Republic of South Sudan

Court Structure

Supreme Court

Located in the heart of Juba, the capital city of South Sudan, the Supreme Court is the highest court in the land and custodian of the country’s Constitution and the constitutions of the 10 states and three administrative areas.

This Court is headed by the Chief Justice, assisted by a deputy. The Supreme court is primarily made up of these two plus five other justices.

The court is vested with exclusive and original jurisdiction to adjudicate on any legal disputes arising either under the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan or state constitutions.

Other jurisdictions include review and cassation in respect of any criminal, civil and administrative matters arising out of or under the law, interpretation of laws and the power of Judicial review.

Unlike other courts in the country, decisions or judgements of the Supreme Court are final and binding in all courts of law, including customary courts. 

The Supreme Court sits in panels of three justices on each matter except on constitutional issues when a quorum of not less than nine judges is required.

Their decisions, taken by majority, are final and binding.

Court of Appeal

This Court, which consists of a president and four other justices, is the second highest court in the country and it has three main branches across the country in Juba, Wau and Rumbek.

The Courts of Appeal mostly hear cases of appeal referred from the high courts and their decisions can also be appealed at the Supreme Court.

High Court

There is a High Court in each of the ten states of South Sudan and the three administrative areas. High Courts are vested with exclusive and original jurisdiction over all murder cases and hear appeals from the County courts.

County Court

County Courts represent the fourth tier of the judicial system. By law, each county must have a County Court. However, insufficient resources and a short supply of trained personnel to man these courts has hobbled efforts by the government to establish courts in each county.

South Sudan’s Code of Criminal Procedure, limits the original jurisdiction of County Courts to criminal cases that carry sentences of not more than seven years’ imprisonment and fines not exceeding 5000 SSP.

However, the constitution has provisions for the establishment of more courts or tribunals should the need arise.