Courts of general jurisdiction.

The Supreme Court is at the head of the courts of the general jurisdiction, which include civil, criminal and administrative cases. The Supreme Court supervises all subordinated courts, including military and specialised courts and gives clarifications on issues of judicial practice. It is a cassation instance in relation to the regional courts. The Supreme Court acts as a court of the first instance for cases of special public interest. The court has the right of legislative initiative, in other words it may introduce a new law to the parliament.

According to Pt 1, Art.128 of the constitution, judges of the Supreme Court are introduced by the president and appointed by the Council of the Federation. A judge of the Supreme Court must be a Russian citizen with a law degree and experience in the legal profession for 10 years.

The organisational structure of the Supreme Court includes the head of the court, their deputies, the Plenum, the Presidium, the chambers for civil and criminal cases, and the Military Chamber.

The second stage are courts of republics, regions, autonomous provinces and autonomous districts or federal cities (St. Petersburg and Moscow). These courts act as the supervisory body for local courts, examine cases in the order of cassation, by way of supervision and upon newly discovered evidence. For certain cases they act as courts of first instance.

The local courts form the foundation of the system of general jurisdiction: they consider the overwhelming majority of civil, criminal cases and cases related to the administrative offences. Local courts act as a higher judicial instance for the Justices of Peace operating on the territory of the appropriate judicial district.