The Supreme Court is described in the Constitution as "the highest judicial authority" that directs "all...judicial agencies and also establishes supervision over their judicial activity." It is elected for a four-year term by the People's Great Hural, and it presides over the lower structure made up of eighteen aymag courts and local somon courts. Members of the local court structure were elected locally, and the judges for these courts served three-year terms. Elected in May 1986, the chairman of the Supreme Court, Lubsandorjiyn Renchin, had a first deputy and two other deputies, including the chairmen of the criminal affairs and the military affairs collegia.
The Procurator of the Republic exercises "supreme supervision over the precise observance of laws by all ministries and other central agencies of administrations, institutions and organizations." The procurator was appointed by the People's Great Hural for a term of four years.
The law and the legal system were described officially as being solidly grounded in the ideology of Marxism-Leninism. The purpose was to ensure that the socioeconomic order produced and shaped a distinctive political, economic, and legal superstructure. Within this context, the principal function of law was to regulate the economy and to contribute to the building of socialism. As of 1989, there still was a limited role for custom in the area of socialist law, but only those considered compatible with prevailing legal norms persisted. There also was a new emphasis on equal rights for women. For the most part, the law functioned as a body of prescriptive regulations that guided social relationships and interpreted the duties of citizens in ways that the party found to be in the best interests of society and development. In general, regulations and codes controlled more areas of life than ever before.
Two separate legal codes form the basis of Mongolian law--the Civil Code and the Criminal Code. The Civil Code, which went into effect in April 1963, was modeled closely on the code adopted by the Soviet Union in 1963. This code regulates personal relations more carefully than had been the case before its enactment. It extends certain rights, including protecting the honor and the dignity of citizens. The code enlarges the discussion of obligations to include contracts of delivery and carriage-- matters essential to efficient business operations. There also are law codes that apply to the family and to the workplace.
Formal training in law was given under the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Mongolian State University. Beginning in 1980, 100 full-time students per year were enrolled
at this institution. Although the Constitution contains no channel of appeal, the law does provide for appeals of all verdicts except those of the Supreme Court.
Mongolia Judicial: Local Administration
In Mongolia's organizational pyramid, government beneath the national level was carried out by assemblies of people's deputies operating in the eighteen aymags and the three provinciallevel autonomous cities (hots), sometimes called "republic cities." In the late 1980s, each aymag continued to be divided into about thirty somons; towns and population centers within a somon were apportioned into "districts and districts-in-cities." Each of these administrative divisions had its corresponding governing assembly of people's deputies. Some continuity between the Mongolian People's Republic and the traditional Mongolian political culture was provided in preserving the terms aymag, which was a fifteenth-century word for a tribal unit, and somon, which was the traditional basic-level administrative unit. Aymags were established on the basis of geographic boundaries, ethnic groupings, economic conditions, population density, and convenience of administrative control. Somons were the basic units of administration within aymags, and they were where the greatest interaction between government and the people took place.
Deputies to the local assemblies are elected for three-year terms, according to the Constitution. In June 1987, a total of 15,967 deputies were elected to local assemblies, by the usual 99.98 percent of the vote cast. Regular sessions of aymag and autonomous municipal assemblies convened at least twice a year. Sessions of somon and district assemblies were convoked at least three times a year. Each local assembly elected presidiums to administer the government between sessions of the assemblies. Presidiums were composed of a chairman, a deputy chairman, a secretary, and members who included party functionaries and local luminaries residing in the administrative centers.
Within their respective jurisdictions, the assemblies and their presidiums were responsible for directing "economic and cultural-political construction," for supervising the economic and cooperative organizations, for confirming and implementing the economic plan and local budgets, for ensuring the observance of laws, and for making certain that all citizens were fully involved in the work of the state. Superior assemblies of people's deputies were empowered to "change or repeal" decisions of lower assemblies and their presidiums.
Procurators and courts also functioned at the local levels. Local procurators were appointed by the state procurator for three-year terms, and they were subordinate "only to the superior procurator" in the system. Courts were elected by deputies of the corresponding assemblies of people's deputies, also for threeyear terms; precinct-level courts were formed by direct elections and by secret ballot for three-year terms.