Supreme Court of Arbitration of Russia

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The Supreme Court of Arbitration of the Russian Federation (also translated as the High[er] Arbitration Court of the Russian Federation; Russian: Высший Арбитражный суд Российской Федерации) was the court of final instance in commercial disputes in Russia. Additionally, it supervises the work of lower courts of arbitration and gives interpretation of laws and elucidations concerning their implementations, which are compulsory for lower courts. It was replaced by a 30-Judge Economic Collegium that is part of an expanded Russian Supreme Court effective August 8, 2014.[1]


Commercial arbitrations in Russia existed long before the October revolution, though their powers were very limited. They were abolished immediately after the revolution. In 1922 the Supreme Arbitration Commission, attached to the Council of Labour and Defense, and oblast' arbitration commissions were created. Their function was to solve disputes between state-owned institutions (including profit-making companies). In 1931 all those commissions were abolished. The newly created State Arbitration of the USSR was to resolve disputes about contracts exchanged between enterprises subordinate to various governmental agencies. The disputes arising within one agency's jurisdiction were not brought to the State Arbitration. Whenever the State Arbitration discovered any violations of law, its duty was to report about it to respective law enforcement offices. Similar state arbitrations were created in republics of the USSR.

In 1960 new State Arbitration attached to the Council of Ministers of the USSR Regulations were adopted by the Council of Ministers of the USSR. It de facto established stare decisis principle, since upper state arbitrations were empowered to give compulsory elucidations to the lower ones.

The position of the State Arbitration underwent crucial changes in 1987. The courts of arbitration became a separate branch of courts not subject to the control of the executive branch. They still retain this position.


All judges of the Supreme Court of Arbitration including the Chairman are nominated by the president of Russia and appointed by the Federation Council. In order to become a judge a person must be at least 35 years old, have legal education and 10 years of experience. Only Russian nationals can serve as judges.

The Chairman of the Supreme Court of Arbitration supervises the work of the court. He convenes sessions of the Presidium of the Court and plenary sessions, appoints the Court's employees and guides its work, and represents the Court in governmental offices. The current Chairman of the Court is Anton Ivanov. The Chairman has several deputies.

There are two Boards in the Supreme Court of Arbitration, which supervise decisions of lower courts of arbitration whenever appeal is lodged by a disappointed party. One Board hears cases concerning private law and the other hears cases concerning public law (for example, if a corporation is charged with tax evasion or files for bankruptcy).

The Presidium of the Supreme Court of Arbitration deals with appeals on decisions of lower courts of arbitration which have already entered into force. Only the Prosecutor General of Russia, Chairman of the Supreme Court of Arbitration and his deputies can bring an appeal to the Presidium. When a case is heard in the Presidium, execution of the decision of a lower court may be delayed.

On plenary sessions the Court studies judicial practice and gives recommendations regarding applications by lower courts of particular provisions. In fact, lower courts must apply recommendations of the Supreme Court of Arbitration. The procedural Code of Arbitration provides that the Presidium of the Supreme Court of Arbitration is entitled to reverse a decision of a lower court if it does not follow common judicial practice. Organizational matters are also dealt with on plenary sessions. They must take place at least twice a year.

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