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2011, vol. 45, iss. 1, pp. 521-534
Authentic interpretations of Return of the Lands Act (1839)
University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Law, Serbia
Keywords: return of the lands act; land property; reign of constitution defenders; interpretation of law
The article sheds light on three interpretations of Return of the Lands Act, introduced in 1839 and entitling landowners whose land was usurped by prince Miloš Obrenović (1815-1839, 1858-1860) and distinguished people's headmen to claim retrial of litigations over land adjudicated unjustly and return of their lawlessly disposed property. Two main questions arose in relation with interpretive rules - what were legislative power's goals when interpreting the Act and to what they were due. The author seeked the answer to the first dilemma by scrutinizing texts of interpretations, in order to determine their semantic meaning. In an attempt to provide the explanation for the second problem, he explored social context preceeding introduction of interpretive rules (namely, number of litigations before courts and political ambiance in Serbia). The first interpretation, dating back to March, 2nd 1843, is inclined towards previous owners of the land. Such solution was caused mainly by the political situation - Russia contested Aleksandar Karađorđević's first election for prince of Serbia in 1842 and the assembly foreseen to elect ruler anew was to be summoned in June 1843 In the meantime, new regime embodied in so-called constitution-defenders (the group of distinguished political leaders opposed to Obrenović dynasty) struggled to ensure enthronement of its candidate and therefore issued a demagogic interpretation. On the contrary, two remaining interpretations, from the years 1844 and 1845, were aimed to retain status quo regarding land property by diminishing possibilities for new trial. The legislators opted for restrictions having learned that number of litigations had increased greatly. Besides, political climate was to the most extent convenient for taking such measures, as several lesser rebellions incited by the followers of Obrenović dynasty had been quelled easily, after which the opponents of the regime remained passive for a longer period of time. Future research in this area should be directed towards other interpretive rules introduced during the reign of prince Aleksandar Karađorđević (1842- 1858). Potential researchers should link analyzed interpretations and examine whether common intentions of legislative power existed.
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article language: Serbian
document type: Original Scientific Paper
DOI: 10.5937/zrpfns1101521S
published in SCIndeks: 27/09/2011
peer review method: double-blind

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