Formation And Development Of Constitutional And Legal Responsibility In The Ukrainian Lands In The Lithuanian-Polish Period


  • V.V. Knysh



Lithuanian-Polish state, Rzecz Pospolita, legal system of the Lithuanian-Polish state, legal system of the Rzecz Pospolita, responsibility, social responsibility, social and legal responsibility, legal responsibility, constitutional and legal responsibility, constitutional and legal responsibility of state bodies.


The article examines the peculiarities of the genesis and further development of constitutional and legal responsibility in the Ukrainian lands in the Lithuanian- Polish era. The author’s conviction that during the Lithuanian-Polish period in the Ukrainian lands the main administrative tendencies and sources of law of this period influenced the formation and development of the institution of constitutional and legal responsibility in the Ukrainian lands. To such features of the investigated type of responsibility, it is necessary to carry a number of features. The first of them was a combination of centralization and decentralization in the field of positive constitutional and legal responsibility and the implementation of state policy between the Grand Duke of Lithuania and local princes in the fourteenth century. In this case, the relationship between the Grand Duke and local princes were vassal. Local princes had broad autonomy in internal affairs, but, at the request of the Grand Duke, had to participate in military campaigns with his army and pay tribute. Thus, the centralizing tendencies of responsibility concerned the Grand Duke of Lithuania and were reduced to positive responsibility for the military-defence sphere and national taxes. As for the decentralization principles of responsibility, it was the sphere of local princes, which was reduced to broad internal powers in the lands under their control.

The second significant feature was the centralization of power and the growing role of constitutional and legal responsibility of the Grand Duke during the fifteenth century with a simultaneous narrowing of the powers and responsibilities of local princes. In particular, the Privilege of 1434 finally consolidated the loss of state rights of local princes and turned them into subjects of the Grand Duke.

The third feature was the redistribution of the principles of positive constitutional and legal responsibility based on caste-representative principles, the priority of collegial (collective) responsibility over individual. This was manifested in the fact that at the end of the fifteenth century. Century expanded the competence of the lords of the council, which was formed of the most influential vassals of the Grand Duke (princes, magnates, boyars, lords, including Ukrainian, church hierarchs) and acted initially as an advisory body. In particular, under the privilege of 1492, the prince decided the most important state affairs together with the gentlemen-advisers. This included issues of foreign policy, the issuance and repeal of laws, the appointment and dismissal of senior government officials, the implementation of expenditures from the state treasury, court decisions. The privilege of 1506 further strengthened the legal position of the council. Now, if the opinions of the gentlemen-advisers did not coincide with the views of the prince, the latter had to obey the council. In the absence of the Grand Duke, the council was to govern all domestic and foreign policy - with the right to declare war, inclusive. The Lithuanian Statute of 1529 recognized the Great Free Seimas as a state body. The formation of the Seimas, as a representative parliamentary body, lasted until the middle of the sixteenth century. If at first local administrators-govemors with several nobles came to the Diet, then from 1564 the nobility began to elect two representatives from the county to the Diet. The fourth feature of the period under study was the expansion of powers and constitutional liability of the Seim of the Commonwealth for legislative activities and international relations, while reducing the scope of such responsibility for the King of the Commonwealth under the Union of Lublin in 1569.