Cross Border Co-operation between Russia and England & Wales: Interim remedies and the Enforcement of Foreign Judgments and Arbitral Awards

January 25, 2010

On Monday, 25 January 2010 the British-Russian Law Association and the British Embassy in Moscow (in association with UK Trade & Investment London International) held a half-day seminar and panel discussion on Cross Border Co-Operation between England & Wales: interim remedies and the enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitral awards.

The ability of companies from each country to enforce judgments and awards in the other plays an important role in sustaining the strong trading relationship that exists between the United Kingdom and Russia. Bilateral assistance in relation to enforcement and interim remedies is therefore an issue that is both topical and of widespread relevance to UK and Russian businesses and those who advise them. This was demonstrated by the excellent turnout of 133 people who attended the seminar, (including representatives of Russian and international law firms based in Moscow, investment bankers, accountants, in-house counsel, and businesses representatives).

The event, which was opened by Caroline Wilson (Minister Counsellor (Economic and Trade & Investment) at the British Embassy) and was chaired jointly by Rupert D’Cruz (Secretary of the British-Russian Law Association) and Fiona Kushvid (Second Secretary Commercial at the British Embassy), comprised three sessions:

Session 1:

The Enforcement of Foreign Court Judgments in England & Wales and Russia

The English experience was outlined by:

(i) Christopher Coffin (a partner at Withers LLP), who spoke about the different methods of enforcement and the three regimes available for the enforcement of foreign judgments in England & Wales:

  • EU and EFTA registration schemes,
  • statutory codes,
  • multilateral and bilateral conventions; and
  • the English common law; and

(ii) Andrew Tobin (a Legal Director at Clyde & Co) who:

  • explained what types of foreign judgments an English court will and will not be prepared to enforce; and
  • identified the limited number of defences that may be available to a defendant seeking to resist the enforcement of a foreign judgment.

The Russian perspective was provided by:

(i) Khristofor Ivanyan (the managing partner at Ivanyan & Partners), who:

  • provided an overview of the enforcement procedure in Russian;
  • identified the applicable rules and general requirements for recognition and enforcement of foreign awards; and
  • highlighted possible objections to recognition; and

(ii) Tatiana Menshenina (a partner at MGAP Attorneys at Law), who:

  • provided specific case examples in which the Russian courts had been asked to enforce a foreign court decision; and
  • discussed the approach taken by the courts in each case.

Session 2:

The Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards in England & Wales and Russia

The position in England & Wales was dealt with by:

(i) Mark Brown (a partner at Bristows), who spoke about the four means of enforcing a foreign arbitral awards in England & Wales:

  • the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards 1958 (“the New York Convention”),
  • s.66 of the Arbitration Act 1996,
  • the English common law; and
  • the Geneva Convention on the Execution of Foreign Arbitral Awards 1927); and

(ii) Justin Williams (a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld) who outlined the grounds on which an English court may refuse to recognise and enforce a foreign arbitral award:

  • s.103 of the New York Convention,
  • ss.66 and 99 of the Arbitration Act 1996; and
  • under English common law.

The Russian position was covered by:

(i) Katerina Haslam-Jones (a partner at Padva Haslam-Jones & Partners LLP), who:

  • spoke about the grounds (under Article 5 of the New York Convention and the principle of reciprocity) on which a Russian court would be prepared to enforce a foreign arbitral award;
  • paid particular emphasis on the “public policy” principle and how (both in theory and in practice) that can prevent enforcement); and
  • explained the procedure for applying to the Russian courts for the enforcement of a foreign award (under Article 242 of the RF Arbitration Procedure Code); and

(ii) Victor Dumler (a senior lawyer at Egorov, Puginskiy & Afanasiev), who:

  • discussed recent cases that had come before the Russian courts in which the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards was sought;
  • drew out common themes and trends arising from those cases; and
  • provided some practical advice about how to avoid recurring problems associated with such enforcement.

Session 3:

Obtaining Interim Relief in Support of Foreign Proceedings in England & Wales and Russia.

Rupert D’Cruz (a barrister practising at 10 Old Square, Lincoln’s Inn):

  • explained when and how the English courts would be able to assist a claimant in foreign proceedings to protect its position while those proceedings are progressing; and
  • spoke about the relevant principles and the range of interim remedies that an English court is able to grant.

Anna Zhukova (an Associate at Salans):

  • dealt with the same points in the Russian context; and
  • also shared her experience of a recent case in which she had been involved in which this issue had arisen.

Each session included a question and answer session during which the delegates shared their experiences and quizzed the speakers about various aspects of each topic.

Among legal companies present at the event were: Alexandrov & Partners, Allen & Overy, Alrud, Baker & McKenzie, Clifford Chance, Denton Wilde Sapte, Filatov Musatov & Goldberg, Freshfields, Georgiev & Partners, Goremikina Tsokol & Partners, Gronner Bridge Legal Services, Herbert Smith, Lidings Law Firm, Lovells, Linklaters, MGAP Attorneys at Law, Nadmitov & Partners, Norton Rose, Squire Saunders & Dempsey, Vetta Legal, Withers and Zhigachov & Christophoroff.

There were also legal specialists and business representatives from a number of financial institutions and corporations including: Alfa Bank, Atomstroyexport, Association of Russian Banks, BNP Paribas, Britur, Comstar, Debevoise & Plimpton, Deutsche Bank, Ernst & Young, Gazpromneft, Gazprom Media, Glenic Investment Financial Group, Group Onexim, CJSC “Kapital Re”, Institute for the Development of the Financial Market, InTurCon, IPPro, JP Morgan, Lbit, Mirax Group, Morgan Stanley, National Reserve Bank, Nitol Group, Novatek, PWC, Rencap, Rosselhozbank, Savelovsky, Severenergia, STT Group, SUEK, Sundrio Development, Trinfico Investment Company, TT Services, Vimbildan, Vostoknafta and Zurich Insurance Company.

The seminar was followed by a networking drinks reception held at the premises of the British Embassy.

The British-Russian Law Association is grateful to Akin Gump Hauer Strauss & Feld, Bristows, Clyde & Co, Salans, Withers, MGAP Attorneys at Law and UKTI Investment London International for co-sponsoring this event.