Justice, Administration of

Justice, Administration of

 

(pravosudie), a form of state activity that involves hearings and resolutions by courts of cases within the courts’ competence: crimes, civil litigation, and so forth. The chief elements in administering justice are establishing the fact or event about which the judicial proceedings revolve, such as a crime or property relations, applying the appropriate legal norm to this fact, and making a judgment based on the given legal norm in the case being heard. The judgment may involve finding the defendant guilty and sentencing him or acquitting him or granting a claim or refusing to do so. In its actions the court follows the procedural rules established by law.

The administration of justice always has a class and political nature. It is directed to preserve and strengthen existing social orders and defend the interests of ruling classes. V. I. Lenin, characterizing the bourgeois court, wrote that it “claimed to maintain order, but, as a matter of fact, was a blind, subtle instrument for the ruthless suppression of the exploited, and an instrument for protecting the interests of the money-bags” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 35, p. 270).

The activity of bourgeois courts, which defend the interests of the exploiter classes, contradicts the popular idea of the administration of justice being an expression of what is just, and the bourgeois court’s operation convinces working people that the court has a class bias.

The socialist administration of justice is based on the principles of socialist democracy and legality. The Soviet socialist administration of justice is intended to guard against all encroachments the state and social order of the USSR, the rights and legal interests of Soviet citizens, and the rights and legally protected interests of state establishments and public organizations. The administration of justice must ensure exact and unfailing execution of the laws by all establishments, organizations, officials, and citizens of the USSR. In the USSR, justice is administered only by courts, that is, no other state body or public organization has the right to perform this function. Accordingly, no one can be found guilty of committing a crime except by the verdict of a court, and only by a court sentence may a convicted person be subject to punishment.

The basic principles of Soviet administration of justice include the accountability of an elective judiciary and elective people’s assessors, the right to recall judges or people’s assessors, publicity of judicial proceedings, and participation by, public prosecutors and defenders in the courts. The independence of the judiciary and its subordination to the law alone are crucial principles of socialist administration of justice. The administration of justice is based on the principle that citizens are equal before the law and the court regardless of their material wealth or their social or professional positions, national or racial affiliations, or religious beliefs.

REFERENCE

Demokraticheskie osnovy sovetskogo sotsialisticheskogopravosudiia. Moscow, 1965.

M. S. STROGOVICH

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