RUSSIAN SUPREME COURT SAYS INTERNATIONAL SANCTIONS ARE SUFFICIENT TO IGNORE DISPUTE RESOLUTION CLAUSE

Is the introduction of international sanctions against a person sufficient to justify a move of the agreed dispute resolution forum to Russia? This has been a hot topic for discussion since June 2020. In JSC Uraltransmash v PESA (case No. А60-36897/2020) the Supreme Court has put an end to this debate.

On 9 December 2021, the Supreme Court issued its judgment where it unequivocally held that if international sanctions are introduced against an entity, the Russian courts will have jurisdiction to hear disputes where such an entity is a party. That will be the case notwithstanding a dispute resolution clause providing for a different forum. It is not necessary for the sanctioned entity to provide any evidence that the agreed dispute resolution clause is unenforceable due to “obstacles to access to justice” caused by sanctions. The mere fact that sanctions have been imposed is deemed sufficient to create obstacles for a sanctioned entity to access to justice: therefore, the sanctioned entity can simply submit to the jurisdiction of the Russian courts.

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OVERVIEW OF THE LATEST COURT PRACTICE ON THE RUSSIAN SANCTIONS-RELATED AMENDMENTS—IS WINTER COMING?

This analysis was first published on Lexis®PSL on 29 October 2021 and can be found here (subscription required).

Ivan Teselkin, partner, Maria Dolotova, of counsel, Alexander Gridasov, senior associate, and Sergei Eremin, senior associate, of Herbert Smith Freehills provide an overview of Russian court decisions on the impact of recent amendments to Russian law relating to international sanctions against the Russian Federation.

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INSIDE ARBITRATION ISSUE #12: PERSPECTIVES ON CROSS-BORDER DISPUTES

Welcome to the twelfth issue of Inside Arbitration

We are delighted to share with you the latest, new look issue of this publication from Herbert Smith Freehills’ Global Arbitration Practice.

Uncertainty has been the watchword of 2021 so far. As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact our work and personal lives many questions remain about the virus and our global response to it. However, since the light at the end of the tunnel does appear to be shining more brightly, we have grasped the opportunity to look forward positively in this edition of Inside Arbitration.

Incorporating videos and soundbites from our practitioners around the network, in this edition:

  • Paula Hodges QC, Andrew Cannon, Simon Chapman QC and Vanessa Naish explore whether it is possible to predict how the post-pandemic disputes landscape may look and how arbitration practice may be impacted longer term.
  • The pandemic is not the only significant force for change and development facing the world at present. Antony Crockett, Patricia Nacimiento and Dr. Alessandro Covi look at what “ESG” means for businesses, how ESG issues are being introduced into commercial contracts, and the potential impact of these trends on international arbitration.
  • Continuing the theme of change, Craig Tevendale, Chris Parker and Charlie Morgan focus on energy transition, looking at the challenges on the horizon and the potential legal disputes that may arise from the proliferation of new infrastructure projects.
  • Change has also been felt within the Herbert Smith Freehills’ arbitration practice. Our three new talented arbitration Partners Dana Kim (in Seoul), Antony Crockett (in Hong Kong) and Ivan Teselkin (in Moscow) feature in Spotlight articles introducing their differing areas of practice and sharing their views on the outlook for arbitration in their regions.
  • The recognition of the talent of our practitioners and the growth of our global practice is exciting, but so too are successes in our cases, particularly those that can be reported publicly! Simon Chapman QC and Charlotte Benton discuss a recent success in a landmark case in Hong Kong, which has confirmed that failure to comply with escalation requirements will not affect an arbitration tribunal’s jurisdiction over the dispute.
  • Looking at wider developments across the globe, Andrew Cannon and Nihal Joseph explore the significance of an important new judgment from the Supreme Court of India which decided that two Indian parties may validly agree to resolve their disputes in arbitration seated outside India.
  • Chad Catterwell and Guillermo Garcia-Perrote look at the rise of Arbitration in Australia, and how the release of the ACICA Arbitration Rules 2021 have further strengthened ACICA’s status as the pre-eminent arbitral institution in Australia.
  • In our sector-focused piece Hew Kian Heong, James Doe and Noe Minamikata take a look at the current hot topics in construction arbitration: the impact of recent materials shortages, a possible rise in construction insolvencies and the continuing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on construction projects.
  • Our “watch this space” feature covers the latest issues and developments in international arbitration.

Previous issues can also be viewed on our website.

We hope that you enjoy reading issue #12 of Inside Arbitration and would welcome any feedback you may have.

ICC AND SIAC ATTAIN “PERMANENT ARBITRATION INSTITUTION” STATUS IN RUSSIA

On 18 May 2021, the Russian Ministry of Justice granted the status of “Permanent Arbitration Institution” (“PAI”) to the ICC International Court of Arbitration (the “ICC”) and the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (“SIAC”).

This is a major development for users of international arbitration in Russia who will now have access to three of the “top-five most preferred arbitral institutions” in the world, according to the respondents of the 2021 International Arbitration Survey prepared by Queen Mary University of London. Following their successful registration in Russia, the ICC and the SIAC, have joined the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) (and the Vienna International Arbitration Centre (VIAC)), which secured similar licenses from the Russian Ministry of Justice in 2019.

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HERBERT SMITH FREEHILLS PROMOTES FOUR ARBITRATION SPECIALISTS TO ITS GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP

Herbert Smith Freehills has promoted eleven disputes lawyers to its partnership out of a total of 23 worldwide. The promotions in the disputes practice, which take effect on 1 May 2021, span across the firm’s international network.

Of these new partners, four are arbitration specialists, reflecting the strength and importance of the practice area to the firm.

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Russian Arbitration Reform: Key Changes

On 1 September 2016, the following federal laws came into force in Russia: the Federal Law On Arbitration (Arbitration Proceedings) in the Russian Federation and the Federal Law on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts which introduced a number of changes, in particular, to the Arbitrazh Procedure Code, the Civil Procedure Code and the Law on International Commercial Arbitration (collectively, the "Laws"). Russian arbitration regulation has materially changed as a result of these Laws.

The reforms were initiated in 2013 on the instruction of the President given to the Federal Assembly with a view to developing Russian arbitration legislation. Two of the main goals of the reforms were to:

  • Provide clearer and more detailed regulation of the arbitration process in order to encourage businesses to use arbitration as a dispute resolution mechanism more actively, decreasing the workload of the state courts;
  • Fight with so called "pocket" arbitration institutions (i.e. those which are incorporated by large corporations / banks to hear disputes with their counterparties).

The Laws have made many significant amendments, most of which can be placed under the following two categories: (1) the administering of arbitration proceedings; and (2) the arbitration process. This update deals with the most significant amendments.

 

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