St Petersburg University will start to accept applications for the new master's programme on 2 March 2020. The Arbitration Court of the Northwestern Federal District of Russia and the National Association ‘Bankruptcy Club’ will be involved in its development and implementation.

The signing ceremony of the two cooperation agreements has been held at St Petersburg University. Both documents require joint efforts in planning the new master’s degree programme, as well as in organising lectures, conferences, seminars, and round tables discussions.

The new programme aims at solving practical problems in legal education. We seek to train capable legal practitioners. Some of them, I am sure, will grow into first-rate scholars.

Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods of St Petersburg University Marina Lavrikova

Oleg Zaitsev is the chairman of the National Association ‘Bankruptcy Club’ and a consultant at the Private Law Research Centre under the President of the Russian Federation named after S.S. Alekseev. He emphasised that the main assistance that Club representatives can provide to the University is human resources. Its members will give lectures and supervise students’ research projects.

Bankruptcy law is a relatively new branch of the Russian legal system. Sergei Markin is the Chairman of the Arbitration Court of the Northwestern District of Russia. He is certain that bankruptcy law requires not only capable legal practitioners, but also first-rate legal scholars who will be able to develop this branch of legal studies. Sergei Markin recalled, ‘In Soviet times, bankruptcy did not exist at all. Therefore, at present, the resulting lacuna has yet to be adequately filled in – both practitioners and scholars are lacking.’ According to Sergei Markin, the new academic programme is especially designed to solve this problem. He also promised that, in accordance with the bilateral cooperation agreements, the master’s students will be offered internship opportunities in the Arbitration Court.

Bankruptcy is a core institution of a market economy, an institution designed to answer the question of what to do if those major ‘perils and risks’ of entrepreneurship have led to unintended consequences. What to do if the financial and economic base of a legal person, natural or juridical, has been gravely undermined and it defaults on its obligations.

Head of the academic programme, Associate Professor of St Petersburg University Rustem Miftakhutdinov

Experts believe that the implementation of such a programme is extremely timely. The number of bankruptcy cases in arbitration bears witness to that. The fastest growing areas within bankruptcy law are: challenging the transactions of a debtor in bankruptcy (insolvency); the liability of controlling persons; subordination of related parties’ claims; and cross-border bankruptcy. The programme seeks to provide guidance on dealing with bankruptcy (insolvency) cases where the debtor’s assets prove insufficient to satisfy all the claims of the creditors.

According to the participants of the signing ceremony, young professionals – would-be graduates of St Petersburg University – are in demand for providing legal support of the bankruptcy and debt recovery cases. These cases already account for a considerable share of the legal market. Knowledge and training in bankruptcy law will be widely applicable in the legal field. The programme is, indeed, dedicated to bankruptcy proceedings and procedural issues. However, it focuses primarily on the substantive aspects of bankruptcy legislation.