Unlocking Disputes: Anglo-Russian dispute resolution
The second St Petersburg International Legal Forum provided a wealth of opportunities for the Unlocking Disputes campaign and the promotion of English law in global commercial disputes. Law Society President, John Wotton, and Chairman of the Bar Council, Michael Todd, joined the UK delegation at this event led by the Secretary of State for Justice, Ken Clarke. The Minister played a leading role in the opening plenary session setting out the strong commercial ties between the UK and Russia and the attraction of the UK as a place for Russian business to resolve their disputes. He referred to the open, globalised services that England and Wales has to offer - from litigation to emerging fields like arbitration and mediation – and how these play a fundamental role in oiling the wheels of the economy at home and abroad.
British-Russian commercial ties were the subject of a special Business Breakfast Briefing organised by the Law Society and Bar Council in conjunction with the Consulate here in St Petersburg. Chaired by Rupert de Cruz (Littleton Chambers) this session debated the merits of resolving international disputes in the courts of England and Wales, notably the Rolls Building, and issues around raising capital and listing in London. In order to generate debate and have a lively exchange of views, a perspective from Russia was given by Nick Moore (Herbert Smith, Moscow) who examined how and why companies may chose to use the Russian courts to resolve their disputes and the respective merits of both system.
In the question and answer session that followed delegates – a range of business representatives, Russian based law firms and international lawyers – gave practical examples of how using English legal services had helped them. The critical issue of enforcement of foreign judgments in each jurisdiction was raised and the need for judicial authorities to work together to ensure mutual recognition and enforceability in practice.
The Forum held a series of Showcase Sessions where the Unlocking Disputes campaign took centre stage. John Wotton addressed delegates on how English contract law can facilitate trade and investment and Michael Todd spoke of English litigation and arbitration and showcased the Rolls Building itself. Lastly and by no means least John Wotton and Michael Todd had the opportunity to have a series of exchanges with the Russian Ministry of Justice including a bi-lateral meeting with Minister Alexander Konovalov and indeed a specific meeting for International bar leaders with Prime Minister Medvedev himself.
These series of events served to highlight the importance of England and Wales as the jurisdiction of choice for international dispute resolution, set out the need for effective Anglo-Russian legal relations and underlined the commitment of both the Law Society and the Bar Council in this endeavour.
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