Russian Federation: Enforcement Of International Arbitration Awards In Russia

Last Updated: 21 June 2007
Article by Maxim Kulkov

Foreign arbitration awards are recognized and enforced in Russia by virtue of international treaties to which Russia is an assignee or according to the principle of reciprocity. Since the vast majority of countries have joined the New York Convention, the most common way to enforce a foreign award in Russia is under the said convention.

The Russian Arbitration Code provides for application for recognition and enforcement of a foreign arbitration award to be filed with an arbitrage court at the place of the debtor’s domicile or, if unknown, at the place where the debtor’s assets are located. Unfortunately, the law does not clarify what to do if the debtor’s domicile is abroad. If such is the case, in some instances courts have denied enforcement because the law does not stipulate which court has jurisdiction.

A request for enforcement of an award should be submitted within three years of the date when such a final award was rendered.

A court ruling on enforcement may be appealed in the court of cassation, which can uphold the original ruling, render a new decision or remand the case back to the initial court. The ruling of the court of cassation is final and comes into force immediately. It should be noted that there is also the possibility of challenging the ruling before the Supreme Arbitration Court of Russia, but the Supreme Court accepts cases for reconsideration only in exceptional circumstances.

When a ruling on judgment recognition and enforcement is obtained, the court issues a writ of execution. If the debtor does not voluntarily execute the judgment, the claiming party initiates an execution procedure, which is equivalent to one for execution of domestic judgments. This is done through the bailiff service as set forth in the Law on Execution Procedure. Bailiffs are responsible for searching for, attaching and selling the debtor’s assets.

On average, it might take from six to 20 months from submission of the request for enforcement to the time the claimant actually receives money, depending on the number of court instances the claimant passes through and the condition of the debtor’s assets.

Interim Measures

If interim relief is sought in the course of arbitration that has a seat in Russia, the plaintiff may file a request with the arbitration court at the seat of arbitration or the location of the defendant or its assets. The court procedure is the same as for litigating parties. Unfortunately, Russian law does not provide for the possibility of securing interim measures through courts during arbitration with its seat abroad. Moreover, an order on interim measures issued by arbitrators (the seat of arbitration is irrelevant in this case) cannot be enforced through the courts since such an order is not considered by Russian courts as a final award.

Consequently, it is impossible to obtain interim measures in Russia during the course of arbitration with its seat abroad. In order to avoid this risk, the party entering into an arbitration agreement should insist that the seat of arbitration be Russia if the issue of interim relief is of great importance to said party.

Denial Of Enforcement On The Grounds Of Contravention Of Public Policy

Russian courts are sometimes reluctant to recognize and enforce international commercial arbitration awards. Since the grounds for refusing enforcement is limited by the New York Convention, contravention of public policy often serves as the ultima ratio for rejecting enforcement. In some instances, public policy is understood by the courts too vaguely. One notorious court case illustrating this point is United World Ltd. vs. Krasny Yakor (Red Ancor). In this case, the court denied enforcement of an arbitration award of less than $40,000 on the grounds that its enforcement would lead to Red Ancor’s bankruptcy and would consequently cause serious damage to the regional economy where the debtor was domiciled and to the economy of Russia; such damages thus were in contravention of Russian public policy. In many other cases, public policy has not been understood in such a strange way, but some courts tend to consider contravention of mandatory Russian rules as contravention of Russian public policy. To avoid said risk, the contractual provisions, even if governed by a foreign law, should be reviewed for compliance with mandatory Russian laws.

Denial Of Enforcement On The Grounds Of Procedural Violations

In general, Russian courts take a very formal approach to evidence. The judges are quite reluctant to accept e-mails, copies of documents not notarized, witness evidence, etc. For example, in Forever Maritime vs. Mashimport, the court denied enforcement of the award on the grounds that the defendant was not notified properly of the time and place of the hearing. The court rejected copies of correspondence between the parties proving the fact of proper notification because the translation of those letters into Russian was not notarized. In another case, Sophocles Star Shipping Inc. vs. Technopromexport, a mistake in the name of the claimant contained in the award and in the time-charter contract (Sophocles Star Shipping Co. Ltd.) was used as grounds to deny enforcement by the Moscow court and the Moscow Court of Cassation. The courts held that the contract containing the arbitration clause was concluded with Sophocles Star Shipping Co. Ltd., while the request for enforcement was brought by Sophocles Star Shipping Inc. Since the latter was not a party to the arbitration agreement, the agreement was deemed invalid. Only when the case came to the Supreme Court, the court held that the question of the agreement’s validity was beyond the scope of consideration during an enforcement procedure under the New York Convention.

To avoid such problems, it is advisable to focus considerable attention on formalities when entering into an arbitration agreement and during the course of arbitration (e.g., to make sure that the documents contain the right names of the parties and the arbitration tribunal, and to duplicate procedural notifications by registered post).

Denial Of Enforcement On The Grounds Of Invalidation Of Contracts Containing An Arbitration Clause

It is a quite common tactic for defendants to use a third party to invalidate a contract containing an arbitration clause through the arbitration court. By Russian law, in some instances, a third party whose rights are violated by somebody’s contract can challenge this contact in court. In Uralskiye Zavody (Ural Plants) vs. Quality Steel and Bummash, the claimant – a shareholder in Bummash – challenged the contract between Quality Steel and Bummash as a transaction violating the Ural Plants shareholder’s rights. Quality Steel’s argument that the contract contained an arbitration clause and could not, therefore, be litigated was rejected because Ural Plants was not a party to the agreement. Such invalidation of a contract may in some cases be used later on as grounds for refusing enforcement of an arbitration award, since referral of the dispute to arbitration was made in the invalid contact.

Slow Execution

One problem arising during execution is lack of cooperation on the part of the bailiffs in collecting information about the debtor’s assets and selling the assets. To speed up the process, the collecting party should always monitor the procedure and assist the bailiffs in searching for the debtor’s property (e.g., check that all procedural formalities made by the bailiffs are correct in order to avoid any appeals by the debtor; hire detectives to find the property).

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions