The global economy has created business ties between countries and, in the context of disputes raising from business relations, the enforcement of foreign judgments has become very important. Russia is the biggest country in the world providing numerous opportunities for investors and that is why the recognition of foreign judgments has become a debated matter.
The Russian court system is divided into commercial courts that rule in commercial disputes and general courts that rule in all types of civil and criminal matters. Each division falls under different legal frameworks, as it follows:
According to the Arbitral Procedural Code, Article 241, foreign judgments can be recognized and enforced in Russia only if an international treaty has been concluded or if a federal law specifically states so.
According to the Code of Civil Procedure, Article 409, a foreign judgment will be recognized and enforced in Russia, if an international treaty has been signed between Russia and the country that issued the judgment. Article 415 of the Civil Code states that foreign judgments issued in divorce cases are recognized without any other procedure.
The only federal law recognizing and enforcing foreign judgments in Russia, without the necessity of any international treaty, is the Bankruptcy Law. According to Article 6 in the federal law on insolvency, a foreign judgment issued in a bankruptcy case will be recognized and enforced in Russia, if the courts in the country that issued the judgment will enforce it also.
The principle of international law is usually recognized by both general and commercial courts in Russia. In this case, the doctrine of the international comity applies and states that Russia must take into account the rulings of foreign countries and recognize and enforce a ruling even if no treaty has been signed. Article 15 in the Constitution states the principle of the international law is above the principles of the Civil Code and Arbitral Code.
Both codes, Arbitral and Civil, have the same grounds when denying the enforcement of a foreign judgment in Russia:
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