With specific reference to Roman law

With specific mention to Roman jurisprudence. In relation to the Contract of Sale, analyze the three elements required for a valid contract and exemplify how the jurisprudence associating to them developed.


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EU Principles of European Contract Law, Article 1.102 provinces:

Parties are free to come in into a contract and to find its contents, capable to the demands of good religion and just dealing, and the mandatary regulations established by these Principles” [ 1 ] .

Statutory intercession now precludes the individualistic entitlement antecedently acknowledged by the philosophy of ‘freedom of contract’ which accorded those involved with a right to hold to any agreement on the rule of obtaining the best deal possible in each single state of affairs [ 2 ] . Certain understandings are now regulated harmonizing to legal intercession in order to protect the involvements of those more vulnerable, as revealed in the Unfair Footings in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999, and implied footings [ 3 ] incorporated into contracts such as the Sale of Goods Act 1979. Certain legal rules are involved in the Sale of Goods Act 1979, clarified in Section 2 ( 1 ) which defines a contract for the sale of goods:

A contract of sale of goods is a contract by which the marketer transportations or agrees to reassign the belongings in goods to the purchaser for a money consideration, called the monetary value” [ 4 ] .

Implicit in this definition, is the ‘sale’ [ 5 ] which enables goods to be transferred to the purchaser, together with the ‘agreement to sell’ [ 6 ] and the existent transference of the ‘property in goods’ [ 7 ] . A valid contract is an understanding [ 8 ] enforceable by jurisprudence which, to be legitimate must dwell of an offer and an credence, in return for a consideration by parties who intend to make a legal relationship and who are recognised as holding the capacity [ 9 ] in jurisprudence to do an official contract, for illustration both parties being over the age of 18 in the UK. This essay focuses on the three elements of offer, credence and consideration and investigates how the jurisprudence associating to these elements developed, with exceptional mention to Roman Law.


Contractual Duties

A sale may be negotiated through establishing an invitation to handle, as revealed inPartridge V Crittenden[ 1968 ] [ 10 ] . A concluding unqualified look of acquiescence to all footings in a contract would be construed if an order had been sent, although look of purpose must be exactly related to the offer, supplying grounds of it being univocal and unconditioned. A telephone call from the purchaser, in which the marketer agrees to verbally directing the goods shows clear purpose to accept the offer, more than merely an recognition of the offer.

However, it was determined inHolwell Securities V Hughes[ 1974 ] [ 11 ] that credence must be communicated to the marketer. The Postal Rule is revealed inAdams V Lindsell[ 1818 ] [ 12 ] where verification is considered an unconditioned credence as the contract is effectual from the blink of an eye of poster, even if wrongly addressed [ 13 ] . This is non, nevertheless, the instance with instant communicating beginnings such as electronic mail, text messaging, facsimile, or telephone calls [ 14 ] if sent within office hours. A text message sent, but deleted prior to being read by the receiver would still be considered to hold been received, clarified by Lord Denning inEntores[ 1955 ] . Equally effectual would be a backdown if received, but non acted on, due to possible carelessness, as ruled inBrimnes[ 1975 ] [ 15 ] .

Acceptance must, nevertheless, be univocal and unconditioned, although a conditional credence is considered to demo purpose, as in a petition for staggered bringing which was construed inStevenson, Jacques & A ; Co v McLean[ 1880 ] [ 16 ] as an question non a counter offer. Silence on the portion of the purchaser has been ruled as holding no footing for presuming an credence, as revealed inAllied Marine Transport Ltd[ 17 ] .

Development of Civil Law

Modern twenty-four hours European Commercial jurisprudence, which the EU is presently trying to blend into Protocols and Directives acceptable for all Member States to follow, was derived from the distinct principles of European mercantile jurisprudence whose separate entity evolved from the merchandiser classes during the Middle Ages. In Europe this later developed into a substantial mercantile jurisprudence, with separate tribunals whose legal power was applied through the ‘Piepoudre’ Courts, or Courts of Commerce. These tribunals dealt entirely with mercantile jurisprudence through which the demand for specific cogent evidence against a jurisprudence merchandiser was a pre-requisite. This construct of the ‘law merchant’ arose in England during the 16ThursdayCentury and was maintained individually from the Royal tribunals until intercession by the Lord Chief Justice Mansfield in English jurisprudence during the 18Thursdaycentury, when mercantile principles were incorporated into common jurisprudence, and the specific demand for cogent evidence against a jurisprudence merchandiser was rescinded, recognizing breach of contract through common jurisprudence which, as a redress, was non a characteristic of commercial jurisprudence in Europe, based as it is on the Civil jurisprudence.

Civil jurisprudence is revealed through specific regulations that are codified to cover with prescribed legal jobs [ 18 ] , less laterally interpreted than statute law based on common jurisprudence, described as being similar to ‘English medieval jurisprudence of contract’ [ 19 ] . Modern civil jurisprudence is based on the ancient Roman system [ 20 ] ofprincipal juris civilistogether with either Germanic jurisprudence or facets associated with the five Napoleonic Codes doing up Gallic Law. However, English contract jurisprudence differed in regard ofassumpsit[ 21 ] which, Borkowski explains, enabled English contract jurisprudence to develop a ‘considerable grade of coherence’ . Conversely, Roman Law ‘developed into a jurisprudence ofcontracts[ 22 ] instead thancontract’ [ 23 ] , whilststipulatio( the promissory debt ) andmancipatio[ 24 ] ( existent debt ) emerged into the Roman Gross saless Contract [ 25 ] which was characterised by interchangingarra[ 26 ] as grounds of good religion [ 27 ] between acceding parties to corroborate the sale.

Roman Law can be divided into the Torahs of things, integrating either assets owned, or those owed as a debt, and the jurisprudence of duties, that of rightsin personam. Harmonizing to Gaius [ 28 ] , every right correlates with an duty, thereby placing the debitor and the creditor [ 29 ] . As such, Civil Law is characterised by a specific focal point on public presentation of each contract [ 30 ] , the tribunal necessitating to set up an existent or specific remit harmonizing to the footings of each person contract and the relationship between offer, credence and consideration. Redresss are frequently limited to the contract monetary value or cost of a replacing, with some argument over this associating to market cost or in footings of the cost of an existent replacing.

The Germanic Code is a more recent invention and is much more narrowly interpreted than the Gallic Code, trusting on ordinances [ 31 ] modelled for specific application in each single instance topic to the doctrine of reason and moralss, clearly relevant in the diction of the EU Principles of European Contract Law Parts I and II, Section 2, Article 1.201 ( Good Faith and Fair Dealing ) and Article 1.202 ( Duty to Co-operate ) . The Gallic Code, the chief construction being the Code Civil, together with the Code de Commerce through which most of commercialism is based, relies on the codification of different Articles as revealed in the Treaties of EU statute law [ 32 ] , certain Articles of which appertaining to different facets frequently combined to supply an equal result. Harmonizing to EU Legislation, Article 2.201 ( 3 ) provinces that an offer expresses a willingness to come in into a contract [ 33 ] with the purpose of a binding contract bing on credence of that offer, realised through the bilateral agreement of supply as the consequence of payment as exhibited inSmith V Hughes[ 1871 ] [ 34 ] from which governing the ‘reasonable man’ trial was determined.

Historical Significance

Security of minutess was an outlook as far back as medieval times when purchasers and Sellerss recorded their trades in the ecclesiastical tribunals as a agency of their dealing being registered [ 35 ] , revealed through “lawsuit fidei laesionis seu perjurii” which was recorded in the history of the mediaeval church as ‘enforcing a pledged promise [ 36 ] , identified asex delicto, ex contractu, or quasi antique contractu[ 37 ] . At this clip there was a differentiation between ‘temporal law’ and ‘spiritual law’ , the former evolving into English common jurisprudence and the latter developing through canon jurisprudence into English civil jurisprudence, similar but quite distinct from the Civil Law that developed as a consequence of Roman Law.

In the 6ThursdayCentury Dionysius Exigius, compiled theCodex Dionysiana[ 38 ] from information based on the Didache [ 39 ] from the Council of Jerusalem. This non merely had a immense impact on medieval canon jurisprudence, but many of these suggestions were the precursor of Roman Law and imposed by Charlemagne as regulations to be adhered to within Europe [ 40 ] . The rigorous codification of Roman Law was based on the ‘Traditio apostolica’ which was attributed to Hippolytus, learning that, to avoid doctrinal mistake and dissident beliefs it must be really purely followed [ 41 ] , giving rise to the accent on signifier. The ‘Didascalia apostolorum’ was besides written around same clip, supplying direction on Christian communities’ behavior [ 42 ]

Two peculiar aggregations uncovering Roman Law were the ‘Corpus Iuris’ and the ‘Codex Theodosaianus’ , written in AD438 and AD535 severally [ 43 ] . Both of these incorporated Roman jurisprudence into processs of the Church. However, due to canon jurisprudence being based on Roman jurisprudence, it came to be banned due to the Reformation when, in 1535, Thomas Cromwell considered that Roman Law had no farther significance due to England discontinuing to hold any farther links with Rome. Harmonizing to Scrutton: ‘among English attorneies before 1600 “the Roman jurisprudence became non merely a topic of misgiving, owing to the struggle between King and Pope ; it even dropped into limbo” [ 44 ] .

Justinian’s Digest collated the decretals [ 45 ] issued by the Bishops of Rome and these became the footing for jurisprudence throughout Europe. Following the backdown of the Roman influence from Western Europe this statute law lay undiscovered until the 11ThursdayCentury when assorted authors collated these Torahs into mention books, called Coda, the chief one being the ‘Decretum of Burchard’ written in AD 1000 – 1025 by the Bishop of Worms [ 46 ] . In bend, these influenced the development of the new universitas [ 47 ] , the imposts and traditions of which were introduced into England by William the Conqueror from France.

Siepp explains that temporal and religious jurisprudence “were different Torahs, known to different professions and administered by different tribunals, otherwise” [ 48 ] . Three countries of jurisprudence developed in England: Common jurisprudence, Equity and Canon jurisprudence, the first due to attorneies geting their cognition through working in the Inns of Court ; cannon jurisprudence continued to be responsible for the Torahs environing civil responsibilities: as people were frequently illiterate they made a contract binding by an curse sworn on the Bible. As such, broken contracts were considered profane [ 49 ] these contracts were considered to be lawfully adhering.


The focal point of Civil Law, in relation to Roman Law, is finally on dialogue instead than judicial proceeding although, with the jurisprudence of contract incorporated into English common jurisprudence actioning for breach of contract is an option in order to achieve amendss. The Court of Common Pleas, presided over by the Lord Chief Justice, became responsible for all civil actions, into which the Piepoudre Court of the jurisprudence merchandiser became integrated, eventually mixing with the common jurisprudence during the eighteenth century. As a consequence civil jurisprudence in the English tribunals has evolved apart from civil jurisprudence in Europe which maintains a format similar to the ethos of good religion and just traffics expected within the original Roman, or Civil, Code.

A peculiar aspect of the Civil Code is the appellation between goods which are touchable or intangible and movable or immoveable. Specified within the Sale of Goods Act 1979 is the definition on goods being described as ‘property in goods’ [ 50 ] which relates to the absolute or conditional [ 51 ] ownership being transferred instantly on reception of movable belongings. Despite the statutory proviso of jurisprudence in more recent times, the philosophy of freedom of contract remains [ 52 ] , with a tribunal merely being prepared to mediate where a sensed illegality occurs [ 53 ] . Evidence of this can clearly be seen in the statute law of the European Community, together with the Sale of Goods Act 1979, both of which emphasise the ethos of good religion and just traffics but maintain the freedom of the three elements of a contract being offer and an credence, in return for a consideration.

Entire Word Count ( excepting footers and bibliography ) 2,030 words



Borkowski, Andrew ( 1997 ) :Textbook on Roman Law. London: Blackstone Imperativeness

Brundage, James A ( 1996 ) :Medieval Canon Law: Addison Wesley Longman Ltd, Harlow, UK, p. 5

Coriden, JA ( 1991 ) :An Introduction to Canon Law. London: Geoffrey Chapman Publishers

Nicholas, Barry ( 1988 ) :An Introduction to Roman Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Page 165

Weir, Tony, 1992 cited inBorkowski, Andrew ( 1997 ) :Textbook on Roman Law. London: Blackstone Imperativeness


Dovey, Dave ( 2001 ) :Analyzing Comparative Law:The Legal Executive( 2001 )
pp22 – 23

Helmholtz, R H ( 1975 ) :Assumpsit and fidei laesio.Law quarterly reappraisal, vol.91, ( 1975 ) , pp.406-432

Helmholtz, R H ( 1983 ) :Canon jurisprudence and English Common jurisprudence: Selden Society talk delivered in the Old Hall of Lincoln ‘s Inn, July 5th, 1982, p. 264. . London: Selden Society, 1983

Scrutton, T E cited inSiepp, DJ ( 1993 ) :The Reception of Canon Law and Civil Law in the Common Law Courts before 1600:Oxford Journal of Legal Surveies13 ( 3 ) ( 1993 ) , p. 389

Siepp, DJ ( 1993 ) :The Reception of Canon Law and Civil Law in the Common Law Courts before 1600: Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 13 ( 3 ) ( 1993 ) , p. 395


Sale of Goods Act Part II Sections 2 ( 3 ) ; 2 ( 4 ) ; 2 ( 5 ) ; 2 ( 6 ) ; 8 ( 3 ) ; 3 ( 1 ) ; 12

hypertext transfer protocol: //www.jus.uio.no/lm/england.sale.of.goods.act.1979/doc

EU Principles of European Contract Law, Parts I and II [ revised ] Article 1.102

hypertext transfer protocol: //www.jus.uio.no/lm/eu.contract.principles.1998/doc.html

Table of Cases

Adams V Lindsell [ 1818 ] 1 B & A ; Ald 681 ; 106 ER 250

Allied Marine Transport Ltd v Vale Do Rio Doce Navagaceo SA, The Leonides D [ 1985 ] 2 All ER 796 [ 1985 ] 1 WLR 925 CA

Brimnes [ 1975 ] QB 929

Brinkibon Ltd V Stahag Stahl [ 1983 ] 2 A C 34 [ 1982 ] 1 All E R 293 ( House of Lords )

Clifton v. Palumbo ( 1944 ) 2 All ER 497

Entores Ltd V Miles Far East Corp [ 1955 ] 2 All ER 493 [ 1955 ] 2 Q B 327

Gibson v. Manchester City Council 1 ( 1979 ) 1 WLR 294

Holwell Securities Ltd v. Hughes [ 1974 ] 1 All ER 164 CA

Partridge V Crittenden [ 1968 ] 1 WLR 1204.

Smith V Hughes, [ 1871 ] LR 6 QB 597 ( Queen ‘s Bench Division )

Stevenson Jacques & A ; Co. v. McLean ( 1880 ) , 5 Q.B


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