Composition and StructureThe Supreme Court is composed of the President, the Vice-President, Heads of Divisions, presiding judges and other judges. The President and Vice-President are appointed by the President of the Republic for a 10-year term.
The Supreme Court sits in panels or in Grand Panels of the Divisions. Currently, the Supreme Court has two Divisions – the Civil and Commercial Division and the Criminal Division.
The President of the Supreme Court has a managerial and administrative role. The President also participates in the decision-making, appoints Heads of Divisions, presiding judges and assistants to judges and also court employees to managerial positions. He issues the Organisational and Office Rules and, following discussions at the Plenary Session, the Rules of Procedure. Upon consultation with the Council of Judges, he issues a work schedule for every calendar year. The President of the Supreme Court convenes and presides the Plenary Sessions, and determines their programme. He proposes standpoints on courts’ decision-making to the Plenary Session and to the Divisions. On the basis of final courts´ decisions, the President also makes proposals addressed to the Divisions of the Plenary Session for adoption of a standpoint on the courts decision-making in matters of particular kind.
The Vice-President of the Supreme Court takes part in the performance of the Court´s administrative and judicial work, especially representing the President of the Supreme Court in his/her absence, carries out other duties delegated to him/her by the President of the Supreme Court.
As a rule, the Supreme Court sits in panels or in Grand Panels of the Divisions. Three-member panels consists of a presiding judge responsible for organising its work, and two judges. The panels decide, in particular, on appeals on points of law and on the recognition and enforceability of decisions of foreign courts in the Czech Republic, and in criminal cases they also decide on complaints claiming violations of the law.
The Grand Panels of the Divisions were constituted at the Supreme Court of the Czech Republic in 2001. They are made up of at least nine judges of the same Division and shall decide the case if any of the panels of the Supreme Court referred the case to it. The panel of the Supreme Court shall do so if it holds a legal opinion that differs from a previous legal opinion already expressed in another decision of the Supreme Court.
The judges of the Supreme Court form Divisions according to their specialization. Nowadays, the Supreme Court has two Divisions, namely the Civil and Commercial Division and the Criminal Division. Each Division is presided over by a Head of the Division who manages and organizes its activities. The Divisions adopt opinions on courts’ decision-making practice, monitor and evaluate their final decisions and generalise the findings. They initiate proposals for standpoints on courts’ decision-making, submitting their suggestions to the President of the Supreme Court to adopt standpoints on the courts decision-making in matters of particular kind referred to them by the Division. Upon proposals by the President of the Supreme Court, Heads of Divisions and Heads of Grand Panels, the Divisions adopt standpoints, and select and decide to include seminal decisions in the Collection of Judicial Decisions and Standpoints. The Divisions hold their meetings in private.
The Plenary session consists of the President of the Supreme Court, the Vice-President, Heads of the Divisions, presiding judges and other judges of the Supreme Court. It is the most important collective body of the Supreme Court. It discusses the Rules of Procedure of the Supreme Court and adopts opinions on the courts’ decision-making on issues concerning the Divisions or issues on which the Divisions differ in their views. The Plenary sessions are held in private.
COUNCIL OF JUDGES
The Council of Judges was established at the Supreme Court as an advisory body for the President of the Supreme Court. Members are elected at the assembly of all Supreme Court Judges for a term of five years.