2012 | 5 | 1 | 121-132
Article title

Prawodawstwo sejmowe i królewskie za panowania Stefana Batorego (1576–1586). Autoreferat z obrony pracy doktorskiej, Kraków, 28 lutego 2011 r.

Title variants
The legislation as adopted by the Seym and by the King under the reign of Stephen Batory (1576–1586). The authoress’ own report delivered by her on occasion of her defence of doctoral thesis, Kraków 28 February 2011
Languages of publication
Stephen Batory ruled the Republic of the Two Nations for almost 11 years. The time of his reign was characterized by specifi c relationships between him and the Polish-Lithuanian General Seym. What was reflective of this specifi cacy were the Seym proceeding practices and the nature of the law-creating process. Since the reign of king Batory was short it is not easy to formulate the rules along which the aforementioned relationships developed. The criterion that allowed to classify the major legislative acts produced at that time was that of who produced them (the criterion of the Legislator). Other criterion – for instance the traditional one based on the scope of legislative competence of the Seym and the king – would not be possible to apply. The point was that the division of matters into those left for the legislation as made by the king and those left for the legislative activities of the Seym was not dichotomous. In producing legal norms the two entities complemented each other. At the same time they also competed with each other. As a result two interesting phenomena were observable: the interchangeability of the two law-creating agencies, i.e. that of the king and that of the Seym, and also the fl exibility of the forms assumed by the legislative acts. In the discussed period the legal norms of universally binding force were adopted at the central level either in the form of resolution as made by the General Seym or in the form of acts issued by the king. The act that was expected to be considered the legislative product of the Seym was the one which jointly fulfi lled two requirements. First, it had to be produced at the time and in the place of the Seym debates (therefore in most cases, although not always, there was made in it the allusion of the type: “at the General Seym”, in conventu generalis Regni nostri). The second thing, and simultaneously the most important one, was the information that was placed in the text of the act (unless the tenor of the information could be seen from the content of the act in an obvious way) that the act was produced “while following the advice of our Lords Counsellors and with the consent given by the Seym deputies representing the provinces (de consilio consiliariorum Nostrorum, consensusque omnium ordinum)”. Other legislative acts were qualifi ed as royal acts but the latter were not homogeneous. Thus the monarch could by himself produce universals (these were his own acts). On such occasion he operated as rex solus or cooperated with the senators (de consilio consiliariorum Nostrorum). He could also produce them upon the request and with the consent of the nobles (the so called approved acts), which was distinctly emphasized in the content of the act, the consensus of the nobles (of their representatives) to the specific provision being mentioned. The ruler acted in the capacity of the legislator both during the Seym debates as well as beyond the Seym. However the act published by the king even upon the consent of the Senators and the deputies representing the entire State was not considered to be the Seym-adopted act if it was issued beyond the place and beyond the time of the General Seym’s debates. What occurred sometimes were the combined (mixed) acts like for instance the so called Ekscepta mazowieckie. The Ekscepta were the act issued by the king on request of the Seym deputies representing the Mazovia Province. They were issued by the king beyond the place and time of the Seym debates on the basis of the document prepared in advance and submitted to the monarch, and eventually confirmed by him. One provision of the Ekscepta was however adopted by the Seym but was enclosed later to the entire text of the Ekscepta. Therefore the Ekscepta were of the nature of mixed act. Of similar nature was the Universal on tax collection of 1578. It was published as the king-issued act but, due to the specific history of its formulation, it was – from the perspective of Grand Duchy of Lithuania and almost the entire Crown (i.e. the Polish part of the Respublica) – considered to be the Seym-produced act. Also the so called Constitutions of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania seem to be an interesting type of legal acts. They should be classified as the royal ones. While exploring the legislation of King Batory’s reign, it is possible to arrive at a conclusion that the Seym-adopted statutory law (the so called Seym-produced constitutions) and the king-issued Universals that used to replace the Seym-adopted law, occupied equal position. This equality was due to the fact that in the regular circumstances the provisions contained in the Universals would fi nd themselves in the acts adopted by the Seym. We may say that in the discussed era the provisions that would regulate the law-creating process were absent and consequently accounted for such phenomena as fl exibility of the forms of legal acts and the interchangeability of legislative devices.
Physical description
  • Uniwersytet Jagielloński
Document Type
Publication order reference
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