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the judicial organs of the state, joined together in relations established by law for the administration of justice. Each link in the judicial system is constituted by all courts of the same competence.
The Soviet judicial system comprises courts of the USSR: the Supreme Court of the USSR and the military tribunals. It also comprises courts of the Union republics: the supreme courts of the Union republics, the supreme courts of the autonomous republics, the krai courts, the oblast courts, the city courts (in Moscow, Leningrad, Tashkent, and Alma-Ata), the courts of the autonomous oblasts and autonomous okrugs, and the raion (city) people’s courts.
The military tribunals and the common courts (from the supreme courts of the Union republics to the raion [city] people’s courts) form two independent branches, organizationally united into a single judicial system by the existence of a common higher link—the Supreme Court of the USSR, which stands atop the judicial system of the Soviet state.
The judicial system is structured on the basis of several principles. One is the unity of the judicial system; that is, there are essentially identical legal relationships between the individual links of the Soviet judicial system, both in the military tribunals and in the common courts. Another is the dependence of the judicial structure on the state structure of the USSR and the Union republics; that is, the network of judicial organs was shaped with the administrative-territorial division of the country, Union republics, and autonomous republics. Still another is that appeals can be taken into account carried only to a single appellate level; that is, a court’s judgments and decisions, before they enter into legal force, may generally be reviewed only once, in a court directly superior to the original court. Organization of the judicial organs in each Union republic falls within the competence of the higher organs of state power in that republic.
In bourgeois states, the judicial system does not usually take into account the administrative-territorial division of the country and does not rest on the principle of organizational unity. In some bourgeois states there are different types of judicial systems. In the USA, for example, there are three organizationally distinct systems of courts: federal, state, and military. In Great Britain, certain courts consider only criminal cases, and others only civil cases. There are also special courts—military, naval, and university courts—outside the general judicial system.