Matrimonial matters and those relating to wills and succession (called in Scotland " consistorial " causes) were in 1563 taken from the old bishops' courts and given to " commissaries " appointed by the crown with an appeal to the court of session, which by act 1609, c. 6, was declared the king's great consistory.
In the persecuting activity that ensued the Dominicans, "the Dogs of the Lord" (Domini canes), took the lead., Commissaries of the Holy Office were sent into different provinces, and ministers of the faith were established in the various cities to take cognisance of the crimes of heresy, apostasy, sorcery, sodomy and polygamy, these three last being considered to be implicit heresy.
These are nominated by the governors,' and have under their orders in the principal localities commissaries (stanovoi pristav).
The self-government of the mirs and volosts is, however, tempered by the authority of the police commissaries (stanovoi) and by the power of general oversight given to the nominated " district committees for the affairs of the peasants."
They can apply to the police commissaries (stanovoti) or to the justices of the peace; but the great distances to be traversed in a country so sparsely populated makes this course highly inconvenient.