The article discusses the results of the judicial reform of 1864 through the example of the district courts of the Yaroslavl province – Yaroslavl and Rybinsk. They were among the first courts established in Russia, and studying of them helps to conceive the judicial system activity at the province level. Both the dignities of the new judicial institutions and drawbacks, increasing in their activity at the end of the 19th century, are shown. Personalities of the chairmen of the district courts are characterized. The increasing burden on judges and all court personnel in connection with the growing number of cases and changes in legislation, the relatively low level of wages and, thus, living conditions of judicial employees, the problems with the formation of the jury lists are described. The article finds that at first there was a notable impulse of the judicial reform given for the formation of the state of law and the development of the legal awareness in the society, but then it was spent.