22 May 2019Jurisdiction reportsAnnikki Hämäläinen and Riikka Palmos

Russia jurisdiction report: A turning point for Russian legal services?

The need for change

The current situation is quite disorganised and uncontrolled. Legal services are offered and conducted by a number of different parties, namely (i) advocates with a special status of advocate provided by the law; (ii) non-advocate lawyers rendering legal services to Russian/international law firms; (iii) lawyers practising individually; and (iv) in-house lawyers.

The professional legal services market is currently dominated by foreign legal firms. This situation has become an issue for different sectors, including legislators, and thus created a pressure to provide tighten regulations.

The reform aims to unite the legal professional community, improve the quality of legal services, protect the domestic market from foreign players and harmonise regulation with the legal systems of other countries.

What will change?

According to the reform, “Proposal concept of regulation of the market of professional legal aid”, from January 1, 2023 only advocates will be able to represent interests in judicial matters and provide paid legal services. Exceptions are employees of legal services of enterprises and representatives of non-profit organisations, which provide legal services free of charge.

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