An integral judicial system has been created in the country within the framework of the judicial reform, particularly in accordance with the federal constitutional law 'On the judicial system of the Russian Federation.' This judicial system includes the arbitration courts that have the status of Federal courts.
The system of arbitration courts is organizationally divided into three tiers.The first tier is made up of the Federal arbitration courts of the constituent parts of the Russian Federation.
These comprise the arbitration courts of the republics, territories, regions, cities with the federal status (Moscow and St.Petersburg), autonomous areas, and the autonomous region. They hear cases as courts of first instance and re-examine fully cases on appeals if the decision on them has not yet come into effect and has been appealed against. There are 82 arbitration courts of first instance.
The second tier is formed by 10 Federal district arbitration courts, each of which functions as a court of cassation (second appellate) with regard to a group of arbitration courts making up one court district. For example, the Moscow Federal District Arbitration Court checks out the decisions which came into legal effect after they were made by the Moscow City Arbitration Court or the Arbitration Court of the Moscow region.
These courts of cassation instance check the decisions of the arbitration courts from the viewpoint of due application of the norms of substantive and procedural law.
The third tier is represented by the Supreme Arbitration Court of the Russian Federation.
The procedure of hearing cases in the arbitration courts has four instances: court of first instance, appellate and cassation instances, instance of judicial supervision.
The internal procedure of the activity of the arbitration courts and interrelations among such courts are regulated by the Rules of procedure of the arbitration courts endorsed by the Supreme Arbitration Court of the Russian Federation and binding on all the lower arbitration courts.
The structure of the arbitration courts at different tiers is determined depending on the functions they perform and the volume of work.
The Federal district arbitration courts operate through the Presidium of the Federal district arbitration court, the college of judges empowered to consider disputes arising from civil and other legal relations; and the college of judges empowered to consider disputes arising from administrative legal relations.
The arbitration courts of the constituent parts of the Russian Federation operate through their Presidium and the judicial panels, but they can also form requisite colleges.
The Presidiums of the Federal district arbitration courts and the arbitration courts of the constituent parts of the Russian Federation approve upon presentation by their chairmen the members of the colleges of judges and the chairmen of the judicial panels of the relevant courts, and consider other questions relating to the organization of the work of the court and to court practice.
The arbitration courts in Russia administer justice by way of settling economic disputes and examining other cases placed within their competence by the Constitution of the Russian Federation, the Federal constitutional law 'On the arbitration courts in the Russian Federation,' the Arbitration procedural code of the Russian Federation and by other federal laws promulgated in keeping with the above.
The arbitration courts in Russia consider several hundreds of thousands of cases every year. These cases deal with disputes concerning sales contracts, property, taxes and evaluation of acts of taxation bodies, insolvency (bankruptcy), loan contracts, insurance, and proclamation of acts of state and other bodies null and void, among many others.
The main tasks of the arbitration courts are to protect the violated or disputed rights and legitimate interests of enterprises, offices, organizations and private citizens in the sphere of entrepreneurial and other economic activity, as well as participation in the enhancement of legality and in delicti prevention in the sphere of entrepreneurial and other economic activity.
All work of the arbitration courts in the Russian Federation is built on the basis of the principles of legality, independence of judges, the equality of organizations and individuals before law and court, controversy and equality of parties, the openness of hearings, etc.
The binding character of the judicial decisions that have been made by an arbitration court and have come into effect is of great importance for their execution. The failure to execute judicial decisions, resolutions and rulings handed down by arbitration courts is regarded as contempt of court and entails liability envisaged by the law.