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Court of Appeal of Lithuania
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About the court system

Last updated 2020-12-14 21:12:09

The Chamber of the Court in Vilnius, next to Lukiškės Square around 1912

The system of appeal procedure in Lithuania has been operating for more than 400 years. The legal basis of this system is the Regulation of the Supreme Tribunal of Lithuania signed by Steponas Batoras (Stefan Batory) on 1 March 1581.

The establishment of the Supreme Tribunal of Lithuania symbolized the end of the formation of the nobility court system, the restriction of the powers of the monarch, and modernization of the court system. The first session of the Supreme Tribunal took place on 30 April 1582. The Supreme Tribunal of Lithuania which operated for more than two hundred years is one of the essential foundations of the Lithuanian appeal court system, laying the basis for further development of the judiciary and protection of individual rights.

During the Interwar period, the appeal procedure was established in civil and criminal cases. Regional courts, as courts of first instance, heard civil cases in which the amount of the claim exceeded 5,000 rubles. The district courts, as courts of first instance, heard criminal cases for offenses for which the sentence was a heavy labor prison, except for cases concerning the crimes against the state security, as well as cases concerning official crimes of the state and local government officials. Appeals against the judgments in criminal cases of the district courts were submitted to the Board of Appeal.

The Board of Appeal consisted of a president and other judges. Citizens of the Republic of Lithuania at least 25 years of age with higher legal education were eligible to become judges. In addition, they had to pass the exam and serve as a court candidate for at least one year. A person who became a district court judge and served for at least three years was eligible to be appointed as a regional court judge. A judge of the Board of Appeal could be a person who served as a district court judge for at least six years.

Judges of all courts, without exception, were appointed by the President of the Republic according to the proposal of the Minister of Justice. Candidates for the office of judge of the Board of Appeal, or more precisely their list, was drawn up by the General Assembly of the Board of Appeal. This list was made each year and submitted to the Minister of Justice.

After the restoration of independence, the Lithuanian Court of Appeal was re-established by the Law on the Establishment of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, the Court of Appeal of Lithuania, Regional Courts, the Establishment of Territorial Activities of Regional and District Courts and the Reform of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Lithuania of 15 June 1994. The Court of Appeal began to work on 1 January 1995.

Currently the Court of Appeal of Lithuania consists of civil and criminal chambers. The Court of Appeal of Lithuania operates as the appeal instance court for the decisions and judgments of all regional courts. Also, this court has the special jurisdiction for the recognition of foreign court judgments and arbitration awards and hears appeals for the annulment of awards of commercial arbitration courts established in the Republic of Lithuania.