In the last quarter of the XVIII century Russian government conducted a range of activities, which led to the final destruction of the political autonomy of Hetmanate and full integration of Left-Bank Ukraine into the Russian Empire. By decree of Empress Catherine II on November 10, 1764 political institution of hetmanship was canceled and governance over Left-Bank Ukraine instructed to the Second Malorossiyskiy Collegium which was headed by the President P.A. Rymantsev. The next step was unification of the administrative and judicial system in accordance with the General Hetmanate.
In 1775 Catherine II initiated the administrative-territorial reform throughout the empire. November 7, 1775 was published «Establishment for the management of provinces of the Russian empire» («Institutions for control of provinces of the Russian Empire»). The law standardized dimensions of new provinces (Viceroyalty) and counties, clearly defined rights and responsibilities of local government. New administrative units were formed taking into account the number of people subject to taxation: in each province had to live from 300 to 400 thousand people in the county – from 20 to 30 thousand people.
According to the new administrative-territorial division were created provincial, county and municipal agencies, which were divided into administrative, financial and legal. Provincial agencies corresponded to the central institutions of the Russian Empire and locally took part of the functions of them. To number of provincial administrative agencies belonged provincial government, the Treasury House, word of public guardianship office and provincial land surveyor. Judicial institutions of provincial level were two houses civil and criminal court, three courts of second instance (upper district court, provincial magistrate and upper reprisal) and conscientious judgment.
County administrative agencies were represented by the lower district court, the county treasury, and officials: the county marshal of the nobility, Captain, land-surveyor and doctor. Judicial institutions representing the county level courts of first instance (district court, the nobility and the lower reprisal). The city administration headed by the mayor or the commandant, and legal proceedings of the commoners made by magistrate, city orphan court, city hall in positions and verbal courts in parts of the city.
The foundation of the provincial reform was to be clear and well-developed system of public order and justice. Therefore, in the new administrative-territorial apparatus at all levels quantitatively dominated judiciary.
According to «Establishment for the management of provinces» on the head of each province had to stand the Governor-General. But he usually became the imperial governor in two or even three provinces and hold in his hands very wide powers. Governor-General controlled the local authorities, was the head of the entire police commanded by the local forces, supervised the tax collection, etc. Judicial functions relied on him. He approved solutions in criminal cases, could suspend enforcement of the judgment, send it to the Senate and so on.
The main body of the province was oversight board composed of the governor-general, governor and the two counselors. Oversight reign brought to the attention of local institutions all orders of the Emperor, the Senate and other central government institutions, supervised their execution. He obeyed all Class courts and county police (the lower district court). The highest financial authority in the province was breech chamber, led by vice-governor or director of savings. It was in charge of revenue and expenses by province. The structure of the provincial administration created an entirely new institution in nature – the word of public care, in charge of included public education, public health, public charity and prisons.
Executive power within county owned the lower district court composed of captain and 2-3 judges. This institution performed order leadership in province, supervised the execution of laws, communications, trade, sought out peasant fugitives. Judicial institutions in the county were district court and lower reprisal. Thus, from the beginning in 1775 the maximum provincial reform began the centralization of power in the hands of the Governor-General, who was the imperial governor of the field, and an extensive system of local government with the assistance of their member local gentry possible to successfully carry out the decisions of the government and control all aspects of life society.
Testing of reform on Russian territory, Catherine II extended the validity of «Establishment for the management of provinces» on the Ukrainian land. Appropriate training on the orders of Empress of May 24, 1779 carried out by P.A. Rumyantsev, appointed Governor-General of the Left-Bank Ukraine in November 1775 he had an assist newly administered by Catherine II Little Russia (Malorossia) Governor A. Miloradovych. He made a core set of activities related to the preparation of the administrative-territorial reform. During the second half of 1779 – the first half of 1781 Little Russia governor together with a special Commission made a comprehensive description of Left-bank Ukraine and had a record of its population. September 16, 1781 went out imperial decree on the establishment within three Viceroyalty at Left-bank Ukraine – Kiev, Chernihiv and Novgorod-Siverskyi, Chernihiv, Novhorod-Siverskyi and Kyiv governors subordinated to the Governor-General, who represented the supreme executive power in Kiev, Chernihiv and Novhorod-Siverskyi governorship. Each of the three Viceroyalty divided into 11 counties. New territorial division completely ignored previous regiment-hundreds.
Governorship lasted until 1796 when by the decree of Emperor Paul I on November 30, 1796 Little Russia province was formed, the boundaries of which actually covered the historical territory of the Left Bank Hetman. The structure of the province entered the land of Chernihiv, Novhorod-Siverskyi, partially Kiev and Katerynoslav province. Chernihiv became a provincial town. Through reform, the Russian government has significantly simplified the system of local institutions, especially the judiciary. On the territory of left-bank Ukraine dignity to the decree of Paul I in 1796 opened the General Court, whose members are elected by Ukrainian nobles, and in the counties – rural (for civil cases) and the pidkomorskyi (in Land Survey cases) courts.
After the coup d’état at 11 March 1801 Alexander I became the emperor, issued a decree on September 9, 1801 which brought a huge distribution of vast territory of Little Russia province into two provinces and formation of double «set» of government officials, police and judicial dual system. Administrative-territorial transformation, embodied in practice for a long time, although they were relatively «cosmetic» in comparison with the previous reform in 1796 The next hundred years made no changes to the administrative division, which was established in region in 1801 – 1802.