The Sources of Polish Law up to the End of the 18th Century

The Sources of Polish Law up to the End of the 18th Century

The Polish law developed, up to the century. XIV, almost exclusively with a character of customary law; and although, starting from the century. XIV, the legislative activity increased significantly, customary law retained a great importance until the fall of the Polish state. This customary law is made known to us, first, from the documents, and later, from the registers of the courts. The originals of the documents have been preserved since the beginning of the century. XII, mainly in the ecclesiastical archives, as well as in the numerous collections of copies. Character of a large collection of copies of documents had the so-called Kingdom Metrics, that is to say, the registers of the royal chancellery, in which the documents issued by the sovereign were recorded; the numerous volumes of the Metric dating from the year 1447, held by the century. XVI onwards with great care. The formulas (the oldest ones are from the 15th century) do not have great importance for science in Poland. The registers of the Polish courts, kept with great care by the various courts of all kinds, were kept since the end of the century. XIV and include an immense number of volumes; they are kept, not only in the archives of Warsaw, Krakow, Poznań, Lviv, Vilna, Lublin, which are located on the territory of today’s Polish state, but also in Gdansk and Kiev. The collections of customary law were not numerous; the oldest comes from the second half of the century. XIII, and was written in German, on the territory subject to the Teutonic Order, in order to make known to the employees of the order the law in force for the Polish population, domiciled in the territories belonging to the order. Among the later collections the most important are: the Artyku ł y s ą dowe (Articles of the courts) of the century. XV (39 articles) and the Consuetudines Cracovienses (40 articles), which were sanctioned by the king in 1506. Apart from some minor earlier statutes, the Statutes of King Casimir the Greatthey were the first major legislative monument of Polish law. The date of their promulgation is not known (in ancient times it was erroneously fixed at 1347). They were promulgated by King Casimir (1333-1370) separately for Lesser and Greater Poland. Preliminary judgments and other dissolved statutes were later added to the oldest drafting of the statute for Little Poland, consisting of 59 articles, in a second draft (of 106 articles); the statute for Greater Poland consisted of 34 articles, to which another 17 articles of various juridical character were added later. In practice, during the century. XV, the two statutes in question were united in a single work; one of these redactions (of 151 articles) was printed in the year 1488, in a private collection, and later, in 1506, in an official collection of Polish laws, and, the latter version seems to have been in force until the fall of the ancient republic; this collection was considered (erroneously) as a homogeneous codification of Casimir the Great. In the century XV, the statutes were published in a fairly large number; among these the statute, published in Warta in the year 1423, which is nothing but a “short story” to the statutes of Casimir the Great, and the statute, published in Piotrków in the year 1447, are above all important. the Polish diet arose, the legislation passed for most of the subjects to it, but for some subjects it was reserved to the sovereign himself. The laws enacted by the diet bore the name of to the statutes of Casimir the Great, and the statute, published in Piotrków in the year 1447. From the day the Polish diet arose, the legislation passed for most of the matters to it, but for some matters it was reserved to the sovereign himself. The laws enacted by the diet bore the name ofconstitutions ; at the end of the diet, all the decrees issued by it were published together, in the form of a single collection. The publication of the first constitutions bears the date of the year 1493, the publication of the last ones, that of 1793. For Poland 1997, please check

In the century XVI appear the first currents aimed at codifying Polish law. In the year 1523 the codification of the judicial process was published, under the title Formula processus iudicarii (101 articles). In 1532 a commission was set up for the codification of all Polish law; the diet, however, rejected the project, carefully compiled and containing 929 articles. In the same century, the particular law of a Polish region was also codified twice, namely that of Masovia, which formed a duchy a. part, demonstrating quite different legal peculiarities; this right was codified after the incorporation of Masovia to Poland in the so-called Masovian Statutesof the years 1532 and 1540, while a large collection of customary law and 25 antecedent statutes of the Masovian dukes were included in the codification in question. In the year 1598, the law in force in the Polish region, called Royal Prussia, was also codified, albeit insufficiently; this codification bears the name of Correctura Prussiae (158 articles). The codification work in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, united with Poland since the year 1386, was more successful; during the sec. XVI the law was codified there three times, and, more precisely, in the so-called Lithuanian Statutes, the first of the year 1529 (244 articles), the second of 1566 (368 articles) and the third of 1588 (1488 articles); these statutes were based on Lithuanian and Ruthenian customary rights. In the second of them, however, a considerable influence of Polish law can already be detected, in the third this influence appears even stronger. The later works for the codification of Polish law, both partial (procedural law in 1611 and 1642) and total (project compiled in the year 1778 by Andrea Zamoyski, on behalf of the diet), did not lead to any result. Only in the year 1775 was a small (49 articles) Code of Exchange Law (together with the exchange procedure) published, based on the work of Giovanni Gotlieb Heinecius, Elementa iuris cambialis, to which the character of auxiliary law had been attributed. It should be noted that, in the year 1519, the king promulgated the Armenian Statute (134 articles), based on the ancient Armenian law and mainly on the collection of it, made in Armenia around the year 1184 by Mechitar Gosh; this right was in force for the Armenians, who settled in very large numbers in the cities of eastern Poland.

The first edition of the Polish laws, private and very insufficient, was published in Leipzig in the year 1488 and is known under the title of Syntagmata ; in 1506, Chancellor Giovanni Łaski published, on behalf of the Diet, a large collection of Polish laws, entitled Inclyti Regni Poloniae commune Privileium, which remained in use until the end of the existence of the ancient Polish state. From that time on, the constitutions issued by the diet were usually given to the press when the diet was closed. In the years 1732-1739, under the title Volumina Legum, an unofficial collection of Polish laws was published in six volumes, later completed by two other volumes, which contain the further constitutions, up to the year 1782.

From the century XVI onwards, the norms of Polish law began to be collected in the so-called Compendiums, both systematically (Przyłuski 1553, Zierakowski 1554, Palczowski 1555, Herburt 1563, Sarnicki 1594, Januszowski 1600, Trembicki 1789-1791, etc.), and alphabetically (Herburt 1570). The whole of Polish political law was compiled by the following authors: Dresner (1613), Chwałkowski (1676), Hartknoch (1678), Zalasżowski (1700-1702, also private and criminal law), G. Lengnich (1742-1756, the most complete), Skrzetuski (1782-1784). They devoted themselves especially to the process: Dresner (1601), the Czaracki (1614) who wrote in Polish, and above all, in a broader form the Zawadzki (1612), who expanded the numerous subsequent editions (up to the year 1647) and lastly, Nixdorff (1655). The compilation of private, procedural criminal law, in the last times of the existence of the ancient Polish republic, is due to the

Polish Law

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