As long property and trade relations exist in the world as long rules and laws regulating them do.
The First Statute (1529) of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which existed at that time in the territory of modern Belarus, was one of first in Europe integrated codes of law in all the fields of law. The First Statute was composed in Belarusian. It legally fixed the basis of state and civil system. In 1588 the Grand Chancellor of the Duchy of Lithuania Lev Sapega compiled and published the most perfect for that period of time the Third Statute of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which regulated state structure and fundamentals of judicial system, contained rules of criminal, family and land law. At the close of the XVI century the Third Statute was translated into German for the purpose of codification of the Prussian law. The Statute was used in the courts of Latvia and Estonia, in the territory of Ukraine, as well as for elaboration of the legislation of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and compilation of the Council Code of Russia.
The Statute of 1588 was the sole code of laws in Europe of that time and it was effective in the territory of Belarus until 1830. Later, upon entry of a part of Belarus into Russia, it was invalidated and common Russian legislation was extended to the Belarusian provinces.
The personal Edict of the emperor Nicholas I dated May 14, 1832 established Tribunals of Commerce in all the Russian territory. All the disputes and risks related to trade turnover, to bills of exchange, contracts and liabilities, as well as all the trade insolvency cases were attributed to the competence of Tribunals of Commerce.
Tribunals of Commerce functioned until 1917 and were abolished by Decree on Court of Justice No. 1 of the Soviet government.
The administrative procedure of settlement of economic disputes was in force in the years of the Civil War and at the time of War Communism. Starting from September 1922 arbitration commissions were formed for settlement of property disputes between government institutions and enterprises. Later, Resolution on State Arbitration was approved on May 3, 1931. It was specified therein that the State Arbitration “is created for settlement of property disputes between institutions, enterprises and organizations of the socialized sphere in the direction that ensures strengthening of planned and contractual discipline and cost accounting”. Thereafter the departmental arbitration tribunals were established in addition to the State Arbitration.
In 1991 economic courts came to take place of state and departmental arbitration tribunals in the Republic of Belarus. On June 5, 1991 the Supreme Council of the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic adopted the Law On Economic Court in the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic. The substitution of the arbitration system with economic courts was predetermined by new economic conditions of transition to market relations, by the existence of different patterns of ownership. The arbitration was transformed to an economic court, the activity of which on examination and settlement of disputes goes in economic and procedural form which creates secure guarantees of protection of the rights equally to subjects of entrepreneurial activity of any pattern of ownership and citizens. The role of the economic court grows in modern conditions; it is called upon to ensure objective settlement of disputes, to restore infringed rights and legitimate interests of economic entities.
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