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FRANCE

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Originally appearing in Volume V23, Page 879 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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FRANCE, Law and Institutions). From the town The judge (ispravnik), who, in spite of the principle laid ordinary down in 1864, combines judicial and administrative tribunals. functions, an appeal lies (as in the case of the justices of the peace) to an assembly of such judges; from these again there is an appeal to the district court (okrugniya sud), consisting of three judges;4 from this to the court of appeal (sudebniya palala); while over this again is the senate, which, as the supreme court of cassation, can send a case for retrial for reason shown. The district court, sitting with a jury, can try criminal cases without appeal, but only by special leave in each case of the court of appeal. The senate, as supreme court of cassation, has two departments, one for civil and one for criminal cases. As a court of justice its main drawback is that it is wholly unable to cope with the vast mass of documents representing appeals from all parts of the empire. Two important classes in Russia stood more or less outside the competence of the above systems: the clergy and the peasants. The ecclesiastical courts still retain a Eccles'. jurisdiction over the clergy which they have lost astkal elsewhere in Europe; and in them the old secret courts. written procedure survives. Their interest for the laity lies ' An ukaz of 1879 gave the governors the right to report secretly on the qualifications of candidates for the office of justice of the peace. In 1889 Alexander III. abolished the election of justices of the peace, except in certain large towns and some outlying parts of the empire, and greatly restricted the right of trial by jury. The confusion of the judicial and administrative functions was introduced again by the appointment of officials as judges. In 1909 the third Duma restored the election of justices of the peace. 2 The justices, though noble-landowners, are almost exclusively of very moderate means, and, though elected by the land-owning class, they are—according to M. Leroy-Beaulieu--prejudiced in favour of the poor mujik rather than of the wealthy landlord. 2 These honorary justices are mainly recruited from the ranks of the higher bureaucracy and the army. 4 This corresponds to the French tour d'arrondissement, but its jurisdiction is, territorially, much wider, often covering several districts or even a whole government. System before /864. mainly in the fact that marriage and divorce fall within their competence; and their reform has been postponed largely because the wealthy and corrupt society of the Russian capital preferred a system which makes divorce easily purchasable and avoids at the same time the scandal of publicity. The case of the peasants is more interesting, and deserves a some-what more detailed notice. The peasants, as already stated, form a class apart, untouched by the influence of Western civilization, the principles of which volost they are quite incapable of understanding or appreci- courts ating. This fact was recognized by the legislators of 1864, and beneath the statutory tribunals created in that year the special courts of the peasants were suffered to survive.' These were indeed but a few years older. Up to 1861, the date of the emancipation, the peasant serfs had been under the patrimonial jurisdiction of their lords. The edict of emancipation abolished this jurisdiction, and set up instead in each volost a court particular to the peasants (volostnye sud), of which the judges and jury, themselves peasants, were elected by the assembly of the volost (volostnye skhod) each year. In these courts the ordinary written law had little to say; the decisions of the volost courts were based on the local customary law, which alone the peasants, and the peasants alone, under-stand. The justice administered in them was patriarchal and rough, but not ineffective. All civil cases involving less than too roubles value were within their competence, and more important cases by consent of the parties. They acted also as police courts in the case of petty thefts, breaches of the peace and the like. They were also charged with the maintenance of order in the mir and the family, punishing infractions of the religious law, husbands who beat their wives, and parents who ill-treated their children. The penalty of flogging, preferred by the peasants to fine or imprisonment, was not unknown. The judges were, of course, wholly illiterate, and this tended to throw the ultimate power into the hands of the clerk (pisar) of the court, who was rarely above corruption. In 1880, according, to the observations of M. Leroy-Beaulieu,' the fines inflicted by the court were commonly paid in vodka, which was consumed on the premises by the judges and the parties to the suit; there is no reason to suppose that this amiable custom has been abandoned. The peasants are not compelled to go to the volost court. They can apply to the .police commissaries (stanovoi) or to the justices of the peace; but the great distances to be traversed in a country so sparsely populated makes this course highly inconvenient.2 On the other hand, from the volost court there is no appeal, unless it has acted ultra vires or illegally. In the latter case a court of cassation is provided in the district committee for the affairs of the peasants (Uyezdnoe po krestianskim dolam prisutstviye), which has superseded the assembly of arbiters of the peace (mirovye posredniki) established in 1866.2 (W. A. P.) Previous to the revolution of 1905 but little progress had been made in Russia as regards education.' Distrust of the natural sciences, Ednca- even in their technical applications, and of Western don. ideas of free government; desire to make university education, and even secondary education, a privilege of the wealthier classes; neglect of primary education, coupled with suppression by the ministry of public instruction of all initiative, private and public, in the matter of disseminating education among the illiterate classes—these were the distinctive features of the educational policy of the last twenty years of the 19th century. ' L'Emp(re des tsars, ii. p. 310. ' In the ordinary tribunals weight is given to the " customs " of the peasants, even when these conflict with the written law. ' The abolition of the special courts of the peasants was announced in the same imperial ukaz (18th of October 1906) which promised the relief of the peasants from the arbitrary control of the communes, and permission for them to migrate elsewhere without losing their communal rights. This was made part of the general reform of Russian local government, which in the autumn of 1910 was still under the consideration of the Duma. ° Of the effects of the political changes in Russia on the educational system of the country it was, even in the autumn of 1910, too early to say anything save that an undoubted impetus had It was only towards its close that a change took place in the attitude of the government towards technical education, and a few high and middle technical schools were opened. It was only then, too, that a reform was started in secondary education, with the object of revising the so-called " classical " system favoured in the lyceums since the 'seventies, the complete failure of which has been demonstrated after nearly thirty years of experiment. Apart from the schools under the ministry of war (Cossack voiskos and schools at the barracks), the great bulk of the primary schools are either under the ministry of public instruction or of the Holy Synod. Those under the latter body are of recent growth, the policy of the last twenty years of the 19th century having been to hand over the budget allowances for primary instruction to the Holy Synod, which opened parish schools under the local priests. The schools under the Synod are themselves divided into two categories: parish schools and reading schools of an inferior grade. No teaching certificate is required by the teachers in either class of school, the permission of the bishop (like the French lettre d'obedience of 1849) being sufficient. The consequence is, that the village priests, being too much occupied with their parochial duties, cannot give more than casual or perfunctory attention to the schools, and the numerous pupils either exist on paper only, or are handed over to half-educated cantors, deacons or hired teachers. One good feature of the Russian primary school system, however, is that in many villages there are school gardens or fields; in pearly moo schools, bee-keeping, and in 300 silkworm culture is taught; while in some 900 schools the children receive instruction in various trades; and in 300 schools in slojd (a system of manual training originated in Finland). Girls are taught handwork in many schools. Nearly 5o% of the teachers are women. The total expenditure on primary schools in 1900 was £5,300,000 (about the average in recent years), of which 20% was supplied by the state, 23% by the zemstvos, 35i% by the village communities and the municipalities and 11% by private persons. The middle schools are maintained by the state, which contributes 25% of the expenditure of the classical and technical schools, by the fees of the pupils (30%), and by donations from the zemstvos and municipalities. The total grants from the state exchequer for education of all grades in all parts of the empire amounted in 1906 to £8,107,000. The progress of primary education is illustrated by the fact that, while in 1885 there was one school for every 2665 inhabitants and one pupil for every 48 inhabitants, in 1898 the figures were 1643 and 31 inhabitants respectively. According to the census of 1897 the number of illiterates varied from 89.2 to 44.9% of the population in the rural districts, and from 63.6 to 37.2 % in the urban. For higher education there were in 1904 only 9 universities (Yuriev or Dorpat, Kazan, Kharkov, Kiev, Moscow, Odessa, St Petersburg, Warsaw and Tomsk), with 19,400 students, 6 medical academies (one for women), 6 theological academies, 6 military academies, 5 philological institutes, 3 Eastern languages institutes, 3 law schools, 4 veterinary institutes, 4 agricultural colleges, 2 mining institutes, 4 engineering institutes, 2 universities for women (930 students at St Petersburg), 3 technical pedagogic schools, to technical institutes, 1 forestry and I topographical school. There has, however, been much activity since 1905 in the establishment of new educational institutions, notably technical and commercial schools, which are placed under the new minister of commerce and industry. Finland has a university of its own at Helsingfors. The standard of teaching in the universities is on the whole very high, and may be compared to that of the German universities. The students are hard working, and generally very intelligent. Mostly sons of poor parents, they live in extreme poverty, sup-porting themselves chiefly by translating and by tutorial work. The state of secondary education still leaves much to be desired. The steady tendency of Russian society towards increasing the number of secondary schools, where instruction would be based on the study of the natural sciences, is checked by the government in favour of the classical gymnasiums.' Sunday schools and public lectures are virtually prohibited. A characteristic feature of the intellectual movement in Russia is its tendency to extend to women the means of higher instruction. The gymnasiums for girls are both numerous and good. In addition to these, notwithstanding government opposition, a series been given to the effort for improvement, and that the question had been seriously taken in hand by the imperial administration and the Duma. What form it would ultimately take depended still on the balance between the forces of conservatism and change, the suspicious temper of the autocracy being revealed, during the years of unstable equilibrium, by the alternate concession and withdrawal of privileges, e.g. in the matter of the independence of the universities. Any account of the educational system cannot, therefore, be otherwise than historical and provisional [En.]. ' An imperial rescript of loth of June 1902 foreshadowed a re-organization of secondary education, and an imperial ukaz of 15th of March 1903 laid down the lines on which this was to proceed. The old curriculum of the Real schools is now superseded.
End of Article: FRANCE
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