CD: Over recent years, have you seen an increase in the number of disputes – both domestic and international – involving Russian and CIS firms?

D’Cruz: London has been attracting a significant volume of Russian and CIS related disputes for the past seven or more years. If anything, that trend has increased over the past two to three years. I anticipate that a similar volume of disputes, at least, will continue to come to London in the short and medium terms.

Menshenina: Despite efforts to develop an environment that encourages companies to remain within Russian jurisdiction and to resolve disputes in Russian courts, we have seen a steady growth of Russian and CIS disputes brought in the High Court and the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA). This growth extends to a number of major Russian companies, who increasingly prefer to resolve disputes in foreign courts or in arbitral tribunals. Russian and CIS companies are also increasingly likely to seek enforcement of foreign judgments and awards in Russia, or in jurisdictions other than that of the judgment or award. Russian and CIS businesses continue to use foreign law – predominantly English law – to govern their contracts, and in subsequent litigation and arbitration of commercial disputes. This choice is made as a matter of preference, rather than being determined by the requirements of foreign business partners or as a strategy relating to the business’s corporate structure.

Heneghan: Over the last two decades, we have seen considerable growth in the number of complex high value disputes involving Russian and CIS companies. Such disputes tend to be international in nature, given the way in which ownership of assets in Russia and the CIS is often structured, and the desire of many clients and other parties to seek to resolve disputes ‘offshore’.

Apr-Jun 2014 issue

Littleton Chambers

Simmons & Simmons

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP