How do cases appear before the Japan Supreme Court?

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The Supreme Court is the highest court in Japan and the final arbitrator of legal disputes.  For a case to get heard by the Supreme Court it must have been litigated, and have reached a judgment, at every lower court without having settled or been dismissed.  Therefore, it is quite rare for cases to reach the level of the Supreme Court in Japan.

However, the number of cases that the Supreme Court accepts and decides has been rising almost every year for the past two decades.  While the Supreme Court only decided 1,842 cases in 1989, in 2012 the Court heard and ruled on 5,111 cases.  In spite of this large increase in case load, the number of cases pending before the court has only increased from 1,084 to 2,171.

If you have questions about litigation in Japan, please contact our office for a legal consultation.