The merger of the Supreme Arbitration Court into the Supreme Court would result in impeding citizens’ access to justice and do irreparable damage to status of the judge, said Grigory Yavlinsky, head of the YABLOKO faction in the Legislative Assembly of St.Petersburg. However most of the deputies of the St.Petersburg Legislative Assembly voted for the amendment to the Constitution.

«The [Russian] Constitution is based on the two judicial systems in Russia [courts of general jurisdiction and arbitration courts], each of them with its own jurisdiction. The attempt to eliminate one of them maintaining all other things will lead to an extreme uncertainty in all the judicial practice», Grigory Yavlinsky noted.

Yavlinsky expressed his opinion that liquidation of arbitration courts with their jurisdiction of economic disputes would cause uncertainty resulting in «long queues and large difficulties for people seeking justice». Moreover, «this does irreparable damage to status of the judge ion terms of their independence, irremovability and immunity,» he said.

According to Yavlinsky, such a reform was caused by an «administrative request»: “The present Russia’s system requires easier managing of the judicial system as the independence of courts is missing. So [this is done so that] they would be able to make telephone calls to a single place, rather than two, without the need to coordinate the case with both the courts».

Grigory Yavlinsky noted that «the fundamental interests of the country must be in the root of the reform». «And these interests imply that the law is the same for all the citizens and the court is independent. That’s the thing to do. The proposed measures represent movement in the opposite direction,» he stressed.

Grigory Yavlinsky urged the Legislative Assembly not to support the draft law. Nevertheless, the majority of the deputies (28 votes) supported the draft law. Only 12 deputies voted against the merger of the Supreme Arbitration Court into the Supreme Court.