On 26 May 2021, the business school of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP), jointly with the Arbitration Centre at the RSPP, held a one-day course called “International contracts in the current context: legal issues, practice, settlement of disputes”.
Alexander Zamaziy, the managing director and chief of staff of the Arbitration Centre at the RSPP, moderated the event.
The leading Russian specialists in the field of international trade law and arbitration spoke for the course participants: professor Mikhail Savranskiy (vice-chairman of the Arbitration Centre at the RSPP), professor Nina Vilkova (Russian Foreign Trade Academy), Maksim Kulkov (Kulkov, Kolotilov and Partners, managing partner), Tatyana Neveeva (Egorov, Puginskiy, Afanasyev and Partners, senior associate), Kirill Udovichenko (Monastyrsky, Zyuba, Stepanov and Partners, partner), and Vladimir Pestrikov (Rybalkin, Gortsunyan and Partners, partner).
Chairman of the Panel for International and Investment Disputes at the Arbitration Centre at the RSPP, law firm managing partner Alexander Grebelsky, told the audience about the specifics of the dispute resolution in international arbitration, shared practical tips on the legal position preparation and gave recommendations for every stage of arbitral proceedings.
Taking into account the current situation and limitations caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Grebelsky brought up the topic of virtual hearings in arbitration. Their adoption in the procedure, in his opinion, reflects the features of modern international arbitration — continuous development, openness to innovations, the opportunity to adapt to any situation, and, of course, cost-effectiveness.
Dr. Grebelsky also talked about the Arbitration Centre at the RSPP’s online system,“Mind”, designed to held hearings through the video conference and provide reliable data protection to implement the principle of confidentiality.
In the final part of his speech, Dr. Grebelsky gave examples of apparent mistakes made by the parties and their representatives in the course of arbitration proceedings. The main one, he said, is relative passivity in matters of grounding your position and introducing evidence.
The course aroused great interest in the listeners. The participants appreciated the intensity and relevance of the event, and the practical effect of the information provided.
On 15 April 2021, the first in-person meeting of the Commission on Arbitration of the Association of Lawyers of Russia of the year was held at the Kutafin Moscow State Law University.
The meeting was held in round-table format, and focused on the problems of application of legislation concerning international commercial arbitration by courts, as well as domestic arbitration.
The following judiciary representatives took part in the commission work: Justice of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation N.V. Pavlova, Chairman of Civil Panel of Judges of the Moscow Commercial Court V.P. Sorokin, and Chairman of Second Panel of Judges of the Moscow Region Commercial Court D.Y. Kapaev, as well as representatives of all existing Russian arbitration institutions.
Law firm managing partner and, concurrently, Vice-Chairman of the Commission on Arbitration of the Association of Lawyers of Russia Alexander Grebelsky made a report on “International Commercial Arbitration and State Justice: Allies or Opponents?” at the round table.
Based on the pragmatic approach, he concluded the inevitability and great significance of the collaboration of state and arbitration courts at the current stage, especially concerning the current circumstance that judges emeritus of Russian state courts can be arbitrators in arbitration proceedings.
The round table video is available through the link.
On 5-7 April 2021, VI International Student Moot Court “International Commercial Arbitration Model — 2021” (ICAM) took place. It was organised by the moot court department of the Kutafin Moscow State Law University (MSAL) with the support of the Arbitration Centre at the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP).
ICAM-2021 was held in a mixed format, including three stages: absentee stage (selection by memorandums), online hearings, and live final round.
Traditionally, the moot court is a model arbitration proceeding according to the Rules of the Arbitration Centre at the RSPP.
31 university teams from Russia (Ioshkar-Ola, Kirov, Kursk, Moscow, Orenburg, Saratov, and Saint Petersburg), as well as teams from Minsk and Tashkent, took part in the competition.
On 6 April 2021, law firm managing partner Alexander Grebelsky took part in the competition as an arbitrator heading the arbitral panel in the competition semi-finals.
Side arbitrators were Nina Vilkova, honoured lawyer of the Russian Federation, private international law department professor at Russian Foreign Trade Academy, and Nadezhda Shebanova, Doctor of Juridical Science, intellectual rights department professor at the Kutafin Moscow State Law University (MSAL), and judge emeritus of the Federal Arbitration Court of the Moscow region.
The topic of the competition this year was focused on a number of immediate problems in the field of international trade and arbitration, including the choice of soft law sources as valid statutes and virtual hearings.
The teams of the Higher School of Economics and MGIMO University were the competition finalists. At the ICAN-2021 closing ceremony, the offline stage participants and arbitrators were awarded special prizes from the Arbitration Centre and “Arbitration Court” journal.
On 16-17 March 2021, two webinars organised by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb), the largest professional association of arbitrators and mediators in the world, took place within the framework of the CIArb Global YMG ADR World Tour 2021.
The events participants discussed ADR’s latest changes and trends in the countries of Eastern Europe and CIS. Every jurisdiction was represented by its key specialists.
Law firm managing partner Alexander Grebelsky gave a talk at the second webinar as a speaker from the Arbitration Centre at the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. He discussed changes and new developments in the latest Russian legislation, which had been adopted in the course of the arbitration reform. During the speech, he touched upon a number of the essential aspects of the reform, including solving the issue of arbitrability of disputes, changes in the rules of arbitration agreement interpretation, and imposing criminal liability on arbitrators for corruption-related crimes.
To conclude his speech, Alexander talked about the current situation regarding arbitration in Russia and noted that in 2020, the Arbitration Centre at the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) had established a panel of experts for resolving international and investment disputes, currently combining over 120 specialists from all major jurisdictions.
Webinar moderators were Nata Gibradze, a senior associate at international law firm Hogan Lovells (Munich) and Anna Kozmenko, a partner in dispute resolution and sports law practice at Swiss law firm Schellenberg Wittmer (Zurich).
A virtual workshop “Arbitration: Problems and Effective Solutions” was held via Zoom on 3 February 2021. The event was arranged by Rybalkin, Gortsunyan & Partners, JSC Deloitte & Touche CIS, and the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RUIE). The workshop was moderated by Dmitry Dyakin, member of the RSPP Arbitration Centre Presidium, Partner, and Head of the Arbitration Practice at Rybalkin, Gortsunyan & Partners.
Law firm managing partner and Chairman of the Panel for International and Investment Disputes of the Arbitration Centre at the RSPP, Alexander Grebelsky, spoke at the workshop on the topic “International commercial dispute through the eyes of an arbitrator. What the parties should pay attention to”.
In his speech, Dr. Grebelsky noted the key challenges faced by legal representatives during the international arbitration procedure at various stages. In particular, he noted the need to use international legal tools when justifying one’s position, rather than referring exclusively to national legislation, which was what the parties to proceedings in Russia usually did.
Furthermore, he outlined the fundamental differences in the procedure regulation applied to cases considered in arbitration, which are sometimes unfamiliar to lawyers practising in civil litigation.
Other reports were also presented at the workshop: “International arbitration and freezing orders”, “Strengthening your position in court: an integrated approach and out-of-the-box solutions”, “Hiring lawyers and experts to represent the interests of the company in arbitration: the view of the head and a lawyer of the company”, “Settlement agreement in international arbitration: recipes for settlement in complicated disputes”, and “Showcase of forensic expert work for the recovery of assets by the example of Switzerland”.
The event united 60+ representatives of legal and other departments of leading Russian companies.
In December 2020, Edward Elgar Publishing published “The Elgar Companion to the Hague Conference on Private International Law”, a collection of articles on the HCCH.
This Companion to the HCCH is currently the only one of its kind, reflecting all aspects of the work of this world organisation. The collection contains contributions from 35 renowned experts in private international law (PIL) around the world. The articles present a critical assessment of the main instruments of the HCCH, as well as reflections on possible future contributions of the HCCH to the further development of PIL.
Alexander Grebelsky, managing partner of the firm, contributed to the book with a chapter entitled “Private International Law and International Commercial Arbitration — a Role for the HCCH?”.
Other contributors include foremost experts in various fields of private international law, such as Professor Ronald A. Brand, Yuko Nishitani, Richard Frimston, Professor Jan von Hein, Professor Horatia Muir Watt, Professor Philippa Webb, Professor Giesela Rühl, Professor José Antonio Moreno Rodríguez, among others.
The editors include Thomas John, Rishi Gulati and Ben Köhler, with a foreword by Dr. Christophe Bernasconi, Secretary-General of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, and Lord Lawrence Collins, retired Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.
The VII BRICS Legal Forum were held online on 18-19 November 2020.
MP of the firm, Alexander Grebelsky, took part in the third panel discussion of the forum with a report “Trends in the regulation of resolving cross-border commercial disputes with parties from Russia and the growing need to create a mechanism for resolving commercial disputes within the BRICS.”
In his speech, Alexander Grebelsky noted the urgency of creating a unified arbitration mechanism for the settlement of cross-border disputes within the BRICS countries. Also, he spoke about the recent measures taken in Russia to create a pro-arbitration approach.
The VII BRICS Legal Forum was also attended by Vladimir Pligin, Chairman of the Association of Lawyers of Russia; Alexey Klishin, Rector of the Swiss Academy of International Law; Vladimir Gruzdev, Chairman of the Board of the Association of Lawyers of Russia; Prashant Kumar, President of the Indian Bar Association; Professor Marcus Coelho, President of the Brazilian Bar Association’s Commission on Constitutional Law; Zhang Mingqi, Vice President of the China Law Society; Lindi Nkosi-Thomas, Vice-Chairperson, Arbitration Foundation of Southern Africa, and other experts.
Alexander Grebelsky, MP of the firm, took part in the VII Student Legal Forum as an invited expert. He spoke at the section of the Department of Legal Modeling of the Oleg Kutafin Moscow State Law University “International Justice and International Commercial Arbitration in the Pandemic Era”.
The topic of the discussion was the problems of adapting the cross-border disputes resolution mechanism to the “new normal” of global pandemic. The participants of the section discussed the current problems of virtual hearings and remote evidence presentation, as well as the impact of the pandemic on the enforceability of arbitral awards, and predicted possible ways of developing international arbitration after the end of the crisis.
Alexander Grebelsky expressed his opinion on these issues and shared his practical experience of participating in virtual hearings both as an arbitrator and a party representative. The section was moderated by the chair of the Department of Legal Modeling, associate professor Dr. Yana Alimova. Students from Moscow State Law University, Higher School of Economics, Russian State University of Justice attended the section with reports.
The Editorial Board of the “Arbitration Court” law journal has prepared an issue of the journal in memoriam of Tamara Abova.
It is no coincidence that Tamara Abova had been calling the pride of Russian legal science during her lifetime. For a significant part of her professional career, Tamara Abova was considered the leading domestic civilian and proceduralist. At the same time, she was a talented ‘organizer of science’. In addition to her work at the Civil Law and Procedure Department at the Institute of State and Law of the Russian Academy of Science, Tamara Abova lectured on Transport and Civil Law and Civil Procedure at MGIMO University for almost 40 years. She was a sought-after arbitrator at the two leading institutions – International Commercial Arbitration Court and the Maritime Arbitration Commission at the RF Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Leading domestic scholars have prepared several essays and research papers in Tamara Abova’s memory. MP of the firm, Alexander Grebelsky dedicated her the article “New Wine into Old Wineskins, or Whether Virtual Hearings Will Take Root in International Arbitration?”.
As a result of restrictions caused by the COVID-19, the procedure of international arbitration has changed. In particular, oral hearings, which had been held in person previously, started to be conducted remotely using video conferencing platforms. Despite some advantages of this method, it raises several practical and legal concerns, including the risk of possible setting aside of the final award or its non-enforcement.
While most of those concerns are groundless, some types of disputes hardly may be considered virtually. At the same time, the active use of various video conferencing platforms in arbitration at the present stage may entail a series of changes in the arbitration mechanism for resolving international commercial disputes.
The full article is available by the link.
Alexander Grebelsky has acted as a scientific supervisor and lecturer for the first Russian online video course on arbitration for the LF Academy.
The lectures for the course have been recorded by recognized experts in International Commercial Arbitration, who have not only academic but also many years of practical experience in the field.
The course is designed for 52 hours and consists of 55 online lectures. At the end of the course, students may be rewarded with a Certificate of Continuing Education.
Alexander Grebelsky has recorded eleven introductory lectures for the course under the general topic “Competence of International Commercial Arbitration”. As part of the lectures, he highlighted the history of arbitration, revealed the concept of International Commercial Arbitration, its differences from other alternative methods of dispute resolution, spoke about the legal nature and types of arbitration.
Detailed coverage was given to the New York Convention 1958 and the European Convention 1961, UNCITRAL documents, soft law used in arbitration, Russian and foreign legislation on domestic and international arbitration.
He has also covered the legal regime of the arbitration agreement, the principles of competence-competence and autonomy of the arbitration agreement.
The course is available on the LF Academy website via the link.