MOSCOW, December 12 (RAPSI) – The merger of Russia’s Supreme Court and Supreme Commercial Court will foster greater equality to the justice system, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday during his annual Federation Council address.

“The courts’ merger will lead the judicial practice in one direction, and will strengthen the guarantees of the most important constitutional principle – equality before the law,” the president explained.

President Putin proposed merging the Supreme Court with the Supreme Commercial Court in June.

In the Russian judicial system, general jurisdiction courts consider civil lawsuits, crimes and cases involving administrative offenses. This branch of the system is headed by the Supreme Court. Commercial courts hear economic disputes between legal entities pertaining to civil, administrative and other relationships. The draft law on the merger proposes that  the Supreme Commercial Court should be dissolved within six months after the Constitution is amended.