11 March 2015

Aequitas as Law

I'll leave it to my Classics readers to evaluate more fully this book chapter, "Aequitas as Real Law: Sources of the European Legal Tradition", but it strikes me as largely correct. In other words, I agree that its historical claim:
Having become a topic of European legal thought, the concept of justness [aequitas] had its own pre-history [i.e., before the time of Justinian]: it acquired its genuine meaning within the framework of classical Roman law (first to third centuries). The subsequent mastery of the Roman legal legacy by Byzantine, Western European, and all world culture occurred under other conditions ... Identifying the place and significance of aequitas in the structure of Roman classical law is essential in order to elucidate this category. (92)
and its normative claim:
Positive law and law established by interpretation equally act merely as forms of fixation, recognition, and perception of norms of law which exist objectively, irrespective of official recognition, and are a genuine regulator of social relations. (88)
are accurate. I am also intrigued that the author, Dimitri Dozhdev, is Dean of the Faculty of Law at the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences.

I addressed the influence of the Roman concept of aequitas on John Calvin in God's Bridle: John Calvin's Application of Natural Law.

For my thoughts on (common law) equity as "real law" see my piece, Third Time's the Charm: The Coming Impact of the Restatement (Third), Restitution and Unjust Enrichment.

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