Russian Federation - Chapter 7 - Arbitration Law and Practice in Central and Eastern Europe - Second Edition
1. GENERAL LEGAL FRAMEWORK
1.1 National law
a) Current status
What is the current status? When was it enacted? Have there been amendments?
By way of introduction, it is important to note that Article 118 of the Russian Constitution (“Constitution”) ratified on 12 December 1993 proclaims as follows:
(i) Justice in the Russian Federation shall be administered only by the courts of law;
(ii) the power of the judiciary shall be exercised within the framework of constitutional, civil, administrative and criminal procedures; and, finally,
(iii) the judicial system of the Russian Federation shall be established by the Constitution of the Russian Federation and the federal constitutional law. The creation of extraordinary courts shall be prohibited.
With this in mind, it is not surprising that the Law on the Judicial System of the Russian Federation of 31 December 1996 does not make any mention of arbitration courts or arbitral tribunals in setting out the structure of the judicial system. According to the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation (“Constitutional Court”), arbitration courts are not a part of the Russian judicial system; this, however, does not mean that the Constitution excludes the right to refer disputes to arbitration. In accordance with Article 45(2) of the Constitution, everyone is entitled to protect his or her rights and freedoms by any means not prohibited by law. As explained by the Constitutional Court, this includes the right to submit disputes to arbitration, including international commercial arbitration, both institutional and ad hoc. The Constitutional Court further held that by concluding an arbitration agreement, the parties exercise their freedom of contract.
To better understand how arbitration works in Russia, the key features of the Russian judicial system are explained below.