Federation is (article 113(2) and 120(1) of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation (Part I, Federal Law dated 30.11.1994 No 51-FZ)).Thus it may be suggested that a broad range of transactions involving such entities cannot be subject to adjudication by a foreign court.
Possible objections against recognition: exclusive jurisdiction
However, two qualifications are needed in that regard:this limitation only concerns the state property; the municipal property may be subjected to the foreign proceedings (Ruling of the Federal arbitration court of the Zapadno-Sibirskiy circuit dated 26.01.2006 case No F04-9972/2005(19029-A81-28), where the court did not refer to this rule when annulling the arbitration clause)the monetary claims (at least) in contract (concluded by the state unitary enterprises) are not regarded as concerning the state property (Order of the RF SAC dated May 12, 2009 No 5738/09. The arbitration clause with regard to contractual claims involving the state enterprise was not annulled).
Possible objections against recognition: exclusive jurisdiction
(2)Subparagraph 5 of the article 248(1) provides that the disputesrelated to the establishment, liquidation or registration in the territory of the Russian Federation of the individual entrepreneurs and legal entities as well as related to the challenging of those entities’ bodies’ decisions, must be referred exclusively to the Russian [state] arbitration (commercial) courts.This very broad provision of the Code on Arbitration Procedure should be taken into account when a foreign court is expected to pronounce on a dispute based on or touching upon a Russian corporate conflict. In this case it is advisable to consider the possibility of prior adjudication of the corporate conflict in the Russian Federation although the best strategy in a case must be based on the whole set of relevant facts.
Step-by-step plan
Step 1 – Overview of enforcement procedure in RussiaStep 2 – Identifying applicable rulesStep 3 – General requirements for recognition and enforcementStep 4 – Possible objections against recognitionStep 5 – Procedural issues
Procedural issues: rules
Soviet law(Supreme Soviet Decree dated June 21, 1988 No 9131-XI)
Recognition without enforcement: the recognition in this case was automatic. Any interested party could file objections against such recognition.
Recognition with enforcement:the court’s order on recognition and enforcement was needed. Otherwise the decision was not regarded as recognised.
Russian law
Code of the Russian Federationon Civil ProcedureAssimilated the Soviet system (as far as relevant to this chart)
Code of the Russian Federationon [state] Arbitration ProcedureProvides for only one procedural way to recognise: through formal procedure. No automatic recognition is allowed (however, there are dissenting opinions among the theorists).
Non-commercial matters
Commercial matters
Procedural issues: analysis
If the matter is commercialThe party in favour of which the judgment is rendered may apply for recognition with the state arbitration (commercial) courtsNo one else has standing to submit such application.
If the matter is not commercialIt is important to decide whether the decision at issue needs to be enforced in the Russian Federation.Where the answer is negative, the decision can be regarded as recognised ifthe general requirements are complied with andthere can be no objections against the recognitionThe party interested in non-recognition may file objections
For any proceedingsinvolving the foreign court decision it is important to prepare:legalized (apostilled) decision with notarised translation andappropriate evidence on the notification of the judgment debtor about the foreign proceedings and the confirmation of entry of the decision into legal force (the documents having been translated and legalized, if necessary).
Thank you for your attention.
Khristofor Ivanyan, Partner

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Recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in the ...