Enjoying ad-free content?
Since July 1, 2024, we have disabled all ads to improve your reading experience.
This commitment costs us $10,000 a month. Your support can help us fill the gap.
Support us
Our journalism is banned in Russia. We need your help to keep providing you with the truth.

Lawyers Protest Courts Merger in Open Letter

Lawyers criticized the Kremlin on Tuesday in a rare display of public discontent, speaking out against a measure that will abolish what they called the most progressive branch of Russia's judiciary.

More than 80 law firms on Tuesday released an open letter against the measure, which they said would de facto dismantle the arbitration system in the country.

The arbitration courts are much more transparent, independent and modern than the "parochial" general jurisdiction courts, according to the letter, published on Arbitrations.ru.

The reform would hamper business competition in the country and prompt Russian entrepreneurs to take their disputes to foreign courts, the appeal said.

The letter called for the reform bill to be dropped or at least put on hold pending a broad discussion with the judicial community, which has not been consulted about the draft legislation.

President Vladimir Putin proposed in July to merge the Supreme Arbitration Court, which oversees business disputes, with the Supreme Court, which handles criminal cases and civil lawsuits.

The reform would solve the problem of conflicting jurisdictions between the courts, Kremlin representatives said earlier this year.

A bill on the reform, which would require amending the Constitution, is due Wednesday for a crucial second reading in parliament, where most parties have backed the proposal.

No lawmakers commented on the proposal Tuesday. The State Duma's Constitution and State Affairs Committee on Monday recommended for the bill to be passed without any changes.

A Kremlin spokesman refused to comment, the RBC Daily news website said Tuesday.

Russia's judiciary, much criticized for its reported dependence on the executive branch, is trusted by only 21 percent of Russia's population, according to a nationwide survey last month by the independent pollster Levada Center.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more