MOSCOW, November 8 - RAPSI. President Dmitry Medvedev has signed amendments to the Criminal Procedural Code proposing that criminal cases in district courts be heard by a single judge as opposed to a three-judge panel, the Kremlin's press office reported on Tuesday.

The amendments will allow federal judges to be redistributed and result in more judges being allocated to busy courts, the Kremlin said.

Meanwhile, grave offenses such as terror and extremism will be heard by a three-judge panel.

The Federation Council first turned down the legislation. The senators said it contradicts an earlier adopted presidential law setting a uniform procedure to appeal judgments, which has not yet come into force. The State Duma (the lower house of parliament) passed the law last December. It is now expected to come into force on January 1, 2013.

The State Duma and the Federation Council established a commission in early September to revise and adopt the legislation.

The new revision complies with the law expected to come into force on January 1, 2013. It was approved by both houses in October.