Prior to the 1992 constitution, justice was administered through a Supreme Court elected by the People's Great Hural; province and city courts, elected by the corresponding assemblies of people's deputies; and lower courts. The 17-member Supreme Court remains the highest judicial body with a Constitutional Court vested with sole authority for constitutional review. The local courts (people's courts) handle most routine civil and criminal cases. Provincial courts hear more serious cases and review local court decisions. The Supreme Court hears appeals from the local and provincial courts. The old specialized military justice and railway courts have been abolished. All courts are now organized under a single unified national system.
The General Council of Courts nominates and the president appoints the lower and the Supreme Court judges.
The new constitution provides for a completely independent judiciary. It also promises procedural due process rights to a fair trial, legal assistance, right to appeal, and access to requests for pardons, among others.