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ICC and SIAC achieved ‘Permanent Arbitration Institution’ status in Russia

The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (“SIAC”) and International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (“ICC”) has received Russian governmental permits to administer arbitrations on 18 May 2021. Alongside with the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre and Vienna International Arbitral Centre there are now four foreign arbitration institutions licensed in Russia.

Due to Russia’s arbitration reforms in 2016, only arbitral institutions granted the right to operate by the Russian Ministry of Justice  can administer most arbitrations seated in Russia and certain corporate arbitrations with a seat abroad. Therefore, the options for parties wishing to arbitrate corporate disputes involving Russian entities were limited.

The permitted arbitral centres have the right to administer international commercial arbitrations and certain types of corporate disputes with respect to Russian companies. The disputes they are able to administer are as follows:

  • International commercial arbitrations seated in Russia; 
  • Disputes seated in Russian or abroad (including domestic disputes) between residents of a special administrative district; and
  • Certain Russian corporate disputes, specifically those related to ownership of shares or interests in the capital of Russian companies, disputes arising out of management agreements in respect of Russian companies and disputes related to registration and maintaining a register of rights to shares in Russian companies.

Although the permit gives licensed institutions a material advantage in the Russian market, it comes with certain limitations. For instance, none of the foreign institutions holding the permits will be eligible to administer arbitration of purely domestic Russian disputes, disputes in connection with the issuance of securities, disputes related to a challenge to corporate resolutions adopted by the management bodies of a legal entity and etc.

Nevertheless, now the ICC and SIAC can take advantage of the Russian market, providing both foreign and Russian entities access to the most preferred arbitration institutions in the world. This development could increase the utilisation of arbitration as a dispute resolution mechanism, providing Russian parties access to efficient and reliable methods for dispute resolution, and encouraging the Russian jurisdiction to be more arbitration-friendly.

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