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Field Listing :: Judicial branch
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This entry includes three subfields. The highest court(s) subfield includes the name(s) of a country's highest level court(s), the number and titles of the judges, and the types of cases heard by the court, which commonly are based on civil, criminal, administrative, and constitutional law. A number of countries have separate constitutional courts. The judge selection and term of office subfield includes the organizations and associated officials responsible for nominating and appointing judges, and a brief description of the process. The selection process can be indicative of the independence of a country's court system from other branches of its government. Also included in this subfield are judges' tenures, which can range from a few years, to a specified retirement age, to lifelong appointments. The subordinate courts subfield lists the courts lower in the hierarchy of a country's court system. A few countries with federal-style governments, such as Brazil, Canada, and the US, in addition to their federal court, have separate state- or province-level court systems, though generally the two systems interact.
Country
Judicial branch
Afghanistan highest court(s): Supreme Court or Stera Mahkama (consists of the Supreme Court Chief and 8 justices organized into criminal, public security, civil, and commercial divisions or dewans)
judge selection and term of office: court chief and justices appointed by the president with the approval of the Wolesi Jirga; court chief and justices serve single 10-year terms
subordinate courts: Appeals Courts; Primary Courts; Special Courts for issues including narcotics, security, property, family, and juveniles
Akrotiri highest court(s): Senior Judges' Court (consists of several visiting judges from England and Wales)
judge selection and term of office: judges appointment and tenure NA
subordinate courts: Resident Judges' Court; Courts Martial
Albania highest court(s): Constitutional Court (consists of 9 judges, including a chairman); Court of Cassation (consists of 14 judges, including the chief justice)
judge selection and term of office: Constitutional Court judges appointed by the president with the consent of the Assembly to serve single 9-year terms; chairman elected by the People's Assembly for single 3-year term; Court of Cassation judges, including the chairman, appointed by the president with the consent of the Assembly to serve single, 9-year terms)
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; Courts of First Instance
Algeria highest court(s): Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (consists of 150 judges organized into four divisions: civil and commercial; social security and labor; criminal; and administrative; Constitutional Council (consists of 9 members including the court president)
note - Algeria's judicial system does not include sharia courts
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the High Council of Magistracy, an administrative body presided over by the president of the republic, and includes the republic vice-president and several members; judge tenure NA; Constitutional Council members - 3 appointed by the president of the republic, 2 each by the two houses of the Parliament, 1 by the Supreme Court, and 1 by the Council of State; Council president and members appointed for single 6-year terms with half of the membership renewed every 3 years
subordinate courts: appellate or wilaya courts; first instance or daira tribunals
American Samoa highest court(s): High Court of American Samoa (consists of the chief justice, associate chief justice, and 6 Samoan associate judges and organized into trial, family, drug, and appellate divisions)
note - American Samoa has no US federal courts
judge selection and term of office: chief justice and associate chief justice appointed by the US Secretary of the Interior to serve for life; Samoan associate judges appointed by the governor to serve for life
subordinate courts: district and village courts
Andorra highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice of Andorra or Tribunal Superior de la Justicia d'Andorra (consists of the court president and 8 judges organized into civil, criminal, and administrative chambers); Constitutional Court or Tribunal Constitucional (consists of 4 magistrates)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court president and judges appointed by the Supreme Council of Justice, a 5-member judicial policy and administrative body appointed 1 each by the co-princes, 1 by the General Council, 1 by the executive council president, and 1 by the courts; judges serve 6-year renewable terms; Constitutional magistrates appointed 2 by the co-princes and 2 by the General Council; magistrates' appointments limited to two consecutive 8-year terms
subordinate courts: Tribunal of Judges or Tribunal de Batlles; Tribunal of the Courts or Tribunal de Corts
Angola highest court(s): Supreme Court or Tribunal da Relacao (consists of the chief justice and NA judges; Constitutional Court or Tribunal Constitucional (consists of 11 members)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the president upon recommendation of the Supreme Judicial Council, an 18-member body presided over by the president; judge tenure NA; Constitutional Court judges - 4 nominated by the president, 4 elected by National Assembly, 2 elected by Supreme National Council, 1 elected by competitive submission of curricula; judges serve single 7-year terms
subordinate courts: provincial and municipal courts
Anguilla highest court(s): the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) is the itinerant superior court of record for the 9-member Organization of Eastern Caribbean States to include Anguilla; the ECSC - headquartered on St. Lucia - is headed by the chief justice and is comprised of the Court of Appeal with 3 justices and the High Court with 16 judges; sittings of the Court of Appeal and High Court rotate among the 9 member states; High Court judges reside in 7 member states, though none resides on Anguilla
judge selection and term of office: Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court chief justice appointed by Her Majesty, Queen ELIZABETH II; other justices and judges appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission; Court of Appeal justices appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 65; High Court judges appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 62
subordinate courts: Magistrate's Court; Juvenile Court
Antigua and Barbuda highest court(s): the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) is the itinerant superior court of record for the 9-member Organization of Eastern Caribbean States to include Antigua and Barbuda; the ECSC - headquartered on St. Lucia - is headed by the chief justice and is comprised of the Court of Appeal with 3 justices and the High Court with 16 judges; sittings of the Court of Appeal and High Court rotate among the 9 member states; 2 High Court judges reside on Antigua and Barbuda
note - Antigua and Barbuda replaced the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London as the final appellate court; also a member of the Caribbean Court of Justice
judge selection and term of office: Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Chief Justice appointed by the Her Majesty, Queen ELIZABETH II; other justices and judges appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission; Court of Appeal justices appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 65; High Court judges appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 62
subordinate courts: Industrial Court; Magistrates' Courts
Argentina highest court(s): Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (consists of the court president, vice-president, and 5 judges)
note - Argentina has a system of federal and provincial courts
judge selection and term of office: judges nominated by the president and approved by the Senate; judges serve for life
subordinate courts: federal level appellate, district, and territorial courts; provincial level supreme, appellate, and first instance courts
Armenia highest court(s): Court of Cassation (consists of the court chairman and organized into a criminal chamber and a civil and administrative chamber, each with a court chairman and 2 judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Court of Cassation judges nominated by the Judicial Council, a 9-member body of selected judges and legal scholars; judges appointed by the president; Constitutional Court judges - 4 appointed by the president, and 5 elected by National Assembly; judges of both courts can serve until retirement at age 65
subordinate courts: 2 Courts of Appeal (for civil cases and for criminal and military cases); district courts; Administrative Court
Aruba highest court(s): Joint Court of Justice of Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten, and of Bonaire, Sint Eustatitus and Saba or "Joint Court of Justice" (consists of the presiding judge, NA members, and NA substitutes); final appeals heard by the Supreme Court, in The Hague, Netherlands
note - prior to 2010, the Joint Court of Justice was the Common Court of Justice of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba
judge selection and term of office: Joint Court judges appointed by the monarch for life
subordinate courts: Courts in First Instance
Australia highest court(s): High Court of Australia (consists of 7 justices, including the chief justice); note - each of the 6 states, 2 territories, and Norfolk Island has a Supreme Court; the High Court is the final appellate court beyond the state and territory supreme courts
judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the governor-general in council for life with mandatory retirement at age 70
subordinate courts: subordinate courts at the federal level: Federal Court; Federal Magistrates' Courts of Australia; Family Court; subordinate courts at the state and territory level: Local Court - New South Wales; Magistrates' Courts – Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory; District Courts – New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia; County Court – Victoria; Family Court – Western Australia; Court of Petty Sessions – Norfolk Island
Austria highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice or Oberster Gerichtshof (consists of 85 judges organized into 17 senates or panels of five judges each); Constitutional Court or Verfassungsgerichtshof (consists of 20 judges including 6 substitutes; Administrative Court or Verwaltungsgerichtshof - 2 judges plus other members depending on the importance of the case)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges nominated by executive branch departments and appointed by the president; judges serve for life; Constitutional Court judges nominated by several executive branch departments and approved by the president; judges serve for life; Administrative Court judges recommended by executive branch departments and appointed by the president; terms of judges and members determined by the president
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal (4); Regional Courts (20); district courts (120); county courts
Azerbaijan highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chairman, deputy chairman, and at least 24 judges in plenum sessions); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges nominated by the president and appointed by the Milli Majlis; judge tenure NA; Constitutional Court chairman and deputy chairman appointed by the president; other court judges nominated by the president and appointed by the Milli Majlis to serve single 15-year terms
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal (replaced the Economic Court in 2002); district and municipal courts;
Bahamas, The highest court(s): The Bahamas Court of Appeal (consists of the court president and 4 justices, sitting in panels of 3 justices)
note - as of 2008, the Bahamas was not a party to the agreement establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice as the highest appellate court for the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM); the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London) serves as the final court of appeal for the Bahamas
judge selection and term of office: Court of Appeal justices appointed by the governor-general on the advice of the prime minister and in consultation with the Judicial and Legal Services Commission; justices appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 68-70
subordinate courts: Supreme Court; Industrial Tribunal; Stipendiary and Magistrates Courts; Family Island Administrators
Bahrain highest court(s): Court of Cassation (consists of a chairman and 3 judges); Constitutional Court (consists of a president and 6 members)
note - the judiciary of Bahrain is divided into the civil law and sharia law courts
judge selection and term of office: Court of Cassation and Constitutional Court judges appointed by royal decree and serve for a specified tenure
subordinate courts: High Court of Appeal; middle and lower civil courts; higher and lower shariah courts, and the High Shariah Court of Appeal
Bangladesh highest court(s): Supreme Court of Bangladesh (organized into the Appellate Division with 7 justices and the High Court Division with 99 justices)
judge selection and term of office: chief justice and justices appointed by the president; justices serve until retirement at age 67
subordinate courts: civil courts include: Assistant Judge's Court; Joint District Judge's Court; Additional District Judge's Court; District Judge's Court; criminal courts include: Court of Sessions; Court of Metropolitan Sessions; special courts/tribunals; Metropolitan Magistrate Courts; Magistrate Court
Barbados highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the High Court with 8 justices) and the Court of Appeal (consists of the chief Justice and president of the court and 4 justices
note - Barbados, a member of the Caribbean Court of Justice, replaced the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London) as the final court of appeal
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice appointed by the governor-general on the recommendation of the prime minister and opposition leader of Parliament; other justices appointed by the governor-general on the recommendation of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission, a 5-member independent body consisting of the Supreme Court chief justice, the commission head, and governor-general appointees recommended by the prime minister; justices serve until mandatory retirement at age 65
subordinate courts: Magistrates' Courts
Belarus highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chairman, deputy chairman, and NA judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 12 judges including a chairman and deputy chairman)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the president with the consent of the Council of the Republic; judges initially appointed for 5 years and evaluated for life appointment; Constitutional Court judges - 6 appointed by the president and 6 elected by the Chamber of Representatives; term of judges is 11 years with an age limit of 70
subordinate courts: regional, district, city, town, and military courts
Belgium highest court(s): Constitutional Court or Grondwettelijk Hof in Dutch and Cour constitutionelle in French (consists of 12 judges - 6 Dutch-speaking and 6 French-speaking); Supreme Court of Justice or Hof van Cassatie in Dutch and Cour de Cassation in French (court organized into 3 chambers: civil and commercial; criminal; social, fiscal, and armed forces; each chamber includes a Dutch division and a French division, each with a chairperson and 5-6 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Constitutional Court judges appointed by the monarch from candidates submitted by Parliament; judges appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 70; Supreme Court judges appointed by the monarch from candidates submitted by the High Council of Justice, a 44-member independent body of judicial and non-judicial members; judges appointed for life
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; regional courts; specialized courts for administrative, commercial, labor, and audit issues; magistrate's courts; justices of the peace
Belize highest court(s): Supreme Court of Judicature (consists of the Court of Appeal with the court president and 3 justices, and the Supreme Court with the chief justice and 2 judges)
note - in 2005, Belize ceased final appeals in civil and criminal cases to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London), replacing it with the Caribbean Court of Justice, the judicial organ of the Caribbean Community
judge selection and term of office: Court of Appeal president and justices appointed by the governor general upon advice of the prime minister after consultation with the National Assembly opposition leader; justices' tenures vary by terms of appointment; Supreme Court chief justice appointed by the governor-general upon the advice of the prime minister and the National Assembly opposition leader; other judges appointed by the governor-general upon the advice of the Judicial and Legal Services Section of the Public Services Commission and with the concurrence of the prime minister after consultation with the National Assembly opposition leader; judges can be appointed beyond age 65 but must retire by age 75
subordinate courts: Summary Jurisdiction Courts (criminal) and District Courts (civil)
Benin highest court(s): Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (consists of the court president and 3 chamber presidents organized into an administrative division, judicial chamber, and chamber of accounts) Constitutional Court or Cour Constitutionnelle (consists of 7 members including the court president); High Court of Justice (consists of the Constitutional Court members, 6 members appointed by the National Assembly, and the Supreme Court president)
note - jurisdiction of the High Court of Justice is to limited cases of high treason by the national president or members of the government
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court president and judges appointed by the national president upon the advice of the National Assembly; judges appointed for single renewable 5-year terms; Constitutional Court members - 4 appointed by the National Assembly and 3 by the national president; members appointed for single renewable 5-year terms; High Court of Justice "other" members elected by the National Assembly; member tenure NA
subordinate courts: Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel; district courts; village courts; Assize courts
Bermuda highest court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of the court president and 4 justices); Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice, 4 puisne judges, and 1 associate justice)
note - the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, in London, is the court of last resort
judge selection and term of office: Court of Appeal justice appointed by the governor; justice tenure by individual appointment; Supreme Court judges nominated by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission and appointed by the governor; judge tenure NA
subordinate courts: commercial court (began in 2006); magistrates' courts
Bhutan highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of 5 justices including the chief justice )
note - the Supreme Court has sole jurisdiction in constitutional matters
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice appointed by the monarch upon the advice of the National Judicial Commission, a 4-member body to include the Legislative Committee of the National Assembly, the attorney general, the Chief Justice of Bhutan and the senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court; other judges (drangpons) appointed by the monarch from among the High Court judges selected by the National Judicial Commission; chief justice serves a 5-year term or until reaching age 65 years, whichever is earlier; the four other judges serve 10-year terms or until age 65, whichever is earlier
subordinate courts: High Court (first appellate court); District or Dzongkhag Courts; sub-district or Dungkhag Courts
Bolivia highest court(s): Supreme Court or Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (consists of 12 judges); Plurinational Constitutional Tribunal (consists of 7 primary and 7 alternate magistrates); Plurinational Electoral Organ (consists of 7 members)
note - the 2009 constitution reformed the procedure for selecting judicial officials for the Supreme Court, Constitutional Tribunal, and the Plurinational Electoral Organ by direct national vote, which occurred in October 2011
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court and Plurinational Constitutional Tribunal judges elected by popular vote from list of candidates pre-selected by Plurinational Legislative Assembly for 6-year terms); Plurinational Electoral Organ members - 6 judges elected by the Assembly and 1 appointed by the president; judges and members serve 6-year terms
subordinate courts: Agro-Environmental Court; Council of the Judiciary; District Courts (in each of the 9 administrative departments)
Bosnia and Herzegovina highest court(s): BiH Constitutional Court (consists of 9 members); Court of BiH (consists of 44 national judges and 7 international judges organized into three divisions - Administrative, Appellate, and Criminal, which includes a War Crimes Chamber)
judge selection and term of office: BiH Constitutional Court judges - 4 selected by the Bosniak/Croat Federation's House of Representatives, 2 selected by the Republika Srpska's National Assembly, and 3 non-Bosnian judges selected by the president of the European Court of Human Rights; Court of BiH president and national judges appointed by the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council; Court of BiH president appointed for renewable 6-year term; other national judges appointed to serve until age 70; international judges recommended by the president of the Court of BiH and appointed by the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina; international judges appointed to serve until age 70
subordinate courts: the Federation has 10 cantonal courts plus a number of municipal courts; the Republika Srpska has a supreme court, 5 district courts, and a number of municipal courts
Botswana highest court(s): Court of Appeal, High Court (each consists of a chief justice and number of other judges as prescribed by the Parliament)
judge selection and term of office: Court of Appeal and High Court chief justices appointed by the president and other judges appointed by the president upon the advice of the Judicial Service Commission; all judges appointed to serve until age 70
subordinate courts: Industrial Court (with circuits scheduled monthly in the capital city and in three districts); Magistrates Courts (one in each district); Customary Court of Appeal; Paramount Chief's Court/Urban Customary Court; Senior Chief's Representative Court; Chief's Representative’s Court; Headman's Court
Brazil highest court(s): Supreme Federal Court (consists of 11 justices)
judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the president and approved by the Federal Senate; justices appointed to serve until mandatory retirement at age 70
subordinate courts: Federal Appeals Court, Superior Court of Justice, Superior Electoral Court, regional federal courts; state court system
British Virgin Islands highest court(s): the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) is the itinerant superior court of record for the 9-member Organization of Eastern Caribbean States to include the British Virgin Islands; the ECSC - with its headquarters on St. Lucia - is headed by the chief justice and is comprised of the Court of Appeal with 3 justices and the High Court with 16 judges; sittings of the Court of Appeal and High Court rotate among the 9 member states; 3 High Court judges reside in member states; 3 High Court judges reside on the British Virgin Islands
judge selection and term of office: Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court chief justice appointed by Her Majesty, Queen ELIZABETH II; other justices and judges appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission; Court of Appeal justices appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 65; High Court judges appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 62
subordinate courts: Magistrates' Courts
Brunei highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of Court of Appeal and High Court, each with a chief justice and 2 judges); Sharia Court of Appeal (consists of judges appointed by the monarch)
note - Brunei has a dual judicial system of secular and sharia (religious) courts; the Judicial Committee of Privy Council in London serves as the final appellate court for civil cases only
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the monarch to serve until age 65, and older if approved by the monarch; Sharia Court of Appeal judges appointed by the monarch; judge tenure NA
subordinate courts: Intermediate Court; Magistrate's Courts; Juvenile Court; small claims courts; lower sharia courts (2006)
Bulgaria highest court(s): Supreme Court of Cassation (consists of a chairman and approximately 72 judges organized into penal, civil, and commercial colleges); Supreme Administrative Court (organized in 2 colleges with various panels of 5 judges each); Constitutional Court (consists of 12 justices); note - Constitutional Court resides outside the Judiciary
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court of Cassation and Supreme Administrative judges elected by the Supreme Judicial Council or SJC (consists of 25 members with extensive legal experience) and appointed by the president; judge tenure NA; Constitutional Court justices elected by the National Assembly and appointed by the president and the SJC; justices appointed for 9-year terms with renewal of four justices every 3 years
subordinate courts: appeals courts; regional and district courts; administrative courts; courts martial
Burkina Faso highest court(s): Supreme Court of Appeals or Cour de Cassation (consists of NA judges); Constitutional Council or Conseil Constitutionnel (consists of the council president and 3 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judge appointments mostly controlled by the president of Burkina Faso; judge tenure NA; Constitutional Council judges appointed by the president of Burkina Faso upon the proposal of the minister of justice and the president of the National Assembly; judges appointed for 9-year terms with one-third of judges renewed every 3 years
subordinate courts: Appeals Court; High Court; first instance tribunals; district courts; specialized courts relating to issues of labor, children, and juveniles; village (customary) courts
Burma highest court(s): Supreme Court of the Union (consists of the chief justice and 7-11 judges)
judge selection and term of office: chief justice and judges nominated by the president, with approval of the Pythu Hlattaw, and appointed by the president; judges normally serve until mandatory retirement at age 70
subordinate courts: High Courts of the Region; High Courts of the State; Court of the Self-Administered Division; Court of the Self-Administered Zone; district and township courts; special courts (for juvenile, municipal, and traffic offenses); courts martial
Burundi highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of 9 judges and organized into Judicial, administrative, and cassation chambers)
judge selection and term of office: judges nominated by the Judicial Service Commission, a 15-member independent body of judicial and legal profession officials); judges appointed by the president with the approval of the Senate; judge tenure NA
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; County Courts; Courts of Residence
Cabo Verde highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice (consists of the chief justice and at least 5 judges)
judge selection and term of office: judges appointments - 1 by the president of the republic, 1 elected by the National Assembly, and the remainder by the Supreme Council of Magistrates, a 9-member independent body presided over by the chief justice and includes the high judicial inspector, 2 presidential appointees, 3 elected by the National Assembly, and 2 by their court peers; chief justice appointed by the president of the republic from among peers of the Supreme Court and in consultation with the Supreme Council of the Magistrates; judge tenure NA
subordinate courts: first instance (municipal) courts; audit, military, and fiscal and customs courts
Cambodia highest court(s): Supreme Court (organized into 5- and 9-judge panels and includes a court chief and deputy chief); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 members)
note - in 1997, the Cambodian Government requested UN assistance in establishing trials to prosecute former Khmer Rouge senior leaders for crimes against humanity committed during the 1975-1979 Khmer Rouge regime; the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts in Cambodia were established and began hearings for the first case in 2009
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court and Constitutional Court judge candidates recommended by the Supreme Council of Magistracy, a 9-member body chaired by the monarch and includes other high-level judicial officers; judges of both courts appointed by the monarch; Supreme Court judge tenure NA; Constitutional Court judges appointed for 9-year terms with one-third of the court renewed every 3 years
subordinate courts: municipal and provincial courts; appellate courts; military court
Cameroon highest court(s): Supreme Court of Cameroon (consists of 9 titular and 6 surrogate judges and organized into judicial, administrative, and audit chambers); Constitutional Council (consists of 11 members)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the president with the advice of the Higher Judicial Council of Cameroon (a body chaired by the president and includes the minister of justice, selected magistrates, and representatives of the National Assembly); judge term NA; Constitutional Council members appointed by the president for single 9-year terms
subordinate courts: Parliamentary Court of Justice (jurisdiction limited to cases involving the president and prime minister); appellate and first instance courts; circuit and magistrate's courts
Canada highest court(s): Supreme Court of Canada (consists of the chief justice and 8 judges)
note - in 1949, Canada finally abolished all appeals beyond its Supreme Court to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London)
judge selection and term of office: chief justice and judges appointed by the prime minister in council; all judges appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 75
subordinate courts: federal level: Federal Court of Appeal; Federal Court; Tax Court; federal administrative tribunals; courts martial; provincial/territorial: provincial superior, appeals, first instance, and specialized courts; in 1999, the Nunavut Court - a circuit court with the power of a superior court and the territorial courts - was established to serve isolated settlements
Cayman Islands highest court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of the court president and at least 2 judges); Grand Court (consists of the court president and at least 2 judges)
note - appeals beyond the Court of Appeal are heard by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London)
judge selection and term of office: Court of Appeal and Grand Court judges appointed by the governor on the advice of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, an 8-member independent body consisting of governor appointees, Court of Appeal president, and attorneys; Court of Appeal judges' tenure based on their individual instruments of appointment; Grand Court judges normally appointed until retirement at age 65 but can be extended until age 70
subordinate courts: Summary Court
Central African Republic highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of NA judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 judges, at least 3 of which are women)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the president; Constitutional Court judge appointments - 2 by the president, 1 by the speaker of the National Assembly, 2 elected by their peers, 2 are advocates elected by their peers, and 2 are law professors elected by their peers; judges serve 7-year non-renewable terms
subordinate courts: high courts; magistrates' courts
Chad highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of a chief justice and 15 judges or councilors and divided into 3 chambers); Constitutional Council (consists of 3 judges and 6 jurists)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice selected by the president; councilors - 8 designated by the president and 7 by the speaker of the National Assembly; chief justice and councilors appointed for life; Constitutional Council judges - 2 appointed by the president and 1 by the speaker of the National Assembly; jurists - 3 each by the president and by the speaker of the National Assembly; judges term NA
subordinate courts: High Court of Justice; Courts of Appeal; tribunals; justices of the peace
Chile highest court(s): Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (consists of a court president and 20 members or ministros); Constitutional Court (consists of 7 members); Electoral Court (consists of 5 members)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the president and ratified by the Senate from lists of candidates provided by the court itself; judges appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 70; Constitutional Court members appointed - 3 by the Supreme Court, 1 by the president of the republic, 2 by the National Security Council, and 1 by the Senate; members serve 8-year terms with partial court replacement every 4 years (the court reviews constitutionality of legislation); Electoral Court member appointments - 4 by the Supreme Court and 1 a former president or vice-president of the Senate or Chamber of Deputies selected by the Supreme Court; member term NA
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; oral criminal tribunals; military tribunals; local police courts; specialized tribunals and courts in matters such as family, labor, customs, taxes, and electoral affairs
China highest court(s): Supreme People's Court (consists of over 340 judges including the chief justice, 13 grand justices organized into a civil committee and tribunals for civil, economic, administrative, complaint and appeal, and communication and transportation cases)
note - in October 2012, China issued a white paper on planned judicial reform
judge selection and term of office: chief justice appointed by the People's National Congress; term limited to two consecutive 5-year terms; other justices and judges nominated by the chief justice and appointed by the Standing Committee of the People's National Congress; term of other justices and judges NA
subordinate courts: Higher People's Courts; Intermediate People's Courts; District and County People's Courts; Autonomous Region People's Courts; Special People's Courts for military, maritime, transportation, and forestry issues
Christmas Island highest court(s): under the terms of the Territorial Law Reform Act 1992, Western Australia provides court services as needed for the island including the Supreme Court and subordinate courts (District Court, Magistrate Court, Family Court, Children's Court, and Coroners' Court)
judge selection and term of office:
subordinate courts:
Cocos (Keeling) Islands highest court(s): under the terms of the Territorial Law Reform Act 1992, Western Australia provides court services as needed for the island including the Supreme Court and subordinate courts (District Court, Magistrate Court, Family Court, Children's Court, and Coroners' Court)
judge selection and term of office: NA
subordinate courts: NA
Colombia highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (consists of the Civil-Agrarian and Labor Chambers each with 7 judges, and the Penal Chamber with 9 judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 magistrates); Council of State (consists of 27 magistrates)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the Congress from candidates submitted by the president; judges appointed for life; Constitutional Court magistrates - 3 nominated by the president, 3 by the Supreme Court, and 3 elected by the Senate; judges elected for individual 2-8 year terms
subordinate courts: Superior Tribunals (appellate courts for each of the judicial districts); regional courts; civil municipal courts; Superior Military Tribunal; first instance administrative courts
Comoros highest court(s): Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (consists of 7 judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 8 members)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges selected - 2 by the president of the Union, 2 by the Assembly of the Union, and 1 each by the 3 island councils; judges appointed for life; Constitutional Court members appointed - 1 by the president, 1 each by the 3 vice presidents, 1 by the Assembly, and 1 each by the island executives; all members serve 6-year renewable terms
subordinate courts: Court of Appeals (in Moroni); Tribunal de premiere; island village (community) courts; religious courts
Congo, Democratic Republic of the highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice (organized into legislative and judiciary sections and consists of 26 justices); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court of Justice judges nominated by the Judicial Service Council, an independent body of public prosecutors and selected judges of the lower courts; judges tenure NA; Constitutional Court judges - 3 nominated by the president, 3 by the Judicial Service Council, and 3 by the legislature; judges appointed by the president to serve 9-year non-renewable terms
subordinate courts: State Security Court; Court of Appeals (organized into administrative and judiciary sections); Tribunal de Grande; magistrates' courts; customary courts
Congo, Republic of the highest court(s): Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (consists of NA judges)
note - the High Court of Justice, outside the judicial authority, tries cases involving treason by the president of the republic
judge selection and term of office: judges elected by parliament and serve until retirement age
subordinate courts: courts of appeal; regional and district courts; employment tribunals; juvenile courts
Cook Islands highest court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of the chief justice and 3 judges of the High Court); High Court (consists of the chief justice and at least 4 judges and organized into civil, criminal, and land divisions)
note - appeals beyond the Cook Islands Court of Appeal are brought before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London)
judge selection and term of office: High Court chief justice appointed by the Queen's Representative on the advice of the Executive Council tendered by the prime minister; other judges appointed by the Queen's Representative, on the advice of the Executive Council tendered by the chief justice, High Court chief justice, and the minister of justice; chief justice and judges appointed for 3-year renewable terms
subordinate courts: justices of the peace
Costa Rica highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice (consists of 22 judges organized into 3 cassation chambers each with 5 judges, and the Constitutional Chamber with 7 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court of Justice judges elected by the National Assembly for 8-year terms with renewal decided by the National Assembly
subordinate courts: appellate courts; first instance and justice of the peace courts; Superior Electoral Tribunal
Cote d'Ivoire highest court(s): Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (organized into Judicial, Audit, Constitutional, and Administrative Chambers; consists of the court president, 3 vice-presidents for the Judicial, Audit, and Administrative chambers, and 9 associate justices or magistrates)
note - recommendations for reform of the country's judicial system were announced in April 2012
judge selection and term of office: judges nominated by the Superior Council of the Magistrature, a 7-member body consisting of the national president (chairman), 3 "Bench" judges, and 3 public prosecutors; judges appointed for life
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal (organized into civil, criminal, and social chambers); first instance courts; peace courts
Croatia highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the court president and vice president, 25 civil department justices, and 16 criminal department justices)
judge selection and term of office: president of Supreme Court nominated by president of Croatia and elected by Croatian Sabor for a 4-year term; other Supreme Court justices appointed by National Judicial Council; all judges serve until age 70
subordinate courts: Administrative Court; county, municipal, and specialized courts; note - there is an 11-member Constitutional Court with jurisdiction limited to constitutional issues but is outside Croatia's judicial system
Cuba highest court(s): People's Supreme Court (consists of court president, vice president, 41 professional justices, and NA lay judges; organized into the "Whole," State Council, and criminal, civil, administrative, labor, crimes against the state, and military courts)
judge selection and term of office: professional judges elected by the National Assembly to serve 2.5-year terms; lay judges nominated by workplace collectives and neighborhood associations and elected by municipal or provincial assemblies; lay judges appointed for 5-year terms and serve up to 30 days per year
subordinate courts: People's Provincial Courts; People's Regional Courts; People's Courts
Curacao highest court(s):
Cyprus highest court(s): Supreme Court of Cyprus (consists of 13 judges including the court president); note - the highest court in the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC)" is the "Supreme Court" (consists of 8 "judges" including the "court president")
judge selection and term of office: Republic of Cyprus Supreme Court judges appointed by the president of the republic upon the recommendation of the Supreme Court judges; judges tenure is until the age of 68; "TRNC Supreme Court" judges appointed by the "Supreme Council of Judicature", a 12-member body of "judges", the "attorney general", "appointees" - one each by the "president" of the "TRNC" and by the "Legislative Assembly", and a member elected by the Bar Association; "judge" tenure NA
subordinate courts: Republic of Cyprus district courts; Assize Courts; specialized courts for issues relating to family, industrial disputes, military, and rent control; "TRNC Assize Courts"; "district and family courts"
Czech Republic highest court(s): Supreme Court (organized into Civil Law and Commercial Division, and Criminal Division each with a court chief justice, vice justice, and several judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 15 justices); Supreme Administrative Court (consists of 28 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges proposed by the Chamber of Deputies and appointed by the president; judges appointed for life; Constitutional Court judges appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate; judges appointed for 10-year, renewable terms; Supreme Administrative Court judges selected by the president of the Court; judge term NA
subordinate courts: High Court; superior, regional, and district courts
Denmark highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the court president and 18 judges)
judge selection and term of office: judges appointed by the monarch upon the recommendation of the Minister of Justice with the advice of the Judicial Appointments Council, a 6-member independent body of judges and lawyers; judges appointed for life with retirement at age 70
subordinate courts: Special Court of Indictment and Revision; 2 High Courts; Maritime and Commercial Court; county courts
Dhekelia highest court(s): Senior Judges' Court (consists of several visiting judges from England and Wales)
judge selection and term of office: judges appointment and tenure NA
subordinate courts: Resident Judges' Court; Courts Martial
Djibouti highest court(s): Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (consists of NA magistrates); Constitutional Council (consists of 6 magistrates)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court magistrates appointed by the president with the advice of the Superior Council of the Magistracy; magistrates appointed for life with retirement at age 65; Constitutional magistrates - 2 appointed by the president, 2 by the president of the National Assembly, and 2 by High Council of the Judiciary; magistrates appointed for 8-year, non-renewable terms
subordinate courts: High Court of Appeal; 5 Courts of First Instance; customary courts
Dominica highest court(s): The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) is the itinerant superior court of record for the 9-member Organization of Eastern Caribbean States to include Dominica; the ECSC - based on St. Lucia - is headed by the chief justice and is comprised of the Court of Appeal with 3 justices and the High Court with 16 judges; sittings of the Court of Appeal and High Court rotate among the 9 member states; 2 High Court judges reside in Dominica
note - Dominica is a member of the Caribbean Court of Justice
judge selection and term of office: ECSC chief justice appointed by Her Majesty, Queen ELIZABETH II; other justices and judges appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission; Court of Appeal justices appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 65; High Court judges appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 62
subordinate courts: Court of Summary Jurisdiction; magistrates' courts
Dominican Republic highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice or Suprema Corte de Justicia (consists of a minimum of 16 magistrates); Constitutional Court or Tribunal Constitucional (consists of 13 judges)
note - the Constitutional Court was established in 2010 by constitutional amendment
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court and Constitutional Court judges appointed by the National Council of the Judiciary comprised of the president, the leaders of both chambers of congress, the president of the Supreme Court, and a non-governing party congressional representative; Supreme Court judges appointed for 7- year terms; Constitutional Court judges appointed for 9-year terms
subordinate courts: courts of appeal; courts of first instance; justices of the peace; special courts for juvenile, labor, and land cases; Contentious Administrative Court for cases filed against the government
Ecuador highest court(s): National Court of Justice or Corte Nacional de Justicia (consists of 21 judges including a chief justice and organized into 5 specialized chambers); Constitutional Court or Corte Constitutional (consists of 11 judges)
judge selection and term of office: justices of National Court of Justice elected by the Judiciary Council, a 9-member independent body of professionals; judges elected for 9-year, non-renewable terms, with one-third of the judges renewed every 3 years; Constitutional Court judges appointed by the National Assembly from candidates selected by the president, Supreme Court, and other government officials; judges appointed for 2-year terms
subordinate courts: Fiscal Tribunal; Superior Court (one for each province); lower provincial and cantonal courts
Egypt highest court(s): Court of Cassation (consists of the court president and 550 judges organized in circuits with cases heard by panels of 5 judges); Supreme Constitutional Court or SCC (consists of the court president and 10 justices); Supreme Administrative Court - the highest court of the State Council (consists of the court president and organized in circuits with cases heard by panels of 5 judges)
judge selection and term of office: under the 2014 constitution, all judges and justices selected by the Supreme Judiciary Council and appointed by the president of the Republic; tenure NA
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; Courts of First Instance; courts of limited jurisdiction; Family Court (established in 2004)
El Salvador highest court(s): Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (consists of 15 judges assigned to constitutional, civil, penal, and administrative conflict divisions)
judge selection and term of office: judges elected by the Legislative Assembly on the recommendation of the National Council of the Judicature, an independent body elected by the Legislative Assembly; judges elected for single, 9-year terms with renewal of one-third of judges every 3 years.
subordinate courts: Chambers of Second Instance; Courts of First Instance; Courts of Peace
Equatorial Guinea highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice (consists of the chief justice and NA judges); Constitutional Court (consists of the court president and 4 members)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the president for 5-year terms; Constitutional Court members appointed by the president, two of which are nominated by the Chamber of Deputies
subordinate courts: Court of Guarantees; military courts; Courts of Appeal; first instance tribunals; district and county tribunals
Eritrea highest court(s): High Court (organized into civil, commercial, criminal, labor, administrative, and customary sections with 20 judges)
judge selection and term of office: High Court judges appointed by the president
subordinate courts: regional/zonal courts; community courts; special courts; sharia courts (for issues dealing with Muslim marriage, inheritance, and family); military courts
Estonia highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and organized into the Civil Chamber with a chamber chairman and 6 justices, the Criminal Chamber with a chamber chairman and 5 justices, the Administrative Law Chamber with a chamber chairman and 4 justices, and the Constitutional Review Chamber with 9 members - the chief justice and 2 justices from the Civil Chamber, 3 from the Criminal Chamber and 3 from the Administrative chamber)
judge selection and term of office: the chief justice is proposed by the president and appointed by the Riigikogu; other justices proposed by the chief justice and appointed by the Riigikogu; justices appointed for life
subordinate courts: circuit (appellate) courts; administrative, county, city, and specialized courts
Ethiopia highest court(s): Federal Supreme Court or Supreme Imperial Court (consists of 11 judges)
note - the Federal Supreme Court has jurisdiction for all constitutional issues
judge selection and term of office: president and vice president of Federal Supreme Court nominated by the prime minister and appointed by the House of People's Representatives; other Supreme Court judges nominated by the Federal Judicial Administrative Council and appointed by the House of People's Representatives; judges serve until retirement at age 60
subordinate courts: federal high courts and federal courts of first instance; state court systems (mirror structure of federal system); sharia courts and customary and traditional courts
European Union highest court(s): Court of Justice of the European Union (organized into Court of Justice, General Court, and Civil Service Tribunal; consists of 27 judges, one from each of the member states)
note - the Court of Justice ensures that treaties are interpreted and applied uniformly throughout the EU, resolves disputed issues among the EU institutions, issues opinions on questions of EU law referred by member state courts;
judge selection and term of office: judges appointed for 6-year terms; note - the court can sit in chambers, in a "Grand Chamber" of 13 judges, or as the full court; General Court (a court below the Court of Justice) - 27 judges appointed for six-year terms; Civil Service Tribunal - 7 judges appointed for 3-year terms
subordinate courts:
Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) highest court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of the court president, the chief justice as an ex officio, non-resident member, and 2 justices of appeal); Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice)
note - appeals beyond the Court of Appeal are referred to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London)
judge selection and term of office: all justices appointed by the governor; tenure specified in each justice's instrument of appointment
subordinate courts: Magistrate's Court (senior magistrate presides over civil and criminal divisions); Court of Summary Jurisdiction
Faroe Islands the Faroese Court or Raett (Rett - Danish) decides both civil and criminal cases; the Court is part of the Danish legal system
Fiji highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice, all justices of the Court of Appeal, and judges appointed specifically as Supreme Court judges); Court of Appeal (consists of the court president, all puisne judges of the High Court, and judges specifically appointed to the Court of Appeal); High Court (chaired by the chief justice and includes a minimum of 10 puisne judges; High Court organized into civil, criminal, family, employment, and tax divisions)
note - in 1987, the Supreme Court assumed functions formerly performed by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London)
judge selection and term of office: chief justice appointed by the president of Fiji on the advice of the prime minister following consultation with the parliamentary leader of the opposition; judges of the Supreme Court, the president of the Court of Appeal, the justices of the Court of Appeal, and puisne judges of the High Court are appointed by the president of Fiji, upon the nomination of the Judicial Service Commission, after consulting with the cabinet minister and the committee of the House of Representatives responsible for the administration of justice; the chief justice, Supreme Court judges, and justices of Appeal generally required to retire at age 70, but may be waived for one or more sessions of the court; puisine judges appointed for not less than 4 years nor more than 7 years with mandatory retirement at age 65
subordinate courts: Magistrates' Court (organized into civil, criminal, juvenile, and small claims divisions)
Finland highest court(s): Supreme Court or Korkein Oikeus (consists of the court president and 18 judges); Supreme Administrative Court (consists of 21 judges including the court president and organized into 3 chambers)
note - Finland has a dual judicial system - courts with civil and criminal jurisdiction, and administrative courts with jurisdiction for litigation between individuals and administrative organs of the state and communities
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court and Supreme Administrative Court judges appointed by the president of the republic; judges serve until mandatory retirement at age 65
subordinate courts: 6 Courts of Appeal; 8 regional administrative courts; 27 district courts; special courts for issues relating to markets, labor, insurance, impeachment, land, tenancy, and water rights
France highest court(s): Court of Cassation or Cour de Cassation (consists of the court president, 6 divisional presiding judges, 120 trial judges, and 70 deputy judges organized into 6 divisions - 3 civil, 1 commercial, 1 labor, and 1 criminal); Constitutional Council (consists of 9 members)
judge selection and term of office: Court of Cassation judges appointed by the president of the republic from nominations from the High Council of the Judiciary, presided by the Court of Cassation and 15 appointed members; judge term of appointment NA; Constitutional Council members appointed - 3 by the president of the republic and 3 each by the National Assembly and Senate presidents; members serve 9-year, non-renewable terms with one third of the membership renewed every 3 years
subordinate courts: appellate courts or Cour d'Appel; regional courts or Tribunal de Grande Instance; first instance courts or Tribunal' d'instance
French Polynesia highest court(s): Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel (composition NA)
note - appeals beyond the French Polynesia Court of Appeal are heard by the Court of Cassation (in Paris)
judge selection and term of office: NA
subordinate courts: Court of the First Instance or Tribunal de Premiere Instance; Court of Administrative Law or Tribunal Administratif
Gabon highest court(s): Supreme Court (organized into Judicial, Administrative, and Accounts chambers and consists of NA judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointment and tenure NA; Constitutional Court judges appointed - 3 by the national president, 3 by the president of the Senate, and 3 by the president of the National Assembly; judges serve 7-year, single renewable terms
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; Court of State Security; county courts; military courts
Gambia, The highest court(s): Supreme Court of The Gambia (consists of the chief justice and 6 other justices); note - court sessions held with 5 justices
judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the president after consultation with the Judicial Service Commission, a 6-member independent body of high-level judicial officials, a presidential appointee, and a National Assembly appointee; justices appointed for life or until mandatory retirement age
subordinate courts: Court of Appeal; High Court; Special Criminal Court; Khadis or Muslim courts; district tribunals; magistrates courts
Georgia highest court(s): Supreme Court (organized into several specialized judicial chambers; number of judges determined by the president of Georgia); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 judges)
note - the Abkhazian and Ajarian Autonomous republics each have a supreme court and a hierarchy of lower courts
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges nominated by the president and appointed by the Parliament; judges serve not less than 10-year terms; Constitutional Court judges appointed by the president following candidate selection by the Justice Council of Georgia, a 12-member consultative body of high-level judges, and presidential and parliamentary appointees; judges appointed for 10-year terms
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; regional (town) and district courts
Germany highest court(s): Federal Court of Justice (court consists of 127 judges including the court president, vice-presidents, presiding judges, and other judges, and organized into 25 Senates subdivided into 12 civil panels, 5 criminal panels, and 8 special panels; Federal Constitutional Court or Bundesverfassungsgericht (consists of 2 Senates each subdivided into 3 chambers, each with a chairman and 8 members)
judge selection and term of office: Federal Court of Justice judges selected by the Judges Election Committee, which consists of the Secretaries of Justice from each of the 16 federated States and 16 members appointed by the Federal Parliament; judges appointed by the president of Germany; judges serve until mandatory retirement at age 65; Federal Constitutional Court judges - one-half elected by the House of Representatives and one-half by the Senate; judges appointed for 12-year terms with mandatory retirement at age 68
subordinate courts: Federal Administrative Court; Federal Finance Court; Federal Labor Court; Federal Social Court; each of the 16 German states or Land has its own constitutional court and a hierarchy of ordinary (civil, criminal, family) and specialized (administrative, finance, labor, social) courts
Ghana highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of a chief justice and 12 justices)
judge selection and term of office: chief justice appointed by the president in consultation with the Council of State (a small advisory body of prominent citizens) and with the approval of Parliament; other justices appointed by the president upon the advice of the Judicial Council (an 18-member independent body of judicial, military and police officials, and presidential nominees) and on the advice of the Council of State; justices can retire at age 60, with compulsory retirement at age 70
subordinate courts: Court of Appeal; High Court; Circuit Court; District Court; regional tribunals
Gibraltar highest court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of at least three judges, including the court president); Supreme Court of Gibraltar (consists of the chief justice and 3 judges)
note - appeals beyond the Court of Appeal are heard by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London)
judge selection and term of office: Court of Appeal and Supreme Court judges appointed by the governor upon the advice of the Judicial Service Commission, a 7-member body of judges and appointees of the governor; tenure of the Court of Appeal president based on terms of appointment; Supreme Court chief justice and judge normally appointed until retirement at age 67, but can be extended 3 years
subordinate courts: Court of First Instance; Magistrates' Court; specialized tribunals for issues relating to social security, taxes, and employment
Greece highest court(s): Hellenic Supreme Court of Civil and Penal Law (consists of 56 judges)
judge selection and term of office: judges selected by the Supreme Judicial Council which includes the president of the Supreme Court, other judges, and the prosecutor of the Supreme Court; judges appointed for life following a 2-year probationary period
subordinate courts: Supreme Administrative Court; Courts of Appeal; Courts of First Instance; Court of Auditors
Greenland highest court(s): High Court of Greenland (consists of the presiding professional judge and 2 lay assessors)
note - appeals beyond the High Court of Greenland can be heard by the Supreme Court (in Copenhagen)
judge selection and term of office: judges appointed by the monarch upon the recommendation of the Judicial Appointments Council, a 6-member independent body of judges and lawyers; judges appointed for life with retirement at age 70
subordinate courts: Court of Greenland; 18 district or magistrates' courts
Grenada highest court(s): Supreme Court of Grenada (consists of the High Court with 3 justices and a 2-tier Court of Appeal with NA justices)
note - the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) is the itinerant superior court of record for the 9-member Organization of Eastern Caribbean States to include Grenada; the ECSC - with its headquarters on St. Lucia - is headed by the chief justice and is compri
judge selection and term of office: justice selection and tenure NA
subordinate courts: magistrates' courts; Court of Magisterial Appeals
Guam highest court(s): Supreme Court of Guam (consists of 3 justices)
note - appeals beyond the Supreme Court of Guam are heard by the US Supreme Court
judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Guam legislature; justices appointed for life subject to retention election every 10 years
subordinate courts: Superior Court of Guam - includes several divisions; US Federal District Court for the District of Guam (a US territorial court; appeals beyond this court are heard before the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit)
Guatemala highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (consists of 13 magistrates including the court president and organized into several chambers); note - the court president also supervises trial judges countrywide; Constitutional Court or Corte de Constitcionalidad (consists of 5 judges and 5 alternates)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court magistrates elected by the Congress of the Republic from candidates proposed by the Postulation Committee, an independent body of deans of the country's university law schools, representatives of the country's law associations, and representatives of the Court of Appeal and other tribunals; magistrates elected for renewable 5-year terms; Constitutional Court judges - 1 elected by the Congress of the Republic, 1 by the Supreme Court president, 1 by the president of the republic, 1 by the University of San Carlos, and one by the BAR association; judges elected for concurrent 5-year terms; the presidency of the court rotates among the magistrates for a single 1-year term
subordinate courts: numerous first instance and appellate courts
Guernsey highest court(s): Guernsey Court of Appeal (consists of the Bailiff of Guernsey, who is the ex-officio president of the Guernsey Court of Appeal, and at least 12 judges); Royal Court (organized into 3 divisions - Full Court sits with 1 judge and 7 to 12 jurats acting as judges of fact, Ordinary Court sits with 1 judge and normally 3 jurats, and Matrimonial Causes Division sits with a 1 judge and 4 jurats); note - appeals beyond Guernsey courts are heard by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London)
judge selection and term of office: Royal Court Balliff, Deputy Balliff and Court of Appeal justices appointed by the British Crown and hold office at Her Majesty's pleasure; jurats elected by the States of Election, a body chaired by the Balliff and a number of jurats
subordinate courts: Court of Alderney; Court of the Seneschal of Sark; Magistrate's Court (includes Juvenile Court); Contracts Court; Ecclesiastical Court; Court of Chief Pleas
Guinea highest court(s): Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (organized into Constitutional, Civil, Penal, Commercial, and Administrative Chambers, and Chamber of Accounts; court consists of the first president, chamber presidents, and NA members); note - the court is due to be reorganized by the New National Assembly in accordance with the 2010 constitution and democratic transition
judge selection and term of office: court first president appointed by the national president after consultation with the National Assembly; other members appointed by presidential decree; member tenure NA
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal or Cour d'Appel; courts of first instance or Tribunal de Premiere Instance; High Court of Justice or Cour d'Assises; labor court; military tribunal; justices of the peace
Guinea-Bissau highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice (consists of 9 judges and organized into Civil, Criminal, and Social and Administrative Disputes Chambers)
note - the Supreme Court has both appellate and constitutional jurisdiction
judge selection and term of office: judges nominated by the Higher Council of the Magistrate, a major government organ responsible for judge appointments, dismissals, and discipline of the judiciary; judges appointed by the president with tenure for life
subordinate courts: Appeal Court; regional (first instance) courts; military court
Guyana highest court(s): Supreme Court of Judicature (consists of the Court of Appeal with a chief justice and 3 justices, and the High Court with a chief justice and 10 justices organized into 3- or 5-judge panels)
note - in 2009, Guyana ceased final appeals in civil and criminal cases to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London), replacing it with the Caribbean Court of Justice, the judicial organ of the Caribbean Community
judge selection and term of office: Court of Appeal and High Court chief justices appointed by the president; other judges of both courts appointed by the Judicial Service Commission, a body appointed by the president; judges appointed for life with retirement at age 65
subordinate courts: Land Court; magistrates' courts
Haiti highest court(s): Supreme Court or Cour de Cassation (consists of a chief judge and other judges)
note - Haiti is a member of the Caribbean Court of Justice
judge selection and term of office: judges appointed by the president from candidate lists submitted by the Senate of the National Assembly; note - Article 174 of the Haiti Constitution states "Judges of the Supreme Court.... are appointed for 10 years." whereas Article 177 states "Judges of the Supreme Court..... are appointed for life."
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; Courts of First Instance; magistrates' courts; special courts
Holy See (Vatican City) highest court(s): Supreme Court or Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura (consists of the cardinal prefect, who serves as ex-officio president of the court, and 2 other cardinals of the Prefect Signatura)
note - judicial duties were established by the Motu Proprio, papal directive, of Pope PIUS XII on 1 May 1946; note 2: most Vatican City criminal matters are handled by the Republic of Italy courts
judge selection and term of office: cardinal prefect appointed by the Pope; the other 2 cardinals of the court appointed by the cardinal prefect on a yearly basis
subordinate courts: Appellate Court of Vatican City; Tribunal of Vatican City
Honduras highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (9 principal judges - including the court president - and 7 alternates; court organized into civil, criminal, and labor chambers); note - the court has both judicial and constitutional jurisdiction
judge selection and term of office: court president elected by his peers; judges elected by the National Congress from candidates proposed by the Nominating Board, a diverse 7-member group of judicial officials, other government and non-government officials selected by each of their organizations; judges elected by Congress for renewable, 7-year terms
subordinate courts: courts of appeal; courts of first instance; peace courts
Hong Kong highest court(s): Court of Final Appeal (consists of the chief justice, 3 permanent judges and 20 non-permanent judges); note - a sitting bench consists of the chief justice and 3 permanent and 1 non-permanent judges
judge selection and term of office: all judges appointed by the Hong Kong Chief Executive upon the recommendation of the Judicial Officers Recommendation Commission, an independent body consisting of the Secretary for Justice and other judges, judicial and legal professionals; permanent judges appointed until normal retirement at age 65, but can be extended; non-permanent judges appointed for renewable 3-year terms without age limit
subordinate courts: High Court (consists of the Court of Appeal and Court of First Instance); District Courts (includes Family and Land Courts); magistrates' courts; specialized tribunals
Hungary highest court(s): Curia or Supreme Judicial Court (consists of Curia president and 8 judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 15 members)
judge selection and term of office: Curia president elected from among its members for 9 years by the National Assembly on the recommendation of the president of the republic; other Curia judges appointed by the president upon the recommendation of the National Council of Justice, a separate 15-member administrative body; all judges serve until the normal retirement age; Constitutional Court members elected by two-thirds vote of the National Assembly; members serve 12-year terms
subordinate courts: regional courts of appeal; county courts, including the Municipal Court of Budapest; local courts
Iceland highest court(s): Supreme Court or Haestirettur (consists of 9 judges)
judge selection and term of office: judges proposed by Ministry of Interior selection committee and appointed by the president; judges appointed for an indefinite period
subordinate courts: 8 district courts; Labor Court
India highest court(s): Supreme Court (the chief justice and 25 associate justices); note - parliament approved an additional 5 judges in 2008
note - in mid-2011 India’s Cabinet approved the program, National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reform, to eliminate judicial corruption and reduce the backlog of cases
judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the president to serve until age 65
subordinate courts: High Courts; District Courts; Labour Court
Indonesia highest court(s): Supreme Court or Mahkamah Agung (51 judges divided into 8 chambers); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges nominated by Judicial Commission, appointed by president with concurrence of parliament; judges serve until retirement age; Constitutional Court judges - 3 nominated by president, 3 by Supreme Court, and 3 by parliament; judges appointed by the president; judges serve until mandatory retirement at age 70
subordinate courts: High Courts of Appeal, district courts, religious courts
Iran highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of a president and NA judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court president appointed by the head of the Supreme Judicial Council in consultation with judges of the Supreme Court; president appointed for a 5-year term; other judge appointments and tenure NA
subordinate courts: Penal Courts I and II; Islamic Revolutionary Courts; Courts of Peace; Special Clerical Court (functions outside the judicial system and handles cases involving clerics); military courts
Iraq highest court(s): Federal Supreme Court or FSC (consists of 9 judges); note - court jurisdiction limited to constitutional issues); Court of Cassation (consists of a court president, 5 vice-presidents, and at least 24 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Federal Supreme Court and Court of Cassation judges appointed by the Higher Juridical Council, a 26-member independent committee of judicial officials; FSC members appointed for life ; Court of Cassation judges appointed for 1-year probationary period and upon satisfactory performance may be confirmed for permanent tenure until retirement at age 63
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal (governorate level); courts of first instance; personal status, labor, criminal, juvenile, and religious courts
Ireland highest court(s): Supreme Court or Court of Final Appeal (consists of the chief justice and 7 judges)
judge selection and term of office: judges nominated by the prime minister and Cabinet and appointed by the president; judges serve till age 70
subordinate courts: High Court, Court of Criminal Appeal; circuit and district courts
Isle of Man highest court(s): Isle of Man High Courts of Justice (consists of 3 permanent judges called "deemsters" and 1 judge of appeal; organized into the Staff of Government Division or Court of Appeal and the Civil Division)
note - appeals beyond the High Court of Justice are referred to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London)
judge selection and term of office: judges appointed by the Lord Chancellor of England on the nomination of the lieutenant governor; judge tenure NA
subordinate courts: High Court; Court of Summary Gaol Delivery; Summary Courts; magistrate's Court; specialized courts
Israel highest court(s): Supreme Court ( consists of the chief justice and 14 judges)
judge selection and term of office: judges selected by the Judicial Selection Committee, made up of all three branches of the government and chaired by the Minister of Justice; judges can serve up to mandatory retirement age of 70
subordinate courts: district and magistrate courts; national and regional labor courts; special and religious courts
Italy highest court(s): Supreme Court of Cassation or Corte Suprema di Cassazione (organized into penal, civil, administrative, and military divisions, each with a president and several judges); Constitutional Court or Corte Costituzionale (consists of 15 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the Superior Council of the Judiciary, headed by the president, to serve NA terms; Constitutional Court judges - 5 appointed by the president, 5 elected by parliament, 5 elected by select higher courts; judges serve up to 9 years)
subordinate courts: various lower civil and criminal courts (primary and secondary tribunals, courts, and courts of appeal)
Jamaica highest court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of president of the court and a minimum of 4 judges; Supreme Court (40 judges organized in specialized divisions)
note - appeals beyond Jamicia's highest courts are submitted to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London) rather than to the Caribbean Court of Justice (the appellate court implemented for member states of the Caribbean Community)
judge selection and term of office: chief justice of the Supreme Court and president of the Court of Appeal appointed by the governor-general on the advice of the prime minister; other judges of both courts appointed by the governor-general on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission; judges of both courts serve till age 70
subordinate courts: resident magistrate courts, district courts, and petty sessions courts
Japan highest court(s): Supreme Court or Saiko saibansho (consists of the chief justice and 14 associate justices)
note - the Supreme Court has jurisdiction in constitutional issues
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice designated by the Cabinet and appointed by the monarch; associate justices appointed by the Cabinet and confirmed by the monarch; all justices are reviewed in a popular referendum at the first general election of the House of Representatives following each judge's appointment and every 10 years afterward
subordinate courts: 8 High Courts (Koto-saiban-sho), each with a Family Court (Katei-saiban-sho); 50 District Courts (Chiho saibansho), with 203 additional branches; 438 Summary Courts (Kani saibansho)
Jersey highest court(s): Jersey Court of Appeal (consists of the bailiff, deputy bailiff, and 12 judges and organized into Heritage, Family, Probate, and Civil and Criminal Divisions); Royal Court (consists of the bailiff, deputy bailiff, 6 commissioners - part-time judges, and NA lay people referred to as jurats)
judge selection and term of office: Jersey Court of Appeal bailiffs and judges appointed by the Crown upon the advice of the Secretary of State for Justice; bailiffs and judges appointed for extent of good behavior; Royal Court bailiffs appointed by the Crown upon the advice of the Secretary of State for Justice; commissioners appointed by the bailiff; jurats appointed by the Electoral College; bailiffs and commissioners appointed for extent of good behavior; jurats appointed until retirement at age 72
subordinate courts: Magistrate's Court; Youth Court; Petty Debts Court; Parish Hall Enquires (a process of preliminary investigation into youth and minor adult offenses to determine need for presentation before a court)
Jordan highest court(s): Court of Cassation or Supreme Court (consists of 7 judges including the chief justice; 7-judge panels for important cases and 5 judge panels for most appeals cases)
judge selection and term of office: chief justice appointed by the king; other judges nominated by the Higher Judicial Council and approved by the king; judge tenure NA
subordinate courts: courts of appeal; magistrate courts; courts of first instance; religious courts; State Security Court
Kazakhstan highest court(s): Supreme Court of the Republic (consists of 44 members); Constitutional Council (consists of 7 members)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges proposed by the president of ther epublic on recommendation of the Supreme Judicial Council, and confirmed by the Senate; judge tenure NA; Constitutional Council - the president of the republic, the Senate chairperson, the Majilis chairperson each appoints one member for a 3-year term and each appoints one member for a 6-year term; chairperson of the Constitutional Council appointed by the president of the republic for a 6-year term
subordinate courts: regional and local courts
Kenya highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of chief and deputy chief justices and five judges)
judge selection and term of office: chief and deputy chief justices nominated by Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and appointed by president with approval of the National Assembly; other judges nominated by the JSC and appointed by president; chief justice serves nonrenewable 10-year terms or till age 70 whichever comes first; other judges serve till age 70
subordinate courts: High Court; Court of Appeal; courts martial; magistrates' courts; religious courts
Kiribati highest court(s): High Court (consists of a chief justice and other judges as prescribed by the president)
note - the High Court has jurisdiction on constitutional issues
judge selection and term of office: chief justice appointed by the president on the advice of the cabinet in consultation with the Public Service Commission (PSC); other judges appointed by the president on the advice of the chief justice along with the PSC
subordinate courts: Court of Appeal; magistrates' courts
Korea, North highest court(s): Supreme Court or Central Court (consists of the chief justice and two "People's Assessors" and for some cases, 3 judges)
judge selection and term of office: judges elected by the Supreme People's Assembly for 5-year terms
subordinate courts: provincial, municipal, military, special courts; people' courts (lowest level)
Korea, South highest court(s): Supreme Court of South Korea (consists of a chief justice and 13 justices); Constitutional Court (consists of a court head and 8 justices)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice appointed by the president with the consent of the National Assembly; other justices appointed by the president upon the recommendation of the chief justice and consent of the National Assembly; position of the chief justice is a 6-year non-renewable term; other justices serve 6-year renewable terms; Constitutional Court justices appointed - 3 by the president, 3 by the National Assembly, and 3 by the Supreme Court chief justice; court head serves until retirement at age 70, while other justices serve 6-year renewable terms with mandatory retirement at age 65
subordinate courts: High Courts; District Courts; Branch Courts (organized undeer the Branch Courts); specialized courts for family and administrative issues
Kosovo highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the court president and at least 15 percent of judges to reflect Kosovo's territorial ethnic composition); Constitutional Court (consists of the court president, vice president, and 7 judges)
note - Kosovo initiated a new judicial system in January 2013
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges nominated by the Kosovo Judicial Council, an independent body staffed by judges and lay members, and also responsible for overall administration of Kosovo's judicial system; judges appointed by the president of the Republic of Kosovo; judges appointed until mandatory retirement age; Constitutional Court members nominated by the Kosovo Assembly and appointed by the president of the republic to serve single, 9-year terms
subordinate courts: Court of Appeals (organized into 4 departments: General, Serious Crime, Commercial Matters), and Administrative Matters; Basic Court (located in 9 municipalities, each with several branches)
Kuwait highest court(s): Constitutional Court (five judges); Supreme Court or Court of Cassation (organized into several circuits, each with five judges)
judge selection and term of office: all Kuwaiti judges appointed by the Amir upon recommendation of the Supreme Judicial Council, a consultative body comprised of Kuwaiti judges and Ministry of Justice officials
subordinate courts: High Court of Appeal; Court of First Instance; Summary Court
Kyrgyzstan highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of 25 judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court and Constitutional Court judges appointed by the Supreme Council on the recommendation of the president; Supreme Court judges serve for 10 years, Constitutional Court judges serve for 15 years; mandatory retirement at age 70 for judges of both courts
subordinate courts: Higher Court of Arbitration; oblast (provincial) and city courts
Laos highest court(s): People's Supreme Court (consists of NA judges)
judge selection and term of office: president of People's Supreme Court elected by National Assembly on recommendation of National Assembly Standing Committee; vice president of People's Supreme Court and judges appointed by National Assembly Standing Committee; term of office NA
subordinate courts: provincial, municipal, district, and military courts
Latvia highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the Senate with 27 judges and Supreme Court of Chambers with 22 judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 7 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges nominated by chief justice and confirmed by the Saeima; judges serve until age 70, but term can be extended 2 years; Constitutional Court judges - 3 nominated by Saeima members, 2 by Cabinet ministers, and 2 by plenum of Supreme Court; all judges confirmed by Saeima majority vote; Constitutional Court president and vice president serve in their positions for 3 years; all judges serve 10-year terms; mandatory retirement at age 70
subordinate courts: district (city) and regional courts
Lebanon highest court(s): Court of Cassation or Supreme Court (organized into 4 divisions, each with a presiding judge and 2 associate judges); Constitutional Council (consists of 10 members)
judge selection and term of office: Court of Cassation judges appointed by Supreme Judicial Council, headed by the chief justice, and includes other judicial officials; judge tenure NA; Constitutional Council members appointed - 5 by the Council of Ministers and 5 by parliament; members serve 5-year terms
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal (6); Courts of First Instance; specialized tribunals, religious courts; military courts
Lesotho highest court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of the court president, such number of justices of appeal as set by Parliament, and the Chief Justice and the puisne judges of the High Court ex officio); High Court (consists of the chief justice and such number of puisne judges as set by Parliament); note - both the Court of Appeal and the High Court have jurisdiction in constitutional issues
judge selection and term of office: Court of Appeal president and High Court chief justice appointed by the monarch on the advice of the prime minister; puisne judges appointed by the monarch on advice of the Judicial Service Commission, an independent body of judicial officers and officials designated by the monarch; judges of both courts can serve until age 75
subordinate courts: Magistrate Courts; customary or traditional courts; Courts Martial
Liberia highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of a chief Justice and 4 associate justices)
note - the Supreme Court has jurisdiction for all constitutional cases
judge selection and term of office: chief justice and associate justices appointed by the president of Liberia with consent of the Senate; judges can serve until age 70
subordinate courts: judicial circuit courts; special courts including criminal, civil, labor, traffic; magistrate and traditional or customary courts
Libya highest court(s): NA; note - government in transition
Liechtenstein highest court(s): Supreme Court or Oberster Gerichtshof (consists of 5 judges); Constitutional Court or Verfassungsgericht (consists of 5 judges and 5 alternates)
judge selection and term of office: judges of both courts elected by the Landtag and appointed by the monarch; Supreme Court judges serve 4-year renewable terms; Constitutional Court judge tenure NA
subordinate courts: Court of Appeal or Obergericht (second instance), Court of Justice (first instance), Administrative Court, county courts
Lithuania highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of 37 judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges nominated by the president and appointed by the Seimas; judges serve 5-year renewable terms; Constitutional Court judges selected by Seimas from among nominations by the president, by the Seimas chairperson, and Supreme Court chairperson; judges serve 9-year, nonrenewable terms; note - one-third of court judges reconstituted every 3 years
subordinate courts: Court of Appeals; district and local courts
Luxembourg highest court(s): Superior Court of Justice includes Court of Appeal and Court of Cassation (consists of 27 judges on 9 benches); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 members)
judge selection and term of office: judges of both courts appointed by the monarch for life
subordinate courts: district and local tribunals and courts
Macau highest court(s): Court of Final Appeal of Macau Special Administrative Region (consists of the court president and 2 associate justices)
judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the Macau chief executive upon the recommendation of an independent commission of judges, lawyers, and "eminent" persons; judge tenure NA
subordinate courts: Court of Second Instance; Court of First instance; Lower Court; Administrative Court
Macedonia highest court(s): Supreme Court (consist of NA judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges nominated by the Judicial Council, a 7-member body of legal professionals, and appointed by the Assembly; judge tenure NA; Constitutional Court judges appointed by the legislature for nonrenewable, 9-year terms
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; Basic Courts
Madagascar highest court(s): Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (consists of 11 members; addresses judicial administration issues only); High Constitutional Court or Haute Cour Constitutionnelle (consists of 9 members)
note - the judiciary includes a High Court of Justice responsible for adjudicating crimes and misdemeanors by government officials including the president
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court heads elected by the president and judiciary officials to serve single-renewable, 3-year terms; High Constitutional Court members appointed - 3 each by the president, by both legislative bodies, and by the Council of Magistrates; members serve single, 6-year terms
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; provincial and city tribunals
Malawi highest court(s): Supreme Court of Appeal (consists of the chief justice and at least 3 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice appointed by the president and confirmed by the National Assembly; other judges appointed by the president upon recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission, which regulates judicial officers; judges serve until age 65
subordinate courts: High Court; magistrate courts; Industrial Relations Court; district and city traditional or local courts
Malaysia highest court(s): Federal Court (consists of the chief justice and 4 judges)
note - Malaysia has a dual judicial hierarchy of civil and religious (sharia) courts
judge selection and term of office: Federal Court justices appointed by the monarch on advice of the prime minister; judges serve till age 65
subordinate courts: Court of Appeal; High Court; Sessions Court; Magistrates' Court
Maldives highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and 6 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the president in consultation with the Judicial Service Commission - a separate 10-member body of selected high government officials and the public - and upon confirmation by voting members of the People's Majlis; judges serve until mandatory retirement at age 70
subordinate courts: High Court; Criminal, Civil, Family, Juvenile, and Drug Courts; Magistrate Courts (on each of the inhabited islands)
Mali highest court(s): Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (consists of 19 members organized into 3 civil chambers and a criminal chamber); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 members)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court members appointed by the Ministry of Justice to serve 5-year terms; Constitutional Court members selected - 3 each by the president, the National Assembly, and the Supreme Council of the Magistracy; members serve single renewable 7-year terms
subordinate courts: High Court of Justice (jurisdiction limited to cases of high treason or criminal offenses by the president or ministers while in office)
Malta highest court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of either 1 or 3 judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 3 judges); Court of Criminal Appeal (consists of either 1 or 3 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Court of Appeal and Constitutional Court judges appointed by the president, usually upon the advice of the prime minister; judges of both courts serve until age 65
subordinate courts: Civil Court (divided into the General Jurisdiction Section, Family Section, and Voluntary Section); Criminal Court; Court of Magistrates; Gozo Courts (for the islands of Gozo and Comino}
Marshall Islands highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and other judges as prescribed by law)
judge selection and term of office: judges appointed by the Cabinet on the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission and upon the approval of the Nitijela; judges appointed until retirement, normally at age 72
subordinate courts: High Court; District Courts; Traditional Rights Court; Community Courts
Mauritania highest court(s): Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (subdivided into 1 criminal and 2 civil chambers, each with a president and 5 counselors); Constitutional Council (consists of 6 members)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court president appointed by the president of the republic to serve a 5-year renewable term; Constitutional Council members appointed - 3 by the president of the republic, 2 by the president of the National Assembly, and 1 by the president of the Senate; members serve single, 9-year terms with one-third of membership renewed every 3 years
subordinate courts: High Court of Justice (cases involving treason and criminal acts of high government officials); courts of appeal; wilaya (regional) courts (located at the headquarters of each of the 13 regions); commercial and labor courts; criminal courts; moughataa (district) courts; informal/customary courts
Mauritius highest court(s): Supreme Court of Mauritius (consists of the chief justice, a senior puisne judge, and 17 puisne judges)
judge selection and term of office: chief justice appointed by the president after consultation with the prime minister; senior puisne judge appointed by the president with the advice of the chief justice; other puisne judges appointed by the president with the advice of the Judicial and Legal Commission, a 4-member body of judicial officials including the chief justice; all judges serve until retirement at age 62
subordinate courts: Court of Civil Appeal; Court of Criminal Appeal; Public Bodies Appeal Tribunal (formed by a 2008 constitutional amendment)
Mexico highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice or Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nacion (consists of 21 ministers or judges and 5 supernumerary judges)
judge selection and term of office: judges nominated by the president and approved by the Senate; judges serve for life
subordinate courts: federal level includes Electoral Tribunal, circuit, collegiate, and unitary courts; state level and district level courts
Micronesia, Federated States of highest court(s): Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and not more than 5 associate justices and organized into appellate and criminal divisions)
judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the president of the Federated States of Micronesia with the approval of two-thirds of Congress; justices appointed for life
subordinate courts: the highest state-level courts are: Chuuk Supreme Court; Korsae State Court; Pohnpei State Court; Yap State Court
Moldova highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice (consists of a chief judges, 3 deputy-chief judges, 45 judges, and 7 assistant judges); Constitutional Court (consists of the court president and 6 judges)
note - the Constitutional Court is autonomous to the other branches of government; the Court interprets the Constitution and reviews the constitutionality of parliamentary laws and decisions, decrees of the president, and acts of the government.
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court of Justice judges appointed by Parliament upon the recommendation of the Supreme Council of the Magistracy; all judges serve 4-year renewable terms; Constitutional Court judges appointed 2 each by Parliament, the Moldovan president, and the Higher Council of Magistracy; court president elected by other court judges for a 3-year term; other judges appointed for 6-year terms
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; Court of Business Audit; municipal courts
Monaco highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of 5 permanent members and 2 substitutes)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court members appointed by the monarch upon the proposals of the National Council, State Council, Crown Council, Court of Appeal, and Trial Court
subordinate courts: Court of Appeal; Civil Court of First Instance
Mongolia highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the Chief Justice and 16 judges organized into civil, criminal, and administrative chambers); Constitutional Court or Tsets (consists of a chairman and 8 members)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice and judges appointed by the president upon recommendation to the State Great Hural by the General Council of Courts; term of appointment is for life; chairman of the Constitutional Court elected from among its members; members appointed by the State Great Heral upon nominations - 3 each by the president, the State Great Hural, and the Supreme Court; term of appointment is 6 years; chairmanship limited to a single renewable 3-year term
subordinate courts: aimag (provincial) and capital city appellate courts; soum, inter-soum, and district courts; Administrative Cases Courts (established in 2004)
Montenegro highest court(s): Supreme Court or Vrhovni Sud (consists of the court president and 6 judges); Constitutional Court or Ustavni Sud (consists of the court president and 6 judges)
judge selection and term of office: president of Supreme Court proposed jointly by the president of Montenegro, the speaker of the Assembly, and the prime minister; other judges elected by the Judicial Council; court president term is 5 years; term of other judges is 9 years; Constitutional Court judges proposed by the president of Montenegro and elected by the Assembly; court president elected among its members; term of judges is 9 years; court president term is 3 years
subordinate courts: Administrative Court; Court of Appeal; regional and first instance courts
Montserrat highest court(s): the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) is the itinerant superior court of record for the 9-member Organization of Eastern Caribbean States to include Montserrat; the ECSC - with its headquarters on St. Lucia - is headed by the chief justice and is comprised of the Court of Appeal with 3 justices and the High Court with 16 judges; sittings of the Court of Appeal and High Court rotate among the 9 member states; 1 judge of the Supreme Court is a resident of Montserrat and presides over the High Court
note - Montserrat is also a member of the Caribbean Court of Justice
judge selection and term of office: Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court chief justice appointed by Her Majesty, Queen ELIZABETH II; other justices and judges appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission; Court of Appeal justices appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 65; High Court judges appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 62
subordinate courts: magistrate's court
Morocco highest court(s): Supreme Court or Court of Cassation (consists of 5-judge panels organized into civil, family matters, commercial, administrative, social, and criminal sections)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the monarch upon the recommendation of the Supreme Council of the Judiciary
subordinate courts: courts of appeal; regional and sadad courts (for religious, civil and administrative, and penal adjudication)
Mozambique highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the court president, vice president, and 5 judges); Constitutional Council (consists of 7 judges)
note - the Higher Council of the Judiciary is responsible for judiciary management and discipline
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court president and vice president appointed by Mozambique president in consultation with the Higher Council of the Judiciary (CSMJ) and with ratification by the legislature; other judges elected by the legislature; judges serve 5-year renewable terms; Constitutional Council judges appointed - 1 by the president, 5 by the legislature, and 1 by the CSMJ; judges serve 5-year nonrenewable terms
subordinate courts: Administrative Court (capital city only); provincial courts or Tribunais Judicias de Provincia; District Courts or Tribunais Judicias de Districto; customs courts; maritime courts; courts marshal; labor courts; community courts
Namibia highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and at least 3 judges in quorum sessions)
judge selection and term of office: judges appointed by the president of Namibia upon the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission; judges serve until age 65 but can be extended by the president until age 70
subordinate courts: High Court; Labor Court; regional and district magistrates' courts; community courts
Nauru highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of a chief justice and 1 judge)
judge selection and term of office: judges appointed by the president to serve until age 65
subordinate courts: District Court, Family Court
Nepal highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and up to 14 judges
note - Nepal's judiciary was restructured under its 2007 Interim Constitution
judge selection and term of office: the Supreme Court chief justice appointed by the prime minister on the recommendation of the Constitutional Council; other judges are appointed by the prime minister on the recommendation of the Judicial Council; judges serve until age 65
subordinate courts: appellate and district courts
Netherlands highest court(s): Supreme Court or Hoge Raad (consists of 41 judges: the president, 6 vice-presidents, 31 justices or raadsheren, and 3 justices in exceptional service, referred to as buitengewone dienst); the court is divided into criminal, civil, tax, and ombuds chambers
judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the monarch from a list provided by the Second Chamber of the States General; justices appointed for life or until mandatory retirement at age 70
subordinate courts: courts of appeal; district courts, each with up to 5 subdistrict courts
New Caledonia highest court(s): Court of Appeal in Noumea or Cour d'Appel (the highest local judicial court; organized into civil, commercial, social, and pre-trial investigation chambers; number of judges NA); Conseil d'Etat (the highest local administrative court; number of judges NA)
note - final appeals are heard before the Court of Cassation or Cour de Cassation, in Paris
judge selection and term of office: NA
subordinate courts: Courts of First Instance include: civil, juvenile, commercial, labor, police, criminal, Assizes, and also a pre-trial investigation chamber; Joint Commerce Tribunal; administrative courts
New Zealand highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of 5 justices including the chief justice )
note - the Supreme Court in 2004 replaced the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, in London, as the final appeals court
judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the governor-general on the recommendation of the attorney-general; justices appointed for life
subordinate courts: Court of Appeal; High Court; tribunals and authorities; district courts; specialized courts for issues related to employment, environment, Maori lands, and military
Nicaragua highest court(s): Supreme Court or Corte Suprema de Justicia ( consists of 16 judges organized into administrative, civil, criminal, and constitutional chambers)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges elected by the National Assembly to serve 5-year staggered terms
subordinate courts: Appeals Court; first instance civil, criminal, and military courts
Niger highest court(s): Constitutional Court (consists of 7 judges); High Court of Justice (consists of 7 members)
judge selection and term of office: Constitutional Court judges nominated/elected - 1 by the president of the Republic, 1 by the president of the National Assembly, 2 by peer judges, 2 by peer lawyers, 1 law professor by peers, and 1 from within Nigerien society; all appointed by the president; judges serve 6-year nonrenewable terms with one-third of membership renewed every 2 years; High Judicial Court members selected from among the legislature and judiciary; members serve 5-year terms
subordinate courts: Court of Cassation; Council of State; Court of Finances; various specialized tribunals and customary courts
Nigeria highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and 15 justices)
judge selection and term of office: judges appointed by the president on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council, a 23-member independent body of federal and state judicial officials; judge appointments confirmed by the Senate; judges serve until age 65
subordinate courts: Court of Appeal; Federal High Court; High Court of the Federal Capital Territory; Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory; Customary Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory; state court system similar in structure to federal system
Niue highest court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of the chief justice and up to 3 judges); note - the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London) is the final appeal court beyond the Niue Court of Appeal
note - Niue is a participant in the Pacific Judicial Development Program; the program is designed to build governance and the rule of law in 15 Pacific island countries
judge selection and term of office: Niue chief justice appointed by the governor-general on the advice of the Cabinet and tendered by the premier; other judges appointed by the governor-general on the advice of the Cabinet and tendered by the chief justice and the minister of justice; judges serve until age 68
subordinate courts: High Court
Norfolk Island highest court(s): Supreme Court of Norfolk Island (consists of the chief justice and NA justices)
note - appeals beyond the Supreme Court of Norfolk Island are heard by the Federal Court of Australia
judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the governor general of Australia from among justices of the Federal Court of Australia; justices serve until mandatory retirement at age 70
subordinate courts: Petty Court of Sessions; specialized courts including a Coroner's Court and the Employment Tribunal
Northern Mariana Islands highest court(s): Supreme Court of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianna Islands or CNMI (consists of the chief justice and 2 associate justices); US Federal District Court (consists of 1 judge); note - US Federal District Court jurisdiction limited to US federal laws
note - appeals beyond the Northern Mariannas Islands Supreme Court are referred to the US Supreme Court
judge selection and term of office: judges of the Supreme Court of the CNMI appointed by the governor and confirmed by the CNMI Senate; judges appointed for 8-year terms and can serve another term if approved through voter election; US Federal District Court judges appointed by the US president and confirmed by the US Senate; judges appointed for renewable 10-year terms
subordinate courts: Superior Court
Norway highest court(s): Supreme Court or Hoyesterett (consists of the chief justice and 18 associate justices)
note - in addition to professionally trained judges, there are elected lay judges that sit on the bench with professional judges in the Courts of Appeal and district courts
judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the monarch (King in Council) upon the recommendation of the Judicial Appointments Board; justice retirement mandatory at age 70
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal or Lagmensrett; regional and district courts; Conciliation Boards; ordinary and special courts
Oman highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of 5 judges)
judge selection and term of office: judges nominated by the 9-member Supreme Judicial Council (chaired by the monarch) and appointed by the monarch; judge tenure NA
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; Courts of First Instance; sharia courts; magistrates' courts
Pakistan highest court(s): Supreme Court of Pakistan (consists of the chief justice and 16 judges)
judge selection and term of office: justices nominated by an 8-member Majlis-e-Shoora (parliamentary) Committee upon the recommendation of the Judicial Commission (a 9-member body of several judges and other judicial professionals), and appointed by the president of Pakistan; justices can serve until age 65
subordinate courts: High Courts; Federal Shariat Court; provincial and district civil and criminal courts; specialized courts for issues such as taxation, banking, customs, etc.
Palau highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and 3 associate justices organized into appellate trial divisions; also within the Supreme Court organization are the Common Pleas and Land Courts)
judge selection and term of office: justices nominated by a 7-member independent body consisting of judges, presidential appointees, and lawyers, and appointed by the president; judges appointed until mandatory retirement at age 65
subordinate courts: National Court and other 'inferior' courts
Panama highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (consists of 9 magistrates and 9 alternates and divided into civil, criminal, administrative, and general business chambers)
judge selection and term of office: magistrates appointed by the president for staggered 10-year terms
subordinate courts: appellate courts or Tribunal Superior; Labor Supreme Courts; Court of Audit; circuit courts or Tribunal Circuital (2 each in 9 provinces); municipal courts; electoral, family, maritime, and adolescent courts
Papua New Guinea highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice, deputy chief justice, and 28 other judges); National Courts (10 courts located in the province capitals, with a total of 16 resident judges )
judge selection and term of office: chief justice appointed by the governor-general upon advice of the National Executive Council (cabinet) after consultation with the National Justice Administration Minister; deputy chief justice and other justices appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, a 5-member body to include the Supreme Court chief and deputy chief justices, the chief ombudsman, and a member of the National Parliament; citizen judges appointed for 10-year renewable terms; non-citizen judges appointed for 3-year renewable terms; appointment and tenure of National Court resident judges NA
subordinate courts: district, village, and juvenile courts
Paraguay highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (consists of 9 justices divided 3 each into the Constitutional Court, Civil and Commercial Chamber, and Criminal Division
judge selection and term of office: justices proposed by the Council of Magistrates or Consejo de la Magistratura, a 6-member independent body, and appointed by the Chamber of Senators with presidential concurrence; judges appointed until mandatory retirement at age 75
subordinate courts: appellate courts; first instance courts; minor courts, including justices of the peace
Peru highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of 16 judges and divided into civil, criminal, and constitutional-social sectors)
judge selection and term of office: justices proposed by the National Council of the Judiciary or National Judicial Council (a 7-member independent body), nominated by the president, and confirmed by the Congress (all appointments reviewed by the Council every 7 years; justices appointed for life or until age 70
subordinate courts: Court of Constitutional Guarantees; Superior Courts or Cortes Superiores; specialized civil, criminal, and mixed courts; two types of peace courts in which professional judges and selected members of the local communities preside
Philippines highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of a chief justice and 14 associate justices)
judge selection and term of office: justices are appointed by the president on the recommendation of the Judicial and Bar Council, a constitutionally-created, 6-member body that recommends Supreme Court nominees; justices serve until age 70
subordinate courts: Court of Appeals; Sandiganbayan (special court for corruption cases of government officials); Court of Tax Appeals; regional, metropolitan, and municipal trial courts; sharia courts
Pitcairn Islands highest court(s): Pitcairn Court of Appeal (consists of the court president, 2 judges, and the Supreme Court chief justice (ex-officio member); Pitcairn Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and 2 judges)
note - appeals beyond the Pitcairn Court of Appeal are heard by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London); note 2: the Court of Appeal was established in 2000 by an Order in Council
judge selection and term of office: all judges of both courts appointed by the governor of the Pitcairn Islands on the instructions of the Queen of England through the Secretary of State; all judges appointed until retirement, normally at age 75
subordinate courts: Magistrate's Court
Poland highest court(s): Supreme Court or Sad Najwyzszy (consists of the president of the Supreme Court and 116 judges organized in criminal, civil, labor and social insurance, and military chambers)
judge selection and term of office: president of the Supreme Court nominated by the General Assembly of the Supreme Court and selected by the president of Poland; other judges nominated by the 25-member National Judiciary Council, and appointed by the president of Poland; judges appointed until retirement, normally at age 65, but tenure can be extended
subordinate courts: Constitutional Tribunal; regional and appellate courts subdivided into military, civil, criminal, labor, and family courts
Portugal highest court(s): Supreme Court or Supremo Tribunal de Justica (consists of 12 justices); Constitutional Court or Tribunal Constitucional (consists of 13 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court justices nominated by the president and appointed by the Assembly of the Republic; judges appointed for life; Constitutional Court judges - 10 elected by the Assembly and 3 elected by the other Constitutional Court judges; judges elected for 6-year non-renewable terms
subordinate courts: Supreme Administrative Court (Supremo Tribunal Administrativo); Audit Court (Tribunal de Contas); appellate, district, and municipal courts
Puerto Rico highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and 6 associate judges)
note - the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Judiciary Act of 2003 reformed the judicial system
judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate; judges serve until compulsory retirement at age 75
subordinate courts: Court of Appeals; First Instance Court comprised of superior and municipal courts
Qatar highest court(s): Court of Cassation (consists of the court president and several judges); Supreme Constitutional Court (consists of the chief justice and 6 members)
note - the Supreme Constitutional Court and the Judicial Supreme Council were established in 1999
judge selection and term of office: Cassation Court judges nominated by the Judicial Supreme Council, a 9-member independent body consisting of judiciary heads appointed by the monarch; judges appointed for 3-year renewable terms; Supreme Constitutional Court members nominated by the Judicial Supreme Council and appointed by the monarch; term of appointment NA
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; Courts of First Instance; Sharia Courts; Courts of Justice
Romania highest court(s): High Court of Cassation and Justice (consists of 111 judges and organized into civil, penal, commercial, contentious administrative and fiscal business, and joint sections); Supreme Constitutional Court (consists of 9 members)
judge selection and term of office: High Court of Cassation and Justice judges appointed by the president upon nomination by the Superior Council of Magistracy, a 19-member body mostly of judges, prosecutors, and law specialists; judges appointed for 6-year renewable terms; Constitutional Court members - 6 elected by Parliament and 3 appointed by the president; members serve 9-year, non-renewable terms
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; regional tribunals; first instance courts; military and arbitration courts
Russia highest court(s): Supreme Court of the Russian Federation (consists of 23 members); Constitutional Court (consists of 19 members); Superior Court of Arbitration (consists of a chairman and 4 deputy chairmen); note - as of January 2014 legislation was pending that would merge the Constitutional Court and Superior Court of Arbitration
judge selection and term of office: all members of Russia's three highest courts nominated by the president and appointed by the Federation Council (the upper house of the legislature); members of all three courts appointed for life
subordinate courts: Higher Arbitration Court; regional (kray) and provincial (oblast) courts; Moscow and St. Petersburg city courts; autonomous province and district courts; note - the 14 Russian Republics have court systems specified by their own constitutions
Rwanda highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the court president, vice president, and 12 judges; normally organized into 3-judge benches)
note - the Gacaca Court was established in 2001 by the National Unity Government to try cases of genocide against the Tutsis
judge selection and term of office: judges nominated by the president of the republic, after consultation with the Cabinet and the Superior Council of the Judiciary (a 14-member body of judges, other judicial officials, and legal professionals), and approved by the Senate; court president and vice president appointed for 8-year nonrenewable terms; tenure of other judges NA
subordinate courts: High Court of the Republic; commercial courts including the High Commercial Court; intermediate courts; primary courts; Gacaca and military specialized courts
Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha highest court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of the court president and 2 justices); Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice - a non-resident - and NA judges)
note - appeals beyond the Court of Appeal are heard by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London)
judge selection and term of office: court judges' appointments and tenures NA
subordinate courts: Magistrate's Court; Small Claims Court; Juvenile Court
Saint Kitts and Nevis highest court(s): the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) is the itinerant superior court of record for the 9-member Organization of Eastern Caribbean States which includes Saint Kitts and Nevis; the ECSC - with its headquarters on St. Lucia - is headed by the chief justice and comprised of the Court of Appeal with 3 justices and the High Court with 16 judges; sittings of the Court of Appeal and High Court rotate among the member states; 2 High Court judges reside on Saint Kitts and Nevis
note - the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in 2003 replaced the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London) as the final court of appeal on Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Kitts and Nevis is also a member of the Caribbean Court of Justice
judge selection and term of office: Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court chief justice appointed by Her Majesty, Queen ELIZABETH II; other justices and judges appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission; Court of Appeal justices appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 65; High Court judges appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 62
subordinate courts: magistrates' courts
Saint Lucia highest court(s): the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) is the itinerant superior court of record for the 9-member Organization of Eastern Caribbean States; the ECSC - with its headquarters on St. Lucia - is headed by the chief justice and is comprised of the Court of Appeal with 3 justices and the High Court with 16 judges; sittings of the Court of Appeal and High Court rotate among the member states; 3 High Court judges reside on Saint Lucia
note - Saint Lucia is a member of the Caribbean Court of Justice
judge selection and term of office: Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court chief justice appointed by Her Majesty, Queen ELIZABETH II; other justices and judges appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission; Court of Appeal justices appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 65; High Court judges appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 62
subordinate courts: magistrate's court
Saint Pierre and Miquelon highest court(s): Superior Tribunal of Appeals or Tribunal Superieur d'Appel (composition NA)
judge selection and term of office: judge selection and tenure NA
subordinate courts: NA
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines highest court(s): the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) is the itinerant superior court of record for the 9-member Organization of Eastern Caribbean States to include Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; the ECSC - with its headquarters on Saint Lucia - is headed by the chief justice and is comprised of the Court of Appeal with 3 justices and the High Court with 16 judges; sittings of the Court of Appeal and High Court rotate among the member states; 2 High Court judges reside on Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
note - Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a member of the Caribbean Court of Justice
judge selection and term of office: Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court chief justice appointed by Her Majesty, Queen ELIZABETH II; other justices and judges appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission; Court of Appeal justices appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 65; High Court judges appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 62
subordinate courts: magistrates' courts
Samoa highest court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of the chief justice and 2 Supreme Court judges and meets once or twice a year); Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and several judges)
judge selection and term of office: chief justice appointed by the head of state upon the advice of the prime minister; other Supreme Court judges appointed by the Judicial Service Commission, a 3-member body chaired by the chief justice and includes the attorney general and an appointee of the Minister of Justice; judges normally appointed until retirement at age 68
subordinate courts: District Court; Magistrates' Courts; Land and Titles Courts; village fono or village chief councils
San Marino highest court(s): Council of Twelve or Consiglio dei XII (consists of 12 members)
note - the College of Guarantors for the Constitutionality and General Norms functions as San Marino's constitutional court
judge selection and term of office: judges elected by the Grand and General Council from among its own to serve 5-year terms
subordinate courts: first instance and first appeal criminal, administrative, and civil courts; justices of the peace or conciliatory judges
Sao Tome and Principe highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of 5 judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 5 judges, 3 of which are from the Supreme Court)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the National Assembly; judge tenure NA; Constitutional Court judges nominated by the president of the republic and elected by the National Assembly for 5-year terms
subordinate courts: Court of First Instance; Audit Court
Saudi Arabia highest court(s): High Court (consists of the court chief and organized into circuits with 3-judge panels except the criminal circuit which has a 5-judge panel for cases involving major punishments)
note - in 2005, King Abdullah issued decrees approving an overhaul of the judicial system and which were incorporated in the Judiciary Law of 2007; one change was the replacement of the Supreme Council of Justice with the High Court
judge selection and term of office: the High Court chief and chiefs of the High Court Circuits appointed by royal decree following the recommendation of the Supreme Judiciary Council, a 10-member body of high level judges and other judicial heads; new judges and assistant judges serve 1- and 2- year probations, respectively, before permanent assignment
subordinate courts: Court of Appeals; first-degree courts composed of general, criminal, personal status, and commercial courts, and the Labor Court; hierarchy of administrative courts
Senegal highest court(s): Highest Appeals Court or Cour de Cassation (consists of 13 judges including the court president); Constitutional Council (consists of 5 members including the court president, vice-president, and 3 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Highest Appeals Court judges' tenure NA; Constitutional Council members appointed by the president of the republic to serve 6-year terms with renewal of 3 members every two years
subordinate courts: Court of Appeals; regional and first instance courts
Serbia highest court(s): Supreme Court of Cassation (consists of more than 60 judges organized into 3- and 5-member panels for criminal, civil, and administrative cases); Constitutional Court (consists of 15 judges)
note - in 2003, specialized panels on war crimes were established within the Serbian court system; the panels have jurisdiction over alleged violations of the Basic Criminal Code and crimes against humanity, international law, and criminal acts as defined by the Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court justices proposed by the High Judicial Council (HJC), an 11-member body of which 7 are judges, and elected by the National Assembly; Constitutional Court judges appointed - 5 each by the National Assembly, the president, and the Supreme Court of Cassation; judges of both courts appointed to permanent tenure by the HJC
subordinate courts: appellate courts, higher courts, and municipal and district courts; courts of special jurisdiction include the Administrative Court, Appellate Commercial Court, and two levels of misdemeanor courts
Seychelles highest court(s): Seychelles Court of Appeal (consists of the court president and 4 justices; Supreme Court of Seychelles (consists of the chief justice and 5 pusine judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 3 Supreme Court judges)
judge selection and term of office: all judges appointed by the president of the republic upon the recommendation of the Constitutional Appointments Committee, a 3-member body, with 1 member appointed by the president of the republic, 1 by the opposition leader in the National Assembly, and 1 by the other 2 appointees; judges appointed until retirement at age 70
subordinate courts: Magistrates' Courts of Seychelles; Family Tribunal for issues such as domestic violence, and child custody and maintenance
Sierra Leone highest court(s): Superior Court of Judicature (consists of the Supreme Court - at the apex - with the chief justice and 4 other judges, the Court of Appeal with the chief justice and 7 other judges, and the High Court of Justice with the chief justice and 9 other judges; note – the Judicature has jurisdiction in all civil, criminal, and constitutional matters
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice and other judges of the Judicature appointed by the president on the advice of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission (a 7-member independent body of judges, presidential appointees, and the Commission chairman) and subject to the approval of Parliament; all Judicature judges appointed until retirement at age 65
subordinate courts: magistrates' courts; District Appeals Court; local courts
Singapore highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the president or chief justice and 16 justices and organized into an upper tier Appeal Court and a lower tier High Court)
judge selection and term of office: all judges appointed by the president from candidates recommended by the prime minister after consultation with the chief justice; justices appointed for life
subordinate courts: district, magistrates', juvenile, family, community, and coroners' courts; small claims tribunals
Sint Maarten highest court(s): Joint Court of Justice of Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten, and of Bonaire, Sint Eustatitus, and Saba or "Joint Court of Justice" (consists of the presiding judge, other members, and their substitutes); final appeals heard by the Supreme Court, in The Hague, Netherlands
note - prior to 2010, the Joint Court of Justice was the Common Court of Justice of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba
judge selection and term of office: Joint Court judges appointed by the monarch for life
subordinate courts: Courts in First Instance
Slovakia highest court(s): Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic (consists of 78 judges - as of 2003 - organized into criminal, civil, commercial, and administrative divisions with 3- and 5-judge panels; Constitutional Court (consists of 13 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judge candidates proposed by the Judicial Council of the Slovak Republic, a 17-member independent body to include the Supreme Court chief justice and presidential and governmental appointees; judges appointed by the president for life with mandatory retirement at age 65; Constitutional Court judges nominated by the National Council of the Republic and appointed by the president; judges appointed for 12-year terms
subordinate courts: regional and district civil courts; Higher Military Court; military district courts; Court of Audit
Slovenia highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the court president and 37 judges organized into 7 departments - civil, criminal, commercial, labor and social security, administrative, registry, and international cooperation); Constitutional Court (consists of the court president, vice president, and 7 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court president and vice president appointed by the National Assembly upon the proposal of the Minister of Justice based on the opinions of the Judicial Council, an 11-member independent body elected by the National Assembly from proposals submitted by the president, attorneys, law universities, and sitting judges; other Supreme Court judges elected by the National Assembly from candidates proposed by the Judicial Council; Supreme Court judge term NA; Constitutional Court judges appointed by the National Assembly from nominations by the president of the republic; Constitutional Court president selected from among their own for a 3-year term; other judges elected for single 9-year terms
subordinate courts: county, district, regional, and high courts; specialized labor-related and social courts; Court of Audit; Administrative Court
Solomon Islands highest court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of the court president, and ex officio members to include the High Court chief justice and its puisne judges); High Court (consists of the chief justice and puisne judges as prescribed by the National Parliament)
judge selection and term of office: Court of Appeal and High Court president, chief justices, and puisne judges appointed by the governor-general upon recommendation of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission, chaired by the chief justice to include 5 members, mostly judicial officials and legal professionals; all judges appointed until retirement at age 60
subordinate courts: Magistrates' Courts; local courts; Customary Land Appeal Court
Somalia highest court(s): the provisional constitution stipulates the establishment of the Constitutional Court (consists of 5 judges including the chief judge and deputy chief judge)
note - under the terms of the 2004 Transitional National Charter (TNC), a Supreme Court based in Mogadishu and an Appeal Court were established; yet most regions have reverted to local forms of conflict resolution, either secular, traditional Somali customary law, or sharia Islamic law
judge selection and term of office: judges appointed by the president upon proposal of the Judicial Service Commission, a 9-member judicial and administrative body; judge tenure NA
subordinate courts: federal- and federal member state-level courts; military courts; sharia (Islamic) courts
South Africa highest court(s): Supreme Court of Appeals (consists of the court president, deputy president, and 21 judges); Constitutional Court (consists of the chief and deputy chief justices and 9 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court of Appeals president and vice-president appointed by the national president after consultation with the Joint Services Commission (JSC), a 22-member body of judicial and other government officials, and a law academics; other Supreme Court judges appointed by the national president on the advice of the JSC and hold office until discharged from active service in terms of an Act of Parliament; Constitutional Court chief and deputy chief justices appointed by the national president after consultation with the JSC and with heads of the National Assembly; other Constitutional Court judges appointed by the national president after consultation with the chief justice and leaders of the National Assembly; Constitutional Court judges appointed for 12-year non-renewable terms or until age 70
subordinate courts: High Courts; Magistrates' Courts; labor courts; land claims courts;
South Sudan highest court(s): Supreme Court of South Sudan (consists 7 justices including the court president and deputy president and organized into panels of 3 justices except when sitting as a Constitutional panel of all 7 justices)
judge selection and term of office: judges appointed by the president upon proposal of the Judicial Service Council, a 9-member judicial and administrative body; judge tenure NA
subordinate courts: national level: Courts of Appeal; High Courts; County Courts; state level: High Courts; County Courts; customary courts; other specialized courts and tribunals
Spain highest court(s): Supreme Court or Tribunal Supremo (consists of the court president and organized into the Civil Room with a president and 9 magistrates, the Penal Room with a president and 14 magistrates, the Administrative Room with a president and 32 magistrates, the Social Room with a president and 12 magistrates, and the Military Room with a president and 7 magistrates); Constitutional Court or Tribunal Constitucional de Espana (consists of 12 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the monarch from candidates proposed by the General Council of the Judicial Power, a 20-member body chaired by the monarch and includes presidential appointees, and lawyers and jurists elected by the National Assembly; judge tenure NA; Constitutional Court judges appointed by the monarch for 9-year terms
subordinate courts: National Court; High Courts of Justice (in each of the autonomous communities); provincial courts; courts of first instance
Sri Lanka highest court(s): Supreme Court of the Republic (consists of the chief justice and 10 justices); note - the court has exclusive jurisdiction to review legislation
judge selection and term of office: the chief justice appointed by the president; the other justices appointed by the president with the advice of the chief justice; all justices hold office until age 65
subordinate courts: Court of Appeals; High Courts; Magistrate's Courts; municipal and primary courts
Sudan highest court(s): National Supreme Court (consists of 70 judges organized into panels of 3 judges; court includes 4 circuits that operate outside the capital); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 justices including the court president); note - the Constitutional Court resides outside the national judiciary
judge selection and term of office: National Supreme Court and Constitutional Court judges appointed by the president of the republic upon the recommendation of the National Judicial Service Commission, an independent body chaired by the chief justice of the republic and members including other judges and judicial and legal officials; Supreme Court judge tenure NA; Constitutional Court judges appointed for 7 years
subordinate courts: National Court of Appeals; other national courts (not specified in the 2005 Interim National Constitution as to national or local authority); township and rural (peoples') courts
Suriname highest court(s): High Court of Justice of Suriname (consists of the court president, vice president, and 4 judges)
note - Suriname can appeal beyond its High Court to the Caribbean Court of Justice, with final appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London)
judge selection and term of office: court judges appointed by the national president after consultation with the High Court; judges appointed for life
subordinate courts: cantonal courts
Swaziland highest court(s): the Supreme Court of the Judicature comprising the Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and at least 5 justices) and the High Court (consists of the chief justice - ex officio - and at least 4 justices); note - the Supreme Court has jurisdiction in all constitutional matters
note - the national constitution as amended in 2006 shifted judicial power from the monarch and vested it exclusively in the judiciary
judge selection and term of office: justices of the Supreme Court of the Judicature are appointed by the monarch on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission or JCS, a judicial advisory body consisting of the Supreme Court Chief Justice, 4 members appointed by the monarch, and the JCS head; justices of both courts eligible for retirement at age 65 with mandatory retirement at age 75 for Supreme Court justices and at age 70 for High Court justices
subordinate courts: magistrates' courts; National Swazi Courts for administering customary/traditional law (jurisdiction restricted to customary law for Swazi citizens)
Sweden highest court(s): Supreme Court of Sweden (consists of 16 justices including the court chairman; Supreme Administrative Court (consists of 18 justices including the court president)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court and Supreme Administrative Court justices nominated by the Board of Judges, a 9-member nominating body consisting of high-level judges, prosecutors, and members of Parliament; justices appointed by the Government; following a probationary period, justices' appointments are permanent
subordinate courts: first instance and appellate general and administrative courts; specialized courts that handle cases such as land and environment, immigration, labor, markets, and patents
Switzerland highest court(s): Federal Supreme Court (consists of 38 judges and 31 substitutes and organized into 5 sections)
judge selection and term of office: judges elected by the Federal Assembly for 6-year terms; note - judges are affiliated with political parties and are elected according to linguistic and regional criteria in approximate proportion to the level of party representation in the Federal Assembly
subordinate courts: Federal Criminal Court (began in 2004); Federal Administrative Court (began in 2007); note - each of Switzerland's 26 cantons has its own courts
Syria highest court(s): Court of Cassation (organized into civil, criminal, religious, and military divisions, each with 3 judges); Supreme Constitutional Court (consists of 4 members)
judge selection and term of office: Court of Cassation judges appointed by the Supreme Judicial Council or SJC, a judicial management body headed by the minister of justice with 7 members including the national president; judge tenure NA; Supreme Constitutional Court judges nominated by the president and appointed by the SJC; judges appointed for 4-year renewable terms
subordinate courts: courts of first instance; magistrates' courts; religious and military courts; Economic Security Court
Taiwan highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the court president, vice president, and approximately 100 judges organized into 8 civil and 12 criminal divisions, each with a division chief justice and 4 associate justices); Constitutional Court (consists of the court president, vice president, and 13 justices)
judge selection and term of office: both Supreme Court and Constitutional Court justices appointed by the president of the republic with the approval of the Legislative Yuan; Supreme Court justices appointed for life; Constitutional Court president, vice-president, and 8 grand justices serve 4-year terms and remaining justices serve 8-year terms
subordinate courts: high courts; district courts; hierarchy of administrative courts
Tajikistan highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chairman, deputy chairmen, and 34 judges organized into civil, criminal, and military chambers); Constitutional Court (consists of the court chairman, vice-president, and 5 judges); High Economic Court (consists 16 judicial positions)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court, Constitutional Court, and High Economic Court judges nominated by the president of the republic and approved by the National Assembly; judges of all three courts appointed for 10-year renewable terms with no limit on terms, but last appointment must occur before the age of 65
subordinate courts: regional and district courts; Dushanbe City Court; viloyat (province level) courts; Court of Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region
Tanzania highest court(s): Court of Appeal of the United Republic of Tanzania (consists of the chief justice and 14 justices); High Court of the United Republic for Mainland Tanzania (consists of the principal judge and 30 judges organized into commercial, land, and labor courts); High Court of Zanzibar (consists of the chief justice and NA judges)
judge selection and term of office: Court of Appeal and High Court justices appointed by the national president after consultation with the Judicial Service Commission for Tanzania, a judicial body of high level judges and 2 members appointed by the national president; Court of Appeal and High Court judges appointed until mandatory retirement at age 60 but can extended; High Court of Zanzibar judges appointed by the national president after consultation with the Judicial Commission of Zanzibar; judge tenure NA
subordinate courts: Resident Magistrates Courts; Kadhi courts (for Islamic family matters); district and primary courts
Thailand highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice (consists of the court president, 6 vice-presidents, and NA judges and organized into civil and criminal divisions); Constitutional Court (consists of the court president and 8 judges); Supreme Administrative Court (the number of judges determined by the Judicial Commission of the Administrative Courts)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges selected by the Judicial Commission of the Courts of Justice and approved by the monarch; judges' terms NA; Constitutional Court justices - 3 judges drawn from the Supreme Court, 2 judges drawn from the Administrative Court, and 4 judge candidates selected by the Selective Committee for Judges of the Constitutional Court and confirmed by the Senate; judges appointed by the monarch to serve single 9-year terms; Supreme Administrative Court judges selected by the Judicial Commission of the Administrative Courts and appointed by the monarch; judge tenure NA
subordinate courts: courts of first instance and appeals courts within both the judicial and administrative systems; military courts
Timor-Leste highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice (consists of the court president and NA judges)
note - the UN Justice System Programme, launched in 2003 and in 2008, is helping strengthen the country's justice system
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court president appointed by the president of the republic from among the other court judges to serve a 4-year term; other Supreme Court judges appointed - 1 by the Parliament, and the others by the Supreme Council for the Judiciary, a body presided by the Supreme Court president and includes mostly presidential and parliamentary appointees; other Supreme Court judge tenure NA
subordinate courts: Court of Appeal; district courts; magistrates' courts
Togo highest court(s): Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (organized into the Criminal Chamber and the Administrative Chamber, each with a chamber president and advisors); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 judges including the court president)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court president appointed by decree of the president of the republic upon the proposal of the Supreme Council of the Magistracy, a 9-member judicial, advisory, and disciplinary body; other judge appointments and judge tenure NA; Constitutional Court judges appointed by the National Assembly; judge tenure NA
subordinate courts: Court of Assizes (sessions court); appeals courts; tribunals of first instance (divided into civil, commercial, and correctional chambers; Court of State Security; military tribunal
Tokelau highest court(s): Court of Appeal in New Zealand (consists of the court president and 8 judges sitting in 3- or 5-judge panels depending on the case)
judge selection and term of office: judges nominated by the Judicial Selection Committee and approved by three-quarters majority of the Parliament; judge tenure NA
subordinate courts: High Court, in New Zealand; Council of Elders or Taupulega
Tonga highest court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of the court president and a number of judges determined by the monarch); note - appeals beyond the Court of Appeal are brought before the King in Privy Council, the monarch's advisory organ that has both judicial and legislative powers
judge selection and term of office: judge appointments and tenures made by the King in Privy Council, judge appointments subject to consent of the Legislative Assembly
subordinate courts: Supreme Court; Magistrate's Courts; Land Courts
Trinidad and Tobago highest court(s): Supreme Court of the Judicature (consists of a chief justice for both the Court of Appeal with 12 judges and the High Court with 24 judges)
note - Trinidad and Tobago can file appeals beyond its Supreme Court to the Caribbean Court of Justice, with final appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice appointed by the president after consultation with the prime minister and the parliamentary leader of the opposition; other judges appointed by the Judicial Legal Services Commission, headed by the chief justice and 5 members with judicial experience; all judges appointed for life with mandatory retirement normally at age 65
subordinate courts: Courts of Summary Criminal Jurisdiction; Petty Civil Courts; Family Court
Tunisia highest court(s): Court of Cassation or Cour de Cassation (organized into civil and criminal chambers and consists of NA judges)
judge selection and term of office: judges nominated by the Higher Magistracy Council (also called the Superior Council of the Judiciary), a 7-member body of judges and prosecutors; judges appointed by presidential decree; judge tenure NA
subordinate courts: Administrative Court; Courts of Appeal; Housing Court; courts of first instance; lower district courts; military courts
Turkey highest court(s): Constitutional Court (consists of 17 members); Supreme Court of Appeals organized into 15 divisions with 38 civil and criminal chambers and consisting of 250 high judges and 440 rapporteur judges)
judge selection and term of office: Constitutional Court judges appointed by the president from among candidates submitted by plenary assemblies of other courts, the Higher Education Council, senior government administrators, and lawyers; judges appointed for 12-year, non-renewable terms and with mandatory retirement at age 65; Supreme Court of Appeals judges appointed by the Supreme Council of Judges and Public Prosecutors; judge tenure NA
subordinate courts: Council of State (Danistay); Court of Accounts (Sayistay); Military High Court of Appeals; Military High Administrative Court
Turkmenistan highest court(s): Supreme Court of Turkmenistan (consists of the court president and 21 associate judges)
judge selection and term of office: judges appointed by the president; judge tenure NA
subordinate courts: provincial, district, and city courts; High Commercial Court; military courts
Turks and Caicos Islands highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and such number of other judges as determined by the governor); Court of Appeal (consists of the court president and 2 justices)
note - appeals beyond the Supreme Court are heard by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, in London
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court and Appeals Court judges appointed by the governor in accordance with the Judicial Service Commission, a 3-member body of high level judicial officials; Supreme Court judges appointed until mandatory retirement at age 65, but can be extended to age 70; Appeals Court judge tenure determined by individual terms of appointment
subordinate courts: magistrates' courts
Tuvalu highest court(s): Court of Appeal is the Fiji Court of Appeal on Fiji Island (consists of the chief justice who visits twice a year); High Court, located on Fiji, consists of the chief justice of Fiji who presides over its sessions
judge selection and term of office: chief justice appointed by the president of Fiji on the advice of the prime minister following consultation with the parliamentary leader of the opposition; justices of the Court of Appeal, and puisne judges of the High Court are appointed by the president of Fiji, upon the nomination of the Judicial Service Commission, after consulting with the Cabinet Minister and the committee of the House of Representatives responsible for the administration of justice; the chief justice and justices of Appeal generally required to retire at age 70; puisine judges appointed for not less than 4 years nor more than 7 years with mandatory retirement at age 65
subordinate courts: magistrates' courts; island courts; lands courts
Uganda highest court(s): Supreme Court of Uganda (consists of the chief justice and 5 justices)
judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the president in consultation with the Judicial Service Commission (a 9-member independent advisory body) and with approval of the National Assembly; justices serve until mandatory retirement at age 70
subordinate courts: Court of Appeal (also sits as the Constitutional Court); High Court (includes 10 High Court Circuits and 7 High Court Divisions); Chief Magistrate Grade One and Grade Two Courts
Ukraine highest court(s): Supreme Court of Ukraine (consists of 95 judges organized into civil, criminal, commercial, and administrative chambers, and a military panel); Constitutional Court (consists of 18 justices)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges proposed by the Supreme Council of Justice or SCJ (a 20-member independent body of judicial officials and other appointees) and appointed by presidential decree; judges initially appointed for 5 years and, if approved by the SCJ, serve until mandatory retirement at age 65; Constitutional Court justices appointed - 6 each by the president, by the SCU, and by the Verkhovna Rada; justices appointed for 9-year non-renewable terms
subordinate courts: specialized high courts; Courts of Cassation; Courts of Appeal; regional, district, city, and town courts
United Arab Emirates highest court(s): Federal Supreme Court (consists of the court president and 4 judges)
judge selection and term of office: judges appointed by the federal president following approval by the Federal Supreme Council, which includes the rulers of the 7 emirates; judge term NA
subordinate courts: Federal Court of Cassation (determines the constitutionality of laws promulgated at the federal and local (emirate) levels; federal level courts of first instance and appeals courts; each emirate has its own court system
United Kingdom highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of 12 justices including the court president and deputy president)
note - the Supreme Court was established by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 and implemented in October 2009, replacing the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords as the highest court in the United Kingdom
judge selection and term of office: judge candidates selected by an independent committee of several judicial commissions, followed by their recommendations to the prime minister, and appointed by Her Majesty The Queen; justices appointed during period of good behavior
subordinate courts: England and Wales - Court of Appeal (civil and criminal divisions); High Court; Crown Court; County Courts; Magistrates' Courts; Scotland - Court of Sessions; Sherrif Courts; High Court of Justiciary; tribunals; Northern Ireland - Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland; High Court; county courts; magistrates' courts; specialized tribunals
United States highest court(s): US Supreme Court (consists of 9 justices - the chief justice and 8 associate justices)
note - The US court system consists of the federal court system and the state court systems; although each court system is responsible for hearing certain types of cases, neither is completely independent of the other, and the systems often interact
judge selection and term of office: president nominates, and with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoints Supreme Court justices; justices appointed for life
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal (includes the US Court of Appeal for the Federal District and 12 regional appeals courts); 94 federal district courts in 50 states and territories
Uruguay highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice (consists of 5 judges)
judge selection and term of office: judges nominated by the president and appointed in joint conference of the General Assembly; judges appointed for 10-year terms, with re-election after a lapse of 5 years following the previous term
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; District Courts (Juzagados Letrados); Peace Courts (Juzagados de Paz); Rural Courts (Juzgados Rurales)
Uzbekistan highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of 34 judges organized in civil, criminal, and military sections); Constitutional Court (consists of 7 judges); Higher Economic Court (consists of 19 judges)
judge selection and term of office: judges of the 3 highest courts nominated by the president and confirmed by the Oliy Majlis; judges appointed for 5-year terms subject to reappointment
subordinate courts: regional, district, city, and town courts
Vanuatu highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of a chief justice and 3 judges); note - appeals from the Supreme Court are considered by the Court of Appeal, constituted by 2 or more judges of the Supreme Court sitting together
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice appointed by the president after consultation with the prime minister and the leader of the opposition; other judges are appointed by the president on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission, a 4-member advisory body; judges appointed until age of retirement
subordinate courts: magistrates' courts; island courts
Venezuela highest court(s): Supreme Tribunal of Justice (consists of 32 judges organized into six divisions - constitutional, political administrative, electoral, civil appeals, criminal appeals, and social (mainly agrarian and labor issues)
judge selection and term of office: judges proposed by the Committee of Judicial Postulation (an independent body of organizations dealing with legal issues and of the organs of citizen power) and appointed by the National Assembly; judges serve non-renewable 12-year terms
subordinate courts: Superior or Appeals Courts (Tribunales Superiores); District Tribunals (Tribunales de Distrito); Courts of First Instance (Tribunales de Primera Instancia); Parish Courts (Tribunales de Parroquia); Justices of the Peace (Justicia de Paz) Network
Vietnam highest court(s): Supreme People's Court (consists of the chief justice and 13 judges)
judge selection and term of office: chief justice elected by the National Assembly on the recommendation of the president for a 5-year, renewable term; other judges appointed by the president for 5-year terms
subordinate courts: Court of Appeals; administrative, civil, criminal, economic, and labor courts; Central Military Court; People's Special Courts; note - the National Assembly can establish special tribunals
Virgin Islands highest court(s): Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands (consists of the chief justice and 2 associate justices); note - court established by US Congress in 2004 and assumed appellate jurisdiction in 2007
judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Virgin Islands Senate; justices initially serve renewable 10-year terms; chief justice elected to position by peers for a 3-year term
subordinate courts: Superior Court (renamed in 2004 vice the Territorial Court); US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (has appellate jurisdiction over the District Court of the Virgin Islands; it is a territorial court and is not associated with a US federal judicial district); District Court of the Virgin Islands
Wallis and Futuna highest court(s): Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel, located in Noumea, New Caledonia
judge selection and term of office: NA
subordinate courts: note: 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 highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the president of the Court, 2 deputies, and nearly 50 judges; court organized into constitutional, civil, commercial, family, administrative, criminal, military, and appeals scrutiny divisions)
judge selection and term of office: judges appointed by the Supreme Judicial Council, chaired by the president of the republic and consisting of 10 high-ranking judicial officers; judges appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 65
subordinate courts: appeal courts; district or first instance courts; commercial courts
Zambia highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of 9 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the president and ratified by the National Assembly; judge tenure NA
subordinate courts: High Court; magistrate's courts and local courts
Zimbabwe highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and 4 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the president upon recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission, an independent body consisting of the chief justice, Public Service Commission chairman, attorney general, and 2-3 members appointed by the president; judges normally serve until age 65, but can elect to serve until age 70
subordinate courts: High Court, regional magistrate courts, and special courts
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