Sudebnik of 1550

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Sudebnik of tsar Ivan IV (Russian: Судебник), a revised code of laws instituted by his grandfather Ivan the Great. This code can be considered as the result of the first Russian parliament of the feudal Estates type (Zemsky Sobor) of 1549.

The Sudebnik of 1550 liquidated judicial privileges of the aristocracy and strengthened the role of the system of the judicial bodies of the state.

The Sudebnik provided the active participation of the elective representatives of local communities (rural heads, jurymen, tselovalniki,dvorskie etc.) in the legal proceedings.

According to the Sudebnik the arrest of suspected person could be made at the consent of the local community only. The representative of a community (dyak) participated in judicial office-work.

According to the Sudebnik the town and rural communities had rights of the self-management and the distribution of taxes.

Also the Sudebnik confirmed the right of peasants to leave their feudal lords. The law precisely defined the peasant had the right to leave the landowner after the payment of two fixed fees ("break-away" fee called pozhiloye and the transportation fee called povoz).


  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainBrockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary (in Russian). 1906. 
  • Беляев И.Д. Крестьяне на Руси. Исследование о постепенном изменении значения крестьян в русском обществе. М. 1891 Типография Общества распространения полезных книг