Appeal as an Element of the Juridical Culture of Žemaitija (Samogitia)

  • Darius Vilimas
Keywords: juridical culture of the courts of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the early seventeenth century, types of books of the land court of Žemaitija (Samogitia), appeal, the Third Statute of Lithuania, nobility of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, history of Žemaitija (Samogitia)


The article investigates the appeal as an element of the juridical culture in the books of the series of land court cases in Samogitia (Žemaitija) at the beginning of the seventeenth century. After the court reform of 1564–1566 across the territory of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania when land, castle and pakamaris (pol.- podkomorzy) courts were established, the need for an effective appeal institution arose, because the court of the Grand Duke could not cope with the vast amount of cases referred to it. Following the example of Poland, the Supreme Court of Lithuania was established in 1581 and started functioning in 1582. During the period under investigation, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania already had a chief judicial appellate institution – the Supreme Tribunal of Lithuania – that had to consider the appeals brought by all three courts and very often the losing party used the appeal as the last resort. The article gives a dozen of examples of when such a right of appeal was not granted. These precedents were not that numerous in the vast mass of appeals allowed by the land court, but they show that basically the norms of the provisions of the Supreme Tribunal of Lithuania (first printed in 1586) were conformed to.