Council of Lords

Council of Lords (Pany-rada). Institution of the central government of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the period preceding the Union of Lublin (1569). The council evolved from the grand duke's boyar council)s (see Boyar Council) and the council of Vilnius administrators of the grand duchy. Until the end of the 15th century the council based itself on customary law. The privileges bestowed on it in the charters of 1492 and 1506 made the council a permanent, legally entrenched institution. At first the council consisted of the most prominent and influential feudal lords—the paniata and kniazhata and several representatives of the central government. As it evolved the number of members without office decreased while the number of government and Roman Catholic church representatives increased.

The council had wide powers in foreign, internal, administrative, legislative, judiciary (it could try members of the privileged estates), and financial matters. At the same time the council was an advisory body that the grand duke consulted in making the most important decisions of state. In the 16th century the council became a kind of upper chamber of the General Diet (Valnyi Soim) representing the ruling estates.




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