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The court agenda has always been divided between criminal and civil matters. Old criminal records can be found under the archival fonds of towns (Archiv města) or in the files of the segnorial administration (Velkostatky). Criminal cases were heard by the town council. The interrogation and trial was performed in the territory of the court (usually the borders of a mannor) where the crime was committed regardless of where the delinquent came from. The interrogation books (smolne knihy) maintained by courts having the right of capital judgement are very interesting. They describe the interrogation & torture of persons accused of murder or other serious crimes and reports on their execution. Other legal proceedings can be found in the reeve registers (radní protokoly), or the files of the court of appeals in Prague, where all capital sentences had to be approved. Criminal acts that happened in the second half of the 19th century are recorded in well preserved archival fonds of the district and regional courts. Misdemeanors can be found in the books of offences maintained by towns and villages municipalities, but these sources rarely survived.

Civil jurisdiction ditinguished between contested and non-contested matters, for example land property and orphan registers, probate proceedings, guardianship & trusteeship, adoptions, executions, declarations of death, and, in later times, divorce. The civil records maintained by state district courts, which were established in 1850, can be very useful for genealogy. Their auxiliary books are of primary interest, since most of the court files were discarded. The auxiliary books usually give a brief description of each case, describe the person(s) involved, and lists the file number under which the particular files were archived.

Under feudalism, different courts existed for the privileged aristocracy, the clergy, military persons, academics, Jewish individuals, and common people. In towns, the jurisdiction was represented by the town council. Royal towns had independent jurisdiction, segnorial towns were under the control of the suzerain's authority. Most of the rural population, and inhabitants of small seigniorial towns, were under the jurisdiction of the estate, executed through the seigniorial administration offices. The civil agenda (e.g. land property books, orphan registers, etc.) were maintained in this manner till 1848. The evolution of justice to the current system started during the rule of Empress Maria Theresa. By her edict, only judges with syndikus (town writer with law education) could preside over courts having the right of capital judgement. Consequently, between 1752-1754 the number of these courts was reduced in Moravia from 200 to 25 and in Bohemia, in 1765, from 356 to 30. Her son, Josef II continued her reforms with an effort to intensify state control over independent patrimonial courts. By his criminal code, issued in 1788, the uneven application of the law for different classes of the population was removed and the criminal agenda was transferred to special criminal courts usually sitting in the regional town.

After the abolition of Serfdom, a new organization of justice was introduced. In 1850, 310 district courts were established with authority within their judical district. These courts were responsible for the entire civil agenda, including land property books and trade registers. District courts were supervised by regional courts, their area more or less corrresponded with the borders of regions. Fifteen regional courts in Bohemia, seven in Moravia, and two in Silesia, judged crimes, handled disputes with a value exceeding 500 Golds (increased in time), and heard appeals against sentences set by the district courts. These courts were also responsible for special cases like declarations of death-in-absentia, mental disorders, adoptions, or emigrations. The Land superior courts in Prague and Brno acted as the courts of appeal against judgements from district and regional courts. 

To assure fast document handling, all courts followed a uniform filing system with registration codes to distinguish between different court matters. Between 1850 and 1949 this system changed 4 times:

Manipulation period 1850 - 1855

A - legislation
B - official business
C - civil disputes, executions        
D - probate proceedings
E - guardianship and trusteeship
F - land property
G - crimes and offences denouncements
H - legal assistance in civil affairs

Manipulation period 1850 - 1897

2 different protocol books are mainatained for civil and criminal agenda

Civil agenda

I - legislation
II - official business
III - civil disputes, accusation, abrogation of a lease contracts, executions
III B - minor affairs
IV - probate proceedings, guardianship and trusteeship
V - bankrupts
VI - librry
VII - legal assistance in civil affairs

Criminal agenda

A - crimes and offences denouncements
B - offences closed without the main trial
C - offences closed after the main trial
D - legal assistancein criminal affairs, other criminal cases
E - in-prison
V - bankrupts

Manipulation period 1898 - 1923

Protocol books are replaced with 13 registers (rejstřík) for civil and 4 registers for criminal agenda to record individual cases started in calendar year.

Civil agenda

A - probate proceedings
C - civil disputes
Cb - minor disputes
Cm - accusation, mandatory disputes
E - executions
G - verification
Hc - legal assistance in civil affairs
K - abrogation of a lease contracts
L - incapacitation
M - claim requests and accusations
Nc - other legal cases
P - guardianship and trusteeship
V - temporary provisions

Criminal agenda

Hs - legal assistance in criminal affairs
Ns - other criminal cases
U - offences
Z - crimes and offences denouncements

Manipulation period 1924 - 1949

Civil agenda

C - civil disputes
Cd - legal assistance in civil affairs
Cm - accusations, mandatory disputes
Cn - minor disputes
Cpr - work disputes
Cs and Cw - accusations and draught disputes
D - probate proceedings
E - executions
L - incapacitation
Nc and Pr - temporary provisions
Ns - other legal cases
O - verification of signatures 
P - guardianship and trusteeship
U - claim requests
P - abrogation of a lease contracts

Criminal agenda

Ml - crimes and offenses of young people 
Nt - other criminal cases 
P - offenses
Td - legal assistance in criminal affairs
Z - crimes and offences denouncements

Court dockets

Court dockets
Category: Court records

Each case brought to court was recorded in the court docket. Entries in the court docket are chronological and contain the case number, date of application, name of the party

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Orphan's books

Orphan's books
Category: Court records

By Austrian Civil Code, all fatherless children were assigned a court-appointed legal guardian. A guardian looked after the minor and his or her property. The guardian could

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Probate records

Probate records
Category: Court records

The heirship specified in the civil code of 1811, was, with minor adjustments, valid till 1950. A procedural rule issued in 1854 instructed district courts to execute

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Penal registers

Penal registers
Category: Court records

Penal registers where mainained by municipalities. They chronologically record the offenses & crimes committed by local inhabitants with a reference to the verdict of the court and

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