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Micronesia Courts System Information
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|Pacific Courts - Federated State of Micronesia|
FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA *
Under Article XI of the Constitution, the Supreme Court is the highest court in the nation. It has original and exclusive jurisdiction in cases involving disputes between states, foreign officials, admiralty and maritime cases, FSM Constitution, national laws or treaties and other domestic laws. The Supreme Court has both a Trial and an Appellate Division and may have inferior courts established by statute.
In Pohnpei, Article 10 of the State Constitution vests Pohnpei s judicial power in the Pohnpei Supreme Court and in such inferior courts as may be established by statute. The Pohnpei Supreme Court consists of a Chief Justice and up to four Associate Justices. The Supreme Court is divided into a Trial and Appellate Division. Each justice of the Pohnpei Supreme Court is a member of both the Trial Division and the Appellate Division. A single justice may hear a case in the Trial Division but no less the three may form an Appellate panel. The trial justice must not sit on appeal.
In Yap, the State Court may have a Chief Justice and at least two Associate Justices. The State Court also has a Trial and Appellate Division. Just as in Pohnpei's case, one judge may sit for the Trial Division but not less than three for appeals. The Trial Division has original jurisdiction and the Appellate Division has jurisdiction to hear all cases heard in the Trial Division. Justices of the State Court are appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the legislature, and serve for six years. Yap law also provides for a court in each municipality. The courts are presided over by judges knowledgeable in custom with an aim to settle minor disputes arising in the municipality before it gets to the State Courts. The Trial Division of the State Court can order a case to be transferred to it if it considers the municipal court incapable of handling it.
* For more information on the Judicial system in Federated States of Micronesia refer to Jean G Zorn The Federated States of Micronesia” in Michael A. Ntumy South Pacific Legal Systems (University of Hawai'i Press, Honolulu, 1993) 462.