The Pskov Judicial Charter


[Preface.] This charter was copied out from the charter of Grand Prince Aleksandr [1] and from the charter of Prince Konstantin and from various other additions [based] on Pskov customs, [and it is issued] with the blessing of our fathers, the priests of all five cathedrals [in Pskov], and the hieromonks, deacons, and priests and the entire clergy of God by all Pskov at [a meeting of] the city assembly in the year 6905 [=1396/97].

1. These [are the subjects litigated in the] prince's court: if [some thieves] steal from a storeroom which is locked, or from a sledge covered with a rug, or from a cart covered with a leather tarp, or from the deck of a boat, or [if they steal grain] from a grain storage pit or if they steal livestock or hay from atop a haystack, then all these matters [are litigated before] the prince's court, and [they pay] a fine of 9 dengas. And for robbery, breaking-and-entering, and pillage [they pay] 70 grivnas, and the prince's fine is 19 dengas; and 4 dengas.[2]

2. [Neither] the prince, nor the mayor, nor the archbishop's lieutenant is to [re]try a trial; nor are the judges or the lieutenants to [re]try a prince's trial.

3. And whoever will occupy the position of mayor [of Pskov], that mayor is to swear [lit., kiss the cross] that he will judge [cases] justly in accordance with his oath, and will not misappropriate town revenues, and at court will not exact revenge against anyone, and at court will not show favoritism, and will not condemn the innocent nor excuse the guilty. And [he must swear that] neither at court [nor] at a city assembly will he condemn [some] man without [an appropriate] investigation.

4. And the prince and mayor do not conduct court at the city assembly; they are to conduct court at the prince's residence, on the basis of justice in accordance with the oath [lit., according to their having kissed the cross]. And if they do not judge justly, then God will be their judge at the second coming of Christ. And neither the prince nor the mayor is to take secret bribes.

5. And whichever of the prince's men will travel to the surrounding districts as a lieutenant, he is to swear [lit., kiss the cross] that he wishes good to Pskov, and will judge correctly according to his oath [lit., according to his having kissed the cross]. And if he travels to some....[3]

6. And whatever mayor steps down from his post must [himself] complete all the litigation [initiated during his term]; his successor is not to rehear any of his cases.

7. And execute [the following:] the person who steals from the [town] fortress; the horse thief; the traitor; and the arsonist.

8. If something is stolen within the city [but not from the fortress], then [as many as] two times spare [the thief], [and,] having convicted him, punish him according to his guilt; but if [a thief] is convicted a third time, deprive him of his life just like the fortress thief.

9. If there be litigation with someone about land, whether plowland or water, and if there be a house on that land, or cultivated fields, and [one litigant] has plowed and possessed that land or water for four or five years, then that litigant is to refer to four or five neighbors [to confirm his claims to the land]. And once the neighbors to whom he referred have appeared [at court], and they speak the truth as if [they were standing] before God, that [the claim] is correct, that the man who summoned them has plowed and possessed that land or water for four or five years, while the opposing [litigant] in those years neither brought the matter to court nor took possession of that land or water, then [the first litigant's claim to] the land or water is clear, and he does not have to take an oath, since [the other litigant] did not bring the matter to court nor declare his claims in the course of those [four or five] years.

10. If there be litigation over forest land, and if two [litigants] place [before the judge] documents [confirming their rights] to the same land, and if the documents contradict one another, then both litigants are to take [to the land in question] border surveyors, and both [litigants] will walk off [the borders] as described in their documents [in the presence of the border surveyors]. Then, after the border surveyors have placed the report on borders before the Council [of Pskov], they [the

litigants] must decide [the matter] by judicial duel.

11. And whichever of the litigants loses [at the duel shall be recognized as having lost the litigation].[4]

12. If a litigant [be defeated in court on the basis of docu]ments, then convict that man and invalidate his documents, and give to the vindicated man a judgment charter to that land; and as a trial fee the prince and mayors and all the hundred-men are to take 10 dengas.

13. If someone by right of redemption begins to take from someone land, but the other person, from whom they [sic] are taking away the land, has uncertified documents affirming his prescriptive right [to the land in question], then the choice belongs to the man who has the uncertified documents, [either] to call for a duel or to oblige his opposite to take an oath regarding his redemption [claim] as long as he [tried to] take away the land.

14. If someone produces an uncertified note about storage [of goods] against [someone who is] deceased, and begins to litigate against [the dead man's] executors for [the recovery] of the stored goods, [whether it be] silver, clothes, or other property of any kind, then if the deceased completed a proper, written testament and it was placed in the [Pskov] archives [at the Holy Trinity Cathedral], then without a loan note and without collateral do not sue those executors [for anything] in violation of the [provisions of the] testament. If there be collateral or a loan note, then may [the litigant] seek [the recovery of his property] in accordance [with the provisions of] the note. And if someone possesses property on the basis of a [loan?] note or a pledge, while the executors of the deceased do not have collateral or a loan note against anyone, then they can seek nothing from him, neither loans, nor trading debts, nor stored property.

15. If a father or mother or son or brother or sister or someone else of close kinship survives the deceased, and possesses the [dead man's] property--only they are not outsiders--then [the dead man's kinsmen] are free to seek [the recovery of property against the estate of the deceased] without collateral and without a loan note from the deceased, and likewise they can be freely sued.

16. On storage [of property]. [If someone, having come from another land, gives] to someone [property for safekeeping and this property is destroyed either by theft][5] or by fire or during an uprising, and at that time he [to whom the property was allegedly given] denies having accepted [that property] from him, then [the complainant] is to seek [satisfaction] by litigation.

17. [And if someone,] a week after returning from a foreign land, or after a fire or a robbery, [initiates litigation over stored property], and [the one alleged to have taken it in storage and who subsequently had a fire or theft] denies [that he received it], then the case is to be decided at the choice of that one [against whom the suit was brought]: he may kiss [the cross as an oath] or go to the dueling field, or place [the value of the suit] at the cross for his plaintiff.

18. If some dependent peasant or herdsman in the Pskov countryside begins to sue for stored property or grain, then the Council is to seek the truth [of the matter], and extend to him against whom the suit is brought [the choice of whether] he himself wishes to kiss [the cross], or undertake a judicial duel, or whether he wishes to place [the sum at issue] at the cross.

19. If someone begins to seek stored goods according to an uncertified document which bears no list of goods, then that suit is to be disallowed.

20. If someone initiates litigation about assault or robbery according to a summons, then the prince, mayor and the hundred-men are to investigate [whether there is a] witness, where [the complainant] had dinner, or where he spent the night [at the time of the assault or robbery]; and if the witness names the persons who spent the night [with the complainant] or [if he identifies the place] where he dined, then [the judges must] also question the victim: Where did they beat and rob him? To whom did he declare this? And to whom he shall refer [as a witness]? And if that one to whom he refers [as witness], having come [to court], speaks the truth as if [standing] before God, that the victim announced his wounds and robbery to him, and if the witness, having appeared at court, testifies in those same words, then the court gives to the defendant the choice, whether he wishes to undergo a judicial duel with the [plaintiff's] witness or place at the cross that which he sought [by litigation].

21. If [the person who is to fight the duel] against the witness is elderly or too young, or is in some way maimed, or if he is a priest or a monk, then he is free to hire a substitute [to fight] against the witness, but the witness is not [to hire] a substitute.

22. If a complainant refers to some witness, and the witness does not appear, or, having appeared at court, does not testify to the same words [as did the complainant], or contradicts [the complainant], then that witness is not an [acceptable] witness, and the suit is not allowed.

23. If some complainant [in a case of assault] refers to a witness, but [the one] against whom the complaint was lodged [objects], saying, "That man himself beat me with his witness, and now he refers to him [as a witness]," then [only] that witness whom [both litigants] name at court is [acceptable] as a witness.

24. And if that litigant against whom the [allegation] of assault was lodged does not wish to accept that witness [proposed by the complainant], then, so that not just one litigant will have selected the witness, the Council is to send from the court its own people [to investigate the complaint], and do not convict the litigant who did not accept the [proposed witness] because of his unwillingness to accept that witness. The Council of Pskov is to pay no attention [to this fact].

25. If a bailiff goes to summon a litigant to court, and the person summoned does not come to the church in the local district for the reading of the summons, or [if] he hides himself to avoid the summons, then [the bailiff] is to read the summons in the local district center before the priest [of that church]; if that same person who is summoned by the summons, not fulfilling his duty, does not appear at court before the Council, then the Council is to issue with the bailiff a charter [ruling] against him [and obliging him to appear at court] within five days.

26. If someone takes a charter against [such a] litigant, having apprehended [the man] named in the charter, he is not to torture [him], nor beat him, [but] present [him] before the Council [of Pskov]. [Likewise,] the person named in the charter is not to fight against his complainant, nor thrash about; if he begins to thrash about or fight, or indeed if he commits homicide [against his complainant], then he himself will be liable for the homicide.

27. If a fight begins somewhere at the market or on the streets of Pskov, or in the adjacent districts, or in a village in the countryside during a feast, and if there is no robbery, and if many people saw that fight at the market or on the streets or at the feast, and four or five people who witnessed the fight, having come before us [the members of the Council?], say, "He beat that man [the plaintiff] [lit., I beat that man]," then whoever did the beating, that person is to be given to the victim [to make composition], and [oblige him also] to pay the prince's fine. If the victim [then] begins to allege robbery as well, then he needs [only] one witness for the complainant, due to the fact that a judicial duel is also prescribed.

28. If someone initiates a suit against a debtor for loaned money on the basis of uncertified documents, and besides that produces the [loan] collateral [as proof that the loan was made], then it is the choice of him who initiates the suit for [the recovery of the loaned] money: [if] he chooses, he may kiss [the cross as an oath] and take back his money; or if he wishes he may deposit his [the debtor's] collateral at the cross, and that one [the defendant] takes back his pledged property. But do not prescribe a judicial duel on the basis of pledged property [alone], and do not invalidate pledge notes.

29. If some man places with someone some collateral [for a loan], whether documents or money, and then he [the borrower] unexpectedly initiates a suit against his opponent [i.e., creditor], or obliges [the creditor to appear] before the Council [of Pskov], and the person with whom the collateral was placed has no document covering the collateral, then do not convict him [the borrower], but believe the one who placed the collateral, [and listen] to what he says, and before the court he who placed the collateral [in the first place] has the choice, whether he himself wishes to kiss [the cross] for his money, or if he wishes to place it at the cross and, having kissed [the cross], he takes his collateral [back].

30. If someone gives money in loan, then without collateral and without a note [give loans] up to one ruble, but give no loans greater than one ruble without collateral and without a loan note. And if on the basis of an uncertified loan note someone begins a suit about a loan of more than one ruble [but] without collateral, then the note is not sufficient, and that one is vindicated against whom the suit was filed.

31. If someone initiates a suit against someone about a loan according to an uncertified loan note, and besides that also produces the collateral--whether clothes or armor, or a horse, or some other movable property of obvious value--and that collateral does not cover the amount of money being sought in the suit, and if he [the defendant] denies having contracted such a loan, and denies that the collateral is his, saying, "I never placed any collateral with you and [furthermore] I never took from you any loan," then the person who initiated the suit against that person is to take the collateral [as his own]. Vindicate the man against whom the suit was begun.

32. If some man will serve as guarantor for another in a loan, and that man [the creditor] initiates a suit for his money against the man whom he guaranteed, and the litigant for whom the bond was given, taking a document against his opponent, says, "Brother, I paid you that money for your bond, and I have a document [confirming the repayment]." So he [the creditor] is not to initiate a suit against the litigant nor against the guarantor. But that document is not [acceptable proof] if [a copy] in those same words is not found in the Pskov archives [in the Holy Trinity Cathedral], and the complainant [creditor] is free to seek his money from the guarantor who gave his warranty [lit., his hand] for the [borrower].

33. And loans of up to one ruble may be guaranteed by bond, but [for loans] of more than one ruble [warranty is not acceptable].

34. If some Pskov man [suffers] a theft in Pskov or in the adjacent districts or in a village in the countryside, then [he must] declare [the theft] to the elders, or to neighbors, or to other outsiders. And if [the theft occurs] at a feast, then [he must] declare [it] to the person in charge of the feast or to the persons attending the feast. And the master of the feast is not required to take an oath [by kissing the cross]. The Pskov man [who suffered the theft] is not to take [the suspect from] his rural district to take a voluntary oath in Pskov. [But] he is to lead to take the oath [only] him against whom he has suspicions.[6]

35. Whoever is from the church where the theft occurred, as well as the residents of the adjacent districts, or a Pskov rural dweller, [these people] are not to call [a suspect] to the oath [in their own places], but [rather] the Pskov man is to lead [the suspect] to take the oath in the place where the theft occurred.

36. If, on the basis of uncertified loan notes, they initiate a suit against someone, and [if that person be] a woman, a child, an old person, [someone who is] infirm or in some way maimed, or a monk or nun, then they are free to hire a replacement [to take part in the judicial duel]; the litigants must kiss [the cross], but the replacements fight [the duel]; and against [such a] replacement a litigant is free [to hire] his own replacement or himself fight [in the judicial duel].

37. If a judicial duel be [required] by the court for a man, and, having come to the duel, he conquers his opposite, then he is to take from the litigant [who lost the duel] the sum of the suit [at issue]. But from the corpse [of an opponent who is killed at the duel] take no money; only take his armor or some other [valuable] in which [the dead man had] come to the duel. The person convicted by the duel is to pay both the prince's fine and the bailiff's fee for two bailiffs, 6 dengas each if the duel takes place; otherwise, if [at the duelling field the litigants] become reconciled, then [the guilty party] pays the bailiffs 3 dengas each, and there is no prince's fine if no litigant takes the suit.

38. If someone, on the basis of uncertified loan notes, initiates a suit against someone to collect a trade loan, [and] that person, [in turn,] produces a document, and in that document it will be written about the trade [loan that it was repaid], but no copy of that document containing the exact provisions of the other will be found in the archives in the Holy Trinity Cathedral, then that document is disallowed.

39. If some master, [either] a carpenter or [some other] hired [craftsman], works off his contractual agreement and the carpenter or hired [craftsman]...[7] completes his [contracted] work [and leaves]...[8] [but his employer refuses to pay him, then he is entitled to seek his pay] against the man who hired him and announce [publicly] his claim for pay.

40. If some hired household [craftsman] leaves his employer for good, not having completed his contractual term, then he is to take his pay proportionate [to the time of his labor]. And he may seek his pay for a year [after he left his work], whether [he seeks pay for] five or ten years, so long as he seeks payment within a year if he did not receive payment from the one who hired him. But if more than one year has passed [since he left that place of work], then he is not to litigate against his [former] employer.

41. If some hired carpenter begins to litigate for his pay against his employer without having finished the work [which he had agreed to do], but leaves anyway, saying to his employer, "I completed all my work for you," but his employer answers, "You did not complete all your work," then, if there is no written contract, the employer is to place the sum at issue before the cross, or the employer kisses the cross [to confirm his claim].

42. If some lord wishes to give to his dependent agriculturalist, or gardener, or fisherman a release, then [he is to give] that release at St. Filipp's Fast [14 November]. Likewise, if the agriculturalist wishes to depart from his village, or if the gardener or fisherman [wishes to depart], then [they] too may leave [only] at that time, and there is to be no departure at any other time, whether [initiated] by the lord, agriculturalist, fisherman, or gardener. But if the agriculturalist or gardener or fisherman denies [having received his] release [at the appropriate time], then give him justice [have him take an oath], and the lord is not to seek his quarter [from the harvest of the agriculturalist] nor a portion [of the produce] from the gardener nor from the catch of the fisherman.

43. If some fisherman mortgages the spring catch [of fish], or if a sharecropper mortgages [his future income], then he is to pay his lord the [same] spring catch as other fishermen got at that same fishing place.

44. And the lord is free to announce [his claim] and seek his loans publicly against the agriculturalists or against the gardeners or against the fishermen, and [to list] in detail his money and any grain [outstanding], whether spring or winter wheat. [And this right holds] according to the master's claim, unless he himself renounces [the claim].

45. If someone initiates a claim over a trade loan, or money that warranteed someone else, or over stored property, or over an ordinary loan, or over escheated property without [providing] a detailed list [of the property at issue], then such [a claim] is not allowed.

46. If some man recognizes in the possession of another man something that he lost, and [the other man] says to him, "I purchased [the property in question] at the market, but from whom I purchased it I do not know," then let him give [an oath in God's] truth on the matter [to affirm] that he bought it fairly at market, and did not share with [make a deal with] a thief, and that he will not [cannot?] produce him [from whom he bought the contested property], and that he did not steal it himself, nor was there a verbal agreement [with the thief]; then that [plaintiff who lost the property] loses the suit.

47. If someone purchased something in another land or city [but not at the market], or he found it somewhere, and another man recognizes [the property as having belonged to him], then judge the claim in the same way [you judge claims about property acquired] at the market.

48. If someone initiates a claim against the judicial lieutenants about a bribe [demanded of him], whether [the lieutenant] took clothes or a horse, saying, "I took [the clothes] or the horse in consideration of [my help]," then he is [guilty] of robbery, that he took a bribe or took a horse [as a bribe].

49. If the prince's servitors or judicial officers travel in pursuit of their obligations, then they take one denga for every 10 versts [= 6.6 miles]; if two or three travel together, then they take [only] one fee [to share among them]. And if a prince's servitor or a judicial officer refuses to go [at that rate], then a Pskov [litigant] is free to send [someone else in their place] for those same fees.

50. And the prince's scribe takes [as his fee] for writing up a summons, or a default judgment charter, or a bailiff's document what the litigant is able to pay; if he wants more than [the litigant] can pay, then [the litigant] is free to have someone else write up [the document], and the prince is to affix his seal; if the prince will not affix his seal, then obtain the seal at the [Pskov archives in the] Holy Trinity Cathedral, and there is no irregularity in this procedure.

51. If some dependent agriculturalist begins to deny [having taken] a loan from his lord, and says, "I lived for a time in your village, but I am not obligated to you [for anything]," then the lord is to provide four or five outsiders [to testify] to the matter. And those people are to speak as if [they were standing] directly before God, [saying] that the agriculturalist dwelt in that village free [of obligations]. Then the lord, having given an oath [to his claim] is to take [what is due] him, or else he believes the agriculturalist [and accepts what the agriculturalist says]; the choice is the lord's. But only if the lord does not provide any [outside] people [to testify] to this matter, [detailing] under what conditions the agriculturalist settled in his village, then the claim of that man [the lord] to his loan is not recognized.

52. If a complainant does not exact his claim against a thief or robber, then the prince likewise receives no fine.

53. If a son does not feed his father or mother their whole lives [lit., up to their deaths], but deserts their home, then [after their deaths] he is to take no part [of their property].

54. If, during the course of litigation or during the taking of an oath, [the person suspected of theft] indicates the person from whom he purchased [the property in question], then conduct a trial with that person [from whom the accused had acquired the property], and [the one] who removed [suspicion from himself] becomes a guarantor [for the person he named to appear in court].

55. If some people bring a claim against someone for his [sic] father's estate, either by intestacy or by terms of a testament, and the neighbours or outsiders have knowledge [of the matter], and four or five men, having come [before the court], speak the truth as if [they were standing] before God, that in fact [the claimant] did [properly] receive the intestate or testamentary estate of his father, then do not make him kiss the cross, and do not allow rival claims. But if there will [not] be four or five men who will speak the truth as if [standing] before God, then he is to give an oath that [he received] the inheritance properly [lit., clear and cleanly].

56. Likewise, if someone bought something at market, but does not know from whom he bought [the property in question], but [the matter] will be known to good, reliable people, then [let him] take four or five men who say, [speaking] the truth as if [standing] before God, "He purchased [that property] in our presence at market." Then that person is vindicated who had [those witnesses], and he need not kiss [the cross]. But if there be no witnesses for the man [who made the purchase], then let him take an oath [to the truth], and [if he does], the former [i.e., the plaintiff] loses the case.

57. If someone takes a bailiff from the prince or from the mayor [in order] to investigate a theft, then the prince and mayor are to send as bailiffs good men and true, and the bailiffs are to investigate [in the place] where the theft took place. If those bailiffs say these words, that "When we came to the house [of the suspect] to investigate the theft, that man did not give us [entry to his house] to investigate, and did not admit us to his house, and ejected us from his household"; and that man whom they were investigating says these words: "Those bailiffs did not come to me, lords"; or else that same man says these words: "Those bailiffs did come to me, and I opened to them my home, but they, without investigating me, themselves fled from my household, and [now] they falsely accuse [me] of having ejected [them from my house]"; then the prince and mayor are to question the bailiffs, "Do you have any evidence to [your claim or is there anyone] before whom that man ejected you from his house?" Then the bailiffs are to present [at court] two or three people, and those people, having appeared at court, [are to] speak the truth, as if [standing] before God: "[Indeed], that man in our presence did eject those bailiffs from his house, and did not give them [entry] to investigate." Then let those bailiffs take an oath [to their claim], and that man [who refused the bailiffs entry is convicted] of theft. But if the bailiffs [do not present any witnesses], then the bailiffs are not [reckoned] as bailiffs, and the claim for theft is not allowed on account of the bailiffs' [performance].

58. At court no persons except the two litigants are admitted, and no helpers [are admitted] for either side, except for [litigants who are] women, or children, or monks or nuns, or any person who is old or deaf; for these [litigants] helpers are admitted. And, except [for these cases], if someone helps [a litigant], whether he by force invades the [place where the] litigation takes place or strikes the guard at the door, then place him in confinement, and the prince takes from him a ruble, and the door guards take 10 dengas.

59. The prince [names] one man as guard and [the city administration of] Pskov names another, and they are to kiss the cross that they will not ruin the just nor vindicate the guilty. And from each trial the guards are to take on behalf of them both one denga from the guilty party.

60. And do not give credence to [the accusation] of a thief, but against the one whom he accuses [send someone] to investigate his house. If [the investigators] find in his home physical evidence [of a theft], then he is indeed a thief. But if they do not find in his house [any physical evidence] of theft, then he is free [of all suspicion].

61. The prince and mayor are not to invalidate judgment charters, but [they may] invalidate false charters and notes at court, once having investigated the truth [of the matter].

62. If someone begins a suit against another on the basis of uncertified notes, or on the basis of collateral, but at the trial or even at the [kissing of the] cross he reaches a settlement [and] takes from his opposite only a little of a large [sum at issue], then there is no fine for that, [nor is there a fine] if he drops the entire suit before the kissing [of the cross].

63. If some dependent agriculturalist [decides to leave] the village of his lord [and end their relationship], or the lord decides to terminate [the relationship], then the lord [is entitled] to take from the agriculturalist half [of the last harvest], and the agriculturalist [takes the other] half.

64. If some bailiffs, whether they be the prince's men or [the city's] official or Pskov men, travel to summon a man to court or to unchain or chain [a man], then they take a fee of one denga for 10 versts [= 6.6 miles].

65. If a bailiff goes [out to investigate] a theft, then he is to take twice the [usual] fee; the person found guilty of theft is to pay [the bailiff's fee]. But if he [the bailiff] discovers no evidence of theft, then the person who summoned the bailiff is to pay the bailiff's and guard's fees.

66. If some bailiff or [other] official takes for his fee a horse or takes something else [as guarantee of payment of the fee], then he [the bailiff] is to give [that property] as bond to some disinterested person. If, [on the other hand, no one] will take [the property] as bond, then he is to take it himself as bond, and the person who loses the litigation is to pay [the bailiff's] fees.

67. If a litigant, having come with the bailiff [to the party against whom he has initiated the action], by force takes [some property as guarantee] for his debt, and does not win his case, then this [action] is counted against him as robbery, and punish robbery [with the payment of] one ruble, and the person who loses the litigation pays the bailiff's fee.

68. No mayor is to take part in litigation for another [person]; [he should take no part in litigation] except for [cases concerning] his own affairs or [cases involving] the church for which he serves as elder; in these cases he [lit., they] is free to litigate.

69. Nor is any lieutenant to litigate for another [person]; [he is to take no part in litigation] except for his own affairs.

70. And for [cases pertaining] to church land neighbors are not to go to court as helpers; for [cases involving] church land the elders [of the church] are to go to court.

71. No helper at court is to take part in two cases on the same day.

72. If some man be written into a testament [as heir on condition that he feed the testator from that land until the testator dies], but, on receipt of documents [confirming his possession] of that land or fishing spot, he sells that land or fishing spot, or whatever [immovable property he received], and they catch this man [violating the conditions under which he received the property], then he [the man who violated the agreement] is to redeem that land or fishing spot or whatever [other immovable property he conditionally received], because [the heir] stole the sustenance [of the testator].

73. If some man will [initiate a claim] against someone [about a loan] on the basis of a [certified] loan note, and if[, in addition to the principal,] interest will also be written in the note, and the time for repayment arrives, then he [the creditor] announces to the Council [of Pskov] about the interest [specified in the note], and he is to take his interest after [the expiration of] the term [specified in the note]. But if he does not announce to the Council the specified term, then he is not entitled to take the interest after [the expiration of] the term [of the note].

74. If someone initiates a claim about a loan prior to the expiration of the [loan] term, then he [the creditor] is not entitled to take interest [on that loan]. If that person against whom [he seeks] to recover his money begins to repay [the person] to whom he was indebted prior to the expiration of the [loan] term, [then] he is [also] to pay the interest according to the schedule [specified in the loan].

75. If some dependent agriculturalist presents an uncertified note against his lord, then ignore that note.

75a. And long-time dependent agriculturalists are to perform cart service for their lords.

76. If some dependent agriculturalist flees from his village abroad or somewhere else, and his household inventory remains in the village, [then] the lord is to take back his advance to the agriculturalist [from this property]. And the lord is to take bailiffs from the prince and from the mayor, and summon the local elders and [disinterested] outsiders, and before these bailiffs and outsiders the lord is to sell the property of the agriculturalist and take back his own loan. If [the property abandoned at flight] does not suffice to cover his loan, then, if at some time the agriculturalist reappears, the lord is free to seek the remainder of his loan [from the returned fugitive], and there is no penalty to the lord [for having sold the property of the fugitive], and the agriculturalist is not to sue the lord over that property. But [if he thinks some error was made] he may initiate a suit against Pskov.

77. And Pskov judges and the city mayors and elders of the adjacent districts are to kiss the cross [to swear that] they will judge justly according to their oath, and if they do not judge justly, may God judge them on the Day of Judgment [lit., terrible day] at the second coming of Christ.

78. If together with the hundred-men some servitor of the prince travels [to investigate a case] about land borders, then he is likewise to kiss the cross [that he will conduct his business justly].

79. If [litigants] begin a suit about land or about water, and during [litigation] they present [to the court] two charters [alleging ownership of the land or water in question], have the prince's secretary read one charter and the city secretary read the other. And if a charter originates from the adjacent districts, then the city secretary is to read that charter.

80. If someone fights with someone at a feast [either] in Pskov or in the adjacent districts, or in the rural districts, or anywhere else, but the bailiffs are not summoned and they arrange a reconciliation between themselves, then no fine for the prince obtains.

81. In carrying out the work of bailiffs [including] the verification of evidence, the prince's servitors and the Pskov judicial officials are to be equally represented.

82. If some scribe shall write a judgment charter about land, then he is to take 5 dengas for [writing] the judgment charter, and for [writing] the summons [one] denga, and for [affixing] the seal [one] denga, and for a default judgment charter and for a bailiff's authorization then they [sic] are to take...[9] at [one] denga each. If the prince's scribe wishes to take [as his fee] more than [the party] can [pay], then [the latter] is free to get it written up elsewhere, and the prince affixes the seal. If the prince will not affix the seal, then [obtain] the seal at [the Pskov archives at] the Holy Trinity Cathedral. And there is no irregularity in this [procedure].

83. If some Pskov man obtains a charter from the prince and from the mayor [in connection with his travel] abroad on his own business, then from such a charter the prince's scribe is to take [one] denga, and [one] denga for the seal.

84. If some dependent agriculturalist dies in the village of his lord, and if there is no wife, nor children, nor brothers, nor any [other] kinsmen, then the lord is to sell the agriculturalist's property [in the presence of] bailiffs and disinterested outsiders, and [the lord] is to take back his advance [from this property], and no kinsman nor brother of the agriculturalist on that account may initiate a suit about the property of the [deceased] agriculturalist.

85. If some man's, that is, some lord's dependent agriculturalist, who, according to a loan note, [was indebted to his lord], dies, and if his wife and children survive him, [but they] are not [mentioned] in the loan note, all the same the wife and children are not exempt from [repaying] the lord's advance, and they are to pay that advance according to the terms of the loan note. If the agriculturalist did not leave a loan note, then the court is to judge them [the survivors] according to Pskov custom.

86. If the [deceased] dependent agriculturalist has a brother or some other kinsman, and they claim the property, then the lord is to seek his advance from them. [And] the agriculturalist's brother and kinsman are not to hide [lit., steal] neither a basket nor a tub [of grain]; if there be a horse or cow [remaining among the dead man's property], then they [the kinsmen] may seek it from the lord [of the deceased].

87. If a dependent agriculturalist initiates a suit for property from his lord, and the lord justifies his claim to that which the agriculturalist sought from the lord as his own property, and it is known to outside people and nearby neighbors that [the property] is the lord's, then the suit of the agriculturalist is not allowed, and the lord is vindicated.

88. If the wife of some man dies without a testament, and she leaves behind an estate, then her husband is to possess that estate for as long as he lives and so long as he does not remarry. If he remarries, then he is not [entitled] to feed [himself from that land].

89. If the husband of some wife dies without a testament, and he leaves behind an estate or movable property, then so long as she does not remarry his wife is entitled to the usufruct of that land. But if she remarries, then she has no claim to it.

90. If the wife of some man dies, and her husband remarries, and the wife's mother or sister or some other kinswoman initiates a suit over her clothing, then her husband is to give back that clothing justly [and] in conscience [lit., according to his soul], but the husband need not kiss [the cross] about [whether he returned] his wife's clothing in full. Likewise, if a man dies, [and his wife remarries?], and his father or brother initiate [a suit] against his wife about his clothing, then she is to give back that clothing justly in good conscience [lit., according to her soul] whatever of his remains [with her]; but the wife need not kiss [the cross] about [whether she returned] her husband's clothing [in full].

91. If someone's son dies, and his bride survives [him], and she initiates a suit against her father-in-law or brother-in-law about valuables or clothing [brought to the family with her dowry?], then the father-in-law or brother-in-law is to give back [to her] her clothing or valuables. If the bride claims more than she is entitled to, then the father-in-law or brother-in-law has the choice: [if he wishes] he himself may kiss the cross [to verify his claim] or place at the cross [that] about which she filed the exaggerated claim.

92. If someone initiates a suit against someone about money [advanced] for a mutual endeavor or about any other [venture], except some commercial or merchant matter, and introduces an uncertified note for that [claim], then extend the choice to that one against whom the suit is filed, [whether] he himself wishes to kiss [the cross to verify his claim], or [whether] he wishes to place at the cross [the sum claimed] by the suit, or [whether] he wishes to fight a judicial duel with him.

93. If a debtor to someone [as specified] in a loan note, hides himself, and at the time specified [to repay the loan] does not appear, or if a dependent agriculturalist will be [listed as a debtor] in a loan note, and he begins to conceal himself, then [once discovered] the guilty person who hid is to pay all losses [which resulted], and the bailiff's fee, the fee for chaining him, and [the costs of preparing the appropriate] document.

94. If some elder brother lives with his younger brother in one household, and [creditors] allege [against them] a debt of their father, but there is no loan note against their father, then have the elder brother take an oath, and [if the debt be recognized] then he is to pay [the debt] from their common property, and [the brothers] are to divide what remains.

95. If some younger brother or cousin [nephew?] lives in one household with his older brother or cousin [uncle?], and he appropriates money from his brother or cousin and denies [having done so], then he is to take an oath as to how matters stand with him [i.e., that he took only what was his]; but [in any case] effect a division of property [i.e., divide the household property].

96. If a homicide occurs somewhere, and they capture the person who committed the homicide, then the prince is to take one ruble from those [sic] who committed the homicide.

97. If a son should kill his father, or a brother his brother, then the prince is to take a fine.

98. If some man comes with a bailiff to a house to capture a thief and to find [physical evidence] of a theft, or to seize a debtor, but the wife [of the accused] at that time miscarries [lit., miscarried], and she accuses the bailiff or the litigant of homicide, or [she files a] claim [against him], then there is no [basis for] homicide in this.

99. If some complainant does not appear to take an oath at court, then he is to pay [the sum at issue] without kissing the cross; and the cost to him is the amount which [the other litigants] sought from him.

100. If some man during his life or just prior to death gives something by his hand to his kinsman, whether clothing or some other movable property, or landed property, and he provides a deed charter declared before a priest or [other disinterested] outsiders, then [the recipient] is to possess [that property] on the basis of that gift, even if there is no testament [confirming the gift].

101. On trade and on guarantorship. If someone initiates a suit against someone about trade [matters], or about a guarantee bond, or some other specified matter, then judge [the matter by giving] the choice to the one against whom the suit was lodged, [whether] he wishes to undertake a judicial duel or place [the sum at issue] before the cross.

102. If some master [craftsman] initiates a suit against his apprentice for the costs of apprenticeship, and the apprentice denies the suit, then the choice is the master's, whether he himself wishes to kiss [the cross] for the costs of apprenticeship or believe the apprentice.

103. A tenant is free to initiate a suit against his [land]lord for a loan or any other matter. If someone [initiated] a suit with someone on the basis of a loan note or pledged property, and then that person who was [named] in the note or who placed goods in mortgage t o someone, initiates a suit for the same [sum at issue], [whether] a loan or goods in storage, or about trade [matters], or some other matter, on the basis of uncertified notes, then the court is to decide the matter according to Pskov custom.

104. If some litigants declare [that they hold] a mortgage against [the property] of the deceased, [and they present] two or three or [even] five documents to one [piece of] land or to a [body of] water or for one house or one storage building, and if those [same] litigants will have in addition to the mortgage other loan notes against the deceased while other claimants do not have any loan notes, but only a mortgage note, and if kinsmen of [the deceased] wish to redeem the mortgage, then, having having given them an oath, divide the sum obtained, [rendering to each] as much money as his share of the mortgage [represents]. If some complainant has a mortgage [note] and loan notes against [the property] of the deceased, then he need not kiss [the cross] to pursue his claim.

105. If some foreigner initiates a suit against another foreigner [lit., in a foreign land] over assault and robbery, then give the choice to him against whom the claim is laid, [whether] he himself wishes to kiss [the cross to show] that he neither beat him nor robbed him, or [whether he wishes] to place at the cross the sum the complainant seeks.

106. If someone litigates with someone about land or about a beehive, and introduces old documents and his purchase charter [for the property in question], and his documents concern many co-holders of the land and beehive, and all the co-holders appear at court in one place, each answering for his own land or for [his own] beehive, and they place their charters before the Council [of Pskov], and they take officials to investigate the boundaries, and they lead them with the help of local long-time residents [who know and affirm the history of the landholding] [along borders] that accord with the charters, then give them an oath, each for his own part [of the land]. If [only] one [of the co-holders] kisses [the cross], but kisses [the cross] on behalf of all the co-holders, then give him a judgment charter for that part [of land] for which he kissed [the cross].

107. If someone places [with a creditor] collateral for money [he received] or something else, and the time comes to give the money back, and he requests his collateral back, but he [the creditor] denies [having received from him any] collateral, saying, "I did not give you any money, and I did not take from you any collateral," then the court [presents] to that man against whom the suit was lodged three choices [by which to justify himself]: [he may, if] he wishes, himself kiss [the cross to affirm] that he had no collateral [from the complainant], or he may place the value of the collateral at the cross, or he can go with him [the complainant] to the judicial duel.

108. If [in the present,] original [Pskov Judicial] Charter some matter is missing, then the mayors are to refer the matter to the Council of Pskov at a city assembly, and write that case [into the Pskov Judicial Charter]. If in the future some provision in this Charter will not be to the liking of the Council of Pskov, then [the Council] is free to remove that provision from this Charter.

109. The archbishop's lieutenant is to judge priests, deacons, eucharist bread bakers, monks, and nuns. If a priest, or deacon [comes before a court] or [if litigation is instituted] against a monk or nun, so that both [litigants] are church people, and not ordinary [citizens], then the prince is not to judge them, nor is the mayor, nor are any other [secular] judges to judge [them], for [they are subject to] the court of the archbishop's lieutenant. If one of the litigants be an ordinary citizen, a layman, and it is not a churchman [litigating] with another churchman, then the prince and mayor are to judge the case in common with the archbishop's lieutenant; the same [procedure obtains for] other judges.

110. If some man initiates a claim for a horse, or for a cow or for some other livestock, or even for a dog, and says, "This is my own home-bred [animal]," then give him an oath [to determine if the animal was] actually home-bred.

111. If some [litigant] strikes his opposite [at court] in the presence of the Council [of Pskov], then that man is to give him [one] ruble, and [he also pays] a fine to the prince.

112. And [the fee for the loss of] a ram is 6 dengas, and 10 dengas for a sheep, paid to the owner, and 3 dengas to the judge [according] to ancient law. And for a goose and for a gander [pay] 2 dengas [each] to the owner and 3 dengas to the judge; for a duck and for a drake and for a rooster and for a chicken [the fee is] 2 dengas [each].

113. A fraternal organization may conduct a trial just like a judge.

114. If, while drunk, someone barters for something with someone or purchases something, and then they [sic] sober up, and one of the [partrners to the transaction] is dissatisfied, then have them return what they exchanged [to one another], and there is no need for kissing [the cross] or going to court.

115. And the prince's people are not to have taverns in their households, nor in Pskov [proper,] nor in the adjacent districts; and they are not to sell mead by the bucket, by the ladle, or by the barrel.

116. If someone initiates a suit against someone about arson, but there is no evidence [to prove the claim], then call for a volunteer [from between them] to take the oath.

117. If someone tears out the beard of another man, and a witness testifies [to the deed], then give him [the witness?] the cross to kiss, and he is to fight [the offender] in a judicial duel. If the witness is victorious, then [the offender] is to pay 2 rubles for the beard and for the assault. [In such cases] there need be only one witness.

118. If [someone] purchases a cow by agreement, then[, if the cow later calves, the seller] cannot sue for the calf on account of the trade. But if the cow begins to discharge bloody urine, then [the purchaser] is to return that cow, and receive his money back.

119. [A judge may] order a judicial duel in suits between women, and there is to be no substitute for the woman on either side.

120. If someone initiates a suit against someone for assault, whether there be five or ten, or however many there be [accused of] assault against five or [even] against one [victim], and if they win their case, then assess them all for all their assaults one ruble, and the prince [receives] a single fine.



[1] There is considerable controversy about exactly which Prince Aleksandr the compiler has in mind: Aleksandr Nevskii (d. 1263) or Aleksandr of Rostov (who ruled in Pskov intermittently in the years 1410-1434). Prince Konstantin was the brother of Vasilii I, and ruled in Pskov briefly in 1407 and again in 1412.

[2]The text here appears to be corrupted, leading scholars to treat these two articles in different ways. Some are inclined to join the last phrase of article one to the text of article two. The present text follows the article division justified in Pamiatniki russkogo prava, 8 vols. (Moscow: Gosiurizdat, 1952-63), 2:330-31. For a more recent review that rejects this division see Rossiiskoe zakonodatel'stvo X-XX vv., 1:346-47. For a reproduction of the manuscript text see I. D. Martysevich, Pskovskaia sudnaia gramota (Moscow: MGU, 1951), facing p. 136.

[3] The manuscript here omits about three lines of text.

[4] The text contains an omission here; the proposed reading, borrowed from the editors of Pamiatniki russkogo prava, 2:287, 338-39, continues the sense of the preceding article. For a summary of other views, see Rossiiskoe zakonodatel'stvo X-XX vekov, 1:352.

[5] Again the text omits part of the article. The translation here depends upon the reconstruction proposed in Pamiatniki russkogo prava, 2:288, 341.

[6] Many scholars attempt to resolve the considerable difficulties of this passage by combining articles 34 and 35, in the process slightly altering the grammar of article 35 as suggested and justified in Pamiatniki russkogo prava, 2:290-91, 349. For other views, see Rossiiskoe zakonodatel'stvo X-XX vv., 1:360.

[7] A small omission occurs here in the text.

[8] Another small omission occurs here; the inserted text is based on the apparent sense of the remainder of the article.

[9]There is a brief interruption--about eight letters in length--in the text.