System of the Russian jurisdiction


published on 4 May 2021 | reading time approx. 3 minutes

International jurisdiction

There are no international agreements under which Russia would be subject to international jurisdiction.

The only supranational authority whose decisions are valid in the Russian Federation is the European Court of Human Rights (Strasbourg).

Recognition and enforcement of European titles and foreign arbitral awards

  • In accordance with bilateral agreement between Russian Federation and Republic of Belarus, the judicial decisions of commercial courts issued in these countries are mutually acknowledged without the necessity of any specific proceedings.
  • The Russian Federation recognises and implements the decisions of those countries that Russia has concluded an international treaty with (for example, decisions on civil cases are recognised with Austria, and decisions on commercial and civil cases with France). For judicial decisions of these countries, the exequatur procedure is applied.
  • Other court decisions may either be enforced on the principle of reciprocity or are not recognised or enforced.

Enforcement measures usually aim for the collection of sums of money, however, they may also involve the fulfillment of other obligations (obligation to act or cease and desist). Regarding transborder civil matters, a judicial decision must be enforced in accordance with the domestic regulations and procedures of the state in which the enforcement is executed. А title of execution must be presented in order to achieve the enforcement. The legal proceedings of the enforcement and the executing authorities (courts, collection agencies and bailiffs) are appointed by the domestic law of the state, in which the enforcement is aimed to be achieved.

In Russia, the recognition and declaration of the enforceability of a foreign arbitral award essentially conforms to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. Provided that the foreign arbitral award is acknowledged and declared as enforceable, the compulsory execution proceedings themselves comply with the corresponding national law.


There are three branches of courts in Russia. They are divided into the

  • state commercial courts, responsible for commercial and bankruptcy cases,
  • the courts of ordinary jurisdiction, responsible for all other types of legal proceedings with respect to civil and criminal cases,
  • special courts (Intellectual Property Rights Court).

As a general rule, a verdict pronounced by a court can be submitted to the next higher court for review (stages of appeal). For this purpose, an appeal must be lodged. If a verdict of the 1st instance is appealed against, the next higher court must review the entire case once more in the 2nd instance. Its verdict can be contested as well by means of another appeal (cassation). In this case, yet another higher court must examine whether all legal provisions have been applied correctly. Further, for some cases there is another possibility to appeal against the court decision in the second cassation. Judicial acts that have come into force may be reviewed by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation through the supervision procedure.

The stages of appeal of the three branches of court are structured as follows:

  • 1. State commercial courts: region commercial court, commercial court of appeal, cassation arbitration court, the Supreme Court of Russia;
  • 2. Courts of ordinary jurisdiction: justice of the peace, district court, supreme court of the region, cassation court, the Supreme Court of Russia;
  • 3. Special court (Intellectual Property Rights Court): this court considers cases at first and cassation instance.

Legal costs

Legal costs are the direct expenditures of the parties accruing from the prosecution of a legal dispute. Legal costs are distinguished between court fees and extrajudicial fees.

The court fees include the fees of the court itself as well as expenses (expenses for witnesses, translators, legal experts etc). The amount of fee depends on the amount in dispute. The maximum amount of the state fee in Russia for commercial courts is 200,000 rubles (about 2.300 Euro).

In certain cases, the payment of state fee may be deferred or granted in installments. Also, some categories of people may be granted discounts on payment of the state fees (non-commercial organizations of disabled people, etc.).

The extrajudicial fees primarily consist of the fees for the attorney-at-law, bailiff, and own expenses of the respective party.

Obligation to bear costs/reimbursement of costs

Which party bears the costs at the end of the judicial procedure in the next step?

In its judgement concluding the procedure, the court determines which party bears the legal costs. The legal costs arising during the judicial procedure are both the court fees and the extrajudicial fees of the parties involved. Provided that the plaintiff is successful in his legal proceedings, the respondent bears all the court fees in its entirety including the reimbursable expenses of the plaintiff accruing in the process. However, if the plaintiff is not successful, he does not only bear his own expenses, but also the court costs and the reimbursable fees of the respondent. If the plaintiff is only partially successful in the judicial procedure, the legal costs are proportionally allocated.

Expenses for the services of a representative, incurred by the winning party, shall be charged from another party within reasonable limits (at the discretion of the court).

When the parties to a case have an agreement on the allocation of legal costs, the court shall charge them in accordance with this agreement.

Average duration of legal proceedings

There is no generally binding answer as to how much time legal proceedings may consume.

The average duration of legal proceedings regarding in commercial courts in the 1st instance fluctuates between 9 and 12 months, in courts of ordinary jurisdiction  – between 4 and 11 months.

In concrete view, the duration of proceedings of a possible 2nd and 3rd instance (usually 2-3 months) is not taken into consideration, which may lead to another extension of the proceedings.

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