Constitutional Court.

The Constitutional Court is the only body that officially interprets the Constitution and can declare that a certain legal act does not comply with the Constitution and, therefore, is invalid.

The Constitutional court consists of 19 judges, introduced by the President and appointed by the Council of the Federation of the Parliament. The judges must be Russian citizens of 40 years old with a degree in law and at least 15 years experience in legal profession. A judge is appointed for 15 years and cannot be reappointed. There are two chambers with 9 and 10 judges in each respectively. The chambers consider the majority of cases; the most important issues are resolved on the Plenum Session of the Constitutional Court.

The Court is competent to examine laws and legal acts at federal as well as at the regional level as regards to their compliance with the constitution. The proceeding before the constitutional court can be initiated by the president, parliament or a group of members of parliament comprising a fifth of all members of the State Duma or the Council of the Federation, the Government, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Arbitrazhny Court, legislative and executive bodies of the Subjects of the Federation. A court may suspend proceedings and ask the Constitutional Court to examine whether a particular legal Act complies with the constitution. The Constitutional Court can also resolve disputes about competence between state bodies if the dispute cannot be resolved by other means.

The subjects of the federation can create own constitutional or charter courts which are competent to examine local laws to compliance with regional constitutions. A decision of a regional constitutional court cannot be reconsidered by another court.