Is the legal environment changing for Russia-related transactions? What new challenges will parties face and how should they address them?

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A dynamic market -

Russia is a dynamic, developing growth market, with a constantly changing legal environment. Right now Russia is seeing an upturn of activity in corporate transactions of all kinds: mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures (JVs); public listings; and also restructurings and consolidations. At the same time, we have also seen a number of high profile disputes involving Russian parties, who appear to favour the English courts or arbitration in London, as well as other venues outside Russia, as the forum for the resolution of disputes.

Changing legal environment -

Changes both to Russian legislation and in the attitude and position of Russian courts are becoming evident. The legislative changes are likely to develop existing concepts under Russian law and introduce new ones, which may assist with structuring Russian corporate transactions. However, the new concepts (which are described further below) may also provide stronger grounds for Russian parties (particularly state parties) to insist on Russian law or on using Russian entities as joint venture vehicles. This, together with clear messages that Russia does not appreciate what it regards as interference by foreign courts, is likely to mean that a good understanding of the local practical, legal and procedural issues will become increasingly important for companies wishing to enter into transactions relating to businesses in Russia.

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