Arbitration as an Effective Means of Resolving Commercial Disputes Between Finnish and Russian Companies

28.10.2016 Arbitration as an Effective Means of Resolving Commercial Disputes Between Finnish and Russian Companies

The joint event of RAA and FAI, supported by Hannes Snellman, devoted to the topic "Arbitration as an effective method of settling commercial disputes between Finnish and Russian companies" took place on October 20, 2016, in Moscow. As speakers, thereat spoke Ms. Heidi Merikalla-Tier, Secretary General of the Arbitration Institute attached to the Finnish Chamber of Commerce, and Mr. Roman Zykov, Secretary General of the Russian Arbitration Association.

The speakers dealt with pressing questions connected with the appeal of arbitration, importance of choosing the mechanism of settling disputes in contracts, peculiarities of arbitration clauses which should be included in a contract between Finnish and Russian companies, and, at last, with the influence of sanctions on the choice of a dispute settlement mechanism.

In the beginning of her speech, Ms. Heidi Merikalla-Tier noticed that promptness, possibility to choose an arbitrator competent in a certain field, confidentiality, economic efficiency, impartiality of arbitrators, as well as enforceability of an award ensure preferences for using arbitration as a method of settling commercial disputes. Then, a review of the arbitration laws of Finland was carried out. "Importance of correct drafting of an arbitration clause is explained by that business resources should be allocated towards future business activity, and not towards past disputes", - noted Heidi, and gave her practical recommendations how to reduce the risks of potential disputes. The participants of the event made sure that each arbitration clause should be carefully worked up.

Then, they talked on organization of the Arbitration Institute attached to the Finnish Chamber of Commerce, as well as on provisions of the Arbitration Rules of proceedings and the Rules of proceedings of accelerated arbitration of the Chamber of Commerce of Finland, the key objectives of which are the assistance to prompt and economically effective settlement of disputes, effective administration of disputes with many parties and those arising from or in connection with different contracts, and, of course, the improvement of international prestige of FAI and its appeal as the place for settling international arbitration disputes.

Mr. Roman Zykov in his speech provided credible statistics of preferences of arbitration as a method of settling commercial disputes, as well as presented a review made by ICC "Russia as the place for arbitration", where it was studied in which situations respondents were ready to refer a dispute to arbitration in the Russian Federation. It turned out that in the most cases - where refusal to choose Russia as the place of arbitration would result in withdrawal from a transaction. Then, the speaker disclosed which missions were pursued by RAA, inter alias: 

· popularization of Russia as the place for arbitration;

· support to, and promotion of, both Russian arbitrators at the national and international level, and foreign arbitrators interested in arbitration in Russia;

· settlement of national and international disputes in Russia.

Mr. Roman Zykov also told about the procedure of administration of arbitration proceedings, demonstrated simplicity and accessibility of online arbitration, having shown a video which left nobody indifferent. Great attention was paid to the peculiarities of settling corporate disputes. Then, various statistical data were presented on the influence of sanctions on the choice of dispute settlement clauses in contracts, choice of applicable law, etc. 

Ms. Nina Vilkova, member of the Management Board of the Arbitration Institute of the Finnish Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Professor of the All-Russia Academy of Foreign Trade, took active participation in the event; she called attention to several moments connected with the problem of understanding and importance of choosing the language in an arbitration clause, and given examples from practical experience. She also noticed that one should pay attention to conflict of laws rules, especially where interests in arbitration proceedings are represented by a lawyer acting under a power of attorney. So, for example, according to Section 1217.1. of the RF Civil Code, if the powers have been given to a representative for conducting a case in a mediation court, the law of the country where the arbitration proceedings are conducted shall apply.

In the end of his speech, Mr. Roman Zykov expressed the words of gratitude to the sponsor of the event - Hannes Snellman.

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