The public service of Polish landed gentry in gmina courts of the Lublin county in the years 1876–1915

Arkadiusz Bereza

Abstract


In 1876 a new model of jurisdiction was introduced in the Kingdom of Poland, based on the Russian law of 1864 on the organisation of the judiciary. The justice was administered by gmina (‘rural district’) courts, justices of the peace, conferences of the justices of the peace and regional courts, the Warsaw Chamber of Justice and the Senate as the supreme court of cassation. The new model involved the division into two systems of courts, i.e. common courts and justice-of-the-peace courts, which were not related by the principle of the right of appeal.The bodies of peace jurisdiction were gmina courts in the rural areas, justices of the peace in towns and the appeal-cassation instance in the form of the conference of justices of the peace. New gmina courts adjudicated in the panel of one gmina the judge and two jurors elected by the local population for the period of three years. In the Lublin county there were established four gmina courts which would gradually become more and more dominated by representatives of landed gentry following successive elections. This stemmed not only from the property qualification adopted with the passive voting rights, but mostly from the education qualification. Landed gentry got involved in the electoral campaign, seeing municipal jurisdiction as a form of acting for the benefit of the local community. For 40 years, i.e. until the evacuation of Russians from the Kingdom of Poland, the position of the gmina judge in the Lublin county was held by a number of landowners, who were also known among the local population for their charity and cultural activities as well as those aiming at the economic development of the Lublin region. These were among others Kornel Ligowski, Władysław Graff, Stefan Kazimierz Kowerski and Henryk Sachs. Due to their activities, based on the sense of fulfilling the public mission as well as the fair
settlement of disputes, they contributed to the growing authority of the gmina court. Thus, it was seen by the local community as its ‘own court’ at the time of the Russification of all other spheres
of public life.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17951/sil.2013.19.0.49
Data publikacji: 2015-07-12 03:05:20
Data złożenia artykułu: 2015-07-07 22:27:21


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