Moscow: +7 495 234 4959 Saint Petersburg: +7 812 740 5823 London: +44 (0)20 7337 2600

Anatoly Loginov on collective legal defence

Collective defence is gaining popularity, but not everyone can afford it and it’s not always justified.

Vice President of the Chamber of Lawyers of Leningrad region and Chair of Pervaya Advokatskaya Kontora Attorneys at Law Denis Laktionov notes that collective defence as a means of professional consolidation formed in Mikhail Benyash's case. He planned to represent the persons detained during an anti-pension reform rally in 2018. But as a result he was detained, beaten up and accused of violence towards policemen. At one of the hearings Benyash’s interests were represented by 19 lawyers at once. A similar situation was seen in the case of lawyer Lidia Golodovich accused of violence towards court marshals, and in cases of Andrey and Mikhail Zlomnov accused of offending a Federal Security Service investigator (over 40 lawyers stood up for them).

However, according to Senior Lawyer of Rustam Kurmayev and Partners firm Aleksey Lezhnikov, the very practice of involving several lawyers appeared in Russia in early 1990s. “At first, collective defence was applied in arbitration and cross-border disputes, but then the positive experience was adopted in criminal cases as well,’ the lawyer says. ‘At the same time in Europe and the US the phenomenon has been developing since the beginning of the 20th century.’