Russian Judicial System

The Russian judicial system consists of: a Supreme Court, Republic Supreme Courts, Okrug Courts, Regional Courts, Moscow and St.Petersburg City Courts, Autonomous Regional Courts, District Courts, Military Courts, and Special Courts.

The Supreme Court is the highest judicial body of the Russian judicial system and consists of 23 members. The Supreme Court deals with Civil, Criminal and Administrative legal matters that come under its authority. The Supreme Court of Russia does not have the right of judicial review; instead it has the right of Legislative initiative. The Supreme Court issues guidelines for the lower courts regarding different clarifications of the law, and its highly authoritative vetting is considered when drafting new laws. The high court’s decision cannot be appealed or protested in accordance with the Russian judicial system.

Special Courts in the Russian Judicial System

The special courts are made up of the Constitutional Court and the High Court of Arbitration. The Constitutional Court has the power to review the constitution. This power is not given to the general jurisdiction courts of Russia. Thus, a Constitutional Court can, upon proposal by a government organization, rule a statue or an executive enactment unconstitutional or change the interpretation of the act. When there are conflicting issues regarding an act in a regular court, according to the rule of the Russian judicial system, these issues are referred to the Constitutional Court.

An item of the utmost importance for foreign businesses wishing to begin operations to be aware of is that the Russian judicial system has special courts for addressing disputes between business entities. These special courts are the Arbitration Courts, which rule only on economic disputes between business entities. The Arbitration Courts have two levels: the lower regional Arbitration Court level and the higher High Court of Arbitration level.

Other Courts in the Russian Judicial System

The Russian citizen trial courts at the urban district or rural district level handle almost 95% of all legal matters in Russia. These courts provide rulings on issues that including civil, criminal, domestic, probate and personal economic disputes, among others. Crimes of extreme severity are tried in the Provincial courts. Cases in these courts are decided on by either a Principal Judge, Dual layer Judges, or a panel of three to twelve Judges, depending on the gravity of the crime. Decisions handed down by the lower courts can be appealed up to the Supreme Court, but only arrive at the land’s highest court after passing through every level of the intermediate courts.

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