The ombudsman can take all necessary measures to protect the rights of an individual, including filing a request with the authorised body and taking legal action. The ombudsman can act based on an individual request or on his or her own initiative if an individual cannot apply to an authorised body or court in his or her own right or the person disagrees with the decision made by authorised body upon his claim.
William Burnham (Author of Introduction to the Law and Legal System of the United States)
There are also a human rights ombudsman, a children's rights ombudsman and a business ombudsman at the federal level, as well as regional ombudsmen. Alternative dispute resolution, including mediation and arbitration, is becoming more popular in Russia, due to:. The increasing caseload of state courts. The time involved in resolving a dispute through the courts. A preference for keeping the outcome confidential.
The ability to choose the arbitrator or mediator. Does the constitution provide for an independent judiciary? An independent judiciary is one of the key constitutional principles of the Russian legal system. The judges are bound only by the Constitution and federal laws. The independence of judges is provided for by the irrevocability of their appointment, their immunity from legal process special procedure of prosecution by the consent of the relevant judicial qualification committee and social guarantees including lifetime maintenance, obligatory insurance of the judge and his family members, provision of medical services, compensation of travel expenses, and so on.
How are members of the judiciary typically appointed? Appointment Judges of courts of general jurisdiction and commercial courts are appointed by the President on the recommendation of the chairman of the Supreme Court.
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Judges of the Constitutional and Supreme Court are appointed by the Council of the Federation on the recommendation of the President. Judges of magistrates' courts and constitutional courts of regions are assigned by the representative body of the region.
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Qualifications Under the Constitution, judges must be citizens of the Russian Federation over the age of 25, with a higher degree in law and with at least five years of legal practice experience. There are special requirements applicable to judges of certain courts. The position of a judge of the Constitutional Court can only be held by citizens of Russia over 40 years of age with a higher degree in law and at least 15 years of legal practice experience. To be appointed a judge of the Supreme Court, the candidate must have Russian citizenship and be over the age of In addition, he or she must have a higher degree in law and at least ten years of legal practice experience.
A judge of the court of appeal or the court of cassation appeal must be a Russian citizen aged over 30 years, with a higher degree in law and at least seven years of legal practice experience. Litigation civil and criminal. Do the courts use an adversarial, non-adversarial or other system?
The legal system of the Russian courts is established by procedural legislation including the Civil, Commercial, Criminal and Administrative Procedure Codes and can be described as mixed. It adheres to all principles of the adversarial system including the oral nature of judicial proceedings, publicity and directness. However, due to an absence of general requirements regarding the professional experience and education of the parties' representatives, in practice judges are actively involved in investigating the facts of the case, clarifying the legal positions of the parties, specifying the legal grounds of a claim and so on.
Who is responsible for gathering evidence?
Constitution of Russia
The parties to the court proceedings are responsible for gathering evidence. The claimant and the defendant in civil proceedings and the prosecutor and the accused in criminal proceedings put before the court evidence gathered to prove the facts they refer to. The court decides which facts are of importance to the case and which party must prove them and submit them for discussion, even if the parties have not referred to some of them. The court is not obliged to gather evidence. However, for the purposes of giving a reasonable and justified judgment, the court can participate and assist the parties in gathering evidence that cannot be obtained by the parties themselves.
Is evidence independently examined before a trial? Evidence is independently and impartially examined before a trial. In both civil and criminal proceedings, the court is the only body responsible for examining evidence. The positions of the parties regarding particular evidence are taken into account.
The examination of the evidence is conducted either in the court room in the presence of the parties or in the field, if the evidence being examined cannot be delivered to the court room. After direct and personal examination of the evidence by the court, the results are fixed in the record of the proceedings. To ensure the impartial examination of the evidence, the court interrogates witnesses, involves experts in the proceedings and requires the parties to provide additional evidence. There is no evidentiary threshold to be met to proceed to trial.
The court assesses the evidence in accordance with its inherent judgment, based on an overall, complete, objective and direct investigation of the evidence gathered by the parties. After an examination of the evidence gathered, the court has full discretion to either proceed with the trial or to request the provision of additional evidence. Civil law All civil cases are open to the public except for where the law prescribes otherwise, such as cases involving state secrets or private matters, for example, those regarding the adoption of a child, and so on.
In addition, a trial may be closed to the public following a party's petition arguing that such closure is necessary to keep confidential a commercial or other legally protected secret, a private matter or in other circumstances.
The party must show that an open trial may interfere with a legal investigation, divulge secrets or violate the lawful interests of an individual. Criminal law Judicial hearings in all criminal cases are open to the public expect where:. This may lead to the divulgence of state or other secrets protected by federal law. The crimes involved are allegedly perpetrated by persons under This may lead to the divulgence of private information regarding the participants.
Secrecy is required to guarantee the security of the participants, their close relatives and so on. Are reporting restrictions typically imposed in relation to a trial? Civil law Reporting restrictions can be imposed at all stages of a judicial procedure trial including pre-trial and post-trial.
The access to a trial cannot be limited for hearings open to the public. The rules are the same for all stages of the legal proceedings. The press, legal publishers and social media cannot be present at trials that are closed to the public. During proceedings, the judge can close an open trial to the public at any stage, upon the application of the party to the proceeding on certain legal grounds.
The court also can partially convert an open trial to a closed one. Certain trials involving state secrets or adoption, for example, must be closed. Criminal law The rules on reporting restrictions in criminal cases are identical to those in civil cases. What is the main function of the trial and who are the main parties to it?
The main functions of a trial are to:. Protect the rights, freedoms and lawful interests of the parties to legal proceedings.
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Examine impartially and evaluate the evidence that has been gathered. The key parties to civil proceedings are the claimant and the defendant. In criminal proceedings, the key parties are the prosecutor and the accused. Third parties participate in legal proceedings to defend their rights and interests, which may be affected by the judgment. Various persons assist in the delivery of justice including witnesses, experts, interpreters and so on. The witnesses, as well as other participants, can be re-examined during the trial in relation to any discrepancies in their testimonies.
What is the main role of the judge and counsel in a trial? Role of judiciary As the Russian courts apply a mixed system of judicial procedure see Question 18 , the judges are impartial adjudicators, but at the same time can participate actively in the legal proceedings. For instance, the judge can interrogate the witnesses after the parties, engage experts in the legal proceedings, if necessary, and assist the parties in gathering evidence. In civil cases, a court can, on its own initiative, void a transaction in exceptional cases, that is, to protect the public interest, and in other cases stipulated by the law or refuse to satisfy the claims of a party that has abused its rights or acted in bad faith.
Role of legal counsel The key role of legal counsel is to present the legal position of his or her client to the court, gather all necessary evidence, negotiate with the other party and legally examine evidence submitted by the client. To what extent are juries used? Civil law Juries are not used in civil cases. Criminal law Juries are used in criminal cases if the accused requests it, except for cases involving charges of terrorism and related crimes, mass unrests, state treason, espionage, armed rebellion and so on.
The jury is comprised of 12 people who:. Are at least 25 years old. Are not registered with the narcological or psychoneurological dispensaries. Have a good command of the language used in legal proceedings. What restrictions exist as to the evidence that can be heard by the court? The evidence gathered by the parties must meet the criteria of relevance, admissibility and reliability.
The evidence as a whole must also be sufficient and relate to each other. If the evidence does not meet this criteria for example, it was received by breaching the law , the court must deem it inadmissible and not consider it. If evidence has a prejudicial effect, the court is not entitled to re-examine and re-assess it.
The presence of a jury has no impact on these rules. Which party has the burden of proof in a trial and at what standard is this burden met?
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