Governing Senate
The Governing Senate was a legislative, judicial, and executive body of Russian Monarchs
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

, instituted by Peter the Great
Peter I of Russia
Peter the Great, Peter I or Pyotr Alexeyevich Romanov Dates indicated by the letters "O.S." are Old Style. All other dates in this article are New Style. ruled the Tsardom of Russia and later the Russian Empire from until his death, jointly ruling before 1696 with his half-brother, Ivan V...

 to replace the Boyar Duma
A Duma is any of various representative assemblies in modern Russia and Russian history. The State Duma in the Russian Empire and Russian Federation corresponds to the lower house of the parliament. Simply it is a form of Russian governmental institution, that was formed during the reign of the...

 and lasted until the very end of the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

. It was chaired by the Ober-Procurator. He served as the link between sovereign and the Senate and acted, in the emperor's own words, as "the sovereign's eye".

Originally established only for the time of the monarch's absence, it became a permanent body after his return. The number of senators was first set at nine and in 1712, increased to ten. Any disagreements between the Ober-Procurator and the Senate were to be settled by the monarch. Certain other officials and a chancellery were also attached to the senate. While it underwent many subsequent changes, the Senate became one of the most important institutions of imperial Russia, especially in administration and law.

The State Council
State Council of Imperial Russia
The State Council was the supreme state advisory body to the Tsar in Imperial Russia.-18th century:Early Tsars' Councils were small and dealt primarily with the external politics....

 created by the Government reform of Alexander I
Government reform of Alexander I
The early Russian system of government instituted by Peter the Great, which consisted of various state committees, each named Collegium with subordinate departments named Prikaz, was largely outdated by the 19th century...

 was supposed to inherit the executive power of the Senate, and an envisioned parliament
A parliament is a legislature, especially in those countries whose system of government is based on the Westminster system modeled after that of the United Kingdom. The name is derived from the French , the action of parler : a parlement is a discussion. The term came to mean a meeting at which...

 was to inherit legislative power; however, the reform was never finished.

In the 19th century the Senate evolved into the highest judicial body in Russia. As such, it exercised control over all legal institutions and officials throughout Russia. In this capacity, too, Senate was concerned with the interpretation of the Code; and its decisions upon points of Russian law were as authoritative, as the written law itself.

The Senate was composed of several departments, two of which were Courts of Cassation
Supreme court
A supreme court is the highest court within the hierarchy of many legal jurisdictions. Other descriptions for such courts include court of last resort, instance court, judgment court, high court, or apex court...

 (one for criminal and the other for civil cases). It also included a Department of Heraldry
Heraldry is the profession, study, or art of creating, granting, and blazoning arms and ruling on questions of rank or protocol, as exercised by an officer of arms. Heraldry comes from Anglo-Norman herald, from the Germanic compound harja-waldaz, "army commander"...

, which managed matters relating to the rights of the nobles and honorary citizens.
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