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Class actions in Russia: case law development following the reform

by | May 18, 2021 | Blog

The Federal Law dated 18.07.2019 No 191-FZ “On Amending Some Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation (hereinafter referred to as Law No 191)[1] has introduced the institution of class actions in the Civil Procedure Code of the Russian Federation (“CPC”), and also amended the provisions of the Arbitrazh Procedure Code of the Russian Federation (“APC”) on class actions – the regulation of class actions under the CPC and APC has now become largely uniform.

The class action provisions were introduced in the APC back in 2009, but this did not lead to their active application. The key reasons for this are the deficiencies in the former regulation of such claims under the APC and its formal application by the courts. It was provided, inter alia, that to file a claim the members of a group of persons had to be participants of the same legal relationship.

Before the reform, the CPC allowed class actions in respect to unspecified individuals only in situations stipulated by law. Article 46 of the Federal Law “On Protection of Consumers”[2], provides for one of such situations, however, citizens and commercial organizations could not file relevant claims.

Law No 191 removed these restrictions and established a detailed and uniform regulation of class actions under the APC and CPC.

One of the key features of the class action model enshrined in the Law No 191 is that the use of class actions in Russia is no longer limited to any specific area of economic activity or type of social relations.

The practice of class actions use in Russia is just developing and for now their use can hardly be called massive or large-scale.

But over the past year and a half after the entry into force of the Law No. 191, a number of such claims have already been granted, and in rather diverse spheres.

Thus, the claims were granted:

– against a commercial organization on recalculation of payments for utilities, recovery of compensation for moral harm[3];

– on the collection of penalties from the developer and compensation for moral harm[4];

– on the obligation of an educational institution of higher education to transfer to the information system “Federal Register of data on educational certificates and (or) qualifications, documents on training” the information regarding issued diplomas of higher education[5];

– against a fitness club on the collection of funds for the period of non-use of club cards during the period of quarantine measures and compensation for moral harm[6];

– against an agricultural enterprise on the recognition of illegal inaction and the obligation to develop a draft for sanitary protection zone[7];

– against the authorized bodies of the constituent entity of the Russian Federation on the commission of actions aimed at protecting the participants in shared-equity construction and completing the problematic apartment building[8];

– against a developer to cure the drawbacks of the construction of an apartment building[9];

– against the Modernization and Development Fund of housing and utility services of municipalities of one of the regions of the Russian Federation on the recognition of illegal assessments of contributions for major repairs[10], etc.

Despite the existence of known obstacles to the successful application of class actions in our country (for example, the low amount of compensation for moral harm recovered by the courts), we hope that this institution will be further developed and spread, will help to protect the interests of citizens and organizations as well as relieve the judicial system from many same-type claims.

 

[1] The Law came into effect on October 1, 2019.

[2] The of Law of the Russian Federation dated 07.02.1992 No 2300-1 “On Protection of Consumers”.

[3] The decision of the Noginsk City Court of the Moscow Region dated 19.11.2020 No. 2-2003.

[4] The decision of the Vsevolozhsk City Court of the Leningrad Region dated 09.12.2020 in case No. 2-8263/2020.

[5] The decision of the Oktyabrsky District Court of the city of Murmansk dated 25.09.2020 in case No. 2-1928/2020.

[6] The decision of the Kirovsk District Court of the city of Yekaterinburg dated 12.03.2021 in case No. 2-61/2021.

[7] The decision of the Klinsk City Court of the Moscow Region dated 21.12.2020 in case No. 2-1822/2020.

[8] The decision of the Leninsky District Court of the city of Perm dated January 26.01.2021 in case No. 2-57 / 2021.

[9] The decision of the Central District Court of the city of Novosibirsk dated 17.02.2021 No. 2-48/2021.

[10] The decision of the Oktyabrsky District Court of the city of Novosibirsk dated 12.02.2021 in case No. 2-78/2021.