Proposals to improve Russian institution of class actions

According to the Russian media, an initiative has been launched to improve the institution of collective actions. This legal mechanism allows to bring claims on behalf of a group of persons and this possibility is provided for both by arbitration (since 2009) and civil (since 2019) procedural legislation of the Russian Federation.

Due to the high cost of litigation, the institution of class (collective) actions is most widespread in the USA. Despite the implementation of this legal construct in Russian law, class actions have not become a mass phenomenon in the Russian Federation. The main reasons for this are the lack of developed normative regulation, difficulties in finding representatives and forming a group of plaintiffs: thus, according to the Russian Arbitration Procedure Code (APC RF), their number cannot be less than 5 (part 5 art. 225.10 of the APC RF), in civil proceedings there shall be at least 20 persons (part 5 art. 244.20 of the Russian Civil Procedure Code), and the subject of the dispute must be their “common or homogeneous rights and legitimate interests” (par. 2 part 1 art. 225.10 of the APC RF, par. 2 part 1 art. 244.20 of the CPC RF).

Nevertheless, the number of collective actions in Russia increased in 2022, primarily due to massive leaks of personal data (several such lawsuits were filed against the food delivery service Yandex.Eda and the courier service SDEK) and the imposition of sanctions restrictions (lawsuits against Apple, Meta, Netflix and the Russian legal entity of the streaming platform). However, so far there are no precedents of satisfaction of such claims.

In this regard, the Russian parliamentarian addressed the Minister of Justice with a proposal to improve the institution of class actions. Thus, he suggested to ease the conditions for concluding an agreement on court costs and to regulate the procedure for concluding settlement agreements, as well as to simplify the procedure for pre-trial settlement of this category of disputes and to improve the mechanism for enforcing court decisions taken as a result of class actions. In addition, the senator sent a letter to the head of Rospotrebnadzor, an organization that advocates for the protection of consumer rights, asking for an opinion on the advisability of regulating the institute of collective actions and specific proposals to improve its legal framework.

However, at present, no relevant drafts have yet appeared in the Russian database of draft regulations at