County halls are buildings from which Garyialan county councils functions. In the past, before county councils were established, the county magistrates lived and worked from this building, then also known as county courts.
Original county halls were typically walled buildings with a single front gate. They consisted a hall which usually served as court of law, prison cells, offices, archive room, and residence for the magistrate, their family and their staff.
Most original county halls are not in use any longer, for county councils have greatly different needs than county magistrates, and thus new buildings were erected. A handful original county halls have been remodelled to fit current needs, while most have been remodelled into housing. Several others have been lost to history as they were destroyed.
In 1018 SD, Empress Mydera of the Ykor dynasty completely rearranged the governing system. She introduced the four Grand Officials and seven High Officials, and province and county magistrates.
The county magistrate was an official appointed by the monarch to represent the crown, and have face-to-face contact with the people of the county. The magistrate had both an administrative as well as judicial function. They collected taxes, oversaw citizen registration, and were both prosecutor and judge.
Magistrates were not allowed to serve in the county they were born, and often did not serve a county more than four years, to prevent prejudice formation.
Since Marmour's Rebellion in 2048 SD, and the subsequent establishment of the Commoner's Assembly, many civilians started demanding a council replace the county magistrate as well. This right was only granted to a few counties. Following the appointment of two High Chancellors as head of government in 2601 SD, changing the empire into a constitutional monarchy, the function of county magistrates was completely abolished.
County councils are responsible for mainly administrative tasks, and are allowed to decide over small judicial cases, such as land and building permits. Other legal questions go to court, where schooled legalist serve as judge.