Civil Procedural Law

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Civil Procedural Law


the branch of law that establishes the procedure for the trial and adjudication of civil cases by the court, as well as the procedure for executing decisions of the court and certain other agencies. The rules of civil procedure regulate the action of the court, bailiff, plaintiff, respondent, procurator, witnesses, and all the remaining participants in the proceedings.

Soviet civil procedural law establishes the most efficient way of finding the objective truth in each case. It guarantees successful fulfillment of the tasks of civil proceedings, including protection of the social and state structure of the USSR, the socialist economic system, and socialist property, defense of the rights and legally protected interests of citizens and organizations, strengthening Soviet legality, prevention of violations of the law, and the education of the people in the spirit of communist consciousness. The rules of civil procedural law are contained in various legislative acts. The basic principles of jurisdiction are stated in Article 9 of the Constitution of the USSR. The Basic Principles of Civil Procedure of the USSR and the Union Republics of 1961, which came into force on May 1, 1962, state and develop the constitutional principles of civil procedure and formulate its most important rules, such as the equality of the parties before the law, their freedom of choice as to the disposition of their case, and the adversarial, direct, oral, and uninterrupted character of the proceedings. The Basic Principles of Civil Procedure consolidate the main features of many institutes of the civil process, as well as the most essential concrete rules of procedure, thereby ensuring the uniformity of all procedural law.

The codes of civil procedure of the union republics are the main legislative acts by which the courts are guided. The legal norms governing the procedure for adjudicating civil cases are contained in separate laws, edicts, and decrees of government and administrative agencies as well as in international treaties and agreements. (For example, these norms are found in the Basic Principles of Civil Legislation of the USSR and the Union Republics of 1961, the Statute on the Supreme Court of the USSR of 1957, the Statute on Pro-curatorial Supervision in the USSR of 1955, and the codes of separate branches of the law, including the Civil Code and the Labor Code.)

In addition to regulating the system of deciding disputes in civil law, civil procedural law regulates the procedure for deciding legal conflicts originating from family, labor, and kolkhoz legal relationships. With some exceptions, cases subject to the jurisdiction of juridical agencies that arise from administrative legal relationships are decided according to the general rules of civil procedure. (Such cases include complaints on inaccuracies in the lists of voters, unjust imposition of penalties, and collection of tax arrears.) Also decided according to the rules of civil procedure are special proceedings, including establishment of facts that have juridical significance, recognition of a citizen’s status as a missing person, declarations of death, and the establishment of inaccuracies in documents of civil status.

The law of civil procedure is based on analogous principles in other socialist countries, where (as in the USSR), codes of civil procedure are in effect. In the majority of capitalist states the sources of civil procedural law are codes of civil procedure (for example, in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands) or particular laws (for example, in Sweden, the Charter of Proceedings of 1942, and in Denmark, the Procedural Law of 1916, which regulates questions of both civil and criminal procedure). There is a specific system of sources of civil procedural law in Great Britain and the USA, where the so-called precedent rule is in effect. These two countries do not have unified codes of civil procedure. In the USA, procedural rules are worked out by the Supreme Court, and in Great Britain, by a commission under the direction of the lord chancellor. Some states in the USA have civil procedural codes or acts on procedure.


Sovetskoe grazhdanskoe protsessual’noe pravo. Moscow, 1965.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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