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New FrontiersLaw and Society in the Roman World$
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Paul J. du Plessis

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780748668175

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748668175.001.0001

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Dumtaxat de peculio: What’s in a Peculium, or Establishing the Extent of the Principal’s Liability

Dumtaxat de peculio: What’s in a Peculium, or Establishing the Extent of the Principal’s Liability

Chapter:
(p.192) Chapter 10 Dumtaxat de peculio: What’s in a Peculium, or Establishing the Extent of the Principal’s Liability
Source:
New Frontiers
Author(s):

Jean-Jacques Aubert

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748668175.003.0010

Roman Law accepted the fact that dependants endowed with a peculium could engage their principal’s liability up to the extent of the peculium. This statement implies that third contracting parties, even more so than principals and agents, could figure out the value – and the nature – of the peculium at the relevant time, in order to be able to sue the principal for a definite, precise, and accurate amount of money, and thus avoid the double trap of damaging minus petitio or lethal plus petitio. Peculia were composed of various assets and liabilities, traces of which should be found in account books, the existence and reliability of which cannot be taken for granted. In view of the difficulties raised in the application of the actio de peculio, Roman jurists devised alternative, fairer, and more straightforward legal remedies (actio tributoria, actiones in solidum, i.e. institoria or exercitoria) to facilitate the legal implementation of commercial transactions (contracts) carried out through dependants.

Keywords:   Contracts, Agency, Accounting, Bookkeeping, peculium, actiones de peculio, tributoria, institoria

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