Wednesday, 16 January 2019
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Short History

The Ministry of Justice was founded in 1918 after the first Government of independent Lithuania was set up and lawyer Petras Leonas was appointed Minister of Justice on 11 November. At that time, the Ministry of Justice was responsible for administering the work of courts. The first Minister of Justice of independent Lithuania had to play a major role – to lay the foundations for the operation of justice system in Lithuania.

Under the leadership of Liudas Noreika, Minister of Justice of the third Government, the Lithuanian legal framework continued to be developed and the Ministry itself was in charge of organising the entire justice system in the country. The Ministry managed the court system, prosecution authorities, notary offices and places of imprisonment. Its scarce central apparatus structurally comprised three departments: the Department of General Affairs, the Department of Rights and the Department of Prisons. In 1919, the Ministry began developing a temporary court system and organising its work: it introduced three tiers of courts (justices of the peace, district courts and, according to the historical tradition, the Supreme Tribunal), military courts and appointed judges.

The Declaration of the sixth Government presented on 23 June 1920 identified two key objectives of the then Ministry of Justice: “to work out the court which would meet the needs of the entire population, be quick, equitable and accessible to everyone” and “to produce the necessary and relevant draft legislation such as the civil and criminal statutes, civil and criminal procedures, etc.” The drafting and promulgation of the “foster care” and “inheritance” laws, review of the temporary law “on the facilities for arrestees” and rearranging prisons were also mentioned as some of the key tasks of the Ministry in the Declaration.

The creation of the court system, which had been the focal point of the Ministry of Justice, was completed in 1922. At that time, the Republic of Lithuania already had justices of the peace, military courts and district courts, the Tribunal and arbitrages.

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