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A Guide to Legal Research in Russia

 

By Arina V. Popova and Lev S. Solovyev

 

Arina V. Popova  earned her Master of Laws degree (LLM) at the New York University School of Law (2006). She received her law degree (J.D.) in 2005 from St. Petersburg State University School of Law, Russia. Lev S. Solovyev is a Ph.D. candidate (2006). He holds a J.D. (2003) from St. Petersburg State University School of Law, Russia.

 

Published July 2006

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Table of Contents

I.      Russia – General Information

A.    Geography and Population

B.     Language, Religion, Currency

C.    State Insignia

II.    Political System and the Governmental Structure

A.    Democratic and Federal State

B.     Separation and Balancing of Powers

C.    State and Local Self-Government Authorities

1.     State Authorities of the Russian Federation

2.     State Authorities of the Subjects of the Russian Federation

3.     Local Self-Government Authorities

III.       The State Authorities of the Russian Federation

A.    The President of the Russian Federation

1.     The Role and Effective President of Russia

2.     The Requirements to be a President of Russia

3.     The President's Major Powers

4.     Impeachment

B.     The Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation

1.     General Notes

2.     The State Duma

3.     The Council of the Federation

4.     Legislative Process

C.    The Government of the Russian Federation

D.    The Judicial System of the Russian Federation

1.     The Judicial System (the Federal Constitutional Law "On the Judicial System of the Russian Federation" N 1-FKZ, dated December 31, 1996) (English access)

2.     The Constitutional Courts

3.     Courts of General Jurisdiction

4.     Commercial ("Arbitrazh") Courts

5.     Private Arbitration

IV.       Regional State Authorities

V.    Sources of Law

A.    General Notes

B.     The Constitution of the Russian Federation

C.    International Treaties

D.    Federal Constitutional Laws

E.    Codes

F.     Federal Laws

G.    Degrees and Orders of the President of the Russian Federation

H.    Decisions and Orders of the Government of the Russian Federation and other State Executive Authorities

I.      Regional Laws and Regulations

J.      Court Decisions

K.     Official Publications

L.    Russian Legal Databases

1.     Consultant Plus

2.     Garant

3.     Kodeks

M.        Legal Publications

VI.       Legal Education and Career in Russia

A.    Legal Education

B.     Legal Career

1.     In-house Lawyers

2.     Advocates

3.     State Lawyers

4.     Judges

5.     Lawyers at Consulting Companies

6.     Lawyers at Law Firms

VII.      Doing Business in Russia Guides

I.              Russia – General Information

A.             Geography and Population

The Russian Federation, or Russia[1], is the largest country in the world, bordering a number of the European countries (including Poland and the Baltic countries) to the west, Finland and the Arctic Ocean to the north, Asian countries (including China) to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the east.

The population of the Russian Federation is approximately 144 million people. The capital of Russia is Moscow (with a population of approximately 9 million people). The so-called "cultural" and historical capital is St. Petersburg (with a population of approximately 4.5 million people).

B.             Language, Religion, Currency

The Russian language is the official state language of the Russian Federation. English is taught widely and is the principal foreign language in the Russian Federation.

Orthodox Christianity remains the main religion.

The ruble (RUR) is the national currency of the Russian Federation.

C.             State Insignia

The National Flag (English access) of the Russian Federation is a rectangular cloth of three equal horizontal stripes: the uppermost is white, the middle is blue and the bottom is red.

 

The National Anthem (English access) is one of the official state symbols of the Russian Federation.  The Anthem’s words reflect feelings of patriotism and respect for the country’s history.

 

The State Emblem (English access) of the Russian Federation is an official state symbol. The double-headed eagle has regained its status as the centerpiece of Russia's State Emblem, testifying to the continuity of Russian history.

 

II.            Political System and the Governmental Structure

A.             Democratic and Federal State

After the demise of the age-old Tsarist regime in the revolutions of 1917, Russia (and in turn the Soviet Union) was controlled by the Communist Party. The collapse of the USSR in 1991 presented modern Russia with numerous serious hurdles to overcome, such as the development of a fully democratic political system and a Western-based market economy[2].

At present, Russia is a democratic, federal state with a republican form of government consisting of 89 Regions (a straightforward translation is "Subjects of the Russian Federation") independent from each other. At the same time, the federal structure of the Russian Federation is based on its state integrity.

89 Subjects of the Russian Federation are:

·         21 Republics;

·         7 territories;

·         48 regions;

·         2 cities of federal importance (Moscow and St. Petersburg);

·         the Jewish autonomous region; and

·         9 autonomous areas.

The Subjects of the Russian Federation have their own constitutions/charters and legislation, as well as their own regional state authorities.

In addition to the division of the Russian Federation into 89 Subjects of the Russian Federation, there are also municipalities within the bounds of the latter.

B.             Separation and Balancing of Powers

The state authorities in the Russian Federation are separated into legislative, executive and judicial authorities, which are independent from each other.

The state power is also divided between the state bodies of the Russian Federation and the state bodies of the Subjects of the Russian Federation.

C.             State and Local Self-Government Authorities

1.         State Authorities of the Russian Federation

The State Authorities of the Russian Federation are:

·         the President of the Russian Federation;

·         the Federal Assembly (the State Duma, the lower chamber, and the Council of the Federation, the upper chamber);

·         the Government of the Russian Federation and relevant executive authorities; and

·         Courts of the Russian Federation.

 

2.         State Authorities of the Subjects of the Russian Federation

The state power in the Subjects of the Russian Federation is exercised by the state authorities elected by their respective population. Those authorities are regional legislative, executive, and judicial authorities.

3.         Local Self-Government Authorities

The power within the municipalities is exercised by the local self-government authorities, which are independent from the state authorities. The limits of their power are prescribed by federal laws.

III.         The State Authorities of the Russian Federation

A.             The President of the Russian Federation

1.         The Role and Effective President of Russia

The President of the Russian Federation (English access) is the head of the State who determines the guidelines of the State's internal and foreign policies.

The current Russian President is Vladimir V. Putin (English access), who was elected President of Russia on March 26, 2000 and inaugurated as president on May 7, 2000. He was re-elected President of Russia on March 14, 2004.

2.         The Requirements to be a President of Russia

Any citizen of the Russian Federation not younger than 35 years of age and with a permanent residence record in the Russian Federation of not less than 10 years may be elected President of the Russian Federation.

The President of the Russian Federation is elected for four years by citizens of the Russian Federation. The same person may not be elected for more than two terms running. Therefore, Vladimir V. Putin may not be elected to be the President of Russia next time in 2008.

3.         The President's Major Powers

The President of the Russian Federation has a right to:

·         appoint (provided that there is a consent of the State Duma) the Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation;

·         to chair meetings of the Government of the Russian Federation;

·         present to the Council of the Federation candidates for appointment as judges of the Highest Courts of the Russian Federation, as well as appoint judges of other federal courts;

·         dissolve the State Duma in certain cases;

·         submit bills to the State Duma, sign (with a "veto" right) and make public the federal laws; and

·         issue decrees and orders related to a great number of spheres, which are obligatory for fulfillment in the whole territory of the Russian Federation (Those decrees and orders shall not, however, run counter to the Constitution of the Russian Federation and the federal laws).

4.         Impeachment

The President of the Russian Federation may be impeached by the Council of the Federation on the basis of the charges of high treason or another grave crime, advanced by the State Duma and followed by the conclusions of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation and the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation.

There was no precedent of impeachment in Russia.

B.             The Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation

1.         General Notes

The Federal Assembly is a parliament of the Russian Federation working on a permanent basis and consisting of two chambers – the State Duma (the lower chamber) and the Council of the Federation (the upper chamber).

The State Duma and the Council of the Federation have separate sittings.

2.         The State Duma

The State Duma (Russian access) is the lower chamber of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation.

The State Duma consists of 450 deputies elected for a term of four years. A citizen of the Russian Federation over 21 years of age may be elected deputy of the State Duma.

State Duma sets up committees and commissions, holds parliamentary hearings on issues in its authority.

The composition of the State Duma is not based on a bipartisan system like legislative authorities in the USA. Four major parties are represented at the State Duma at the moment: the pro-presidential party "Edinaya Rossia" (Russian access) (68,67%), Communist Party (Russian access) (10,22%), Liberal Democrats Party (Russian access) (7,78%) and "Rodina" Party (Russian access) (6,44%).

The State Duma has the following major authorities:

·         adoption of the federal constitutional laws and the federal laws, which are the main sources of law in the Russian Federation;

·         approving the appointment of the Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation by the President of the Russian Federation; and

·         advancing charges against the President of the Russian Federation for his impeachment.

3.         The Council of the Federation

The Council of the Federation (English access) is the upper chamber of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation consisting of two representatives from each Subject of the Russian Federation: one from the legislative and one from the executive body of the respective regional state authorities.

The Council of the Federation sets up committees and commissions, and holds parliamentary hearings on issues in its authority.

The Council of the Federation has the following major authorities:

·         approval of the federal constitutional laws and the federal laws adopted by the State Duma;

·         approval of changes in borders between the Subjects of the Russian Federation;

·         impeachment of the President of the Russian Federation;

·         appointment of judges of the Highest Courts of the Russian Federation; and

·         appointment and dismissal of the Prosecutor-General of the Russian Federation.

4.         Legislative Process

The power to initiate bills belongs to:

·         the President of the Russian Federation;

·         the Council of the Federation and its members;

·         the deputies of the State Duma;

·         the Government of the Russian Federation, and

·         the legislative bodies of the Subjects of the Russian Federation.

In addition, the power to initiate bills belongs to the Highest Courts of the Russian Federation on the issues within their authority.

Bills are considered and adopted by the State Duma. After their adoption, bills are considered to be approved by the Council of the Federation.

After that, the adopted bills are submitted to the President of the Russian Federation for signing and making them public. The President of the Russian Federation has a right to impose a veto on the bill, which, however, may be overcome by a qualified majority of votes of both deputies of the State Duma and members of the Council of the Federation.

Laws shall be officially published for general knowledge either in the "The Russian Newspaper" (only recent legislative acts in Russian are available on the web-site), or "The Collection of Laws of the Russian Federation" Magazine (only the names of recently enacted legislative acts in Russian are available on the web-site), or "The Parliamentary Newspaper" (only recent legislative acts in Russian are available on the web-site).

Unpublished laws are not effective.

C.             The Government of the Russian Federation

The executive power in Russia is exercised by the Government of the Russian Federation (Russian access) and the relevant executive authorities.

The Government of the Russian Federation consists of its Chairman (appointed by the President of the Russian Federation with the consent of the State Duma of the Russian Federation), Deputy Chairman(s) and federal ministries. The Government of the Russian Federation is resigned before each newly elected President of the Russian Federation.

The Government of the Russian Federation has the regulatory and supervisory powers in the areas of finance, state budget, culture, science, education, health protection, social security and ecology, the federal property, the defence of the country, the state security, the foreign policy of the Russian Federation, human rights and freedoms, public order and crime control.

The Government of the Russian Federation may issue decisions and orders obligatory for fulfillment on the territory of the Russian Federation, which, however, must comply with the Constitution of the Russian Federation, federal laws and decrees of the President of the Russian Federation.

The Ministries at the Government of the Russian Federation are:

·         The Ministry of Internal Affairs (English access);

·         The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (English access);

·         The Ministry of Justice (Russian access);

·         The Ministry for Economic Development and Trade (English access);

·         The Ministry of Finance (Russian access);

·         The Ministry for Transportation (Russian access);

·         The Ministry for Agriculture (Russian access);

·         The Ministry for Regional Development (Russian access);

·         The Ministry of Industry and Energy (Russian access);

·         The Ministry of Natural Resources (English access);

·         The Ministry of Education and Science (Russian access);

·         The Ministry of Defence (Russian access);

·         The Ministry of Culture and Mass Communications (Russian access);

·         The Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications (English access);

·         The Ministry for Health and Social Development (Russian access); and

·         The Ministry for Civil Defence, Emergencies and Disaster Management (Russian access).

D.             The Judicial System of the Russian Federation

1.         The Judicial System (the Federal Constitutional Law "On the Judicial System of the Russian Federation" N 1-FKZ, dated December 31, 1996) (English access)

Justice in the Russian Federation is administered by courts alone and exercised by means of constitutional, civil, administrative and criminal proceedings.

The judicial system consists of three types of courts:

·         constitutional courts;

·         courts of general jurisdiction; and

·         specialized state commercial courts, named "arbitrazh" courts.

2.         The Constitutional Courts

The constitutional courts include the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation (Russian access) and constitutional courts of the Subjects of the Russian Federation.

The main function of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation is to resolve issues with regard to the compliance of laws and regulations with the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

Constitutional courts of the Subjects of the Russian Federation have similar functions with regard to compliance of regional acts with respective regional constitutions and charters.

3.         Courts of General Jurisdiction

There is a four-tiered hierarchical system of courts of general jurisdiction acting through the whole territory of Russia with the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation (mainly Russian access) as the supreme judicial body of this branch.

Courts of general jurisdiction hear (i) civil cases with participation of individuals, (ii) criminal cases, and (iii) disputes between individuals and state authorities.

In addition to settling particular disputes, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation issues regularly general court rulings serving as explanations on the matters of judicial practice which are binding on the courts of general jurisdiction of the lower instances.

4.         Commercial ("Arbitrazh") Courts

Commercial disputes in Russia are heard by arbitrazh courts, which have a four-tier, hierarchical system:

·         the first level is the federal arbitrazh courts located in each Subject of the Russian Federation;

·         the second level is 20 arbitrazh appellate courts;

·         the third level is 10 federal district arbitrazh courts;

·         the Supreme Arbitrazh Court of the Russian Federation (English access), that is the superior judicial body for deciding commercial disputes.

Similar to the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, in addition to settling particular disputes, the Supreme Arbitrazh Court of the Russian Federation issues regularly general court rulings serving as explanations on the matters of judicial practice, which are binding on the arbitrazh courts of the lower instances.

5.         Private Arbitration

Parties may also refer commercial disputes to the tribunals of private arbitration (both ad hoc and institutional) serving as an alternative to the state courts.

International commercial arbitration is mainly regulated by the Law of the Russian Federation "On International Commercial Arbitration" (English access), dated July 7, 1993, identical to the Model UNCITRAL Law.

The most effective and popular international commercial arbitration courts in Russia are the International Commercial Arbitration Court at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation (Russian and English access), the Maritime Arbitration Committee (Russian access), and the International Commercial Arbitration Court at the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry (mainly Russian access).

IV.          Regional State Authorities

The system of state bodies of the Subjects of the Russian Federation is established by the Subjects of the Russian Federation independently, however, in accordance with the general principles of the organization of representative and executive state bodies established by federal laws.

Therefore, the state power in the Subjects of the Russian Federation has been traditionally exercised by the regional executive and legislative bodies elected by the population of those Subjects.

However, at present, due to the legislative changes initiated by Vladimir V. Putin to reduce the influence of regional state authorities, the governors of the Subjects of the Russian Federation are nominated by the President of Russia and approved by the regional legislative bodies. This strengthens the state integrity of the Russian Federation and makes the Subjects of the Russian Federation more dependent on the federal state authorities.

V.             Sources of Law

A.             General Notes

The Russian Federation is a civil law country. It means that legislative acts are the sources of law, which have a primary role, whereas court decisions, contrary to the basics of Anglo-Saxon legal system, are not regarded as the sources of law.                

B.             The Constitution of the Russian Federation

The Constitution of the Russian Federation (English access / Russian access) has the supreme judicial force, direct action and is used on the whole territory of the Russian Federation.

Laws and other legal acts adopted in the Russian Federation may not contradict the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

The current Constitution of the Russian Federation was adopted at referendum on December 12, 1993.

C.             International Treaties

International treaties to which the Russian Federation is a party are an integral part of the Russian legal system.

If an international treaty provides for other rules than those envisaged by law, the rules of the international treaty shall be applied.

D.             Federal Constitutional Laws

Any laws in the Russian Federation may not contradict to the federal constitutional laws. Federal constitutional laws are adopted only on the issues exclusively envisaged by the Constitution of the Russian Federation, such as:

·         the state of emergency in the Russian Federation;

·         the admission to the Russian Federation and the creation therein of new Subjects of the Russian Federation;

·         changes in the status of the Subjects of the Russian Federation;

·         description and rules of official use of the state flag, coat of arms and anthem of the Russian Federation;

·         referendum in the Russian Federation;

·         the regime of the martial law;

·         appointment and dismissal of the Commissioner for human rights in the Russian Federation;

·         the status of the Government of the Russian Federation;

·         the judicial system of the Russian Federation;

·         the powers, the rules for forming and functioning of the Constitution Court of the Russian Federation, of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation and the Supreme Arbitrazh Court of the Russian Federation.

E.             Codes

The Codes are the legislative acts of the highest judicial force among all ordinary federal laws in the Russian Federation. The Codes usually provide for the fundamentals in the respective area of law.

The most important Codes in the Russian Federation are the following:

·         the Civil Code (Parts 1 - 3) (Russian access);

·         the Tax Code (Parts 1 - 2) (Russian access / English access);

·         the Labor Code (Russian access);

·         the Code on Administrative Offences (Russian access);

·         the Criminal Code (Russian access);

·         the Criminal Procedure Code (Russian access);

·         the Family Code (Russian access);

·         the Housing Code (Russian access);

·         the Code of Arbitrazh Procedure (Russian access);

·         the Civil Procedure Code (Russian access);

·         the Customs Code (Russian access);

·         the Budget Code (Russian access);

·         the City-Planning Code (Russian access);

·         the Merchant Shipping Code (Russian access);

·         the Air Code (Russian access);

·         the Forest Code (Russian access);

·         the Water Code (Russian access); and

·         the Land Code (Russian access).

Students in Russia usually use printed codes, which are published by "Prospect", "Enas" and "Legal Literature" Publishing Houses.

F.             Federal Laws

The federal laws have supremacy in the whole territory of the Russian Federation. The bodies of state authority, the bodies of local self-government, officials, individuals and companies are obliged to observe the federal laws. They, however, may not contradict to the Constitution of the Russian Federation and the federal constitutional laws.

The federal laws are passed on the issues under the sole jurisdiction of the Russian Federation, as well as under the joint jurisdiction of the Russian Federation and the Subjects of the Russian Federation (those jurisdictions are explicitly defined by the Constitution of the Russian Federation).

G.             The Degrees and Orders of the President of the Russian Federation

The President of the Russian Federation issues decrees and orders, which are obligatory for fulfillment throughout the whole territory of the Russian Federation.

Those decrees and orders may not run counter to the Constitution of the Russian Federation and the federal laws.

H.            The Decisions and Orders of the Government of the Russian Federation and other State Executive Authorities

On the basis and for the sake of implementation of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, the federal laws, normative decrees of the President of the Russian Federation, the Government of the Russian Federation and other state executive authorities of the Russian Federation issue regulations, decisions and orders, which are obligatory for fulfillment in the Russian Federation.

The decisions and orders of the Government of the Russian Federation, if they are inconsistent with the Constitution of the Russian Federation, federal laws and decrees of the President of the Russian Federation, may be cancelled by the President of the Russian Federation.

I.              Regional Laws and Regulations

On the issues under the joint jurisdiction of the Russian Federation and the Subjects of the Russian Federation, the latter may adopt regional laws and regulations, which should be in compliance with the Constitution of the Russian Federation, the federal constitutional laws and federal laws. In case of a contradiction, the federal regulations are applied.

The Subjects of the Russian Federation may adopt regional laws and regulations on the issues under their exclusive jurisdiction.

The President of the Russian Federation has the right to suspend acts of the executive authorities of the Subjects of the Russian Federation in case they contradict the Constitution of the Russian Federation and the federal laws.

J.              Court Decisions

As a general rule, court decisions are not considered as the sources of law in the Russian Federation. There is no court precedents concept in Russia.

However, court decisions of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation and regional constitutional courts are considered as the sources of law, since they may invalidate normative acts on the basis of the latter's non-compliance with relevant constitutions/charters.

In addition, as stated earlier, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation and the Supreme Arbitrazh Court of the Russian Federation issue regularly general court rulings serving as explanations on the matters of judicial practice, which are binding on the courts of the lower instances of the respective judicial branches. In practice, state authorities, companies and individuals also take these general rulings into consideration, when facing relevant legal issues.

Although court decisions are not regarded as the sources of law in the Russian Federation, they usually serve as a good legal guidance for legal practitioners.

K.             Official Publications

As noted, all federal laws, degrees and regulations of the President and Government of the Russian Federation, as well as normative acts of other executive state authorities are published in the following official gazettes: "The Russian Newspaper" (only recent legislative acts in Russian are available on the web-site), "The Collection of Laws of the Russian Federation" Magazine (only the names of recently enacted legislative acts in Russian are available on the web-site), "The Parliamentary Newspaper" (only recent legislative acts in Russian are available on the web-site).

All court decisions of the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Arbitrazh Court and the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation are published in "Vestnik of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation", "Vestnik of the Supreme Arbitrazh Court of the Russian Federation" and "Bulletin of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation" correspondingly.  They are all available on-line in Russian.

L.             Russian Legal Databases

There are three most commonly-used legal databases in Russia:

·         Consultant Plus;

·         Garant; and

·         Kodeks.

Each of those three legal databases covers all effective codes, federal constitutional laws, federal laws, degrees and regulations of the President and the Government of the Russian Federation, normative acts of Russian state executive authorities, as well as all court decisions of the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Arbitrazh Court and the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation.  A considerable number of court decisions of lower court instances, as well as a great number of scholarly commentaries and legal publications are also contained in each of those legal databases.

In addition, the main features of each of those legal databases are outlined below.

1.         Consultant Plus

Today Consultant Plus (Russian access) is the largest (mainly fee-based) legislation and court decisions data bank available in Russia.  The total number of documents of Consultant Plus database is 2,133,250. New documents are added into the database every day, within few days since their adoption by the authorities of the Russian Federation.

From a viewpoint of legal practitioners, we would say that Consultant Plus contains the most comprehensive database of Russian court decisions, which are very useful when dealing with situations similar to those addressed in the decisions.

It is worth noting that Consultant Plus has a free on-line access to approximately 500,000 documents in Russian language from 8 p.m. to 12 p.m. on working days (Moscow time) and during week-ends.

Consultant Plus also has a special supplementary "Consultant Plus Regions", which provides for access to approximately all regional laws and normative acts.

In addition, Consultant Plus is the first Russian legal database providing for the texts of classical pre-Revolutionary civil law textbooks, i.e. of 19-20 centuries.

Consultant Plus does not provide for texts of legislation in English.

2.         Garant

A fee-based Garant includes specialized databases on all spheres of federal legislation.  In addition, the legislative acts of 77 Subjects of the Russian Federation, as well as the decisions of Russian courts are presented in the date base.

The information resources of the Garant system exceed 1,000,000 documents.

The main advantage of Garant is that this legal database supplies information on the Russian legislation both in English and Russian. At present all fundamental Russian laws have been translated into English including documents concerning the civil law, tax law and the avoidance of double taxation, customs law, etc.  Garant database is added weekly with 30-40 documents translated into English.

A significant number of foreign companies (international organizations, foreign banks and embassies, large audit, consulting and manufacturing companies) in Russia use the Garant database, including the English language version.

The system Garant is also distributed via the LexisNexis network.

3.         Kodeks

Kodeks is a comprehensive fee-based database of Russian laws, other normative acts and court decisions in Russian.

M.            Legal Publications

Legal publications are not considered as the sources of law in Russia.

However, the following fundamental textbooks in Russian are usually referred to by legal students and practitioners.

Theory of State and Law

·         L.I. Spiridonov, Theory of State and Law, "Prospekt" Publishing House, 2001

Russian Constitutional Law

·         M.V. Baglay, Constitutional Law of the Russian Federation, "Norma" Publishing House, 2005

Civil Law

·         A.P. Sergeev, Y.K. Tolstoy, Civil Law, Book 1, "Prospekt" Publishing House, 2005

·         A.P. Sergeev, Y.K. Tolstoy, Civil Law, Book 2, "Prospekt" Publishing House, 2006

·         A.P. Sergeev, Y.K. Tolstoy, Civil Law, Book 3, "Prospekt" Publishing House, 2006

·         E.A. Sukhanov, Civil Law, Book 1, "Wolters Kluwer" Publishing House, 2004

·         E.A. Sukhanov, Civil Law, Book 2/1, "Wolters Kluwer" Publishing House, 2006

·         E.A. Sukhanov, Civil Law, Book 2/2, "Wolters Kluwer" Publishing House, 2005

·         E.A. Sukhanov, Civil Law, Book 3, "Wolters Kluwer" Publishing House, 2006

·         O.N. Sadikov, Commentary to the Civil Code of the Russian Federation (Part 1), "Infra M" Publishing House, 2003

·         O.N. Sadikov, Commentary to the Civil Code of the Russian Federation (Part 2), "Infra M" Publishing House, 2003

·         A.P. Sergeev, Y.K. Tolstoy, Commentary to the Civil Code of the Russian Federation (Part 3), "Prospekt" Publishing House, 2002

Contract Law

·         M.I. Braginzky, V.V. Vitryansky, Contract Law (Book 1), "Statut" Publishing House, 2005

·         M.I. Braginzky, V.V. Vitryansky, Contract Law (Book 2), "Statut" Publishing House, 2004

·         M.I. Braginzky, V.V. Vitryansky, Contract Law (Book 3), "Statut" Publishing House, 2004

·         M.I. Braginzky, V.V. Vitryansky, Contract Law (Book 4), "Statut" Publishing House, 2003.

Corporate and Commercial Law

·         O.A. Makarova, Corporate Law, "Wolters Kluwer" Publishing House, 2005

·         V.F. Popondopulo, Commercial Law, "Lawyer" Publishing House, 2003

Civil and Arbitration Procedure

·         V.V. Yarkov, Civil Procedure, "Wolters Kluwer" Publishing House, 2006

·         V.V. Yarkov, Arbitration Procedure, "Wolters Kluwer" Publishing House, 2004

International Public Law

·         Y. Kolosov, International Law, "International Relations" Publishing House, 2000

International Private Law

·         M.M. Boguslavsky, International Private Law, "Lawyer" Publishing House, 2005

·         L.A. Lunz, International Private Law in 3 Books, "Spark" Publishing House, 2002

Labor Law

·         S.P. Mavrin, E.B. Khokhlov, Labor Law, "Lawyer" Publishing House, 2005

Criminal Law

·         A.N. Ignatov, Y.A. Krasikov, Russian Criminal Law (Part 1), "Norma M" Publishing House, 2001

·         A.N. Ignatov, Y.A. Krasikov, Russian Criminal Law (Part 2), "Norma M" Publishing House, 2002

·         V.M. Lebedev, Commentary to the Criminal Code, "Jurait" Publishing House, 2005

Criminal Procedure

·         V.P. Bozh'ev, Criminal Procedure, "Jurait" Publishing House, 2006

Environmental Law

·         S.A. Bogolyubov, Environmental Law, "Jurait" Publishing House, 2006

Land Law

·         Y.G. Zharikov, Land Law, "KnoRus" Publishing House, 2006

Financial Law

·         N.I. Khimicheva, Financial Law, "Lawyer" Publishing House, 2004

Tax Law

·         N.A. Sheveleva, Tax Law (Part 1), "Lawyer" Publishing House, 2001

·         N.A. Sheveleva, Tax Law (Part 2), "Lawyer" Publishing House, 2004

Family Law

·         In A.P. Sergeev, Y.K. Tolstoy, Civil Law, Book 3, "Prospekt" Publishing House, 2006

Among the best Publishing Houses in Russia, which publish books of a high quality are Wolters Kluwer (Russian access), "Prospekt" (Russian access), "Lawyer" (Russian access) and "Statut" (Russian access).

Russian law journals also provide a wealth of material on Russian law. The listing below includes the most popular journals among Russian students and legal practitioners.

·         Vestnik of the Supreme Arbitrazh Code (Russian access to a number of publications)

·         Arbitrazh Disputes (Russian access to the list of publications)

·         Corporate Lawyer (Russian access to the list of publications)

·         Mergers & Acquisitions (Russian access to the list of publications and a number of articles)

·         Economy and Law (Russian access to the list of publications)

·         International Commercial Arbitration (Russian access to the list of publications)

·         Court of Private Arbitration (Russian access to the list of publications and a number of articles)

·         The Moscow Journal of International Law (Russian access to the list of publications)

VI.          Legal Education and Career in Russia

A.             Legal Education

There is no official ranking of Law Schools in Russia.

However, the following Law Schools are considered as the best Law Schools in Russia both by students and employers:

·         The Law School of Moscow State University of M.V. Lomonosov (Russian access)

·         The Law School of St. Petersburg State University (English, German and Russian access). The Law School provides for a number of interesting opportunities for foreign students (International Admissions)

·         The Law School of Moscow State Institute of International Relations (Russian access)

·         Moscow State Academy of Law (Russian and English access)

Most Law Schools are operated and financed by the government.

Legal education takes from 4 (to obtain a Bachelor degree) to 6 years (to obtain a Master degree).  Completed education at the High School level is required to enter the Law School.

B.             Legal Career

Neither a complete legal education, nor passing a bar exam is required to practice law in Russia.

The following legal careers are typical for Russia:

·         In-house lawyer;

·         Advocate;

·         State lawyer;

·         Judge;

·         Lawyer at a consulting company; and

·         Lawyer at a law firm.

1.         In-house Lawyers

In-house lawyers are the most widespread category of lawyers in Russia.

The largest Russian and multinational companies and banks all have experienced in-house legal advisers, who are paid top dollar for their services. On domestic mergers and acquisitions, it is not uncommon for the vendor to have no external legal advice, relying almost entirely on its in-house lawyers[3].

In-house lawyers are admitted to represent the clients in courts without passing bar exam.

2.         Advocates

Advocates are a separate category of lawyers, who work in the Unions of Advocates.  This category of lawyers is traditionally the most usual category to represent clients in courts.

To be an advocate passing a relevant bar exam is required.

3.         State Lawyers

Profession of a state lawyer (e.g. at law enforcement bodies, tax inspectorates, state agencies regulating land, property, etc.) is not very popular and not well-paid.

The work as a state lawyer is strictly defined by federal law and regulations.

4.         Judges

Judges are a very prestigious category of lawyers in Russia. There are strict requirements to be a judge.

As a general rule, judges shall be citizens of the Russian Federation over 25 years of age with a higher education in law, who have served in the legal profession for not less than five years. However, particular federal laws provide for additional, stricter requirements for the judges of the higher court instances.

Judges (except for those of the Highest Courts of the Russian Federation) are appointed by the President of Russia.

5.         Lawyers at Consulting Companies

International consulting companies, such as Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers, are allowed to practice law in Russia. In practice, they have considerable legal groups consisting of approximately 50-100 of legal and tax specialists.

Lawyers at consulting companies usually do corporate and tax advice. However, the deals in the consulting companies are usually less complex than those at law firms.

6.         Lawyers at Law Firms

International law firms are traditionally considered as the most prestigious employers for the students graduating from Russian Law Schools. An LLM degree from a prominent US or UK law school serves as an obligatory prerequisite to enter a number of international law firms in Moscow.

New associates are usually not hired by a particular department, but generally may choose one of the firms' major practice areas in which to start (banking and finance, capital markets, corporate/commercial, dispute resolution, energy & natural resources, intellectual property).

At the very top end among the students and clients, firms such as:

·         Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld LLP

·         Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

·         Debevoise & Plimpton LLC

·         Latham & Watkins LLP

·         Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

·         Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.

Not far behind, firms of the so-called "Magic Circle", such as Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Linklaters, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

According to the Legal 500 Series among the Russian firms, few have managed to truly challenge the dominance of the Western interlopers[4]. Nevertheless, several (such as Egorov, Puginsky, Afanasiev & Partners, Pepeliaev, Goltsblat & Partners) do compete with international law firms in terms of hiring law school graduates.

The Law Firms ranking with respect to Russia may be found at Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners Russian Internet pages.

VII.        Doing Business in Russia Guides

Doing Business in Russia Guides hyperlinked below provide a quick overview of issues including but not limited to the following:

·         General information about the country;

·         Political system;

·         Foreign investment climate;

·         Forms of business organizations;

·         Mergers & acquisitions;

·         Regulation of securities;

·         Antimonopoly regulations;

·         Currency regulations;

·         Employment;

·         Real estate;

·         Intellectual property;

·         Privatization;

·         Insolvency;

·         Taxation; and

·         Accounting practices.

Doing Business in Russia Guides:

·         Doing Business in Russia, by American Chamber of Commerce in Russia

·         Doing Business in Russia, prepared by Deloitte Russia

·         Doing Business in the Russian Federation, prepared by the Ernst & Young practice in the Russian Federation (May 1, 2005)

·         Doing Business in Russia, prepared by KPMG in Russia (March 2005)

·         Doing Business in the Russian Federation, prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers in Russia (May-July 2005)



[1] In accordance with the provisions of the Russian Constitution, the names "Russian Federation" and "Russia" are equal.

[2] At http://www.legal500.com/lfe/frames/ci_fr.htm (General notes) by Legal500.com the official site of The Legal 500™ (editor in chief: John Pritchard)

[3] At http://www.legal500.com/lfe/frames/ci_fr.htm (Russia: in-house lawyers)

[4] At http://www.legal500.com/lfe/frames/ci_fr.htm (Russia: the legal market)