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Digest 24/1

We are glad to present you a special edition of the St. Petersburg International Legal Forum Digest dedicated to discussion sessions of the Forum 2015!

Prior to the event moderators of the Forum’s panels tell us what determines the urgent character of the issues discussed at the roundtables, what are the main issues to be brought up for consideration and who are distinguished speakers who are going to give speeches at the roundtables.

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«Given recent market and geopolitical trends there have appeared all the prerequisites for intensified trade and investment flows between Russia and China»

Ekaterina Trofimova,
First Vice-President, Member of the Board, Gazpombank

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Ekaterina Trofimova, First Vice-President, Member of the Board, Gazpombank, moderator of 7.2. Russian-Chinese Cooperation: from Words to Action.

In recent years the global economic landscape has been rapidly changing, and the economic development of Asian countries has become especially remarkable. It is particularly true for China, which, according to the IMF and World Bank estimates, in 2014 became a global economic leader in terms of purchasing power parity. Simultaneously we can observe the liberalization of China's financial system, which has already led to the dramatic increase of the yuan's share in global financial transactions. In future China will get increasingly stronger as a net capital exporter, making the diversification of the global financial system inevitable. Provided that the country has already become the biggest global exporter, China's plans to increase the amount of outward investments to $1.3 trl in the coming decade will contribute to the rise of local currency transactions between economically sustainable regions. This will bring about development of financial instruments for national currencies (trade financing, derivatives, debt market instruments), gradually expanding market capacity and variety of applicable financial instruments. Given recent market and geopolitical trends there have appeared all the prerequisites for intensified trade and investment flows between Russia and China. Here a broader discussion on development of financial instruments, foreign currency hedging (ruble/yuan), as well as limitations and bottlenecks is needed, especially in terms of legislation that curbs the development of financial market and narrows mutually beneficial cooperation. These and many other issues will be a matter of discussion between Russian and Chinese experts with legal and financial background.


«The crux is to define optimal proportions of supranational, national and regional elements of legal regulation of integration processes»

Anatoly Kapustin,
President, Russian Association of International Law

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Anatoly Kapustin, President, Russian Association of International Law, moderator of 1.5. Sovereignty and Supranationalism in Contemporary International Relations.

Integration processes remain top-priority goals of global development and embrace the majority of countries in the world. Apart from some obvious advantages of integration, which increases common economic potential of states and thus, supports national interests at the time of world economic and financial systems’ instability, there is a necessity to find adequate responses to current competition of various trends in legal and political architecture of integration development. The crux is to define optimal proportions of supranational, national and regional elements of legal regulation of integration processes.

The growth of states’ interdependence in the modern world challenges both traditional international legal mechanisms of international cooperation and current opinions on state sovereignty in international relations. International integration organizations modeled on the basis and within the frameworks of international law exceed its scope and demonstrate a multi-faceted realization of different forms of sovereignty. As part of their development, international integration organizations are gradually gaining new institutional and legal features, which give a new meaning to the legal tools they use.

Currently, it is crucial to interpret these issues (e.g. correlation between sovereignty and supranationalism) and search for their practical resolution in a context of further economic integration of the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union (Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia, and Kirgizstan).

Among the issues we will discuss I would emphasize analysis and reevaluation of recent concepts of sovereignty and supranationalism; as well as new prospects of their correlation in the legal regulation of integration processes, including new approaches to modeling and realization of projects of international regional integration organizations. It is expected to discuss the international legal problems of the Eurasian Economic Union development, which has set a number of fundamental legal issues. The successful functioning and development of the Eurasian integration space largely depends on the solution of these legal issues.

The severity of the discussion will be determined by the fact that these legal categories are speculative and do not have legal, generally accepted definitions, which open a space for competition of various approaches and concepts.

In my opinion, the topic of the panel touches upon the interests of a very wide range of legal experts whose profession is related to practical and theoretical issues in international relations, development of integration processes, etc. Particularly, issues of the development of the Eurasian Economic Union legal space will attract re

Leading academics and practitioners from Russia and abroad will give talks at the panel, including experts from international organizations, representatives of state agencies, specialists from leading educational and research organizations. They will explain their point of view on the contemporary status of the concepts of state sovereignty and supranationalism and their relations and development in the face of changing world.


«We invite all lawyers who, to a certain extent, deal with expert knowledge in judicial proceedings, as well as forensic experts themselves»

Svetlana Smirnova,
Director, Russian Federal Center of Forensic Science of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation

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Svetlana Smirnova, Director, Russian Federal Center of Forensic Science of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation, moderator of 4.3. Forensic Expertise – Fact-finding on the Border Between the Subjective and Objective.

Challenges of time and requirements of judicial procedure stipulate the necessity to proceed to a whole new level of forensic technologies. Legislation and legal practitioners suggest very high criteria of forensic expertise objectification, the margin for error having essentially grown today. The objectivity principle is determined by the requirement to conduct an expertise and to make conclusions on the contemporary scientific and methodological, as well as practical basis. This principle has two aspects: 1) prohibition for an expert to express his subjectivism and 2) expert’s impartiality. At the same time, the grounds for expert’s errors can be subjective and objective, while their nature can be procedural, gnosiological, or operational. However, in reality, in law enforcement practice, everything is more complicated. Specific circumstances and temporal limits of judicial proceedings, real technical conditions of a concrete expert operational base, methodological ambiguity, professional level of an expert, his physical and emotional condition, ethical issues, possibility of any impact, including corruption issues, other participants and so on, all these factors are essentially significant for the results of a forensic expertise objectification. Thus, the urgent character of this topic is determined by the necessity to find some optimal solution of this problem and by the international practice to ensure balance of objective and subjective factors in forensic examinations.

The aim of the discussion is to find some ways of consolidation of procedural requirements, of organizational, legal and technological solutions, of issues of professional education and psychological training of forensic experts, as well as of preventative measures to increase the objectivity of forensic activity. Therefore, we will discuss the following issues:

  • challenges of legal proceedings and the principle of objectivity in the forensic examination;
  • methodology of the objectification in forensic activity as a factor increasing the evidentiary meaning of forensic examination results;
  • technical competence of the forensic laboratory to ensure objectivity in the expert opinion delivery;
  • probative value of modern forensic technology;
  • databases as a tool of the objectification in forensic activity.;
  • role of professional education in improving the objectivity of forensic activities.

We believe that, apart from procedural and technological issues (e.g. standardization and accreditation), it will be interesting to discuss the issues of education, psychology, ethics and, in general, of the human factor’s role in forensic expertise, which is largely discussed by foreign scholars. Thus, the research in the area of cognitive processes in a mind of a forensic expert demonstrated a direct link between unintentional errors in a forensic expertise and particularities of a concrete expert’s psychology, namely his memory, attention, feelings, logical thinking, imagination, ability to make decisions, etc. The goal of this research is to minimize a cognitive shift in a forensic activity, to increase reliability and accuracy of a forensic expertise, to apply respective preventive measures for forensic experts, investigators, judges and attorneys. It was even suggested that we should develop the whole conception of a cognitive shift management for the sake of justice.

We invite all lawyers who, to a certain extent, deal with expert knowledge in judicial proceedings, as well as forensic experts themselves. We believe that the topic of the round table will also attract lawyers who make research in the areas of didactics, psychology and ethics in law.

Representatives of experts’ community, law enforcement officials, attorneys, academics and practitioners from Armenia, Belgium, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Mongolia, Russia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Montenegro and other states have already expressed their will to take part in our panel. The speakers are well-known professors and doctors: Jan de Kinder, Director General of the National Institute of Criminalistics and Criminology of Belgium; Oleg Yastrebov, Director of the Institute of Law of the People's Friendship University of Russia; Aleksandar Ivanovic, Deputy Director of the Forensic Center Police Directorate of Montenegro; Anatoly Nesterov, Professor of the Department of Judicial Power and Justice Administration, Higher School of Economics; Alexander Asnis, Director of the "Asnis & Partners" law firm; and Artashes Javadyan, Director of the National Bureau of Expertises of Armenia.


«At the panel we will discuss the main factors which have negative impact on the Russian M&A market, will analyze international experiences, and will have a talk on how real sector feels itself, how legal market considers the situation and what are the main scenarios of the progression of events»

Mikhail Kazantsev,
Partner, Law Firm "Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners"

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Mikhail Kazantsev, Partner, Law Firm "Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners", moderator of 3.3. M&A Transactions and Investment Projects in Russia in the Current Circumstances (to be specified).

Activity of M&A in the market has always been a barometer of general well-being of economy and business. Today, the situation with both the Russian economy in general and the M&A market is not a simple one. Last year the amount of M&A transactions dropped more than 70% and the market literally froze. At the same time, at the beginning of 2015 the international arena saw burst of M&A activity. According to various data, the market increased more than 20% compared to the last year. However, this phenomenon has a sectorial nature. The growth was seen on pharmaceutical market where the number of M&A transactions increased 70% per quarter, which made the maximum in global technological sector over the past 15 years.

At the panel we will discuss the main factors which have negative impact on the Russian M&A market, will analyze international experiences, and will have a talk on how real sector feels itself, how legal market considers the situation and what are the main scenarios of the progression of events.

At the round table we will highlight the most pressing issues of today and will try to foretell the future events. We will focus on the current situation in the M&A market in Russia and CIS and the impact of sanctions and oil price drop on the M&A market. We will discuss what is going on in the M&A market in spite of all these difficulties and what challenges business and representatives of the regulator face; how the West considers the situation; what opportunities practitioners from the EU, Asia and Russia can offer to perform transaction with Russian assets; what we can expect in antitrust coordination of transactions with Russian element; what is the opinion of a practitioner on special situations in course of structuring M&A transactions; and finally, what is the impact of recent legislative changes on transactions, including modernization of the Civil Code, deoffshorization programme, etc.

We invited speakers to give a multi-faceted opinion on the current situation, e.g. on behalf of state agencies (Boris Titov, Ombudsman for entrepreneurs' rights; Andrey Tsyganov, Deputy Head of the FAS); on behalf of in-houses of major Russian (Tatyana Udaltsova, Member of the Management Board, Bank of Moscow) and world companies (Thomas Kim, Chief Compliance Officer & General Counsel GGO, Thomson Reuters); as well as on behalf of players of the Russian legal market and foreign counselors (Maria Miroshnikova, Partner, Law Firm "Ivanyan & Partners"; Robin Wittering, Partner, Law Firm "Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners"; and Rupert Boswall, Chairman, Reynolds Porter Chamberlain LLP).

Our round table will be useful for in-house attorneys from Russian and international corporations who deal with M&A transactions; for the participants of legal market; for representatives of state, as well as for all those who analyze the current situation and strive to understand what to expect in the future.


Coming in the next issue:

In the next special issue of the Digest on May 13, we will present you the interviews with moderators of the Forum’s sessions.