President Putin meets top Russian judges

Russian President Vladimir Putin has held a working meeting with Chairman of the Russian Constitutional Court Valery Zorkin, Chairman of the Supreme Court Vyacheslav Lebedev and Chairman of the Supreme Court of Arbitration Veniamin Yakovlev.

"Today the legislators solved the issue of the arbitration courts' restructuring," the head of state said, while opening the meeting.

Putin recalled that he had pointed to the importance of this law in his 2002 State of the Nation Address. "From now on, issues related to appealing in the court which took the original decision will not be considered," the president elaborated. He said this decision was "absolutely correct" and it would make the system of arbitrage courts more objective and just.

Vladimir Putin also proposed to discuss the funding of the judicial system. He stressed that "the 2004 budget process began" and that serious advance in the judicial reform implementation was planned for that year. He stressed that "funding was notably increased" last year. In 2003, it was increased by another 33%. "This is a contribution to creating a really independent and strong judicial power," Putin believes.

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