Judicial System of the RF, GB and USA


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Judicial System of the Russian Federation

1. In all legal systems there are institutions for modifying, interpreting and applying the law. Usually these take the form of a hierarchy of courts as a branch of government established to administer justice. The role of each court and its capacity to make decisions is strictly defined in relation to other courts. There are two main reasons for having a variety of courts. One is that a particular court can specialize in particular kinds of legal actions (for example, family courts). The other is that a person who feels his case was not fairly treated in a lower court can appeal to a higher court for reassessment. The decisions of a higher court are binding upon lower courts.

2. The structure of our judicial system and the sphere of activities of its various parts are determined by the Constitution and federal constitutional laws. There are three main elements within this system: the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court and the Higher Arbitration Court.

3. The Constitutional Court of the RF considers cases relating to the compliance of the federal laws, normative acts of the President, the Council of the Federation, the State Duma, the Government, constitutions of republics, charters and other normative acts of the subjects of the RF with the country’s Constitution. There is a separate system of the constitutional courts (or charter courts) of the republics and other subjects of the Federation.

4. The Supreme Court is the highest judicial body of the four-tiered system of courts of general jurisdiction: civil, criminal, administrative and military cases. Lower courts are district, city and regional courts. After the reestablishment of the Justices of the Peace in 2000 magistrate’s courts have become an integral part of the system of courts of general jurisdiction. The activity of all these courts may be classified as follows: a court of trial, a court of appeal, a court of cassation.

5. The Higher Arbitration Court is the supreme judicial body within the system of courts competent to settle economic disputes. The basic judicial organs in that system are arbitration courts of the subjects of the Federation.

6. Each court has its staff which usually consists of legally qualified judges, clerks and bailiffs. The participants of the legal procedure may be the following: a plaintiff – the party bringing a lawsuit, a defendant – a party being sued, a jury – a group of ordinary people summoned to pass a verdict, a prosecutor - the lawyer for the plaintiff in a criminal case, an advocate - a lawyer for defence or just a legal counsel in civil cases, witnesses - people who give testimony, experts - they express their own opinions.

The history of constitutional court in Russia

December 25, 1989  the Constitutional Supervision Committee was created. It started functioning mid-1990 and was dissolved towards the end of 1991. In December 1990 the Constitution of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (RSFSR) was amended with provisions which provided for creation of Constitutional Court (whereas a similar USSR body was called a Committee, not a Court). On July 12, 1991 Constitutional Court of the RSFSR Act was adopted. In October the Fifth RSFSR Congress of Soviets elected 13 members of the Court and the Constitutional Court de facto started functioning. From November 1991 till October 1993 it rendered some decisions of great significance. For example, it declared unconstitutional certain decrees of Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, which were adopted ultra vires, and forbade the practice of extrajudicial eviction.

On October 7, 1993 Boris Yeltsin's decree suspended work of the Constitutional Court. According to the decree, the Constitutional Court was "in deep crisis". On December 24 another presidential decree repealed the Constitutional Court of the RSFSR Act. In July 1994 the new Constitutional Court Act was adopted. However, the new Constitutional Court started working only in February, 1995, because the Federation Council of Russia refused several times to appoint judges nominated by Yeltsin.

In 2005 the federal authorities proposed to transfer the court from Moscow to Saint Petersburg.

President Dmitry Medvedev on June 2, 2009 signed an amendment whereby the chairperson of the court and his deputies would be proposed to the parliament by the president rather than elected by the judges, as was the case before.[1]

Constitutional Court Judge Vladimir Yaroslavtsev in an interview to the Spanish newspaper 2009, claimed that the presidential executive office and security services had undermined judicial independence in Russia. In October the Constitutional Court  accused Yaroslavtsev of "undermining the authority of the judiciary" in violation of the judicial code and forced him to resign from the Council of Judges. Judge Anatoly Kononov  had supported Yaroslavtsev  in his interview to Sobesednik. The Constitutional Court forced Kononov to step down from the Constitutional Court on January 1, 2010, 7 years ahead of schedule.

Law of the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has three legal systems. English law, which applies in England and Wales, and Northern Ireland law, which applies in Northern Ireland, are based on common-law principles. Scots law, which applies in Scotland, is a pluralistic system based on civil-law principles, with common law elements dating back to the High Middle Ages. The Treaty of Union, put into effect by the Acts of Union in 1707, guaranteed the continued existence of a separate law system for Scotland. The Acts of Union between Great Britain and Ireland in 1800 contained no equivalent provision but preserved the principle of separate courts to be held in Ireland, now Northern Ireland

The Appellate Committee of the House of Lords (usually just referred to, as "The House of Lords") was the highest court in the land for all criminal and civil cases inEngland and Wales and Northern Ireland, and for all civil cases in Scots law, but in October 2009 was replaced by the new Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.

In England and Wales, the court system is headed by the Supreme Court of England and Wales, consisting of the Court of Appeal, the High Court of Justice (for civil cases) and the Crown Court (for criminal cases). The Courts of Northern Ireland follow the same pattern. In Scotland the chief courts are the Court of Session, for civil cases, and the High Court of Justiciary, for criminal cases. Sheriff courts have no equivalent outside Scotland as these Courts deal both with criminal and civil caseloads.

The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is the highest court of appeal for several independent Commonwealth countries, the British overseas territories, and the British Crown dependencies. There are also immigration courts with UK-wide jurisdiction — the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal and Special Immigration Appeals Commission. The Employment tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal have jurisdiction throughout Great Britain, but not Northern Ireland.
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