(Russian, sudebnoe razbiratel’stvo), a major stage in criminal or civil procedure.
In the USSR, judicial examination is carried out according to the procedures established by the Basic Principles of Criminal Procedure of 1958, the codes of criminal procedure of the Union republics, the Basic Principles of Civil Procedure of 1961, and the codes of civil procedure of the Union republics. It is conducted in court, with one judge and two people’s assessors. The circumstances of the case are examined directly by the court, with participation by interested parties, community representatives, and, in some cases, a procurator. Any citizen 16 years of age or older may be present in the room where the case is being heard; in exceptional cases provided for by legislation—for example, in order to protect state secrets—the case may be considered behind closed doors.
In judicial examination of criminal cases, the court decides the question of the accused’s guilt or innocence and the question of the application or nonapplication of punishment. Judicial examination of such cases occurs in several stages. In the preparation of the case, the court ascertains whether there are any obstacles to the consideration of the case in a court session, obstacles such as the failure of the parties to appear or the absence of witnesses. Judicial investigation, the pleadings, the last plea of the prisoner at the bar, and the resolution and pronouncement of judgment then follow.
Judicial examination of civil cases begins with the preparatory stage. After this, the essence of the case is heard: the plaintiff’s claims are made, the defendant’s objections are given, other participants in the case may make statements, the evidence is reviewed, the facts of the case are established, and the parties’ real mutual relations are ascertained. Then follow the pleadings and the resolution and pronouncement of the decision.