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Judicial branch

This page shows the value of the Judicial branch information field for all countries in the Country Guide.

Notes on this field are available at the Information Field Notes page.

Afghanistan

non-functioning as of March 1995, although there are local Shari'a (Islamic law) courts throughout the country

Albania

Supreme Court, chairman of the Supreme Court is elected by the People's Assembly for a four-year term

Algeria

Supreme Court (Cour Supreme)

American Samoa

High Court (chief justice and associate justices are appointed by the US Secretary of the Interior)

Andorra

Tribunal of Judges or Tribunal de Batlles; Tribunal of the Courts or Tribunal de Corts; Supreme Court of Justice of Andorra or Tribunal Superior de Justicia d'Andorra; Supreme Council of Justice or Consell Superior de la Justicia; Fiscal Ministry or Ministeri Fiscal; Constitutional Tribunal or Tribunal Constitucional

Angola

Supreme Court or Tribunal da Relacao, judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the president

Anguilla

High Court (judge provided by Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court)

Antigua and Barbuda

Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (based in Saint Lucia) (one judge of the Supreme Court is a resident of the islands and presides over the Court of Summary Jurisdiction)

Argentina

Supreme Court (Corte Suprema), the nine Supreme Court judges are appointed by the president with approval of the Senate

Armenia

Supreme Court; Constitutional Court

Aruba

Joint High Court of Justice (judges are appointed by the monarch)

Australia

High Court, the Chief Justice and six other justices are appointed by the governor general

Austria

Supreme Judicial Court or Oberster Gerichtshof; Administrative Court or Verwaltungsgerichtshof; Constitutional Court or Verfassungsgerichtshof

Azerbaijan

Supreme Court

Bahamas, The

Supreme Court; Court of Appeal; magistrate's courts

Bahrain

High Civil Appeals Court

Bangladesh

Supreme Court, the Chief Justices and other judges are appointed by the president

Barbados

Supreme Court of Judicature (judges are appointed by the Service Commissions for the Judicial and Legal Service)

Belarus

Supreme Court, judges are appointed by the president; Constitutional Court, half of the judges appointed by the president and half appointed by the Chamber of Representatives

Belgium

Supreme Court of Justice or Hof van Cassatie in Dutch, Cour de Cassation in French, judges are appointed for life by the Belgian monarch

Belize

Supreme Court, the chief justice is appointed by the governor general on advice of the prime minister

Benin

Constitutional Court or Cour Constitutionnelle, Supreme Court or Cour Supreme, High Court of Justice

Bermuda

Supreme Court

Bhutan

the Supreme Court of Appeal is the monarch; High Court, judges appointed by the monarch

Bolivia

Supreme Court (Corte Suprema), judges appointed for 10-year terms by National Congress

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Constitutional Court, consists of nine members: four members are selected by the Bosniak/Croat Federation's House of Representatives, two members by the Republika Srpska's National Assembly, and three non-Bosnian members by the president of the European Court of Human Rights

Botswana

High Court; Court of Appeal

Brazil

Supreme Federal Tribunal, 11 judges are appointed for life by the president and confirmed by the Senate

British Virgin Islands

Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, consisting of the High Court of Justice and the Court of Appeal; (one judge of the Supreme Court is a resident of the islands and presides over the High Court); Magistrate's Court; Juvenile Court; Court of Summary Jurisdiction

Brunei

Supreme Court, chief justice and judges are sworn in by the monarch for three-year terms

Bulgaria

Supreme Court, chairman appointed for a seven-year term by the president; Constitutional Court, 12 justices appointed or elected for nine-year terms

Burkina Faso

Supreme Court; Appeals Court

Burundi

Supreme Court or Cour Supreme

Cambodia

Supreme Council of the Magistracy, provided for in the constitution, was formed in December 1997; a Supreme Court and lower courts exercise judicial authority

Cameroon

Supreme Court, judges are appointed by the president

Canada

Supreme Court, judges are appointed by the prime minister through the governor general

Cape Verde

Supreme Tribunal of Justice or Supremo Tribunal de Justia

Cayman Islands

Summary Court; Grand Court; Cayman Islands Court of Appeal

Central African Republic

Supreme Court or Cour Supreme, judges appointed by the president; Constitutional Court, judges appointed by the president

Chad

Supreme Court; Court of Appeal; Criminal Courts; Magistrate Courts

Chile

Supreme Court or Corte Suprema, judges are appointed by the president and ratified by the Senate from lists of candidates provided by the court itself, the president of the Supreme Court is elected by the 21-member court; Constitutional Tribunal

China

Supreme People's Court, judges appointed by the National People's Congress

Christmas Island

Supreme Court

Cocos (Keeling) Islands

Supreme Court

Colombia

Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justical, highest court of criminal law, judges are selected from the nominees of the Higher Council of Justice for eight-year terms; Council of State, highest court of administrative law, judges are selected from the nominees of the Higher Council of Justice for eight-year terms; Constitutional Court, guards integrity and supremacy of the constitution, rules on constitutionality of laws, amendments to the constitution, and international treaties

Comoros

Supreme Court or Cour Supremes, two members appointed by the president, two members elected by the Federal Assembly, one by the Council of each island, and former presidents of the republic

Congo, Democratic Republic of the

Supreme Court (Cour Supreme)

Congo, Republic of the

Supreme Court (Cour Supreme)

Cook Islands

High Court

Costa Rica

Supreme Court (Corte Suprema), justices are elected for eight-year terms by the Legislative Assembly

Cote d'Ivoire

Supreme Court (Cour Supreme)

Croatia

Supreme Court, judges appointed for eight-year terms by the Judicial Council of the Republic, which is elected by the House of Representatives; Constitutional Court, judges appointed for eight-year terms by the Judicial Council of the Republic, which is elected by the House of Representatives

Cuba

People's Supreme Court or Tribunal Supremo Popular; president, vice president, and other judges are elected by the National Assembly

Cyprus

Supreme Court, judges are appointed by the Supreme Council of Judicature (Note: there is also a Supreme Court in the Turkish Cypriot area)

Czech Republic

Supreme Court, chairman and deputy chairmen are appointed by the president for life; Constitutional Court, chairman and deputy chairmen are appointed by the president for life

Denmark

Supreme Court, judges are appointed by the monarch for life

Djibouti

Supreme Court or Cour Supreme

Dominica

Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (located in Saint Lucia), one of the six judges must reside in Dominica and preside over the Court of Summary Jurisdiction

Dominican Republic

Supreme Court or Corte Suprema, judges are elected by a Council made up of legislative and executive members with the president presiding

Ecuador

Supreme Court or Corte Suprema, new justices are elected by the full Supreme Court

Egypt

Supreme Constitutional Court

El Salvador

Supreme Court (Corte Suprema), judges are selected by the Legislative Assembly

Equatorial Guinea

Supreme Tribunal

Eritrea

Supreme Court; 10 provincial courts; 29 district courts

Estonia

National Court, chairman appointed by Parliament for life

Ethiopia

Federal Supreme Court; the president and vice president of the Federal Supreme Court are recommended by the prime minister and appointed by the House of People's Representatives; for other federal judges, the prime minister submits candidates selected by the Federal Judicial Administrative Council to the House of People's Representatives for appointment

Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

Supreme Court, chief justice is a nonresident

Faroe Islands

none

Fiji

Supreme Court, judges are appointed by the president

Finland

Supreme Court or Korkein Oikeus, judges appointed by the president

France

Supreme Court of Appeals or Cour de Cassation, judges are appointed by the president from nominations of the High Council of the Judiciary; Constitutional Council or Conseil Constitutionnel, three members appointed by the president, three members appointed by the president of the National Assembly, and three appointed by the president of the Senate; Council of State or Conseil d'Etat

French Guiana

Court of Appeals or Cour d'Appel (highest local court based in Martinique with jurisdiction over Martinique, Guadeloupe, and French Guiana)

French Polynesia

Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel; Court of the First Instance or Tribunal de Premiere Instance; Court of Administrative Law or Tribunal Administratif

Gabon

Supreme Court or Cour Supreme consisting of three chambers - Judicial, Administrative, and Accounts; Constitutional Court; Courts of Appeal; Court of State Security; County Courts

Gambia, The

Supreme Court

Georgia

Supreme Court, judges elected by the Supreme Council on the president's recommendation; Constitutional Court

Germany

Federal Constitutional Court or Bundesverfassungsgericht, half the judges are elected by the Bundestag and half by the Bundesrat

Ghana

Supreme Court

Gibraltar

Supreme Court; Court of Appeal

Greece

Supreme Judicial Court, judges appointed for life by the president after consultation with a judicial council; Special Supreme Tribunal, judges appointed for life by the president after consultation with a judicial council

Greenland

High Court or Landsret

Grenada

West Indies Associate States Supreme Court (an associate judge resides in Grenada)

Guadeloupe

Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel with jurisdiction over Guadeloupe, French Guiana, and Martinique

Guam

Federal District Court (judge is appointed by the president); Territorial Superior Court (judges appointed for eight-year terms by the governor)

Guatemala

Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia; additionally the Court of Constitutionality is presided over by the president of the Supreme Court, judges are elected for a five-year term by Congress

Guernsey

Royal Court

Guinea

Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel

Guinea-Bissau

Supreme Court or Supremo Tribunal da Justica, consists of nine justices who are appointed by the president and serve at his pleasure, final court of appeals in criminal and civil cases; Regional Courts, one in each of nine regions, first court of appeals for sectoral court decisions, hear all felony cases and civil cases valued at over $1,000; 24 Sectoral Courts, judges are not necessarily trained lawyers, hear civil cases under $1,000 and misdemeanor criminal cases

Guyana

Supreme Court of Judicature; Judicial Court of Appeal; High Court

Haiti

Supreme Court or Cour de Cassation

Holy See (Vatican City)

none; normally handled by Italy

Honduras

Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia, judges are elected for four-year terms by the National Congress

Hong Kong

The Court of Final Appeal in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

Hungary

Constitutional Court, judges are elected by the National Assembly for nine-year terms

Iceland

Supreme Court or Haestirettur, justices are appointed for life by the president

India

Supreme Court, judges are appointed by the president and remain in office until they reach the age of 65

Indonesia

Supreme Court (Mahkamah Agung), the judges are appointed by the president

Iran

Supreme Court

Iraq

Court of Cassation

Ireland

Supreme Court, judges appointed by the president on the advice of the government (prime minister and cabinet)

Israel

Supreme Court, appointed for life by the president

Italy

Constitutional Court or Corte Costituzionale, composed of 15 judges (one-third appointed by the president, one-third elected by Parliament, one-third elected by the ordinary and administrative supreme courts)

Jamaica

Supreme Court, judges appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister; Court of Appeal

Japan

Supreme Court, chief justice is appointed by the monarch after designation by the cabinet, all other justices are appointed by the cabinet

Jersey

Royal Court, judges elected by an electoral college and the bailiff

Jordan

Court of Cassation; Supreme Court (court of final appeal)

Kazakhstan

Supreme Court (44 members); Constitutional Council (7 members)

Kenya

Court of Appeal, chief justice is appointed by the president; High Court

Kiribati

Court of Appeal, judges at all levels are appointed by the president; High Court, judges at all levels are appointed by the president; 26 Magistrates' courts, judges at all levels are appointed by the president

Korea, North

Central Court, judges are elected by the Supreme People's Assembly

Korea, South

Supreme Court, justices are appointed by the president subject to the consent of the National Assembly

Kuwait

High Court of Appeal

Kyrgyzstan

Supreme Court, judges are appointed for 10-year terms by the Supreme Council on recommendation of the president; Constitutional Court; Higher Court of Arbitration

Laos

People's Supreme Court, the president of the People's Supreme Court is elected by the National Assembly on the recommendation of the National Assembly Standing Committee, the vice president of the People's Supreme Court and the judges are appointed by the National Assembly Standing Committee

Latvia

Supreme Court, judges' appointments are confirmed by Parliament

Lebanon

four Courts of Cassation (three courts for civil and commercial cases and one court for criminal cases); Constitutional Council (called for in Ta'if Accord) rules on constitutionality of laws; Supreme Council (hears charges against the president and prime minister as needed)

Lesotho

High Court, chief justice appointed by the monarch; Court of Appeal; Magistrate's Court; customary or traditional court

Liberia

Supreme Court

Libya

Supreme Court

Liechtenstein

Supreme Court or Oberster Gerichtshof; Superior Court or Obergericht

Lithuania

Supreme Court, judges appointed by the Parliament; Court of Appeal, judges appointed by the Parliament

Luxembourg

Superior Court of Justice or Cour Superieure de Justice, judges are appointed for life by the monarch; Administrative Court or Tribunale Administratin, judges are appointed for life by the monarch

Macau

The Court of Final Appeal in the Macau Special Administrative Region

Macedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of

Constitutional Court, judges are elected by the Judicial Council; Judicial Court of the Republic, judges are elected by the Judicial Council

Madagascar

Supreme Court or Cour Supreme; High Constitutional Court or Haute Cour Constitutionnelle

Malawi

Supreme Court of Appeal; High Court, chief justice appointed by the president, puisne judges appointed on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission; magistrate's courts

Malaysia

Supreme Court, judges appointed by the paramount ruler on the advice of the prime minister

Maldives

High Court

Mali

Supreme Court (Cour Supreme)

Malta

Constitutional Court, judges are appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister; Court of Appeal, judges are appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister

Man, Isle of

High Court of Justice, justices are appointed by the Lord Chancellor of England on the nomination of the lieutenant governor

Marshall Islands

Supreme Court; High Court

Martinique

Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel

Mauritania

three-tier system: lower, appeals, and Supreme Court (Cour Supreme)

Mauritius

Supreme Court

Mayotte

Supreme Court or Tribunal Superieur d'Appel

Mexico

Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia, judges are appointed by the president with consent of the Senate

Micronesia, Federated States of

Supreme Court

Moldova

Supreme Court; Constitutional Court is the sole authority of constitutional judicature

Monaco

Supreme Court or Tribunal Supreme, judges named by the monarch on the basis of nominations by the National Council

Mongolia

Supreme Court, serves as appeals court for people's and provincial courts, but to date rarely overturns verdicts of lower courts, judges are nominated by the General Council of Courts for approval by the State Great Hural

Montserrat

Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (based in Saint Lucia), one judge of the Supreme Court is a resident of the islands and presides over the High Court

Morocco

Supreme Court, judges are appointed on the recommendation of the Supreme Council of the Judiciary, presided over by the monarch

Mozambique

Supreme Court, judges appointed by the president and judges elected by the Assembly

Myanmar

limited; remnants of the British-era legal system in place, but there is no guarantee of a fair public trial; the judiciary is not independent of the executive

Namibia

Supreme Court, judges appointed by the president

Nauru

Supreme Court

Nepal

Supreme Court (Sarbochha Adalat), chief justice is appointed by the monarch on recommendation of the Constitutional Council, the other judges are appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the Judicial Council

Netherlands

Supreme Court or Hoge Raad, justices are nominated for life by the monarch

Netherlands Antilles

Joint High Court of Justice, judges appointed by the monarch

New Caledonia

Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel; County Courts; Joint Commerce Tribunal Court; Children's Court

New Zealand

High Court; Court of Appeal

Nicaragua

Supreme Court or Corte Suprema, 16 judges elected for seven-year terms by the National Assembly

Niger

State Court or Cour d'Etat; Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel

Nigeria

Supreme Court, judges appointed by the Provisional Ruling Council; Federal Court of Appeal, judges are appointed by the federal government on the advice of the Advisory Judicial Committee

Niue

Supreme Court of New Zealand; High Court of Niue

Norfolk Island

Supreme Court; Court of Petty Sessions

Northern Mariana Islands

Commonwealth Supreme Court; Superior Court; Federal District Court

Norway

Supreme Court or Hoyesterett, justices appointed by the monarch

Oman

Supreme Court, has non-Islamic judges; traditional Islamic judges and a nascent civil court system, administered by region

Pakistan

Supreme Court, judicial chiefs are appointed by the president; Federal Islamic (Shari'a) Court

Palau

Supreme Court; National Court; Court of Common Pleas

Panama

Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia, nine judges appointed for 10-year terms; five superior courts; three courts of appeal

Papua New Guinea

Supreme Court, the chief justice is appointed by the governor general on the proposal of the National Executive Council after consultation with the minister responsible for justice, other judges are appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission

Paraguay

Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia, judges appointed on the proposal of the Counsel of Magistrates or Consejo de la Magistratura

Peru

Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia, judges are appointed by the National Council of the Judiciary

Philippines

Supreme Court, justices are appointed for four-year terms by the president on the recommendation of the Judicial and Bar Council

Pitcairn Islands

Island Court, island magistrate presides over the court and is elected every three years

Poland

Supreme Court, judges are appointed by the president on the recommendation of the National Council of the Judiciary for an indefinite period; Constitutional Tribunal, judges are chosen by the Sejm for nine-year terms

Portugal

Supreme Court or Supremo Tribunal de Justica, judges appointed for life by the Conselho Superior da Magistratura

Puerto Rico

Supreme Court, justices appointed by the governor with the consent of the Senate; Superior Courts, justices appointed by the governor with the consent of the Senate; Municipal Courts, justices appointed by the governor with the consent of the Senate

Qatar

Court of Appeal

Reunion

Court of Appeals or Cour d'Appel

Romania

Supreme Court of Justice, judges are appointed by the president on the recommendation of the Superior Council of Magistrates

Russia

Constitutional Court, judges are appointed for life by the Federation Council on the recommendation of the president; Supreme Court, judges are appointed for life by the Federation Council on the recommendation of the president; Superior Court of Arbitration, judges are appointed for life by the Federation Council on the recommendation of the president

Rwanda

Constitutional Court, consists of the Court of Cassation and the Council of State in joint session

Saint Helena

Supreme Court

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (based on Saint Lucia), one judge of the Supreme Court resides in Saint Kitts

Saint Lucia

Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (jurisdiction extends to Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines)

Saint Pierre and Miquelon

Superior Tribunal of Appeals or Tribunal Superieur d'Appel

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (based on Saint Lucia), one judge of the Supreme Court resides in Saint Vincent

Samoa

Supreme Court; Court of Appeal

San Marino

Council of Twelve or Consiglio dei XII

Sao Tome and Principe

Supreme Court, judges are appointed by the National Assembly

Saudi Arabia

Supreme Council of Justice

Senegal

under the terms of a reform of the judicial system implemented in 1992, the principal organs of the judiciary are as follows: Constitutional Court; Council of State; Court of Final Appeals or Cour de Cassation; Court of Appeals

Serbia and Montenegro

Federal Court or Savezni Sud, judges are elected by the Federal Assembly for nine-year terms; Constitutional Court, judges are elected by the Federal Assembly for nine-year terms

Seychelles

Court of Appeal, judges are appointed by the president; Supreme Court, judges are appointed by the president

Sierra Leone

Supreme Court

Singapore

Supreme Court, chief justice is appointed by the president with the advice of the prime minister, other judges are appointed by the president with the advice of the chief justice; Court of Appeals

Slovakia

Supreme Court, judges are elected by the National Council; Constitutional Court, judges appointed by president from group of nominees approved by the parliament

Slovenia

Supreme Court, judges are elected by the National Assembly on the recommendation of the Judicial Council; Constitutional Court, judges elected for nine-year terms by the National Assembly and nominated by the president

Solomon Islands

Court of Appeal

Somalia

(not functioning); note - following the breakdown of national government, most regions have reverted to Islamic law with a provision for appeal of all sentences

South Africa

Constitutional Court; Supreme Court of Appeals; High Courts; Magistrate Courts

Spain

Supreme Court or Tribunal Supremo

Sri Lanka

Supreme Court, judges are appointed by the president; Court of Appeals, judges are appointed by the president

Sudan

Supreme Court; Special Revolutionary Courts

Suriname

Court of Justice, justices nominated for life

Swaziland

High Court, judges are appointed by the monarch; Court of Appeal, judges are appointed by the monarch

Sweden

Supreme Court or Hogsta Domstolen, judges are appointed by the government (prime minister and cabinet)

Switzerland

Federal Supreme Court, judges elected for six-year terms by the Federal Assembly

Syria

Supreme Constitutional Court, justices are appointed for four-year terms by the president; High Judicial Council; Court of Cassation; State Security Courts

Taiwan

Judicial Yuan, justices appointed by the president with the consent of the National Assembly

Tajikistan

Supreme Court, judges are appointed by the president

Tanzania

Court of Appeal; High Court, judges appointed by the president

Thailand

Supreme Court (Sandika), judges appointed by the monarch

Togo

Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel; Supreme Court or Cour Supreme

Tokelau

Supreme Court in New Zealand exercises civil and criminal jurisdiction

Tonga

Supreme Court, judges are appointed by the monarch; Privy Council with the addition of the chief justice of the Supreme Court sits as the Court of Appeal

Trinidad and Tobago

Supreme Court comprised of the High Court of Justice and the Court of Appeals, judges are appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister

Tunisia

Court of Cassation (Cour de Cassation)

Turkey

Constitutional Court, judges appointed by the president; Court of Appeals, judges are elected by the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors

Turkmenistan

Supreme Court, judges are appointed by the president

Turks and Caicos Islands

Supreme Court

Tuvalu

eight Island Courts; High Court; note - a chief justice visits twice a year to preside over sessions of the High Court

Uganda

Court of Appeal, judges are appointed by the president; High Court, judges are appointed by the president

Ukraine

Supreme Court; Constitutional Court

United Arab Emirates

Union Supreme Court, judges appointed by the president

United Kingdom

House of Lords, several Lords of Appeal in Ordinary are appointed by the monarch for life

United States

Supreme Court (the nine justices are appointed for life by the president with confirmation by the Senate)

Uruguay

Supreme Court, judges are nominated by the president and elected for 10-year terms by the General Assembly

Uzbekistan

Supreme Court, judges are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Supreme Assembly

Vanuatu

Supreme Court, chief justice is appointed by the president after consultation with the prime minister and the leader of the opposition, three other justices are appointed by the president on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission

Venezuela

Supreme Tribunal of Justice or Tribuna Suprema de Justicia, magistrates are elected by the National Assembly for a single 12-year term

Vietnam

Supreme People's Court, chief justice is elected for a five-year term by the National Assembly on the recommendation of the president

Virgin Islands

US District Court, judges are appointed by the president; Territorial Court, judges appointed by the governor

Wallis and Futuna

none; justice generally administered under French law by the high administrator, but the three traditional kings administer customary law and there is a magistrate in Mata-Utu

Yemen

Supreme Court

Zambia

Supreme Court, justices are appointed by the president

Zimbabwe

Supreme Court
 

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