Metus in the Roman law of obligations

Glover, G.B. (2004) Metus in the Roman law of obligations. Fundamina : A Journal of Legal History, 10 . pp. 31-58. ISSN 1021-545X

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Abstract

[From the introduction]: An entire title of book four of Justinian’s Digest is devoted to explaining the doctrine of metus as it was understood at the time of the codification of the Roman law. That title begins with the following statement: "The praetor says: 'I will not hold valid what has been done under duress.'" This unequivocal statement of legal principle illustrates, in very general terms, that by the time the Corpus Iuris Civilis was compiled, the Romans disapproved of persons using threats to inspire the creation of legal obligations, and that it was possible to avoid the legal consequences of an obligation because it was induced by metus. The Corpus Iuris Civilis remains our most valuable source of authority with regard to how duress cases were treated in Roman times. But the relevant textual sources pose some fundamental difficulties. Far from containing a coherent, structured analysis of the law, the relevant passages in fact amount to a jigsaw-puzzle of uncoordinated, haphazard, and occasionally contradictory legal propositions.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Private law; Roman law; actions; claims; classifications; coercion; Contra bonos mores; contracts; remedies; Law of obligations; Restitutio in integrum; threats; Actio quod metus causa; Exceptio metus; Bonae fidei; metus; Formula Octaviana; Stricti iuris; Corpus Iuris Civilis; South Africa
Subjects:Y Unknown > Subjects to be assigned
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Law
ID Code:988
Deposited By:INVALID USER
Deposited On:19 May 2008
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:19
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