The Hearing on the Merits
The hearing of the Yukos Oil Company v Russian Federation, took place on 4 March 2010 in Strasbourg, at 2.30pm. That the Court accepted to hear Yukos was testament to the legitimacy of the grievance expressed by the Yukos Oil Company, especially in light of the fact that thousands of applications are turned down by the European Court of Human Rights every year.
Piers Gardner, Barrister of Monckton Chambers, was the sole lawyer representing Yukos at the hearing. This was a notable contrast to the large team of lawyers representing the Russian Federation, which included Georgy Matyushkin and the English QC Michael Swainston. The two sides made their statements and answered questions from the judges during the hearing, which lasted more than four-hours and which was conducted in English and Russian.
In his 90-minute statement, Gardner gave a detailed history of the lead up to the sham bankruptcy which eventually brought Yukos to its knees and urged the judges to acknowledge the discriminatory treatment of Yukos under the Russian judiciary system.
A webcast of the session is available on the ECtHR website here: http://www.echr.coe.int/echr/Homepage_EN
A press conference was held afterwards in Strasbourg, with former Yukos Oil Company officials participating via satellite from Houston and London.