City court

City court [городський суд, старостинський суд; grodskyi sud, starostynskyi sud]. Name of the lowest state courts dealing with serious crimes in medieval Poland. In 1434 city courts were introduced in Ukrainian territories under Polish rule. For peasants, Jews, Armenians, and certain categories of burghers the city courts served as courts of appeal. Gradually they replaced the land courts. The county starosta (administrator) presided over the court and was assisted by the county secretary, who kept a register not only of the court’s decisions but also of contracts and declarations of private individuals, thus giving them legal force. City courts were called castle courts in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 1 (1984).]

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