PART I OF THE CIVIL CODE OF RUSSIAN FEDERATION A further set of amendments to the Civil Code of the Russian Federation ("Russian Civil Code"), introduced by Fed- eral Law No. 367-FZ On Amendment of the First Part of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation and Recognition of Certain Legislative Acts (and their Provisions) of the Russian Federation Invalid dated 21 December 2013, be- comes effective on 1 July 2014 and the old Law on Pledge 1992 becomes inoperative.
The new amendments to the Russian Civil Code will only apply to legal relationships that emerge after 1 July 2014 and, as usual, do not affect rights and obligations that exist- ed before.
Some amendments are aimed at structuring or clarifying the existing provisions, however there are some provisions which have not previously been set out in Russian civil laws.
The principal amendments are covered in this overview below.
As a matter of structure, provisions governing pledge relation- ships consist of general and special provisions.
1.1. Pledged item
proprietary rights and rights under an obligation are expressly specified as the pledged item; a pledge can be created not only over a thing itself, but
also over profit generated as a result of the use of the
pledged property and over property which can be given to the pledgor in exchange for the pledged property in case of its loss or on grounds set out by law, including insurance compensation, compensation provided in exchange for the pledged property, and income generat- ed from the use of the pledged property by third parties, etc. Such property can be reclaimed by the pledgor di- rectly, ie straight from the third party who is obliged to provide compensation;
either all the pledgor's property or a part of it (from 1 January 2015) and property of a special kind or type can be the pledged item (before the amendments it was only permitted to specify property of a special kind or type for an inventory pledge); property to be created/purchased in the future can be a pledged item. However, in this case the pledge cannot
be created before the right to such property arises.
1.2. Creation of pledge
if a pledge is created by virtue of law, it is provided that relationships between the pledgor and pledgee can be regulated by a pledge agreement; under law it is necessary to obtain an approval to
pledge property if such approval is required for the
property to be disposed of. The exception in this case is a pledge created by virtue of law.
1.3 Pledge terms and conditions
in order to set out obligations pertaining to the primary obligation, it is enough to make a reference to the agreement giving rise to such an obligation which en- shrines the standard practice in law;1 pledgors who carry out entrepreneurial activity may secure by pledge both future obligations and any and all
obligations to the creditor (without going into details) capped by a specific amount;
the cost of the pledged property is no longer a material
term of a pledge agreement;
as a general rule, any change to the market value of
pledge does not modify or terminate it (before the
amendments the parties were to expressly stipulate the corresponding terms and conditions in the agreement);
the pledgor must notify the pledgee of any and all rights
to the pledged item he/she is aware of, otherwise the
pledgee may demand the early performance of the obli- gation secured by the pledge.
1.4. State registration of a property pledge and keeping records on such
a pledge is subject to state registration if: (i) rights allocating property to a specific person are also subject to registration (a mortgage, for example) and (ii) the pledged item is the rights of a member to a limited lia- bility company; a movable property pledge, save for the pledge of rights of a member of a limited liability company, a securities
pledge, or a pledge of rights under a bank deposit agreement can be reflected in the electronic register of a movable property pledge notice;
recording a movable property pledge is not considered
state registration; it is carried out voluntarily and does
not affect the validity of the pledge agreement, howev- er the pledgee may refer to the pledge in his/her rela- tionship with third parties only upon a record being made in the register (save for cases when a third party knew or should have known about such a pledge);
movable property is recorded by a notary subject to
notary laws by means of the registration of pledge no-
tices in the register; at the same time both the pledgor and the pledgee are entitled to file such a notice. Amending a pledge record or striking it from the regis- ter is made subject to the pledgee's application or, if he/ she fails to do so, upon a court decision;
forms of movable property pledge notices for different situations (in particular, if a pledge arises or is terminat-
ed by virtue of law) are approved by order No. 127 of the Russian Ministry of Justice of dated 27 July 2013;
the former procedure for the pledgor to maintain pledge
books has been abolished;
a pledgee whose pledge was registered in the register
on an earlier date has priority when demands are satis-
fied out of the pledged property;
information from the property pledge notice register is
available on the website https://www.reestr-zalogov.ru
1.5. Bona fide pledgee concept
the concept of a bona fide pledgee was introduced; ac- cording to it a bona fide pledgee is a person in favour of whom the property was pledged by a person who is neither owner, nor somebody duly authorised to dis- pose of the property and such pledgee did not and should not have had any reason to know about this; legal relationships with a bona fide pledgee are regulat-
ed according to a bona fide purchaser model, ie a bona
fide pledgee preserves a pledge right to the property save for situations when such pledged property before its pledge: (i) was lost by the owner or the person to whose possession it was delivered, (ii) was stolen or
(iii) otherwise withdrawn from the possession of the persons beyond their will. In the foregoing situations the pledge is to be terminated;
the new amendments enshrine the rule of the termina-
tion of a pledge upon the acquisition of the pledged
property by a bona fide purchaser shaped by court prac- tice2.
1.6. Priority of pledges and subsequent pledge
the concept of a co-pledgee has been introduced; co- pledgees mean those enjoying rights of equal priority to the pledged item, including joint and several creditors or those entitled to a specific share under the same obligation and independent creditors under different obligations; the priority of pledges and the procedure for distrib-
uting proceeds generated from the sale of the pledged
item can be changed upon agreement of the pledgees (regardless of whether the pledgor is a party to such an agreement);
when the priority of creditors is determined it is as-
sumed that earlier claims have a higher priority. How-
ever, the pledgee's claim with an earlier record will always prevail.
As an exception, the priority of claims of the pledgees arising out of movable property pledge agreements concluded before 1 July 2014 and recorded in the regis- ter of movable property pledge notices from 1 July 2014 until 1 February 2015 is to be determined taking into account the date of the conclusion of such pledge agreements;
when it is impossible to establish the priority of pledg- es, claims are to be satisfied pro rata to the amount of
a pledgor must notify all the preceding pledgees of a
the right to prohibit subsequent pledges in a pledge
agreement is excluded. However, rights of the parties
to determine the terms and conditions on which the pledgor is entitled to enter into a subsequent pledge agreement are permitted.
entering into a subsequent pledge agreement in breach
of the terms and conditions provided in the preceding
pledge agreement entitles the preceding pledgee to claim compensation of losses from the pledgor. At the same time if the pledgee under the subsequent agree- ment knew or should have known about such a breach, claims of such pledgee to the pledgor should be satis- fied subject to the terms and conditions of the preced- ing pledge agreement;
it is determined that the subsequent pledgee is entitled
to (i) claim the early performance of obligations se-
cured by the subsequent pledge if execution is levied on the pledged property by the preceding pledgee, and
(ii) levy execution on the pledged property simultane- ously with such preceding pledgee. Such right of the subsequent pledgee can be restricted in the preceding pledge agreement;
if property left after execution levied by the preceding
pledgee is insufficient to satisfy the claims of the sub-
sequent pledgee, the subsequent pledge will be termi- nated if: (i) the subsequent pledgee does not exercise his/her right to levy execution on the pledged property together with the preceding pledgee, or (ii) in the sub- sequent pledge agreement the right of the subsequent pledgee to claim the early performance of the obliga- tion secured by the subsequent pledge is restricted.
1.7. Levying execution and the sale of the pledged property
the possibility of selling pledged property on an out-of- court basis has been confirmed; the law determines that upon the pledgor's request the court may terminate the levy of execution on the property on an out-of-court basis and make a decision on to levy execution through a public auction if the rights of the pledgor are breached or there is a substantial risk of such a breach; requirements are set for the content of agreements with respect to levying execution on the pledged property on
an out-of court basis which are to include: (i) a refer- ence to one or several pledged property sales proce- dures (before the amendments, a reference to the sales procedure was optional) and (ii) initial sale price of the pledged property or procedure for its determination;
an exhaustive list of the pledged property sales proce-
dures has been compiled; other methods of levy may
apply to special types of pledge;
when the pledged property is sold the pledgee must
assume measures in order to ensure maximum proceeds
from the sale of the pledged item;
a list of cases when execution can be levied on residen-
tial premises under a court decision has been specified
in more detail;
upon an agreement between the pledgor and pledgee,
pledged property not relating to real estate can be sold
at a second auction on an out-of-court basis by means of a consistent reduction of price from the level of the initial sale price set at the first auction.
1.8. Pledge management agreement
if the performance of an obligation secured by a pledge is connected to entrepreneurial activity, rights and obli- gations of the pledgee can be exercised by a manager under a pledge management agreement; under such an agreement the manager acts on behalf and in the interests of all the creditors, and the creditors
may not independently exercise their rights and obliga- tions as the pledgees while such an agreement is effec- tive;
the creditors shall compensate the manager for his/her
expenses and pay remuneration;
an agreement with the pledge manager can be entered
into both before and after the conclusion of the pledge
to the extent not regulated by the provisions of the Civil
Code on pledge management agreements, a pledge
management agreement shall be regulated by the rules on suretyship agreements;
the law provides for a possibility for the pledgee to
terminate the pledge management agreement unilaterally.
2.1. Real estate pledge (mortgage)
a mortgage is still subject to state registration, however mortgage agreements concluded after 1 July 2014 are not subject to state registration; the law may provide for a non-accessory real estate
pledge: for example, a mortgage shall be deemed cre-
ated, shall exist and shall be terminated irrespective of the creation, existence and termination of the obligation secured by it.
2.2. Inventory pledge
requirements for the description of the item pledged under an inventory pledge have been abrogated; the pledgee's right to notarise the availability of the pledged property in a given place at a given time has
2.3. Pledge of right under an obligation (claims)
a pledge agreement shall contain information on the pledgor's debtor, an obligation out of which the pledged right arises, and the party to the pledge agreement who shall keep original documents confirming the right be- ing pledged;
However, it is assumed that original documents con- firming the right being pledged shall be kept by the pledgee;
it is prohibited to perform a primary obligation early in
the event of the termination of the pledged claims due
to the expiry of their validity period;
some restrictions have been established for rights to conclude those pledge agreements the breach of which,
however shall not result in such a pledge being invalid and may not serve as a ground for termination of the pledge agreement;
the procedure for the performance by the pledgor's
debtor of his obligations under the pledged claim has
it is provided that the pledgor's debtor may credit funds
to a special pledge account of the pledgor and the claim
in respect to such an account is also pledged in favour of the pledgee.
2.4. Exclusive rights pledge
an exclusive rights pledge is determined as an individu- al pledge type; as a general rule, the general provisions on pledge ap-
ply to an agreement with respect to a pledge of an ex-
clusive right to an intellectual activity result or a means of individualisation, while the rules governing pledge of rights under an obligation apply to an agreement with respect to the pledge of rights provided by an agreement on the alienation of exclusive rights or a licence agreement.
2.5. Pledge of rights under a bank account (deposit) agreement
the possibility of pledging rights under a bank account (deposit) agreement has been introduced; a bank will open a pledge account for the pledgor and rights to such an account will be pledged in favour of
as a general rule, the pledge shall be created over all the
funds on the pledge account. The parties may define a
limit which the amount of funds on the pledge account must not fall below;
the pledge is created at the time of the notification of the bank on the pledge of rights to the account (deposit)
and the provision of a copy of the pledge agreement to the bank;
as a general rule, the pledgor may freely dispose of
funds on the account save for the restrictions set out in
the Russian Civil Code;
joint and several liability to the pledgee has been pro- vided in some cases; a special procedure for selling pledged rights has been established: levying execution on the rights pledged
under such an agreement (both in court and on an out- of-court basis) shall only be made through the bank withdrawing funds from the pledgor's pledge account on the basis of the pledgee's instruction and giving them (or transferring them) to the pledgee.
2.6. Pledge of rights to participate in legal entities
the law, inter alia, structures and introduces a number of new institutions regulating pledge over shares and participatory interests in the charter capital of joint stock and limited liability companies, and prohibiting pledge of rights of participants of other legal entities; one of the most essential novelties is a distinction made in law between a pledge of a title to shares and partici-
patory interests and a pledge of the rights to participate attached to such shares and interests. As a general rule, share pledge rights attached to shares are exercised by the pledgor (shareholder), while pledge of participatory interests are exercised by the pledgee;
previously Russian laws have not expressly provided for the pledge of rights of participants which, in the
absence of special qualifications in the pledge agree- ment, were still exercised by the pledgor from the time of the creation of pledge over the property3. However, from 1 July 2014 the law expressly provides for a pos- sibility to stipulate in the pledge agreement the terms and conditions on which rights of participants in the charter capital of economic undertakings can be exer- cised both by the pledgor and the pledgee;
the law does not define "rights of participants (founders)" nor specifies the scope of their authorities
and the ratio between such rules and general rules regu- lating the pledge of rights which also becomes effective from 1 July 2014. This term seems to include, above all, corporate rights attached to shares and participatory interests, for instance, a right to attend and vote at the general meeting, receive information on the company's activities, etc and represent a special institution of pledge over rights having priority over general rules on the pledge of rights. Nevertheless, more detailed find- ings on subsequent developments and judicial interpre- tation of those novelties can be made after correspond- ing enforcement practice is developed and the potential amendment of the joint stock companies and limited liability companies laws; the drafts amendments to such are not yet ready;
the law sets out a number of special rules related to
securities pledge which, in particular, are applicable to
share pledge agreements. For example, if rights at- tached to the pledged securities are exercised by the pledgor, the pledge agreement may provide for the pledgor's obligation to coordinate his/her actions aimed at exercising his/her rights with the pledgee. A breach of this obligation shall give rise to the pledgor's liability and afford the pledgee the right to claim the early per- formance of the obligation secured by pledge. It is still
unknown whether this right to unilateral termination can be exercised if the other party does not agree to such termination and what type of evidence for the pledgor's default are deemed valid by court. It is still an unanswered question as to which extent similar conse- quences may apply to a participatory interest pledge agreement if a termination agreement thereto is to be notarised in the same way as the principal agreement;
the law also states that a security pledge agreement may provide that the pledgee may exercise all the rights
attached to the pledged security, expressly stipulating that a right to gain income on the security can be strick- en off from the list of rights exercisable by the pledgee. However, it is still unclear whether it is possible to pro- vide in the agreement a right to gain income where and to the extent such rules may cover relationships related to the pledge of participatory interests which do not constitute securities;
when the pledged securities are being converted into
other securities or other property, such securities or
such property are/is deemed pledged in favour of the pledgee, unless otherwise provided by the pledge agreement;
in addition to the abovementioned outstanding ques-
tions, the law also does not address the following is-
whether the pledgee is entitled by virtue of the pledge agreement to participate in the general
meetings of the participants/shareholders, since effective corporate laws, as a general rule, provide that such rights are to be enjoyed only by the par- ticipants/shareholders or their representatives, but the law stipulates that the pledgee exercises the foregoing rights in his name, ie without a power of attorney issued by the participants/shareholders;
whether provisions of the agreement with respect
to exercising the pledgor's rights are subject to the
restrictions established for concluding a corporate agreement in order to secure protected interests of the pledgee in accordance with new provisions of the Russian Civil Code;
whether the conclusion of a pledge agreement
providing that the pledgee is to exercise rights to
participate serves as a ground to consider that such person is afforded a right to dispose of a specific number of votes in the charter capital of a legal entity and, as a consequence, a ground for such transactions being approved by FAS (subject to other criteria) and/or having a notice filed with the Central Bank (subject to other criteria) and other state authorities.
as noted above, such provisions involving the pledge of
rights to participate are applicable to the relationships
between the parties which arose after 1 July 2014 and, as a general rule, should not cover pledge agreements concluded before this date. However, there are con- servative approaches substantiating the applicability of new features relating to pledge agreements that have already been concluded with a risk of transferring
3 Until now court practice was quite inconsistent; on the one hand it provided that rights of participants can be pledged, for example, a right to attend and vote at the general meeting (see: Ruling No. ВАС-3038/09 of the Higher Arbitrazh Court of the Russian Federation dated 20 March 2009 with respect to case No. А 21-7628/2007), on the other hand it is not permitted to pledge rights to participate in case of pledge over shares or interests as such, considering rights to participate as non-disposable personal non-proprietary rights (see: Resolution No. А74-2127/03-К1-Ф02-762/04-С2 of the Federal Arbitrazh Court for the Eastern-Siberian District dated 8 April 2004, Ruling No. ВАС- 3038/09 of the Higher Arbitrazh Court with respect to case No. А21-7628/2007 dated 20 March 2009).
rights to the pledgees (for example, to crediting banks). For the avoidance of potential problems we recommend reviewing the existing interest pledge agreements and, if necessary, introducing terms and conditions related to the pledgor exercising the participant's rights.
These changes are not new in many respects: they either make already existing provisions of chapter 24 of the Rus- sian Civil Code more concrete and detailed or enshrine in the legislation the provisions that were shaped by court practice or covered in other chapters and sections of the Russian Civil Code.
Here are the main developments:
1.1. Assignment of a claim with the debtor's consent
as a general rule, assigning a creditor's rights to another person does not require the debtor's consent. However, according to the newly amended and restated Russian Civil Code, a debtor's consent is required in relation to the assignment of the right to receive non-monetary performance if such assignment renders the obligation significantly more burdensome for the debtor or if such assignment is restricted or prohibited by an agreement between the creditor and debtor; an assignment which is made without the consent of the debtor, who is an individual, and which results in costs
for the debtor brings about a joint obligation for the original creditor and the new one to reimburse the debt- or for such costs (unless otherwise provided by laws on securities).
1.2. Prohibition of assignment
a provision has been enshrined in the law to the effect that an agreement prohibiting or restricting the assign- ment of a claim with respect to a monetary obligation relating to the conduct of entrepreneurial activity by the parties thereto does not render such assignment void and may not serve as a ground for rescinding the con- tract that gives rise to the obligation being so assigned. The creditor in this case remains liable towards the debtor for the breach of the prohibition or restriction on the assignment.
1.3. Restrictions on the partial assignment of a claim
the law has enshrined a provision that was earlier shaped by court practice (cl. 5 of Information Letter No. 120 of the Presidium of the Higher Arbitrazh Court of the Russian Federation dated 30 October 2007, Rul- ing No. 8955/00 of the Presidium of the Higher Arbi- trazh Court of the Russian Federation dated 18 December 2001, and Ruling No. 3764/01 of the Pre- sidium of the Higher Arbitrazh Court of the Russian Federation dated 25 December 2001): as a general rule, partial assignment of a claim with respect to a mone- tary obligation is permitted unless otherwise provided by law; assignment of a claim with respect to non-monetary
performance is impossible if the obligation is indivisi-
ble and if partial assignment creates additional burdens for the performance of the obligation by the debtor.
1.4. Assignment of a joint creditor's claim with the con- sent of other creditors
a rule has been introduced to the effect that assignment of a claim by a joint creditor to a third party is possible with the consent of other joint creditors unless other- wise provided by the agreement of the creditors.
1.5. Requirements towards the assignment of claims
when assigning a claim, the assignor must comply with the following terms and conditions (additional require- ments may be stipulated by law or contract):
the claim being assigned exists at the time of the assignment unless this claim is a future claim; the assignor is authorised to make the assignment; the claim being assigned was not earlier assigned
by the assignor to another person;
the assignor did not and will not take any action
which may serve as grounds for the debtor's objec-
tions against the claim so assigned.
a right has been established for the assignee to demand restitution of all that was assigned under an assignment
agreement and reimbursement of damages from the assignor if the assignor fails to comply with the condi- tions set out above, if the claim assigned is void or if the debtor defaults on the obligation guaranteed by the assignor;
if the assignor assigns one and the same claim to sever-
al persons, the claim is deemed to have been assigned
to the person to whom such assignment was made earli- er. In this case the risk ensuing from the consequences of the debtor's performance towards another assignee lies with the assignor or assignee who knew or should have known of the assignment of the claim that took place earlier.
Chapter 24 of the Russian Civil Code has been amend- ed to include Article 388.1 concerning the assignment of a claim under an obligation which will arise in the future (a future claim) if the assignment is made on the basis of a transaction relating to the conduct of entre-
preneurial activity by the parties to the transaction. Formerly the assignment of a future claim had to be substantiated pursuant to cl. 4 of Information Letter No. 120 of the Presidium of the Higher Arbitrazh Court of the Russian Federation dated 30 October 2007.
3.1. Debt assignment form
the newly amended law provides for the assignment of debt from the debtor to another person under an agree- ment between the creditor and the new debtor in the case that the obligations are associated with the conduct of entrepreneurial activity.
3.2. Creditor's consent to the assignment of debt
the existing provision on the assignment of debt by the debtor to another person only with the consent of the creditor has been clarified. A provision, earlier shaped by court practice (the Ruling of the Federal Arbitrazh Court for the Moscow Region of 22 June 2012 with respect to case No. А40-56483/11-4-277, the Ruling of the Federal Arbitrazh Court for the Western-Siberian
District of 24 July 2013 with respect to case No. А81- 2017/2012), to the effect that in the absence of credi-
tor's consent assignment of debt shall be void has been written into the law;
the creditor may give prior consent and then the assign-
ment shall be deemed to take place the moment the
creditor receives notice of debt assignment.
3.3. New debtor's and creditor's rights
Article 392, entitled New Debtor's Objections against Creditor's Claims, has been restated to include a provi- sion to the effect that a new debtor may not exercise the right to set off a counterclaim, which was available to the original debtor, against the creditor.
3.4. Contract assignment
Article 392.3 of the Russian Civil Code introduces a new term "contract assignment", which encompasses the formerly used notion of assignment of rights and responsibilities under a contract to another person.
Federal Law No. 379-FZ of 21 December 2013 On Amending Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Fed- eration entered into force on 1 July 2014. The law in- troduces amendments and modifications to part 2 of the Russian Civil Code.
1.1. A nominee account
may be opened to an account holder for the purpose of making transactions in monetary funds, the rights to which are held by another person: the beneficiary; the suspension of transactions in a nominee account, or the attachment or withdrawal of monetary funds held in
the account off the account are not permitted (except for cases of crediting the account and/or except when the obligation to pay for the banking services is stated in the nominee account opening agreement);
the attachment or withdrawal of monetary funds from such an account against the beneficiary's obligations
may be performed by virtue of a court order or in other cases as stipulated by law or the nominee account agreement.
1.2 An escrow account
is opened by the bank (escrow agent) for recording and blocking monetary funds received from the account holder (depositor) with a view to transferring them to another person (the beneficiary) when grounds to do so arise under the agreement between the bank, depositor and beneficiary.