The Novgorod Judicial Charter and the Sudbnik

Comparing the Novgorod Judicial Charter and the Susbnik of 1497 tells us a great deal about the evolution of judicial procedures after the arrival of Ivan III. The most drastic change that the Subdnik brought was the introduction of investigations into criminal proceedings. The judicial practices outlined in the Novgorod charter follow three steps: a plaintiff levels a charge, the judge issues a decision, and the defendant is punished or exonerated for wrongdoing. The charter placed restrictions on who could serve as a witness (slaves, for instance, could only act as witnesses in cases where other slaves were being tried) and the court proceedings were threaded with religious rites and rituals.… Read the rest here

Post Mongol Invasion Law

After the Mongol conquest of Russia was over, law seemed to change by putting a focus on a more civilized and fair society rather than “getting even” with another party.  The Pravada Russkaia was created in the eleventh century and is a long list of crimes and set fines to go along with them. There is little organization to this early Russian law code.

The courts are given much of the responsibility when determining which party is at fault, rather than a set list of fines, after the Mongol Invasion.… Read the rest here

Law and economy in Post-Kievan Rus

The Mongol invasion and occupation of Rus changed the economic structure of the country. People in the countryside needed the protection of nobles. This was essentially the roots of the serf system. The law system had also considerably evolved from past systems. The laws were written out and included provisions such as swearing on a cross, an equivalent to among other things our modern day swearing on the bible, and that all where equal in the eyes of the law.… Read the rest here

Law in 15th Century Rus’

The judicial system of 15th century Rus’ was significantly more developed than the old system used during the time of Kievan dominance. While we don’t have much more evidence for the Kievan judicial system, we do know the basics of the system. In contrast, a large amount of evidence remains from the Post-Kievan period that details the workings of the system, and in many cases, individual court cases.

The system used in 15th century Rus’ was probably more developed because of use and years of troubleshooting.… Read the rest here

Law and Women in Early Rus Society

The two law codes we have read for the people of Rus are very different. They show changing attitudes to governance, punishment, and women. The First law code we read, the Pravada Russkaia, mostly describes crimes that pretty much everyone would have a problem with. They are things like theft, violence, and destruction of property. The mechanism for enforcement is the wronged party. The second set of laws we have read, Iaroslav’s Statute, Are much broader.… Read the rest here