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Digest 12

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

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St. Petersburg International Legal Forum Award “Contribution to the Development of Legal Integration in the Eurasian Space”

Organizing Committee of the IV St. Petersburg International Legal Forum made a decision to establish St. Petersburg International Legal Forum Award “Contribution to the Development of Legal Integration in the Eurasian Space”.

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The Award aims at promoting legal integration in Eurasian Economic Community, Customs Union and Common Economic Space and supporting international cooperation in the legal area.

We invite practicing lawyers and legal experts who have made a significant positive contribution to the consolidation and development of interstate relations and the formation of Common Economic Space in the Eurasian region to submit a nomination.

The solemn Award Ceremony will take place during the IV St. Petersburg International Legal Forum.

The deadline for nominations is June 5, 2014.

If you have any queries please contact us via awards@spblegalforum.com

Interview about the “Legal Service Market. Locked and Free Markets: Pros and Contras” round table

Evgeny Semenyako

President of the Federal Chamber of Lawyers
Moderator of the “Legal Service Market. Locked and Free Markets: Pros and Contras” roundtable

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1. Why have you, as moderator, decided to arrange a round table on “Legal Service Market. Locked and Free Markets: Pros and Contras” this year?

We remember well the date of May 31, 2002 when the “first advocatory Constitution” was adopted, namely the Federal law “On Advocacy and the Bar in the Russian Federation”. A few years later this day was declared as our professional holiday.

Now we are intent on arranging the “second advocatory Constitution” which will unite all attorneys and other competent lawyers within the same corporation. This event is going to become the holiday of all the Russian lawyers in common.

Hopefully, the “Legal Service Market. Locked and Free Markets: Pros and Contras” round table at the IV St. Petersburg International Legal Forum will be a considerable step towards developing the conception of this union. We cordially invite both our followers and opponents to take part in our discussion!

2. Why is the topic in question so important for the Russian legal community?

Dualism in legal profession is currently the most serious problem in the area of a qualified legal aid. Nowadays, professional and ethical standards, liability for their non-fulfillment refer only to the advocates whose activity is regulated by the Federal law of May 31, 2002 No. 63-FZ “On Advocacy and the Bar in the Russian Federation” (hereinafter — Law on Advocacy).

By virtue of the part 1 of the article 1 of this Law, advocacy means qualified legal assistance rendered by those having the status of advocate to individuals and juridical persons in order to protect their rights, freedoms and interests and provide access to justice. The high quality of the legal service rendered is ensured by fulfillment of the above-mentioned requirements. However, in respect to any other persons who render legal services analogous requirements are not set and their activity isn’t regulated by law.

In the absence of unified professional standards for legal practitioners we can’t provide everybody with a right to get a qualified legal assistance what is guaranteed by the part 1 of the article 48 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation. The absence of such standards makes the difference between Russia and the other developed countries.

According to the Federal Chamber of Lawyers, this problem can be solved if we unite advocates and competent legal practitioners within the same corporation based on the advocatory status.

This issue is especially significant in the year of celebration the 150th anniversary of the Russian Bar when we have a right to note that the modern bar established by the Law on Advocacy is a professional and socially responsible corporation. Law on Advocacy has embodied hopes of a few generations of advocates who wanted to establish a unified independent professional community and it has also fixed many traditions developed by legal profession. We can definitely say that after the adoption of this law the Russian Bar reached the new important stage of its historical development.

Moreover, we feel an inextricable connection with our great ancestors who started creating legal profession during the Judiciary reform in 1864. Their names, their ardour and honest attitude towards their profession are guiding stars for us.

12 years after we have passed the Law on Advocacy we see that the bar is fulfilling itself not only as a necessary element of the whole legal system but as an active institution of civil society as well.

Our corporation got stronger both in its system and organization. Activity of qualification commissions, where advocates, judges, representatives of judicial and executive authority work together, proved its significance. Councils of Bar Chambers are also effective bodies of self-government. One of their priorities is a protection of advocates’ professional rights. In the regions where interests of our colleagues are protected both on the level of local authorities and in different courts, members of our corporation feel safe.

The current level of organization and corporate culture allows us to think of extension of democratic principles at electing advocatory self-regulatory bodies and presidents of chambers. The Law on Advocacy gives us this opportunity. We shouldn’t forget though that we are a professional corporation and should follow the priorities defined by our professional goals.

Upgrading the quality of competence standards and ethical norms in our community and strengthening the institution itself, we will strive for establishment of the united corporation of practicing lawyers. We are sure that this corporation will increase the legal protection for citizens and institutions dramatically, overcome legal nihilism and boost the prestige of both legal profession and our state.

State-run programme entitled “Justice” of April 15, 2014, No. 312 is aimed at closing the gaps in legal aid. Among the main tasks of the programme is to increase the level of protection of public interests, implement rights of citizens and institutions.

  • Sub-programme 1 defines ways of complementing this task, in particular, it mentions:
  • adjustment of the qualified legal aid system and modernization of the bar institution;
  • promotion of the status of advocates in professional legal community through the mechanism of regular professional enhancement and competence assessment;
  • development and maintenance of competition on the professional legal services market;
  • provision of legal assistance to people, including pro bono.

Among the results we expect from this sub-programme is the development of the unified legal services market accessible for different groups of population.

The following measures mentioned in the Appendix 3 are designed to achieve this result:

  • in 2014 the Conception of regulation of professional legal services market providing citizens and juridical persons with access to competent legal aid should be enacted by the decree of the Ministry of Justice of Russia;
  • in 2015 we plan to draft the Federal law on professional legal assistance in the Russian Federation aimed at “optimization of permit to work as an advocate as well as standardization of professional legal services market”.

All these measures will be addressed at the roundtable “Legal Service Market. Locked and Free Markets: Pros and Contras”.

3. What topics will the panelists discuss?

We plan to discuss issues of the bar institution enhancement, promotion of the status of advocate in the legal community, adjustment of the qualified legal aid system with the help of unified requirements for all the players of the legal services market, exclusion of all the unfair participants from the market.

4. Who will be speakers at your session?

Our roundtable will feature representatives of judicial, legislative and executive branches of the government, advocates, bars, legal attorneys and counselors.

Our discussion session will be interesting for both Russian and foreign attorneys, lawyers from Russian and international companies, representatives of state authorities and academics, so, for everyone dealing with protection of the rights of citizens and institutions and problems of advocacy.

Interview about the “Development of the System of Payment Guarantees at the Electric Power Markets: Russian and Foreign Experience” round table

Alexander Pakhomov

Member of the Management Board — Head of the Legal Affairs Unit of JSC “Inter RAO”
Moderator of the “Development of the System of Payment Guarantees at the Electric Power Markets: Russian and Foreign Experience” round table

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1. Why is this issue so important for the lawyers who work in the area of electric power engineering?

The need for development of the payment guarantee system and at the same time the payment discipline is one of the most urgent issues arising in the course of interaction of electric power markets’ participants.

Due to the continuous debt growth in the electric power sector, the matter of the payment discipline in fuel and energy sector is now under the special control of the Government and President of the Russian Federation.

Non-payment of debt by unfair intermediaries and buyers (including the management companies of the housing and utilities sector) results in the deterioration of the financial standing of electric- and heat power engineering entities. Electric power entities accrue multibillion consumer debts for the supplied energy; at the same time, the companies themselves should timely pay all their costs — fuel supplies, repair programmes, wages of the employees.

The strengthening of the payment discipline among the energy consumers is important both for the effective operation of markets and formation of the companies’ investment resources, which may be used for the modernization of the Russian power sector.

These uneasy matters are resolved, inter alia, by lawyers that ensure the legal support of activities of the electric power markets’ participants. Consequently, it is very important that we have an opportunity to share our opinions on the problems of the industry-specific legislation, discuss general tendencies of the government control and practical application of legislation.

Besides, the best industry experts can use the Forum as a platform to discuss and jointly make topical offers concerning the possible measures to be taken with regard to the normative legal regulation in the field of the payment guarantee system at the electric power markets.

2. Which issues are you going to discuss?

At our round table we are going to discuss the most pressing issues connected with the payment discipline at the electric power markets, including the ways used to secure the payment, the efficiency of the existing mechanisms of payment guarantees, peculiarities of interpretation of the industry-specific laws by courts and law enforcers, competition of industry legal norms and elimination of legislative lacunas, private and public approaches in the statutory regulation of the payment guarantee system, foreign experience of ensuring the payment guarantees.

3. What speakers will take part in your session?

The participants of our round table include the famous experts in the area of law and electric power, representatives of state authorities and major electric power companies in Russia and abroad, as well as successful legal practitioners.

Particularly, the following persons will speak at the round table: Anastasia Bondarenko, Director of the Legal Department of the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation, Anna Izotova, Head of the Legal Directorate of the Federal Tariff Service of the Russian Federation, Leonid Akimov, Director of the Legal Department of JSC “Russian Grids”, Arnoud R. Willems, Sidley Austin LLP Partner, Christophe Espert, Director of the Business Collaboration Group of EDF. It is also planned to involve representatives of the Federal Bailiff Service, Non-Commercial Partnership “Market Council”, and judicial community.

I am sure that the issues connected with the payment discipline in electric power industry that will be discussed during our session will be comprehensively covered, and the Forum participants will obtain the most topical and interesting information.

I would be very glad to see the participants of the IV St. Petersburg International Legal Forum at the round table “Development of the System of Payment Guarantees at the Electric Power Markets: Russian and Foreign Experience”.

News of the Forum

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  • The business agenda for the IV St. Petersburg International Legal Forum is up on the site, with the discussion sessions getting underway on June 18 and 19 from 10 am to 6 pm. The plenary session will be held on June 20 from 12 pm till 14 pm. Feel free to look over the program here http://spblegalforum.com/business_agenda

  • Ministers of Justice of Argentina, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Uganda, Algeria, Jordan, Cambodia and Namibia have confirmed their participation in the Forum.

  • Representatives of 70 states have already registered for the Forum.


Coming in the next issue:

In the next issue of the Digest on June 11 we will present you the brightest and the most interesting events of the Forum 2014!