Russia Legal News Blast, Jan. 21, 2011

The Chairman of the Highest Arbitrazh Court Anoton Ivanov has announced an imminent introduction of a draft law concerning summary judicial procedures in Russian Arbitrazh courts. The reason is the increased number of cases – an average judge hears 111 cases a month. The summary procedure would affect the cases worth less 300,000 rubles (approximately $10,000). During the summary procedure the courts will not be conducting preliminary hearings, filings would be made electronically, the hearing is supposed to be completed in one session. Database “Consultant Plus” has just published a decision of the cassational court of Moscow region КГ-А41/8533-10-Ж. The case relates to a new law on compensation for unreasonable delay for administration of justice that came into force in April 2010. The case has gone now through all the meaningful instances. The law was adopted as an answer to the exponentially growing number of cases in the European Court of Human Rights from Russian nationals concerning compensation for undue delay in proceedings. The law provided a local remedy for this type of claim. The interesting feature of this particular case is that it provides an indication as to what amount of compensation is recoverable (defendant in this type of cases is the Russian Federation as represented by Ministry of Finance). The claimant – a small private company – was awarded 10,000 rubles (slightly more than $300) for a delay of more than three years. The decisions underscores the obvious aim of the law – to provide a mechanism whereby the Russian Federation can reduce reputational costs (and embarrassment) implicit in ever growing number in this category of claims in ECHR, and, secondly, and not less importantly, to reduce financial impact on Russia from such cases.