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How does a foreigner file in the Russian court?

You as a foreigner may not know some nuances about how Russian courts work and how to sue your ex-spouse who will not pay child support, or a bad faith contractor. Here is a brief guideline of how one can bring a case in our country.

To bring your case to court, you must comply with the following rules:

✅ The statute of limitations for going to court on different claims in Russia is from 1 to 3 years from the time your rights began to be violated (for example, you did not receive payment under a contract).

✅ Before filing a case in court, you must lodge a demand letter to the defendant.

✅ A lawsuit may be filed only in the locale where the defendant resides. If the defendant is in Saint-Petersburg, you must file in the Saint-Petersburg court.

✅ To make your case initiated, you have to pay for the filing fee. Without this fee, your claim will be subject to dismissal.

✅ Before bringing the case to court, be sure to direct a copy of your statement of claim with all evidence to the defendant.

✅ All the paperwork you are going to provide the judge with must be in Russian. If you have some evidence in a foreign language, it must have a translation attached.

✅ Documents issues in a foreign country must be apostilled or legalized (it depends on if the country participates in the Hague Convention)

If you met all those requirements, your case shall be considered by the court.

After legal proceedings were initiated and a court session was designated, you should know that:

❕ In Russia, legal proceedings are only in Russian. It means a judge handles the whole legal case solely in the Russian language.

❕ Participating in a session is your right, not a duty. Due to this, you can ask to hear the case in your absence. You can be self-represented in court (with an interpreter involved) or hire a representative who will stand up for your rights with or without you present, under a power of attorney.

❕ As a court order is issued, it comes into force in 30 days.

❕ Yet during these 30 days one can lodge an appeal against this order; if it was lodged, the order will come into force at the day when the
court of appeal makes its decision.

What you should keep in mind when the order comes into force:

☑ If the defendant is not complying with the verdict of their own volition, you may be issued a writ of execution so you direct it to bailiffs to compel compliance. In case of enforcement, a defendant, as a rule, faces distraint of all their assets: bank accounts, real estate, vehicles, and other property.

☑ A writ of execution expires in 3 years. After this time, you cannot seek to compel compliance with a court order.

If you need to file a case in the Russian court, feel free to reach us:
Tel: +7 909 961-19-09
Visit us: Moscow, Zubovskiy bulvar, building 4, room 308
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