RF Supreme Arbitrazhny Court has introduces new draft mediation law

Our Russian Face Elena Seryapina notes that RF Supreme Arbitrazhny Court has recently introduced a newly drafted Law concerning Mediation to the Federal Legislation Body of Russia – State Duma – for discussion and further adoption. The Draft Law proposes to widen establishment of state courts and to offload state judges by introducing new positions of “Court Reconciliators”.   

In accordance with the plan of the Supreme Arbitrazhny Court of Russia, only professionals employed and accredited by state courts: retired judges, assistants of judges, any court personnel, who earned JD or equivalent, - shall be allowed to act as Court Reconciliators at the same state courts. The official list of all Court Reconciliators shall be adopted by RF Supreme Arbitrazhny Court.

The Draft Law also stipulates that Court Reconciliators shall not be additionally paid for performing the mentioned above services. They will get a regular office salary from the court budget, as they would be getting paid working as ordinary court clerks. Moreover, Court Reconciliators will be deemed as state (government) employees working for the court salary[1], performing an official state function, which imposes on them additional strict rules and regulations. Bearing in mind an enormous load of court cases[2] and incredibly small salary of court clerks in Russia, the quality of services to be performed by Court Reconciliators might be at a very low level. And that is crucial, since it makes the whole effort of RF Supreme Arbitrazhny Court – worthless.    

The second major minus of the Draft Law is the stipulated authority of a Judge of a state court to suspend a case from the trial and to send the parties to mediation without their direct consent. The authors of the Draft Law say that such authority is not “forcing” the parties to ADR, but rather offering them an opportunity to look at their case from a different prospective and to evaluate all pluses of mediation. However, Elena Seryapina believes that the Draft Law legalizes the “forced mediation” rather than the “voluntary mediation”, since an act of a Judge to suspend the case from the trial will be obligatory for the parties, whether they like it or not. Moreover, the parties to the case will not be able to influence on such act or to object to it. 

It should be noted that a basic Federal law “On Mediation” No. 193-FZ dated July 27, 2010 was adopted in Russia now more than 2 years ago, but mediation is still very uncommon not only in a court system but also in business practice. For example, last year only 11 cases in State Arbitrazhny courts ended up in mediation.[3] 

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[1] In Russia an average monthly salary of a court clerk is $400.

[2] In accordance with the information provided by the Chairman of RF Supreme Arbitrazhny Court A. Ivanov, an average workload in Moscow Arbitrazhny Court in 2012 is expected to be 159 cases per judge monthly. (http://www.rg.ru/2012/08/07/sud.html)   

[3] http://www.rg.ru/2012/08/07/sud.html

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