Court, High Arbitration

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The High Arbitration Court is at the top of the system of arbitration courts. These courts were originally created in the Soviet period as informal tribunals to resolve problems in implementing economic plans. In the post-communist era they have been reorganized into a system of courts with exclusive jurisdiction over lawsuits among businesses and between businesses and government agencies. While for historical reasons they are called "arbitration" courts, in fact they are formal state courts with compulsory jurisdiction and have nothing to do with private arbitration of disputes.

The structure of the courts is governed by the 1995 Constitutional Law on Arbitration Courts. Beneath the High Arbitration Court there are ten appellate courts, each with jurisdiction over a separate large area of the country, and numerous trial courts. The High Arbitration Court is responsible for the management of the entire arbitration court system. Procedural rules are provided by the 2002 Arbitration Procedure Code. Cases are heard in the first instance in the trial court. Either party may then appeal to an appellate instance within the trial court, and may further appeal to the appropriate appellate court. There is no right to appeal to the High Arbitration Court; rather, review by the High Arbitration Court is discretionary with the Court. The High Arbitration Court has original jurisdiction over two types of cases: (1) those concerning the legality of acts of the Federation Council, the State Duma, the president, or the government; and (2) economic disputes between the Russian Federation and one of its eightynine subjects. The High Arbitration Court also has, and frequently exercises, the power to issue explanations on matters of judicial practice, for the guidance of the lower courts, lawyers, and the public. The Court also publishes many of its decisions in individual cases on the Internet.

See also: court, supreme; legal systems.


Hendley, Kathryn. (1998). "Remaking an Institution: The Transition in Russia from State Arbitrazh to Arbitrazh Courts." American Journal of Comparative Law 46:93-127.

Hendley, Kathryn; Murrell, Peter; and Ryterman, Randi. (2001). "Law Works in Russia: The Role of Law in Interenterprise Transactions." In Assessing the Value of Law in Transition Economies, ed. Peter Murrell. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Oda, Hiroshi. (2002). Russian Commercial Law. The Hague, Netherlands: Kluwer Law International.

Peter B. Maggs

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Court, High Arbitration

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