Digest 10

We are glad to present you the tenth issue of the St. Petersburg International Legal Forum Digest.

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“Our goal is to ensure that only competent experts with appropriate qualification would examine forensically”

Svetlana Smirnova

Director of the Russian Federal Center of Forensic Expertise of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation

Moderator of the roundtable “Competence and Certification in the Forensic Activities: International Approaches”


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1. What determines the urgent character of the issues discussed at your roundtables?

Our roundtable is entitled “Competence and Certification in the Forensic Activities: International Approaches”. The urgent character of this topic is explained by the necessity to put the best global practices together what will provide a better quality of forensic investigation in Russia. One of the main key banes of the modern society is incompetence of experts. However, expert’s decision has a big significance and the result of his work may become the main evidence for a judge.

Our goal is to ensure that only competent experts with appropriate qualification would examine forensically. That’s why we raise this question. To ensure the competence of a forensic expert we suggest using a special mechanism of certification that allows confirming the competence of experts.

The aim of the roundtable is to optimize processes of accreditation for the forensic laboratories, identification of forward-looking mechanisms for assessing the competence of forensic experts and confirming the suitability of the techniques.

Development of optimal mechanisms for competency assessment is an urgent issue not only in Russia but abroad as well. European Commission has funded special projects for the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes – ENFSI, one of which concerns the development of a knowledge examination for competence assessment. ENFSI plans to arrange an exam in all laboratories in the net. American Academy of Forensic Sciences also pays much attention to competence and education of experts. The topic of the Annual Meeting of the AAFS which took place in February 2014 was “Forensic Science Education and Mentorship: Our Path Forward’. Taking international experiences into account, we are to establish our own competency assessment mechanisms for both traditional and new directions in forensic activities. We hope that our roundtable will contribute markedly to this process.

2. What are the main issues to be brought up for consideration?

The world of forensic investigation is constantly changing. To be effective and credible we should adapt to challenges of time. The main task for CEO of any investigation agency is to organize the work process with due regard to innovations. “Six Sigma” Rule is an effective tool for intensifying and shortening of terms in the expert work.

To correspond to reality, we should satisfy the requirements of expert organizations in research activities, find a time for evaluating new methods and increasing the number and quality of forensic investigations. Moreover, we need to create a proper mechanism of investigations’ quality control. One of such mechanisms is a competency assessment of forensic laboratories through the international accreditation.

We should also keep in mind that at increasing of the quality of forensic investigation its price shouldn’t be too high. At the panel we will discuss trends and profitability of forensic techniques validation.

Currently there is a growing demand for forensic services. At the same time much attention is paid to professional training of specialists that should have necessary skills and experience to carry on forensic activities. At our roundtable we will discuss advantages of modular and integrative principle for professional training of forensic experts.

3. Whom would you especially recommend to attend your roundtable (legal advisers, in-house attorneys, lawyers from the Russian / international companies, notaries, bars, etc.)?

We recommend attending the roundtable to representatives of investigative authorities and forensic experts.

4. Who are the main experts at your panel?

Our roundtable will feature a number of well-known academics and practicing experts from various investigative bodies: Daniel A. Martell, President of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS), Peter S. Unger, ILAC Chair, President & CEO at the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation, Boris Korobetz, Head of Jurisprudence, Intellectual property, Forensic Department - Director of the Center of Intellectual Property Protection of Bauman Moscow State Technical University, Jan De Kinder, General Director of the National Institute of Criminalistics and Criminology (INCC).

“Mediation is a significant social instrument which contributes to cultivation of real-time response to conflict situations and establishes conditions for conflict escalation prevention”

Tsisana Shamlikashvili

President, Non-profit Partnership "National Organization of Mediators"

Moderator of the roundtables “Mediation: Modern Approaches to Dispute Resolution and Decision-making in the Context of Globalization”, “The Possibilities of Mediation in Family Relations and in Protecting of the Interests and Rights of Children”


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1. What determines the urgent character of the issues discussed at your roundtables? (“Mediation: Modern Approaches to Dispute Resolution and Decision-making in the Context of Globalization”, “The Possibilities of Mediation in Family Relations and in Protecting of the Interests and Rights of Children”)?

This year we will hold two panels. The first one will be dedicated to discussion of the recent trends in mediation and ADR in Russia and abroad. The second roundtable which we have organized together with the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation deals with issues of children’s rights and interests protection.

We have been always considering mediation as not just a dispute resolution mechanism but a significant social instrument which contributes to cultivation of real-time response to conflict situations and establishes conditions for conflict escalation prevention. International experiences also show that mediation has a colossal social potential. That is why much attention is paid to integration of mediation into international private law. The Hague Conference on Private International Law has done a lot to include mediation into the algorithm of implementation of the 1980 and 1996 Hague Conventions which regulate issues of child’s rights and interests protection and cross-border family disputes. Russia has recently adopted the Hague Conventions provisions. The Ministry of Education and Science is the Central Competent Authority. We, Federal Institute of Mediation and Center for Mediation and Law, in cooperation with the Central Authority try to create conditions for implementing mediation in family disputes. According to the project of National Strategy for the benefits of children, services of school mediation are to be founded in various educational institutions and mediation service net is to be developed for restorative justice implementation.

So, mediation is gradually entering different spheres of life and doesn’t limit itself to legal dispute resolution only.

2. What are the main issues to be brought up for consideration?

Mediation and court in dispute resolution methods continuum. Why isn’t modern mediation so popular despite its unique approach to dispute settlement which is oriented to individual interests of parties? Is the ability to agree a natural talent and need of a person? What does a modern human require to save the world suitable for living?

Why haven’t businessmen, the most bottom-line part of the society, appreciated to the full extent the advantages of mediation? What is the role of the state in development of mediation? Why should the government be interested in it?

3. Whom would you especially recommend to attend your roundtable (legal advisers, in-house attorneys, lawyers from the Russian / international companies, notaries, bars, etc.)?

Knowledge of mediation is absolutely necessary for everybody, regardless age, social status or profession because everyone of us is a potential client of mediation. But if we speak of legal community, we should also address issues of professional competence and ethics. Every modern lawyer should have at least basic knowledge of mediation and ADR. He should also understand his role in expanding mediation practices as, for instance, judges who act as “key-holders” to mediation.

4. Who are the main experts at your panel?

“The Possibilities of Mediation in Family Relations and in Protecting of the Interests and Rights of Children” roundtable I will moderate together with the Deputy Minister of Education Venyamin Kaganov.

As international experts and speakers we have invited Christophe Bernasconi, Secretary General of The Hague Conference on Private International Law, and Jean Ayoub, CEO at International Social Service.

We do hope that the discussion at the “Mediation: Modern Approaches to Dispute Resolution and Decision-making in the Context of Globalization” roundtable will be also interesting. The main foreign expert is Jim Marshall, former President and CEO of the United States Institute of Peace.

Veniamin Yakovlev, Chairman of the Board of Private Law Research Center under the President of the Russian Federation, Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Pligin, Chairman of the Committee on the Constitutional Legislation of the State Duma of the Russian Federation and Alexander Bazhenov are also among the participants.

News of the Forum


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  • Representatives of 56 states have already registered for the Forum.

  • Representatives of the following states will participate in the Forum: Abkhazia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Great Britain, Hungary, Germany, Hong Kong, Greece, Denmark, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Spain, Italy, Kazakhstan, Cambodia, Canada, Cyprus, Kyrgyzstan, China, Cuba, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, the Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, Poland, Singapore, Slovakia, USA, Turkey, Ukraine, Finland, France, Croatia, Montenegro, Czech Republic, Chili, Switzerland, Sri Lanka, Estonia, Japan.

  • This year the Forum will welcome Official delegations headed by Ministers and Deputy Ministers of Justice and Chairmen of Supreme, Constitutional and Arbitration Courts from Abkhazia, Azerbaijan, Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Venezuela, Djibouti, Zambia, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Cambodia, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Mozambique, Namibia, United Arab Emirates, Slovakia, Croatia, Sri Lanka, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia.

Coming in the next issue:

In the next issue of the Digest on May 21, we will present you the interviews with moderators of the Forum’s sessions in our column “Invitation from Session Chairs”.