Kantorovich Yakov (1859–1925) – lawyer, legal historian.
In 1879, he finished a gymnasium in Vilno, and in 1886, he graduated from the Legal Faculty of the St. Petersburg University. In the end of 1880-s, he entered the advocate service. In 1886-1905, he worked as Assistant of County Attorneys of the St. Petersburg Court Chamber. Since mid-1890-s, he actively wrote various texts. He published some research works on the history of law on his own account; in the early 1900-s, he founded his own publishing house and worked as Chief Editor of the magazines ‘Sudebnoe obozrenie’, ‘Vestnik senatskoy praktiki’, ‘Vestnir zakonodatel’stva’ on jurisprudence. In 1905-1917, he was County Attorney of the St. Petersburg Court Chamber and Juror at the St. Petersburg Commercial Court.
He published a number of works on the history of law, including the history of legal culture of West European Middle Ages and issues of religious tolerance. He was interested in reasons of cases against witches – he connected them with demonology, which was turned into ‘almost a science’. He argued that a significant quantity of cases against witches demonstrated fanaticism and ignorance. He put a special attention at the materials which testified that some contemporaries accused such ideas and were against those trials. He mentioned texts by Agrippa von Nettesheim, Adam Tanner, who had doubts in the real reasons of such accusations; they raised their voices against cruelty of tortures and executions. He studied the history of cases against witches not only in Western Europe, but in Rus’ also. He was sure that there were no religious or ideological grounds for persecutions for witchcraft, and all processes had political and civic character, that they could be explained with the desire to get the award for claims.