The first Siberian Legal Forum. October 16-17, 2014

The Tyumen State University, Tyumen Regional Court, West-Siberian Commercial Court, Russian Law Journal have established the Siberian Legal Forum. The mission is to be a discussion platform for debating contemporary problems and trends in the development of law, to exchange experiences and to foster the establishment and maintenance of a wide range of contacts among scholars and practitioners in Siberia, other regions of Russia and, also, from near and farther abroad.

It has been with the goals of seeking ways to improve the judicial system in Russia and norms of civil-procedural legislation, to support a broad network of scholars and practitioners – both within the Russian Federation and, also, abroad – in the field of civil-procedure law and access to justice that the Tyumen State University, the Arbitration Court of the Western-Siberian Circuit, the Tyumen Regional Court and the Russian Law Journal hosted the First Siberian Forum in 2014.

The 2014 amendments to the Russian Constitution  reflecting the recent judicial reforms in Russia – the merger of the highest-level of the RF Commercial Courts with the RF Supreme Court – have served as the “food for thought” at, and directed the choice of the theme of, these first Siberian Legal Forum.

The first Siberian Legal Forum have been devoted to the anniversary of the Great Russian Judicial Reform of 1864 of Alexander II – the official date of the celebration of which is 20 November 2014. This helps clearly groundwork for marking the current reforms of the Russian judicial system in the area of the specialization of judges and courts. With this in mind, one of the discussion topics at the Siberian Legal Forum was devoted to: “The specialization of courts and judges: world-wide practice in the Russian experience”. It goes without saying that each country has its own judicial system and decides for itself how questions of the specialization of judges and courts will be decided. Yet, to a great degree, this is a common issue as well as a much-debated question in numerous jurisdictions; one upon which much depends in assessing the quality of justice.

The current forms in Russia encompass those in the fields of civil- and civil-procedure law. In all of this, the question comes to the fore: how rational is that in which we are now engaged, how well are we renewing ideas and institutions?
Professor Loïc Cadiet, president of the International Association of Procedural Law,  greeted the conference participants with his thoughts: “Discussing fundamental subject matters such as specialization of courts and judges will only lead to the deeper understanding of functioning principles of the legal system. Forums such as this provide a wealth of potential for deep legal researching. With deliberate effort and strong partnership we can bring out the best in our legal systems, as we dis cuss the state of our development now and create the better future.”

The conference was attended by prominent Russian and foreign scientists and practitioners: Veniamin Yakovlev the advisor to the President of the Russian Federation, the Chief Justice of the Russian Commercial Court (retired), Michael  Kleandrov, Justice of the Russian Constitutional Court, Vladislav Ivanov, The chairperson of the West-Siberian Commercial Court, Elisabetta Silvestri, Professor of the University of Pavia, Professor C.H. (Remco) van Rhee, The Netherlands, Professor Alan Uzelac (Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb), Stefaan Voet (Institute for Procedural Law, University of Ghent), Professor Julia Fu (Beijing University Law School), Professor Daniel van Loggerenberg (University of Pretoria), Professor Gennadii Chebotarev (Chair of the Department of Constitutional Municipal Law of the Institute of State and Law of Tyumen State University), Lidiia Terekhovaia (Chair of the Department of Civil- and Commercial Law at Omsk State University).

During the Forum the rigorous research into issues of the specialization of courts and judges was carried out, for further attention being paid to both positive as well as negative aspects involved in this process, and for consideration of trends in the field outside Russia as well as within the Russian Federation. At the end of the day, this should lead to the enrichment of scholarship, of the judiciary and of judicial practice.