It was then decided to hold similar seminars in St Petersburg, the second largest legal centre of Russia, and in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine – a significant yet relatively untapped market. On this occasion we focussed on “Litigating and Arbitrating Commercial Disputes in England: Practical issues for foreign lawyers,” taking the audience through the various stages of such disputes.

The presentations proved to be of great interest to the audience, as more and more disputes from the CIS are coming before the courts in London or are arbitrated under English law. The seminar also enabled the Bar Council to speak about the funding of litigation in London, to inform the audience of the exceptional value that the Bar represents, explain how to identify and instruct suitable counsel, and outline ways to use the Bar in a turnkey role when it comes to international dispute resolution. The seminars were followed by networking receptions, kindly supported by UK Trade and Investment. The event in St Petersburg was attended by approximately 60 local commercial lawyers and in-house counsel, whilst the Kiev event attracted an audience of around 75. The Bar delegation
comprised ten members. The events were advertised by letter and email to all heads of chambers and senior clerks. Feedback from the local participants as well as from the Bar delegates has been very encouraging and there will be further events in the coming years.

Before then, the next events relevant to all practitioners interested in developing their practice in relation to Russia will be first an international lawyers conference
organised by the Russian Ministry of Justice (date TBC, possibly as early as May 2011), and second an “English Law Week” which will be a major event featuring a plethora of legal services supplied by UK Legal plc and co-organised by the British Embassy in Moscow, the Bar Council, the Law Society and others. Again, these events will be advertised to the profession by letter and email to heads of chambers and senior clerks as well as on the Bar Council website. Workshops of this nature due to take place in 2011 will be advertised in due course.