Remote hearings and electronic document flow in the Russian court system
In January 2022, amendments to the procedural codes of the Russian Federation came into force to introduce and improve the way for the use of electronic documents in court proceedings, as well as to create conditions for remote participation in hearings.
The main novelties concern the procedure for filing statements of claim, petitions, submissions and other documents, which now allows filing procedural documents via the Public Services Portal. These documents may also be sent to the court through the information system determined by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation or through the electronic document management system of the participants in arbitrazh proceedings. A statement of claim submitted electronically containing an application for interim measures must be signed with a qualified electronic signature.
Court summonses and other court notices may also be sent to participants in the process via the Public Services Portal. However, this type of notification is only possible for persons who have given their consent to receive summonses and notifications in this manner.
The new legal provisions also provide for the possibility to participate in a court hearings through videoconferencing or by using a web-conferencing system. It should be reminded that the practice of online hearings is already known to Russian courts, but it has now been strengthened in law, allowing, inter alia, for remote participation in court hearings using personal means of communication. A prerequisite for participation in a hearing under the above procedure is an application by the party and the availability of a technical web-conferencing facility in the court.
In addition, the new rules of Russian procedural law provide for electronic court decisions to be sent through the Public Services Portal and the system of electronic document flow between state authorities.
Generally, it should be noted that the introduced amendments are progressive and aimed at enhancing efficiency of judicial protection of citizens and legal entities by means of using electronic documents in court proceedings and remote participation in the hearings. At the same time, due attention should be paid to creating technical possibilities for remote participation in the process through web-conferencing in all judicial bodies.