Following the reform of the Arbitration Law, most existing arbitral institutions must re-register and obtain a permit from the government to administer disputes in Russia before November 1 2017. The International Commercial Arbitration Court at the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has used this opportunity to enhance significantly its previous rules governing international and domestic arbitration.
One of the most praised changes introduced by the recent arbitration law reform concerns the arbitrability of so-called 'corporate disputes'. The Russian Arbitration Association (RAA) was the first Russian arbitral institution to develop and release for public consultation draft arbitration rules for corporate disputes. While some institutions have already followed suit and many more will do so, the RAA's draft rules provide a better idea of what arbitral proceedings in corporate disputes could look like.
The New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards requires state courts to respect arbitration agreements and refer parties to arbitration if one of them so requests. While the convention is silent on when a party must make the request, national legislation usually fills this gap. From a Russian law perspective, a recent case demonstrates once again that the timing of raising jurisdictional objections before the state courts is of key importance.
Recent amendments to the Arbitrazh Procedural Code introduced a mandatory pre-litigation procedure in the hope that many cases will be resolved before the disputes escalate. Although it is unclear whether the new rules apply to the enforcement of arbitral awards, there are strong indications in favour of a conservative interpretation. Parties may want to play it safe and take steps to comply with the new pre-trial procedures.
A recent decision from the commercial bench of the Supreme Court has reopened the question of whether an agent must be specifically authorised to enter into an arbitration agreement or whether the general authority to conclude contracts on behalf of the principal is sufficient. It previously seemed to be settled court practice that no special authority was needed. However, the recent ruling makes the position less certain.