What is the structure and organisation of local courts dealing with commercial claims? What is the final court of appeal?
Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Commercial disputes are administered by general courts, which are organised in a three-tier system; district courts, courts of appeal and the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is the ultimate national court to which a commercial case can be appealed. Some commercial disputes have specific fora; most importantly those relating to maritime matters and patent or trademark matters. The former are administered by seven of the approximately 50 district courts and the latter exclusively by the Stockholm District Court. Finally, the Swedish Labour Court is the exclusive forum in matters governed by the Swedish Labour Disputes (Judicial Procedure) Act (Sw. lag om rättegång i arbetstvister).
The local Courts are arranged as follow:
- First Instance Courts - allocated to districts and with material jurisdiction;
- Court of Appeal – allocated to 5 districts which cover all national territory;
- Supreme Court.
Constitutional Court – an appeal can be submitted to this court in specific situations and in order to argue the constitutionality of a law applied in a particular case.
The UAE consists of 7 emirates with each emirate having its own local courts. The courts are structured into 3 levels, the Court of First Instance, the Court of Appeal and the Court of Cassation.
All appeals with the Court of Cassation are filed in the capital emirate of Abu Dhabi except for Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah which have their own Courts of Cassation.
The official language for all courts is Arabic and the courts obtain statements of parties that do not speak Arabic through interpreters on oath.
The Commercial Court is divided into circuits. Appeals from first instance tribunals of the Commercial Court go to the Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court is the final court of appeal, but its involvement in commercial disputes is limited.
The specialized tribunals each have their own appeals tribunals.
Formally, commercial cases have to start in a local conciliation board. However, in most commercial disputes, the case can be brought directly to one of the about 60 district courts that handle all disputes in the first instance. Judgements from the district courts can be appealed to one of six regional courts of appeal. If leave to appeal is given, the Supreme Court is the final court of appeal.
Federal courts have a three-tiered system comprised of trial courts, known as “district courts”, intermediate Courts of Appeal and a final court of appeal, known as the Supreme Court.
Local state courts also generally have a three-tiered system comprised of a trial court, an intermediate “appellate” court and a final court of appeal, often known as the state’s Supreme Court.
In general, the Austrian civil court system has three instances. In the first instance, the competent court for civil and commercial disputes is either a district court (“Bezirksgericht”) or a regional court (“Landesgericht”) depending on the subject-matter and the value in dispute. It should be noted that commercial disputes are governed by the same procedural rules as civil law disputes.
District courts have jurisdiction in cases involving a value in dispute of up to EUR 15,000. Regional courts have jurisdiction over disputes exceeding EUR 15,000 as well as in all competition or intellectual property matters and with regard to specific statutes such as the Data Protection Act, irrespective of the amount in dispute.
In Vienna, two specialised commercial courts exist. One is the Commercial District Court Vienna and the other, the Commercial Court Vienna as regional court for commercial matters. Outside of Vienna, the above-mentioned ordinary courts decide as commercial courts.
Judgments of first instance may be appealed to either regional or higher regional courts depending on whether a district or regional court decided in the first place. A further appeal against that decision to the Austrian Supreme Court (“Oberste Gerichtshof”) is possible in limited circumstances (for more information please see question 17 below).