New regulation for foreign lawyers: sanctions

The latest EU sanctions package bans certain business services for Russian-resident entities. On 3 June 2022, the Council of the European Union issued a comprehensive sixth package of sanctions against Russia.

In particular, provision of certain business-related services directly or indirectly to Russian government and legal entities, organisations, their branches and representative offices in Russia, including auditing, accounting and tax advice, as well as corporate and public relations advice, is now prohibited.

  • Foreign lawyers in Russia may be disbarred under a new regulation of the Russian Ministry of Justice.
On May 30, 2022, the Russian Ministry of Justice issued Decree № 85 "On Amendments to the 
Administrative Regulations of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation of the state service to maintain the register of foreign lawyers practicing law in the Russian Federation, approved by Order of the Ministry of Justice of 31.07.2012 № 151".

According to this Decree, a foreign lawyer’s licence obtained in a country under Russian sanctions (including EU countries) may lead to the cancellation of the registration already validated in Russia or refusal of a new registration. The Regulation came into effect on 14 June 2022.

In Russia, a lawyer with a Foreign Lawyer’s Licence may only practice in accordance with the law of the country in which they hold the lawyer’s licence. Accordingly, legal activities in court cannot be conducted under Russian law. This provision may significantly complicate court disputes involving foreign nationals as parties.

We believe that the measures in the sixth package are highly significant. A ban on consultancy services would directly affect the conduct of business in Russia, as a large number of Russian companies are now actively seeking consultancy services from European companies.

 

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