Russian law firm Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners (EPAP) has called for Russia to reform its court system in a bid to entice oligarchs and businesses back to the country.
EPAP chairman Dimitry Afanasiev spoke out at the recent St Petersburg International Economic Forum, which was attended by Russia’s president Dmitry Medvedev, and appealed for anti-corruption and legal reform to be implemented.
“Russian business has been pushed offshore because of our impractical laws and our highly inefficient courts,” said Afanasiev. “To entice that business back to Russia, we should adapt the most practical elements from the European and American legal systems.”
Afanasiev added that attention should also be paid to promoting the prestige associated with being a judge as well as training a fresh generation of lawyers and court officials in the traditions of an independent legal system.
Many UK-based lawyers believe EPAP’s initiative is a good start, but that it is not enough to entice Russian businesses back to the country.
Allen & Overy projects partner Andrei Baev, who focuses on Russia and the CIS, said the Russian government needs to focus on making any kind of businesses – not just Russian ones – comfortable in the existing legal environment.
“In order for businesses to be comfortable they need to know the rules of the game and be sure that the rules do not change in the middle of the game,” said Baev. “Truly independent and professional courts cannot be established overnight. This also requires substantial changes in the mentality of the Russian people by cultivating the respect for justice.”