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Information Technology in Enforcement Proceedings

Experts discussed implementation of Information Technology in enforcement proceedings at the VII St. Petersburg International Legal Forum.

 

The discussion was moderated by Vladimir Gureev Head of the Department of Civil Procedure and Bailiff Service Organization, All-Russian State University of Justice (RLA of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation). Among the participants of discussion were Dmitry Aristov, Director, Federal Bailiff Service – Chief Bailiff of the Russian Federation; Dmitry Kovalenko, Chief Bailiff of the Republic of Belarus; Tatyana Petrova, Deputy Chairman, Supreme Court of the Russian Federation – Chairman, Judicial Board on Administrative Cases; Janek Pool, Chairman of the Board, Chamber of Bailiffs and Trustees in Bankruptcy of Estonia; , Adrianus Uitdehaag, Judicial Officer of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, First Secretary, UIHJ International Union of Judicial Officers; and Vladimir Yarkov, Head of the Civil Procedure Department, Ural State Law University.

Opening the discussion, moderator Vladimir Gureev commented that IT has already become an integral part of everyday life of the Russian people and are now being actively implemented in enforcement proceedings.

“Today's choice of topic is not accidental, there's certain synergy to it's relevance, since we are all active IT users. On the one hand, we actively interact amongst ourselves, as well as with governmental institutions, and IT has become part of our life. On the other hand, though, matters of enforcement proceedings, and enforcement of acts issued by legal authorities in general, are central in the discussion of tools aimed at protecting the rights of individuals and legal entities,» he commented.

Vladimir Gureev emphasised that IT-wise the Federal Bailiff Service is one of the most advanced governmental institutions in Russia. The Service's website offers a digital database of enforcement proceedings, where individuals and legal entities can request information on their debts. Our mobile app also has similar functions.

Dmitry Aristov, Director, Federal Bailiff Service – Chief Bailiff of the Russian Federation, made a more detailed presentation on how IT is implemented in the Service’s work. “In 2016 the enforcement proceedings database available at the FBS website had 88 million visitors. Over the QI  this year the service was provided 27 million times,” said the FBS director. 

Dmitry Aristov stressed the importance of implementing IT in the Service’s work, since bailiff’s workload is very high. With IT systems in place, individuals and legal entities have a way to enquire on their debts and make necessary payments. “We spare the debtors from having to wait till the enforcement measures are already taken against them. We have provided them with a way to make payments, 10 payment systems are connected to the database. You don’t even need to leave the house to make a payment. Our app is available for Android, iOS and Windows operating systems. Via this app you can also subscribe to receive notifications in case there is an outstanding debt,” Dmitry Aristov stated.

The FBS Director pointed out that interacting with the public is not the only reason for the Service to implement IT. The Service also relies on digital tools for internal documentation processes, as well as to interact with other agencies.  Dmitry Aristov stressed that over the next two years the Service is also planning to shift their document exchange with courts and major enforcers to electronic document management systems.

Tatyana Petrova, Deputy Chairman, Supreme Court of the Russian Federation – Chairman, Judicial Board on Administrative Cases, commented on the fact that Russia is actively implementing elements of e-justice.

Required legislation amendments came into effect in 2016. I’m referring to four groups of norms: the first one regulates documentation submittal to courts in electronic form, the second one regulates digital audio-recording during court proceedings, the third one sets out the rules on how court acts, judicial summons and other documents are sent to parties involved on court proceedings, while the fourth one establishes the rules of electronic interactions with the FBS. “Electronic justice is a global trend,”  Tatyana Petrova emphasised.

Dmitry Kovalenko, Chief Bailiff of the Republic of Belarus and Janek Pool, Chairman of the Board, Chamber of Bailiffs and Trustees in Bankruptcy of Estonia, explained the particulars of implementing IT in enforcement proceedings in their respective countries.

Regardless of the fact, that in  the Republic of Belarus the enforcement proceedings system only received the status of a separate body in 2014, it already implements certain IT elements. In Estonia enforcement proceedings are outsourced to private bailiffs, who rely on blockchain technologies which allows them to simultaneously manage over one hundred thousand operations. Cryptocurrency transactions and specifically bitcoins are a matter of particular relevance for Estonian bailiffs. Presently, Estonia is looking for a solution to the issue of seizing funds kept in this form. Adrianus Uitdehaag, Judicial Officer of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, First Secretary, UIHJ International Union of Judicial Officers pointed out that IT implementation, as well as automation of enforcement proceedings are topical matters on the international agenda. Yet, he says that supranational enforcement is often unable to catch up with the progress made by individual states. One of the major obstacles here is that  different countries adopt different approaches to process automation, which often presents technical challenges, for instance, it often prevents database compatibility.

He also mentioned discrepancies between national legal systems, as well as linguistic and tariff differences among major barriers, since it renders integration of all systems too expensive a project to be carried out. 

In the expert’s opinion, lack of trust in terms of information exchange is the major barrier standing in the way of cooperation.

Summing up the discussion, moderator Vladimir Gureev stressed that implementing IT in enforcement proceedings is a given fact and already is a reality.

“Developing this technology, advancing it further  – that’s something  we should be actively focusing on. Our main goal is to ensure steadfast adherence to the rights of individuals and legal entities”.