MOSCOW, June 21 (RAPSI) - Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed merging the Supreme Court with the Supreme Commercial Court, and amending the Consitution accordingly. 

President Putin said during a plenary session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, "I propose combining the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation and the Supreme Commercial Court, in which case it would be necessary to amend the Russian Constitution."

He added that this is a serious issue that needs to be considered carefully. He then urged representatives of the judiciary and legislature to unify their efforts, and urged that the issue should be considered in the legislature's fall session. 

He added that a draft law will be submitted to the legislature in the near future.

In the Russian judicial system, general jurisdiction courts consider civil lawsuits, crimes and cases involving administrative offenses. This branch of the system is headed by the Supreme Court. Commercial courts hear economic disputes between legal entities pertaining to civil, administrative and other relationships.

Lawmaker Yelena Mizulina reportedly said at a State Duma plenary meeting last month that a two-branch court system is negatively affecting the people.

Supreme Commercial Court Chairman Anton Ivanov warned last March that such a merger would threaten to weaken the influence of the federal supreme courts on regional justice, saying, "There is not a single country where an entire federal system would link to one court - not with such a large number of disputes and regions.” 

He said it would be too difficult for a single court to operate in Russia, "and it will practically lose influence on the proceedings."

Commercial courts reporting directly to the Supreme Court would make things worse, as there are many lower general courts reporting to it already, he said. The European Court of Human Rights also recognizes Russian commercial courts as an effective legal protection tool.