Roman civilisation • The City of Rome was founded in 753 BC • The Roman Republic was established in 509 BC • Ancient Roman Empire was founded in 27 BC by Augustus, the first emperor • The Empire was divided into Western and Eastern Roman Empire in 285 AD
Civil law • Civil law or Ius civile in its broadest sense was the law of the city of Rome. • In a narrower sense it refers to the secular law of Rome, private and public, to the exclusion of sacred law
Sources • The beginning and end of Roman civil law are conveniently marked by the Twelve Tables and Justinian's codification • Law of the Twelve Tables - the earliest and most important legislation enacted in 450 BC • It was (most probably) posted on tablets in the Roman Forum
The Law of the Twelve Tables • The Twelve Tables were written by the Decemviri Consulari Imperio Legibus Scribundis,(the 10 Consuls) who were given unprecedented powers to draft the laws of the young Republic. • Originally ten laws were drafted; two later statutes were added prohibiting marriage between the classes and affirming the binding nature of customary law.
Twelve Tables – cont. • The new code promoted the organization of public prosecution of crimes and instituted a system whereby injured parties could seek just compensation in civil disputes. • The plebeians were protected from the legal abuses of the ruling patricians, especially in the enforcement of debts. • Serious punishments were levied for theft and the law gave male heads of families enormous social power (patria potestas).
Importance of the first code • The important basic principle of a written legal code for Roman law was established , and justice was no longer based solely on the interpretation of judges. These laws formed an important part of the foundation of all subsequent Western civil and criminal law. • The full text of the code has not survived, only some fragments
About Twelve Tables • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGQEs-n-AVU
Justinian’s codification • The most successful effort to gather the existing laws starting from the Law of Twelve Tables and to add new laws • The collection of laws and legal interpretation developed under Justinian’s sponsorship from 529 AD to 565 AD; it is commonly called Corpus Juris Civilis
Three systems of procedure • The Roman civil trial was governed in the course of history by three systems of procedure: that of the legis actiones (actions in law), the formulary system, and the cognitio extra ordinem or cognitio extraordinaria (extraordinary inquiry).
Formulary procedure • Under it for each cause of action there was an appropriate form of action, expressed in a set of words or formula; and the praetor had the power to create new formulae to meet new needs. • The formula constituted the pleadings of the parties (plaintiff and defendant)
Summons • The bringing of an action began with the plaintiff personally summoning the defendant to follow him before the magistrate. The Twelve Tables contained detailed provisions governing this summons.
From The Twelve Tables • Table I: Preliminaries to a trial • 1. If plaintiff summons defendant to court, he shall go. If he does not go, plaintiff shall call witness thereto. Then only shall he take defendant by force. • 2. If defendant shirks or takes to heels, plaintiff shall lay hands on him. • 3. If disease or age shall be an impediment, he shall grant him a team (for transport); he should not spread with cushions a covered carriage if he shall not so desire.
Rules for a trial • 6-9. When the parties compromise the matter, an official shall announce it. If they do not compromise, they shall state the outline of the case in the meeting place or market before noon. They shall plead it out together in person. After noon, the judge shall adjudge the case to the party that is present. If both are present, sunset shall be the time limit (of the proceedings).
Stages • In jure – before the magistrate; its purpose was to define and formulate the issue (i.e. the limits of the dispute between the parties). This stage culminated in joinder (joining) of issue, an acceptance by the parties, under the magistrate's supervision, of the issue thus formulated and the nomination of the iudex authorized by the magistrate – very formal • In judicio – before the iudex or iudices; informal; speeches held by orators
Iudex • The iudexpresided in the second stage when the case was heard and argued. • A private person empowered by the magistrate's order to give judgement, but more than a mere private arbitrator, because that judgement was recognized by the state and enabled the successful plaintiff to put it into effect.
Praetor • Judge and magistrate elected yearly along with the Consuls • A praetor was one of the greater Roman magistrates with imperium or legal power. They led armies, presided in law courts, and administered the law. Judging matters between citizens was the job of one specific magistrate, the praetor urbanus (city praetor). Since he was in charge of the city, he was only allowed to leave the city for the period of ten days.
Praetor Peregrinus • In the late Republic there were eight Praetors; senior was the Praetor Urbanus who heard civil cases between citizens • The Praetor Peregrinus heard cases involving foreigners, the others presided over criminal courts
Formula • The praetor settled the formula – a set of instructions to the iudex • The formula varied from action to action, but its structure was based on some permanent essential parts: the intentio(concise formulation of the plaintiff's claim) and the condemnatio, by which the judge was directed to condemn the defendant if he found after hearing the evidence and the arguments that the plaintiff's case was good, otherwise to acquit him.
Procedural contract • When the formula was complete, the parties joined in the procedural contract – they undertook to abide by the result of the submission to the iudex • Because of the contract, the judgment was binding on them
Condemnatio • All actions, except those intended only to settle a preliminary question, necessarily led to a condemnatio for a money sum to be paid by the defendant. The assessment of the sum was made by the iudex.
Forum • An open meeting and market area; the premier forum was the Forum Romanum surrounded by the Capitoline, Palatine and Caelian hills • The court met outdoors in the Forum when the weather was good • Later it was paved and devoted solely to public business, and market functions were transferred to the Forum Boarium, the cattle market
About Forum • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HTeWERWaJ4