POLAND'S KING'S COURTS (1917-1918)
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On 1 September 1917 Poland's King's Courts became functional at the territory of the Kingdom of Poland, then still under German and Austro-Hungarian rule. This fact meant that as of that date, the administration of justice had passed, even if not yet completely, to Polish authorities. At the same time, the Department of Justice at the Temporary Council of State set on preparing the legal and actual foundations for the functioning of king's courts in Poland. At that time Poland's judiciary system comprised four categories of courts: the Supreme Court in Warszawa, two courts of appeal: one in Warszawa and one in Lublin, 15 district courts and 437 Justice of the Peace (JP) courts. There were either two or three levels in the hierarchy of courts: for petty crimes and minor offences the JP court had the function of a court of first instance and the district court was a court of second instance, while in more serious cases the three instance courts were the district court, the court of appeal and the Supreme Court. The structure of the system of prosecution was also hierarchical and was headed by the Head Prosecutor, while the organisation of advocates continued to be structured according to the old rules. The main accomplishments of the creators of Poland's King's courts was the introduction of Polish terminology to courts and ascertaining the Polish language the role of the official language of court proceedings in the territory of the Kingdom of Poland. Further, and more importantly, a new system of appointing judges, procurators and other court officials was implemented and Polish administration of the judiciary (performed first by the Department of Justice, and later by the Ministry of Justice) was established. The formal supervision of the functioning of courts was still, however, in the hands of the occupants. Poland's King's Courts functioned until Poland regained independence in 1918, when in an almost unchanged form they were transformed into Polish courts operating in the territory of the former Kingdom of Poland , and later, also on the so-called Eastern Lands.
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