Starting from 1 June 2016, the Russian ArbitrazhProcedure Code which governs commercial disputes provides for a mandatory pre-trial dispute settlement procedure.

This requirement applies to civil law cases between legal entities. Before applying to a Russian court, the parties must take measures to settle their dispute out of court.

The parties cannot exclude the pre-trial dispute settlement procedure by an agreement. However, they have the right to vary its terms and content.

Prior to filing an application to the court, 30 calendar days have to pass by default from the date of submission of a letter of claim to the counterparty.

Another term may be specified in federal laws or in the agreement. Therefore, in commercial contracts having Russia as the legal venue it is advisable to specify both the way in which a pre-trial claim can be sent and the term for commencement of court proceedings after service of such a pre-trial claim.

Exceptions from the mandatory settlement procedure

Under the Russian Arbitrazh Procedure Code, the following disputes do not require a pre-trial settlement to commence the proceedings:

  • establishment of facts having legal effect;
  • awards of compensation for violated rights to legal proceedings within a reasonable period of time or rights to enforcement of a court order within a reasonable period of time;
  • insolvency (bankruptcy) cases;
  • corporate disputes;
  • protection of rights and legitimate interests of a group of persons;
  • cancellation of trademarks due to non-use;
  • challenging arbitral awards.

Regarding economic disputes arising from administrative and public legal relations, the mandatory pre-trial dispute settlement procedure is applicable only in cases specified by federal laws.

Non-compliance with pre-trialdispute settlement procedures

If the mandatory pre-trial dispute settlement procedure is not complied with, the court rejects the claim or stops the pending proceedings.