Russian Constitutional Court Resolution on Professional Representatives

28.07.2020

Legal Update No 781

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (Russia) LLP, formerly Goltsblat BLP in Russia, advises that the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation has adopted Resolution No. 37-P dated 16 July 2020 on a case examining the constitutionality of Part 3, Article 59, Part 4, Article 61 and Part 4, Article 63 of the Russian Commercial Procedure Code.

In its Resolution No. 37-P of 16 July 2020 (the “Resolution"), The Constitutional Court confirmed that the procedural reform relating to professional representation in commercial proceedings was in line with the Russian Constitution and interpreted the relevant rules of the Russian Commercial Procedure Code.

The Resolution was passed owing to a complaint filed by Alexandra LLC and its General Director K.V. Budarin because the latter was not admitted as a representative of the legal entity together with other representatives that have a higher education in law.

The Russian Constitutional Court supported the applicants and gave a broad interpretation of the rules of the Russian Commercial Procedure Code.

In commercial proceedings, an organisation may be represented by a person without a higher education or academic degree in law but being capable of clarifying the subject matter of the dispute, provided the organisation is also represented by a lawyer or an advocate.

According to the Resolution, Part 3, Article 59, Part 4, Article 64 and Part 4, Article 63 of the Russian Commercial Procedure Code establish the minimum standard for providing legal support to participants in commercial proceedings and do not restrict their right to have several representatives.

In this context, the Russian Constitutional Court concluded that, provided a lawyer-representative is involved in the proceedings, it is not essential for the other representatives of the organisation to have a higher education or academic degree in law.

The Resolution notes that employees who are aware of the special features of the organisation's operations, being professionals in associated spheres or otherwise related to the organisation and able to provide information on the case may act as such other representatives.

The position of the Russian Constitutional Court should be viewed positively: accountants, technical experts and other employees who are not lawyers but may assist significantly in clarifying the circumstances of cases are now welcomed in courts again.

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