ROME, March 22 - RAPSI. Tatyana Andreyeva, Deputy Chair of the Russian Supreme Commercial Court, spoke favorably of the introduction of precedential case law during a St. Petersburg International Legal Forum conference in Rome.

Case law is broadly used in Common Law countries to ensure uniformity in the courts’ application of the law. Precedent functions on a hierarchical level, wherein lower courts are required to adopt the authority of higher courts in cases turning on similar legal issues.

Andreyeva explained that the issue has proven controversial in Russia due to concerns that the adoption of a case law system would allow the judiciary’s power to diminish the role of the legislature.

In her view, greater uniformity of judicial practice would strengthen the protection of the rights afforded to parties engaged in commercial disputes, and would enhance legal clarity.

Therefore, the Supreme Commercial Court proposes using its judicial acts as a precedent. Some of these acts can be retroactive.

Supreme Commercial Court Chairman Anton Ivanov urged a similar point in November 2011 while addressing senior Russian legislators, stating that the court has been working on universalizing legal views for lower courts to apply since 2002.

Notably, Russia’s judiciary has various branches. The Supreme Commercial Court has the highest judicial authority over commercial disputes arising within the country, but it has not impact on the courts of general jurisdiction, which fall under the purview of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation and the Constitutional Court. Thus any such initiative would be limited to Russia’s commercial courts.

The St. Petersburg International Legal Forum is a large-scale annual event featuring top-level discussion of legal issues impacting Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia.