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Partnership with the Supreme Arbitrazh (Commercial) Court of the Russian Federation

Partnership with the Supreme Arbitrazh (Commercial) Court of the Russian Federation

The partnership between the Supreme Arbitrazh Court of the Russian Federation (SAC) and the US Russia Foundation for Economic Advancement and the Rule of Law (USRF) started in early 2009 as the result of an agreement between the SAC Chair, Anton Ivanov, and a member of the USRF Board of Directors, Judge Michael Mihm.

The goal of the program is an exchange of technical in-formation between Russian and American rule-of-law experts. The program includes trips by American ex¬perts to Russia, and Russian judges and court officials to the US, and thereby strengthens ties between the two countries. Expenses are shared by both parties.

A telling example is a project devoted to access to court information and judicial transparency. In May 2009, American experts - Peter G. McCabe (Assistant Director for Judges Programs, Administrative Office of the United States Courts), Judge James B. Haines, Jr. (United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maine), and Norman H. Meyer (Clerk of the Court of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Mexico) - came to Russia to discuss matters related to access to justice, transparency of the judicial system and ways to improve access of the general public to court records. The American experts met with their colleagues from the Supreme Arbitrazh Court of the Russian Federation, where they became familiar with various information systems being developed at the SAC for the general public and discussed the most problematic areas related to access to court informa­tion. The US experts also visited the Federal Arbitrazh Court for the Moscow District and two commercial courts in Saint Petersburg and learned about electronic document management systems used at these courts.

The exchange of information continued in October 2009 with the 'return' visit of the Russian delegation to US. The group visited several US courts: U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Administrative Office of the US Courts, Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, and New York Supreme Court. In the course of discussions Russian and American experts exchanged opinions and informa­tion on organization of electronic submission of appli­cations, public access to electronic court records, re­lated privacy and security concerns, ways for a judge to use electronic documents, and some other issues. The Russian experts also learned about the three electronic filing systems used at different US courts:

  1. Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER);
  2. New York State Courts Electronic Filing System (NYSCEF);
  3. Supreme Court Records On Line Library (SCROLL).

The partnership program focused on the following four priority areas in 2010:

  1. Judicial ethics;
  2. Administrative law (including tax-related);
  3. Bankruptcy (with emphasis on personal bank­ruptcy); and Corporate and business law.