The relevant committee at the Russian state duma has considered the judicial reform proposed by the Russian Supreme Court. According to the proposal the Russian judges would have the right to state only resolution – i.e. resolute part – in their decisions without rationale – i.e. motivational part – explaining the reasons and logic of decision. In other words reform would allow the judged to simple decide – yes or no – and litigating parties would have receive rationale under separate procedure.
First of all the committee underlined the aim of proposed reform – to streamline and improve the quality of Russian judicial system and to preserve the main principles of civil process. The reform would affect the procedural provisions of Russian civil, commercial and administrative consideration of cases. But the committee also has stated that the reform has certain imperfections could cause decreasing the quality of justice and prevent exercising of rights in litigation process.
After the due consideration by the committee the legislative proposal has undergone changes to second reading in the Russian state duma. First of all the most controversial provision, excluding motivational part from court decision – is to be excluded from the proposal. Thus the structure of the court’s decision is to be unchanged. Exclusion of motivational part from court decision as a common rule would lead to restriction of right on access to justice and strengthening the closed nature of judicial power.
Simplification and optimization of judicial process should comply with purposes of civil proceedings and should not violate the fundamental rules and principles laying down dispensation of justice. The provisions, preventing the changing of contractual jurisdiction, are to be also excluded from proposal. Thus the parties would be free to change their contractual jurisdiction at their discretion.
The proposal also sets conditions for representation in court. Under proposal in order to represent someone in court – in commercial or civil cases – the person must have law degree or academic degree in law. Currently the rule of obligatory degree in law for representation in court is valid in relation to consideration of administrative cases.
The committee has also excluded provisions changing notification procedure for parties of civil process. Initially it was proposed to oblige parties of civil process to receive information on the case on their own when they receive the ruling that the lawsuit has been accepted for consideration. All risks connected with deadlines the parties should bear themselves if they would not make information inquire in time. According to committee such measure can restrict the right on access to justice and the right on fair trial.
The placing of information on the case consideration by the court in internet does not solve the problem of proper notification of interested parties on time and place of court trial. Not all citizens in Russia have access to internet in some location there is no any technical opportunity to connect to internet at all. Besides many people don’t have skills enough to surfing and using internet network. Therefore the proposed provision on new notification procedure is to be excluded from the legal proposal.
The proposal also makes clear some details in relation to courts’ jurisdiction. If at the consideration of the case the court concludes that the case is to be considered by the other court the consideration of the case would not be ceased but the case would be referred to relevant court. For example the commercial court defines the case is to be considered by the civil court and commercial court refers the case to civil court for further consideration.