Institute for Law and Public Policy
Address: 129090, Moscow, Shchepkina str., 8
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 140, Moscow, 129090, Russia
Tel.: +7 (495) 608 6959, 608 6635; Fax: +7 (495) 608 6915
The Final stage of the Sixth All-Russian Moot Court Competition on Constitutional Justice among student teams Crystal Themis – 2016 was held on February 4, 2017. The Institute for Law and Public Policy conducts the Competition under the auspices of the Association of Lawyers of Russia in partnership with the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe.
The final game between the two strongest teams, the announcement of the winners and award ceremony took place within the walls of the Competition Partner, Law Faculty of Moscow State University.
In 2016 22 student teams from 12 Russian regions were registered but only 16 teams submitted procedural documents to participate in the game on constitutional case. In 2016 the case got the code name Small Business at Any Cost, or the Case of the Paradise Gardens.
The Sixth All-Russian Moot Court Competition Crystal Themis differed from the previous five ones in the number of the teams that reached the oral rounds. According to the competition organizers, only 4 teams had been allowed to participate in the quarterfinal rounds earlier but in 2017 the experts decided to invite 8 student teams to the final stage after evaluating the procedural documents.
They were the teams of:
- Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal Unuversity;
- Volga-Vyatkiy Institute, branch of Moscow State Law Academy (MSLA);
- Moscow State University;
- National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE), Nizhny Novgorod branches;
- Russian Academy of Justice;
- National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE), St. Petersburg branches;
- Urals State Law University;
- Southern Federal University.
|The 2016 Crystal Themis Competition Jury||
Moscow State University Team
|Urals State Law University Team||The 2016 Competition Audience|
This year the number of the jury members who assessed the final round between the two best teams has also increased (from five to seven people). The final judicial board of Crystal Themis -2016 included leading Russian experts such as Gadis Gadzhiyev, judge of the Russian Constitutional Court, honoured lawyer of Russia; Tamara Morschakova, honored lawyer of Russia, judge of the Russian Constitutional Court in retirement; Anatoly Kovler, honored lawyer of Russia, judge of the European Court of Human Rights (1999-2012); Genri Reznik, honored lawyer of Russia, Vice-President of the Russian Federal Chamber of Lawyers and the Bar of the City of Moscow; Svetlana Volodina, Vice-President of the Russian Federal Chamber of Lawyers and Director of the Institute of Advocacy, Moscow State Law Academy; as well as international experts: Alexander Blankenagel, professor of Public Law, doctor of Public Law, and member of the ILPP Board of Trustees, and Gunars Kūtris, judge of the Constitutional Court of Latvia (in retirement) and member of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe.
The 2016 Crystal Themis Competition Jury (from left to right): Anatoly Kovler, Svetlana Volodina, Genri Reznik, Tamara Morshchakova, Gadis Gadzhiev, Gunars Kurtis, Alexander Blankenagel
The best of the best teams that participated in the oral rounds were the representatives of the two universities, namely: Moscow State University (Sergey Afanasiyev, Daria Bunyak, Ekaterina Galustova, Taisia Sidorenko, Anna Troshkina, Alexandra Uroshleva) and the Urals State Law University (Vladislav Vatamanyuk, Daria Vinarskaya, Aigul Gilmanova, Maria Pilikina, Yulia Serkova, Nikita Smetanin).
“The announcement of the results is a great challenge for the jury”, said Genri Reznik, competition jury member, Vice-President of the Russian Federal Chamber of Lawyers and the Bar of the City of Moscow. “We have to decide who the first is and who the second is. This choice of the conflict is like between good and the best. Today the both teams were good. We had great pleasure to watch today those who come to us to change.”
In the end the students of the Urals State Law University won the main prize, Crystal Themis. As pointed the trainer of the winning team, and the 2013 and 2015 team-finalist participant, Aldar Chirninov, the competition is becoming a good start for young lawyers: “After taking a long path to the final with the guys I can say that only now I understand how complex and painstaking coaching is. The competition gives participants the opportunity to understand that the constitutional litigation is not something abstract but quite real. It is one thing to look at the judicial process, for example, on the website of the Constitutional Court, but it is quite another matter to consciously take on the burden to resolve the constitutional legal conflict, even if it is fictional from the beginning to the end. Of course, six years for this kind of contests, I mean moot courts, is a very short life. But I believe that the Crystal Themis competition has succeeded. And I would like to express the hope that the best acknowledge of its success will be specific cases won by the former participants of this wonderful competition at the Constitutional Court.”
The three teams who had won the quarterfinal stage and reached the semi-finals got the title of the Competition winners. They are Moscow State University, Russian Academy of Justice and Southern Federal University.
As part of the ceremony special prizes were awarded in six nominations.
Henri REZNIK, Vice-President of the Russian Federal Chamber of Lawyers, and Ilya SHABLINSKY, professor of Higher School of Economics, a member of the Council on Human Rights under the President of Russia went up to the scene to hand over the prize in the nomination For the Best Procedural Document (complaint with the Russian Constitutional Court) to the team of Russian Academy of Justice.
Genri Reznik and Ilya Shablinsky Stanislav Alexandrov and Anton Sviridenko are presenting the prize
For the Best Procedural Document
The prize For the Best Procedural Document (response to the claim by a public authority) was given to the Urals State Law University by Stanislav ALEXANDROV, Executive Director, head of the Office of the Association of Lawyers of Russia, and Anton SVIRIDENKO, adviser to the Commissioner for the Russian President for Entrepreneurs Rights.
The National Research University Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg branch got the prize For the Excellent Knowledge and Use of the Legal Positions of the Russian Constitutional Court. It was handed over by Tamara MORSHCHAKOVA, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Institute for Law and Public Policy, a judge of the Constitutional Court (retired), and Elena AVAKYAN, advisor to attorneys at law Egorov, Puginsky, Afanasiev and Partners.
Tamara Morshchakova and Elena Avakyan are handing over Anatoly Kovler and Yury Berestnev
the prize to Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg Branch
The prize For the Excellent Knowledge and Use of the Practice of the European Court of Human Rights was awarded to the team of the Volga-Vyatkiy Institute, branch of the Moscow State Law Academy after O.E. Kutafin (MSLA). The prize was presented by Anatoly KOVLER, a judge of the European Court of Human Rights (1999-2012), and Yury BERESTNEV, senior editor of the Russian issue of the Bulletin of the European Court of Human Rights;
Alexander BLANKENAGEL, member of the Board of Trustees of the Institute for Law and Public Policy, Professor at Humboldt University of Berlin (retired), and Natalia BOGDANOVA, professor at Moscow State University handed over the prize For the Best Use of Comparative Legal Method to the team of the Urals State Law University.
Natalia Alexandrova and Alexander Blankenagel Konstantin Katanyan is announcing the winner team in the
are presenting the prize For the Excellent Knowledge nomination For the Best Legal Writing
and Use of the Practice of the European Court of
In the nomination by the Russian Federal Chamber of Lawyers For the Best Legal Writing the winner became the team of the Russian Academy of Justice. The prize was given by Konstantin KATANYAN, editor in chief of Information Support Department of the Russian Federal Chamber of Lawyers.
The best speaker at final rounds became Maria Pilikina, member of the Urals State Law University team, who was awarded For the Best Oral Submission. The prize was handed over by Svetlana VOLODINA , Vice-President of the Russian Federal Chamber of Lawyers and Director of the Institute of Advocacy, Moscow State Law Academy.
Svetlana Volodina gave Maria Pilikina the prize Maria Pilikina
For the Best Oral Submission
The masters of the closing ceremony, Maxim Timofeyev, Associate Professor of the European Humanitarian University (Vilnius) and Natalia Sekretareva, a post-graduate student of Moscow State University and Senior Associate of the Institute for Law and Public Policy, expressed great gratitude to all the competition helpers and friends, partners and sponsors:
the Association of Lawyers of Russia, the Russian Federal Chamber of Lawyers, law firm Kamenskaya & Partners, individual sponsors (Iliya Rachkov), the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, the Embassy of Canada, Law Faculty of Moscow State University, Bar Association of the city of Moscow, St. Petersburg International Legal Forum;
as well as informational partners of the 2016 Crystal Themis Competition: companies ConsultantPlus and Garant, legal portal Zakon.Ru, the Bulletin of the European Court of Human Rights, journals the International Justice, Comparative Constitutional Review and Judge, the Novaya Advokatskaya Gazeta (New Law Newspaper).
Participants of the Sixth All-Russian Moot Court Competition - 2016
The photos from the final stage of the Crystal Themis - 2016 are available here https://yadi.sk/d/AKq1VWii3DJjma
Here are the comments of the jury members on the results of the Sixth All-Russian Moot Court Competition Crystal Themis – 2016.
We always look forward to this competition because we would like to hear the young people inspired by legal profession, which they are mastering, who demonstrate how to work looking at the legal issues from the point of view of a new generation. It is striking how all the participants, not only the winners, are studying the subject. This is the depth, which is not always typical for the educational process at universities. It seemed to me that the complexity of the case, which had been chosen to be the subject of consideration, forced the participants to hurry. I would like them to speak more. But the work of the participants was complicated by time limit. It is difficult from the point of view of psychology. We are very pleased with the diversity of regional teams. We understand that we have very good successors of legal profession in almost all high schools.
Tamara Morshchakova, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Institute for Law and Public Policy, judge of the Russian Constitutional Court (retired)
The competition winner has been chosen almost unanimously. So the decision was made fairly easily in this regard. This year it was difficult to assess the legal quality of the performance, because it depends very much on a case. And the case was complex and interesting. And I really liked that the participants were very well prepared empirically. On the other hand, in practice, legal conflicts are not often resolved through the courts, so there is a certain gap between moot court and reality. But I hope this gap will be bridged at a certain point.
Alexander Blankenagel, member of the Board of Trustees of the Institute for Law and Public Policy, Professor at Humboldt University of Berlin (retired)
As a judge, I wanted to evaluate the actual question from the point of view of the law. But we had to assess how parties performed in terms of the vigour of an argument, from the point of view of oratory. The winner was determined according to these criteria. Sometimes students think that the more they talk the better it is. But it is better to take 2or 3 arguments and fight for them. If you think of all the arguments, including weak ones, the other party will use them to their advantage.
Gunars Kūtris, Member of the Venice Commissionof the Council of Europe
The competition organizers thank all the participants of the Crystal Themis -2016 and hope that the competition of the student teams of lawyers, future professional constitutionalists, will be even more interesting and effective in 2017!
Here are the contacts of the Institute for Law and Public Policy for more information and illustrative material:
Phone : + 7(495) 608-69-59; 608-66-35,
tel. +7(495) 608-69-59; 608-66-35
fax +7 (495) 608-69-15
Post Address: 129090, Москва, а/я 140
Address: 8, Shchepkin St. Moscow 129090 Russia
Зимняя Школа "Конституционное правосудие: практические навыки и методика игровых судебных процессов", 30 января - 04 февраля 2014 года, Москва