sądy miejskie w Polsce; XVI-XVIII wiek; Czynności przygotowawcze; sprawy kryminalne
"Z Dziejów Prawa" (T. 4 (2011), s. 27-49)
The towns of the pre-partition Poland were governed by a separate law, the so called German
law which between the 16th and 18th centuries already differed a lot from its Magdeburgian
prototype. The criminal trial used in these towns, despite some influences of the inquisitional
proceedings remained the features of the plaint-contradictory procedure. The trial, in principle,
started from lodging a plaint by a person in question. Thus, one can ask a question on initial and
preparatory activities preceding court proceedings, examine who initiated and conducted them.
The studies covered the practices of selected towns in Małopolska. It turns out that the very
little information on preparatory activities conducted before the plaint was lodged is available.
Thus we can assume that a small number of source information relates to the poverty of the
initial activities themselves. They were most often boiled down to individual actions, aiming at,
for instance, detecting the criminal and his/her capturing. In addition, only a part of them was
introduced by the court, the other was taken at the request of private people and there were also
the ones introduced without the engagement of a public factor. Probably, only a part of them was
inquisitive in nature.
What is more, we hardly notice more developed forms of proceedings which covered different
activities mutually complementing one another. Law and municipal practice clearly did
not manage to shape a preparatory proceeding preceding a court trial. Instead, only its elements
appeared in the form of different, often completely informal, activities.