Circuit Session of a Court

Circuit Session of a Court

 

in the USSR, the consideration by a court of a criminal case at the place where the crime was committed or where the accused or the victim resided, worked, or was educated; in a civil case, the consideration of a case in the place of residence, work, or education of the plaintiff or defendant. The purpose of holding circuit sessions is to draw the attention of the community to the trial, reinforce its educational effect on the citizens, create an intolerant attitude toward breaking the law, and prevent further transgressions of the law.

Approximately 25 percent of all criminal cases where a conclusion to indict has been drawn up and from 7 to 9 per-cent of civil suits are handled by circuit sessions. The Supreme Court of the USSR has indicated to lower courts the need for a more extensive use of circuit sessions, taking into account the timeliness and social significance of the cases as well as the educational and preventive effect that may result from the consideration of such cases in circuit sessions (for example, see decisions of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of the USSR of Dec. 19, 1959; May 14, 1962; Dec. 22, 1964; and Feb. 25, 1967). In deciding whether to hold a circuit session, the court considers the nature of the act committed and the prevalence of a given type of crime, as well as the motives for the crime, the circumstances in which it was committed, the personality of the transgressor, and the presence in the case of circumstances deserving broad social condemnation. The initiative in deciding whether to hold a circuit session of a court may lie with the procurator as well as with the court itself. Petitions for circuit sessions can be presented by public organizations at the place of residence, work, or education of the accused or victim in criminal cases, or plaintiff or defendant in civil cases. The determination to hold a circuit session of a court is expressed either in the form of a decree by the judge or in the decision of the court to arraign (in criminal cases) or to hear a suit (in civil cases).

T. N. DOBROVOL’SKAYA

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