We are glad to present you the 26th issue of the St. Petersburg International Legal Forum Digest!
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Useful information for the participants in the week leading up to the V St. Petersburg International Legal Forum
News of the Forum
Plenary session the V St. Petersburg International Legal Forum
Plenary session “Mission of Law in an Era of Change” will take place in the Eastern Wing of the General Staff Building of the State Hermitage Museum on the 27th of May. Session will be broadcasted live in Russian and English for all Forum participants in conference halls , in Press Centre and lounge zones and on the Forum’s website.
Speakers include Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Wolfgang Brandstetter, Federal Minister of Justice of the Republic of Austria, John Finnis, Professor of Law and Legal Philosophy Emeritus, University of Oxford, Alberto Mazzoni, President, International Institute for the Unification of Private Law, Andrea Orlando, Minister of Justice of the Italian Republic, Miguel de Serpa Soares, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel, Renaud Sorieul, Secretary, United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). Veniamin Yakovlev, Adviser to the President of the Russian Federation will act as a moderator.
The complete Agenda of the V St. Petersburg International Legal Forum is available here
The V St. Petersburg International Legal Forum will end with a gala dinner inspired by the 1920s. One of the oldest factories in Russia, “Arsenal”, was chosen as a venue for the dinner. Founded in 1711 by the order issued by Peter the Great as “cannon foundries”, in the 20th century the factory became one of the major military-industrial plants of the USSR. The “Arsenal” history determined the concept of the solemn gala dinner, “Forum in Petrograd”. The former 5000 m2 manufacturing workshop will be filled with attributes of the NEP culture and the Russian avant-garde referring to the most curious innovative phenomena of the Post-Revolution time.
The full Cultural Programme of V St. Petersburg International Legal Forum is available here
Only guests with accreditation badges will have access to all the events of the V St. Petersburg International Legal Forum. Information about the addresses and opening hours of the accreditation desks is available here
A shuttle bus service along all the major routes of the V St. Petersburg International Legal Forum will be provided for the participants. Shuttle service schedule is available here
«We plan to discuss the formation of universal criteria of judgment acknowledgment and execution; consider international experience of different countries; analyze the tendencies which exist in our country regarding this area»
Director of the Economic Legislation Department, Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation
Mikhail Galperin, Director of the Economic Legislation Department, Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation, Moderator of 4.2. Effective Cross-Border Execution of Judgments: National or Universal Criteria?
The “Effective Cross-Border Execution of Judgments: National or Universal Criteria?” panel will be dedicated to the recent trends and problems of cross-border acknowledgement and execution of jurisdictional acts. If a few years ago this topic was interesting mostly for experts in international law, nowadays the issues of cross-border acknowledgement and execution of judgments are on everyone's lips, not only in the area of family law, for example, but also in relation to investment disputes involving public figures. Therefore, the urgent character of this panel is doubtless; this matter goes beyond the scope of legislation and touches upon economic and political aspects.
We plan to discuss the formation of universal criteria of judgment acknowledgment and execution; consider international experience of different countries; analyze the tendencies which exist in our country regarding this area.
In spite of the “narrowcasting” title of the panel, I am sure that it will be interesting for lawyers of different specialisations. In the age of global economy and world trade development not only counsels of international law firms, but also in-house lawyers, notaries and attorneys may face the issues of acknowledgment and execution of foreign judgments. My own experience justifies that when I used to work as an in-house in a large industrial company I was often challenged with complicated issues of international civil process. Professional counsels were not always able to help me to find answers to all these questions, and I had to sort it out myself.
Our panel features the best experts in areas of international civil process and commercial arbitration. As a moderator of the session, I am proud that Mr Renaud Sorieul, Director of the UNCITRAL, and Prof. Valeriy Musin, one of the biggest Russian experts in international commercial arbitration, will give talks at the round table. Compulsory execution agencies will be represented by Patrick Sannino, President of the National Chamber of the judicial officers of France. The session will also feature partners of leading international law firms and representatives of judicial community. I hope the discussion will be professional and substantive. Listeners from the audience will also have a chance to ask their questions and express their points of view.
«Effective and efficient bankruptcy procedure is a sign of financial and investment well-being of a country»
First Vice-President, Member of the Board, Gazpombank
Ekaterina Trofimova, First Vice-President, Member of the Board, Gazpombank, moderator of 7.7. Role of Credit Unions in Legal Entities’ Bankruptcy: Myths and Reality
Development of Russian economy requires a number of economic, administrative and legal measures to be taken to improve efficiency of regulation of economic relations. Effective and efficient bankruptcy procedure is a sign of financial and investment well-being of a country.
Despite continuous development of Russian legislation, effective regulation of insolvency (bankruptcy) is still nowhere near perfect and requires improvements both at the legislative and law-enforcement levels. The issue of legislation improvement gets especially relevant in the context of changing and often unstable economic environment. Banks as major creditors of the economy take part in the great bulk of all bankruptcies involving legal entities, as well as restructuring of corporate debts. Due to the highly formal regulative framework for credit transactions, loopholes in the bankruptcy law affect the quality of banks' credit portfolio, resulting in the need for the additional loan loss provision. This is another negative contributor to the current geopolitical environment, where Russian banking system lacks the inflow of both debt and equity investors. Since banks are not just the major creditors of the economy, but also primary participants of the transmission mechanisms of the monetary system, the topic of the discussion is of principal importance for the economy.
During the session experts and Russian and foreign representatives of legal and financial community will discuss and share their expert opinion on these and some other issues. The Russian Corporate Counsel Association, which nowadays represents professional legal community of the biggest holding companies and corporations in Russia, has confirmed the relevance of the topic for practitioners in all types of businesses.
«The experts will help foreign investors to choose a right model of new investment projects structuring in the Russian oil and gas industry and discuss possible solutions for current risks and problems»
Chief Editor of the “PravoTEK” portal
Victor Nesterenko, Chief Editor of the “PravoTEK” portal, moderator of 6.5. Development of Russian Subsoil Use Legislation: Efforts to Provide Investment Influx
The session will be devoted to the topical issues and to the main trends of the development of legislation and law enforcement practice in the area of subsoil resources. This will permit to enhance investment climate and find some optimal ways of running business in the context of international sanctions and economic instability. We will discuss urgent matters of legal regulation in oil and gas and in mining industries in Russia, as well as existing problems which challenge international companies willing to work in these areas.
The participants will highlight recent substantial changes in subsoil resources and energy law in Russia, including simplification of the system of examination of geological study of subsurface projects; introduction of the declarative principle of procurement of rights on subsoil use aimed at geological study of subsurface sources; simplification of the technical mistakes correction procedure in licenses granting a right to subsoil use, etc.
The session will allow considering many present suggestions on how to enhance current legislation, eliminate needless administrative barriers, simplify the work of subsoil users and attract investments in subsoil development projects on behalf of both Russian and foreign investors.
In spite of the sanctions and slowing in the development of Russian oil and gas projects at shelves, they remain an engine that develops Arctic regions, attracts foreign investments and builds up the resource base of hydrocarbon. The participants of the session will provide an analysis of current problems in structuring common projects (in the shelf sea and ashore) with foreign investors, latest tendencies and key issues of documentation drafting, and main risks for investors. The experts will help foreign investors to choose a right model of new investment projects structuring in the Russian oil and gas industry and discuss possible solutions for current risks and problems.
«Speaking about natural resource management, we touch on issues, such as access to natural resources, turnover and economic use of natural resources, and environmental protection. Indeed, any economic activity is related, either directly or indirectly, to these issues today, therefore, it is logical that a wide circle of specialists focuses on them»
Legal Support Director, SUE Vodokanal of St. Petersburg, Merited Lawyer of the Russian Federation
Marina Gassiy, Legal Support Director, SUE Vodokanal of St. Petersburg, Merited Lawyer of the Russian Federation, moderator of 6.3. Cross-Border Environmental Protection
- Which of the topics to be discussed at the forthcoming Forum would be interesting for environmental specialists, in your opinion?
The activities of a modern lawyer cannot be limited by only professional interests. A specialist providing legal support to his company should not only have a good knowledge of sector-related regulatory acts, but also be able to understand the special features of other areas of legal regulation. That is why each of the planned discussions can be equally interesting for the participants irrespective of their professional preferences. At the same time, I think that the discussion platforms focused on legal regulation of environmental relations will be especially interesting for environmental specialists.
- What problems in the sphere of legal regulation of environmental relations could draw the attention of the Forum participants?
I think that legal regulation of management in the sphere of natural resource use and environmental protection will be one of the main topics for discussion. This issue has already been discussed by the participants of IV St. Petersburg International Legal Forum. At the forthcoming Forum, it will be discussed at a round table dedicated to environmental cross-border cooperation. Representatives of foreign public authorities, big business, international organizations and academic circles will participate in this discussion platform.
- Why does legal regulation of natural resource management kindle such interest?
Actually, this issue is much wider than one might think at first blush. Speaking about natural resource management, we touch on issues, such as access to natural resources, turnover and economic use of natural resources, and environmental protection. Indeed, any economic activity is related, either directly or indirectly, to these issues today, therefore, it is logical that a wide circle of specialists focuses on them.
- What will be your role in the discussion of these issues?
I am in charge of the legal department of SUE "Vodokanal of St. Petersburg", one of the biggest natural resource user in North-West Russia. We are among the key participants of many national and international initiatives aimed to ensure water safety and sustainable water use in our region. So, legal regulation in the sphere of natural resource management and, particularly, water management is nothing new for us.
In my presentation at the round table I have mentioned, I will speak about creation of an integrated management system as it is called, and potential use of the system elements for the management of transboundary water bodies.
Over two dozen years, experts in different countries have studied possibilities to create such system. In some cases its elements were successfully incorporated in the practical management of water bodies. In my presentation I will touch on the legal component of such system: problems that may arise during the system design and implementation in relation to water bodies located on the territories of several states. I would like to mention that the management of transboundary water bodies located both on our territory and in other countries of the Baltic Sea Region is a particularly important issue for our region.
- What practical follow-up might the discussion of legal regulation of natural resource management have?
The St. Petersburg International Legal Forum is a discussion platform bringing together mainly practitioners - professional lawyers, representatives of state authorities and big business. To my mind, this fact guarantees that the ideas advanced at the Forum will be put into action. When it comes to the subject of our discussion, I believe that it has a promising capacity for practical implementation. For instance, our Company is actively participating in the establishment of the Water Academy – a specialized educational institution where one of potential activities will be the training of water experts in international (transboundary) context. Establishment of the pool of experts who have such knowledge is a prerequisite for creating the integrated water management system. Moreover, today in Russia, we are reforming the environment protection laws aimed, in my opinion, at the elimination of the formalistic approach to environment protection rules and thus, at increasing the capacity for practical implementation of relevant legal rules. As it was noted by the President of Russia Vladimir V. Putin in his Annual Message to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, the ongoing reform is giving an impetus to the companies to transit to so-called best available technologies. It is evident that a strong link between the development of production capacities and the need to ensure environmental safety is a cornerstone for sustainable development of natural resource use. The integrated water management system can not be created without such a development.
- Will the complicated political situation in today’s world hinder the planned discussion?
I am sure it will not hinder the discussion. Sustainable use of natural resources and environment protection belong to the spheres of international relations that must not and cannot be affected by such contradictions. Solicitous attitude to the environment should not be made dependent on temporary difficulties.
I think, the bare fact that the Forum is taking place in the context of existing contradictions confirms in the best way that professional dialogue of experts from different countries does not depend on political upheavals. This, in turn, gives confidence in the success of our work.