- Alongside the local organs of the central government in Russia there are three classes of local elected bodies charged with administrative functions: (I) the peasant assemblies in the mir and the volost, ' From Catherine II.'s time to that of Alexander II.
A number of mirs are united into a volost, The or canton, which has an assembly consisting of elected delegates from the mirs.
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, understand.
The peasants are not compelled to go to the volost court.
2 On the other hand, from the volost court there is no appeal, unless it has acted ultra vires or illegally.
The result of these interviews was a series of projects of reform, including a constitutional system based on a series of dumas, the cantonal assembly (volost) electing the duma of the district, the dumas of the districts electing that of the province or government, and these electing the Duma of the empire.