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European Convention before the Domestic Courts in Russia

Raising Convention-related arguments on the national level

Raising Convention-related arguments before domestic courts may assist in achieving a fair resolution of a case at home. For the past decade, the Convention and its interpretation by the ECtHR, have become increasingly integrated into the domestic legal order in Russia.

Position of the Supreme Court of Russia

The Supreme Court of Russia has recommended that courts of general jurisdiction take the Convention and ECtHR case-law into account.1 Furthermore, it publishes summaries of ECtHR case law in its regular overviews of legislation and jurisprudence in order to keep judges informed of the most recent developments.

Position of the Supreme Commercial Court of Russia

As early as 1999, the Supreme Commercial Court issued an information note summarising the case-law of the ECtHR on fair trial and the right to property, calling on the lower courts to take this case law into account.2 The practice of commercial courts in contentions cases demonstrates that they often refer to ECtHR judgments against Russia and other countries to support their conclusions. In particular, such references can be found in judgments relating to tax matters and property disputes.3 

Requirement to exhaust domestic remedies 

Finally and importantly, employing arguments based on the European Convention and the case-law of the ECtHR during proceedings at the national level is crucial to complying with the admissibility requirement of exhaustion of domestic remedies laid down in Article 35(1) of the European Convention.

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1 Decision of the Plenum of the Supreme Court dated 10/10/2003, No. 5, On the application by the courts of general jurisdiction of general principles and norms of international law and international treaties [ratified] by the Russian Federation. 

2 Information letter dated 20/12/1999, no. C1-7/СМП-1341 on the basic principles applied by the European Court of Human Rights for the protection of property rights and the right to a fair trial. 

3 See, for example, 3rd Appeal Commercial Court, judgment of 11/10/2010, case no. А33-429/2010; 13th Appeal Commercial Court, judgment of 17/01/2011, case no. А56-28849/2010; 17th Appeal Commercial Court, judgment of 14/08/2009, case no. 17АП-6524/2009-АК; Supreme Commercial Court, decision of 19/12/2006, case no. 13584/06.