Justice of the peace

Justice of the peace. A non-professional judge who serves as an independent judicial agent in the settling of minor civil and criminal matters. This office has existed as an institution in Western Europe and England since the 14th century. In the Russian Empire, justices of the peace were introduced after the judicial reforms of 1864. Local county or city assemblies, consisting of citizens who owned property or were educated, elected the justices to three-year terms, subject to Senate ratification. In the gubernias of Right-Bank Ukraine (Kyiv gubernia, Volhynia gubernia, and Podilia gubernia), justices of the peace were appointed by the minister of justice. An act of 1899 abolished the office, except in large cities (Kharkiv and Odesa). In 1912 the office was re-established, and justices remained active until the Revolution of 1917.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1988).]

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