On 2 December, 1864 the Russian Emperor Alexander II has signed into law a number of fundamental statutes on court system, which, being taken together, constitute the most profound and radical legal reform that has ever occurred in Russia. It brought into life a new courts structure, alongside with judge's independence and irremovability, the participation of jurors in criminal proceedings, the bar (advocates) and notaries, as well as many other novelties. Among them, a particular emphasis should be made on the need of uniformity in law-application, that is, on the duty of courts to follow judicial precedents made by the Ruling Senate as the supreme cassational court. This right to issue authoritative interpretations of the law was entrusted to the cassational departments of the Senate by 1864 statutes on both civil and criminal proceedings.
To evaluate the significance of this comprehensive and ground-breaking reform of 1864 and its impact on the law of other states, we recommend our visitors to read a recent issue of the Russian Law Journal
(in the English language), which is entirely devoted to it. Download the issue