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17.12.2015 The Institute for Law and Public Policy has prepared an Amicus Curiae brief in constitutional case concerning recovery of damages for wrongful asset seizure

On December 10, 2015, the Russian Constitutional Court (the RCC, Court) has officially published the Decision on termination of the case on constitutionality of Sections 1 and 3 of Article 133 and Article 139 of the Criminal Procedure Code (the CPC) of the Russian Federation (in Russian). The complaint has been lodged by two companies working in the Far East region, “Vostok” and “Spetsdorstroy”, which claimed unconstitutionality of the above-mentioned provisions insofar as they allow courts to dismiss actions filed by legal entities seeking reimbursement of damages for wrongful asset seizure according to the simplified order prescribed by Chapter 18 of the CPC (“Rehabilitation”).

After an open hearing of the case on October 12, 2015, the RCC decided to terminate the proceedings in this case according to Article 68 of the Federal constitutional law “On the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation”. The RCC stated that decisions of commercial courts did not demonstrate that “the contested provisions themselves constituted an obstacle for full reimbursement of inflicted damages including lost profit”, and therefore “in this particular case cannot be considered as infringing the claimants’ constitutional rights” (emphasis ours).

The Institute for Law and Public Policy has filed an Amicus Curiae brief aimed at providing an overview of Russian courts case law concerning compensation of profit lost because of wrongful seizure of property. The analysis has revealed legal uncertainty over the due order of lost profit reimbursement: some courts refuse to hear cases in a civil procedure, others deny an opportunity to review such actions in criminal (simplified) procedure according to Chapter 18 of the CPC, and some of them disagree to interpret the norms of the CPC as allowing companies to recover their lost profits in general.

It is concluded that actions filed by rehabilitated companies seeking compensation of profits they lost due to wrongful criminal prosecution should be reviewed in the order prescribed by Chapter 18 of the CPC, as this order fully corresponds to the use of streamlined assets seizure by the state prosecution authorities.

We need to underline that termination of the proceedings in the case of “Vostok” and “Spetsdorstroy” is not an absolute obstacle for other companies facing similar issues to apply to the RCC. The Court, having taken the constitutional complaints of the two legal entities for consideration, has in fact admitted deficiencies in maintenance of constitutional balance of private and public interests in cases concerning reimbursement of profits lost due to unlawful property seizure. Furthermore, a reference to circumstances of particular cases of the applicants can also indicate a possibility of revision of Chapter 18 provisions of the CPC by the RCC.

Full text of the brief (in Russian)

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Other amicus curiae briefs and cases of the Institute


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