Senior Lecturer in Civil Law and Legal History

B.Juris, Hons B.A., LL.B, M.A., Ph.D, FRHistS FSA Scot
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Biography

Research Interests

Paul J. du Plessis is a legal historian whose research focuses predominantly on the multifaceted and complex set of relationships between law and society in a historical context. His main field of research is Roman law (with specific reference to property, obligations and, to a lesser extent, persons and family). Within this field, he is mainly concerned with the contexts within which law operates and the extent to which modern socio-legal methodologies can be applied to historical material from the Roman period in order to further our understanding of Roman law. To that end, his work is mainly concerned with the formulation of a methodology for ‘law and society’ research with reference to the Roman Empire.

In the context of his interest in ‘law and society’, his research also focuses on a further period where Roman legal principles were used to create law, namely the period of the European ius commune in the late Middle Ages. Here, his research explores themes such as structure, doctrine and legitimacy with a view to challenging the accepted ‘macro-narratives’ of European legal history. 

Involvement in Legal History (Locally, Nationally and Internationally)

He is a member of various organisations dedicated to the study of legal history (the Selden Society, the Stair Society and the Southern African Society of Legal Historians) and he contributes actively to the webpages of the Centre for Legal History at Edinburgh University, primarily as co-author of the Edinburgh Legal History Blog

He is also convener of the Edinburgh Roman Law Group, one of the most prominent groups for the discussion of Roman law in the United Kingdom and Western Europe and co-director of the research network Ancient Law in Context hosted jointly by the School of Law and the School of History, Classics and Archaeology in the University of Edinburgh. 

He is the general editor (with Thomas McGinn) of the monograph series Oxford Studies in Roman Society and Law.

Recent Indicators of International Recognition:

In 2012, he was elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. 

Postgraduate Supervision:

Paul du Plessis welcomes any enquiries from prospective LL.M or PhD students in any one of his major or minor fields of research. He is actively seeking PhD candidates in Roman law. He also supervises candidates in the fields of ancient history and history of ideas.

If you are considering postgraduate LL.M research in the field of legal history, please take a moment to visit the website of the LL.M in Legal History and Philosophy of Law of which he is the programme director.

PhD supervision:

Completed:

Adelyn Wilson (Legal History)

Karen Baston (Legal History)

Juan P. Lewis (Roman History/Law)

Currently supervising:

Munin Pongsapan (Comparative Law)

Assya Ostroukh (Comparative Law)

Amy Bratton (Roman History/Law)

Jasmin Hepburn (Legal History)

Christina James (Legal History)

Courses Taught

Civil Law (Honours) (Course Organiser)

Civil Law (Ordinary)

Trade, Commerce and Society in the Roman Empire (Honours) (Course Organiser)

PhD Supervisees

Amy Bratton  'Slaves and the freed in Augustus' adultery legislation'

Paul Burgess  'Rhetorical conceptions of the rule of law: a lesbian rule?'

Peter Candy  'Roman maritime law from the end of the Republic to the reign of Diocletian: a social and economic perspective'

Jasmin Hepburn  'The "ius commune" in Early Modern European legal thought (1453 - 1683)'

Ilya Kotlyar  'Influence of Jus Commune on the Scottish judicial practice of succession to movables in 1560-1660'

Ross Macdonald  'Accounting for lifetime gifts in the law of succession'

Asya Ostroukh  'Reception of the French Civil Code in Quebec, Louisiana and Francophone Switzerland'

Christina White  'Alessandro Tartagni and De Appellationibus: A study in to the procedure of civil appeals in 15th century Bologna'

Books

Paul J. du Plessis Borkowski's Textbook on Roman law 5th edition (Oxford University Press, 2015)

Paul J. du Plessis Letting and Hiring in Roman Legal Thought: 27 BCE - 284 CE (Brill, 2012)
Abstract: Commerce in the Roman Empire of the first three centuries CE operated within a well-established legal framework provided by Roman law. This framework was the product of both legal theory and legal practice. Centuries of Praetorian modification of the ancient ius civile, augmented by conceptual legal thought provided by the Roman jurists had produced a body of law which permitted commerce to flourish and to expand. Central to this body of law was the contract of letting and hiring, one of the four named "consensual" contracts in Roman law. Building on the pioneering work undertaken by Fiori (1999) on Roman conceptual thought about letting and hiring, this books fills an important gap in the current scholarly literature on this contract and its place in Roman commerce. http://www.brill.nl/letting-and-hiring-roman-legal-thought-27-bce-284-ce

Paul J. du Plessis Studying Roman Law (Bloomsbury Academic, 2012)
Abstract: Studying Roman Law is an introductory guide aimed at sixth-formers, students and those with a general interest wishing to obtain a basic overview of Roman private law during the first three centuries of the Common Era. It is not meant to be a replacement for more comprehensive and technical manuals on Roman law, but should rather be seen as introductory reading. It contains a basic overview of the sources of Roman private law and a guide to their use together with a survey of the main areas of the law using primary sources in translation. It also explains the different contexts in which these rules arose and operated as well as the mechanisms by which they were enforced against the backdrop of one of the most sophisticated and influential legal systems of the ancient world.

Paul J. du Plessis Borkowski's Textbook on Roman law (Oxford University Press, 2010)
Abstract: Borkowski's Textbook on Roman Law has been written with undergraduate students firmly in mind. The book provides a clear and highly readable account of Roman private law and civil procedure, with coverage of all key topics, including the Roman legal system, and the law of persons, property, and obligations.

Paul J. du Plessis, Andrew Borkowski Textbook on Roman Law (Oxford University Press, 2005)
Abstract: Textbook on Roman Law provides students with a lucid and readable exposition of Roman private law and civil procedure. Beginning with a historical sketch of Roman and the key landmarks in Roman history, Borkowski and Du Plessis then outline the basic structure of the Roman legal system with particular reference to civil courts and civil procedure. This is followed by a survey of the Roman law of persons, property and inheritance, and obligations.

Edited Books

Paul J. du Plessis New Frontiers: Law and Society in the Roman World (Edinburgh University Press, 2013)
Abstract: Roman law as a field of study is rapidly evolving to reflect new perspectives and approaches in research. Scholars who work on the subject are increasingly being asked to conduct research in an interdisciplinary manner whereby Roman law is not merely seen as a set of abstract concepts devoid of any background, but as a body of law which operated in a specific social, economic and cultural context. Since the mid-1960s, a new academic movement has advocated a 'law and society' approach to the study of Roman law instead of the prevailing dogmatic methodology. This 'context-based' approach to the study of law and society in the Roman world is an exciting new field which legal historians must address and which is largely unexplored. This interdisciplinary collection focuses on three larger themes which have emerged from these studies: Roman legal thought; the interaction between legal theory and legal practice; and the relationship between law and economics.

John W. Cairns, Paul J. du Plessis The Creation of the Ius Commune: From Casus to Regula (Edinburgh University Press, 2010)
Abstract: This book is concerned with the transformation of Roman legal rules into the 'common law' of Western Europe in the period 1100-1400. In the space of three centuries these rules, collected in the sixth-century compilation produced by order of the Emperor Justinian, were comprehensively analysed and transformed by successive generations of medieval Italian and French jurists into the bedrock of Western European law. Through a series of chapters a number of distinguished scholars survey the traditional classifications of private law to establish the cognitive techniques used by these jurists to transform Roman law, along with Canon law into the ius commune of Western Europe.

John W. Cairns, Paul J. du Plessis Beyond Dogmatics: Law and Society in the Roman World (Edinburgh University Press, 2007)
Abstract: This edited collection contributes to the lively debate about law and society in the Roman world. It attempts to provide a balanced assessment of various points of view, through a number of studies by distinguished scholars.

Journal Articles

Paul J. du Plessis 'A Letter from the Edge of the World' (2014) Ars Aequi 5 - 7
Abstract: This article explores one of the Vindolanda Tablets in light of Roman law.

Paul J. du Plessis 'A Dialogue between Legal Theory and Legal Practice - Thoughts from the Ius Commune' (2013) Rabels Zeitschrift 379 - 387

Paul J. du Plessis 'The creation of legal principle' (2008) Roman Legal Tradition 46 - 69
Abstract: This article examines the process whereby legal principle was created in the formative period of the ius commune (1100 - 1400). It uses a specific example from the realm of the law of letting and hiring to argue that distinct phases can be identified in this process. An appreciation of the existence of these phases, in turn, casts new light on the variety of specialised cognitive techniques employed by medieval jurists to transform Roman legal rules into the "common law" of Europe.

Paul J. du Plessis, John W. Cairns 'Ten Years of Roman Law in Scottish Courts' (2008) Scots Law Times (29) 191 - 194
Abstract: This survey looks at the extent to which Roman law has been cited in Scottish courts in the last 10 years.

Paul J. du Plessis, Rena van den Bergh 'Divergences within the ius commune (2)' (2008) Tydskrif vir Hedendaags Romeins-Hollandse Reg/ Journal of Contemporary Roman-Dutch Law 110 - 118
Abstract: This article compares the classification of contracts in Roman-Dutch and Scottish legal writing during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries against the backdrop of the development of a general principle of contract during this period.

Paul J. du Plessis 'The Interdictum de Migrando revisited' (2007) Revue Internationale des droits de l'Antiquité 219 - 244
Abstract: This article examines a little-known Praetorian Interdict which could be used by tenants of urban property to dispute a landlord's attachment of certain movable property in lieu of payment of rent. It explores the relationship between this remedy and the Roman law of pledge without possession.

Paul J. du Plessis, Rena van den Bergh 'Divergences within the ius commune (1)' (2007) Tydskrif vir Hedendaags Romeins-Hollandse Reg/ Journal of Contemporary Roman-Dutch Law 611 - 621
Abstract: This article compares the classification of contracts in Roman-Dutch and Scottish legal writing during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries against the backdrop of the development of a general principle of contract during this period.

Paul J. du Plessis 'The Roman Concept of Lex Contractus' (2006) Roman Legal Tradition 79 - 94
Abstract: This article investigates the scope and function of the written terms of a contract in Roman law. It investigates the semantics of these written accounts in an attempt to understand the Roman concept of "contract" and the legal conventions that governed it.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Between Theory and Practice: New Perspectives on the Roman Law of Letting and Hiring' (2006) Cambridge Law Journal 65 (2) pp 423 - 437
Abstract: This article is concerned with the letting and hiring of warehouses in Roman law. It examines the legal structures employed to let entire warehouses and spaces within them in light of new evidence provided by the Murecine archive. It argues that the information provided by the Murecine archive necessitates a reassessment of this area of law.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Janus in the Roman law of urban lease' (2006) Historia - Zeitschrift fuer Alte Geschichte Band 55 Heft 1 pp48 - 63
Abstract: This article explores the practice of subletting of urban property using a primary tenant (contractual middleman) in classical Roman law. It aims to establish, through an analysis of the extant sources, whether the law afforded the primary tenant, owing to his singular contractual position, additional legal protection apart from those measures generally afforded to all tenants of urban property. The analysis will focus on three situations discussed in Roman legal sources, namely the sale of the tenement, payment of rent by the primary tenant and breach of contract by the owner of the tenement.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Subletting and the Roman law of letting and hiring: Interpreting C.4.65.6' (2005) Revue Internationale des droits de l'Antiquité (52) pp 133 - 146
Abstract: This article explores subletting in Roman and medieval learned law. It examines the legal rules governing this aspect of letting and hiring and it relationship to other areas of law. It draws conclusions on the way in which the Roman legal rule on subletting was modified to provide the basis for the ius commune rule on the topic.

Paul J. du Plessis 'A new argument for deductio ex mercede' (2005) Fundamina 69-80
Abstract: This article examines Bruce Frier's reconstruction of in his book on Landords and Tenants in Imperial Rome and in a number of articles on the subject. It analyses the strenghts and weaknesses of Frier's argument and proposes a different context for this remedy.

Paul J. du Plessis 'The Protection of the Contractor in Public Works Contracts in the Roman Republic and Early Empire' (2004) Journal of Legal History vol25 no3 pp 287-314
Abstract: The use of contractors to build and maintain public works in Rome and the provinces is a common feature of Roman building practice in the Republic and early Principate. It reflects a general tendency in Roman republican administration (also found in other sectors such as tax-farming) to let out state business to private entrepreneurs. While the extant sources frequently mention the use of contractors in public works contracts, most references do not describe the internal workin of these contracts or (to use the terminology of Roman private law) the rights and duties of the parties involved. This article examines selected references to public works contracts in legal and literary sources in an attempt to clarify a single aspect of the contractual relationship between the state and an individual. The purpose of this survey is to establish whether the sources allude to any form of legal protection available to a contractor in his dealings with Roman magistrates in the context of public works contracts.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Good faith and equity in the law of contract in the civilian tradition' (2002) Tydskrif vir Hedendaags Romeins-Hollandse Reg/ Journal of Contemporary Roman-Dutch Law Vol 65(3) pp 397 - 412
Abstract: This article traces the Roman-law origins of the concept of good faith in the law of contract in the civilian tradition with a view to providing better insight into the functioning of this principle in a mixed jurisdiction such as that of South Africa. It contains a brief overview of the current debate on the function of a regulatory principle such as good faith in the law of contract in South Africa and provides suggestions as to future developments.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Of mice - and other disasters - and men: rent abatement due to unforeseen and uncontrollable events in the civilian tradition' (2002) Tulane European and Civil Law Forum 113 - 149
Abstract: This article draws a comparison between the treatment of a specific aspect of the law of lease (the tenant's right to a proportional abatement of the amount of rent due, owing to the occurrence of unforeseen and uncontrollable events) in a codified civilian system and a mixed jurisdiction, partly founded on civil law. The methodological aim of the comparison is to examine the similarities in the treatment of this area of law in both systems owing to their Roman-law foundations, despite the different historical sources on which these systems are based.

Paul J. du Plessis 'The tenant and acts of God - remissio mercedis in South African law' (2001) Tydskrif vir Hedendaags Romeins-Hollandse Reg/ Journal of Contemporary Roman-Dutch Law 471 - 475
Abstract: This note discusses the applicability of remissio mercedis in contemporary South African law.

Paul J. du Plessis 'The actio aquae pluviae arcendae in South African law' (2000) Fundamina 77 - 85
Abstract: This article traces the historical reception and contemporary relevance of a Roman-law action, prohibiting neighbours from interfering with the natural flow of water, into South African law.

Chapters

Paul J. du Plessis 'Property' in David Johnston (eds) The Cambridge Companion to Roman law (Cambridge University Press, 2015) 175 - 198
Abstract: A survey of the structure and form of the Roman law of property.

Paul J. du Plessis 'The Prostitute and the Rock' in Marita Carnelley, Shannon Hoctor, and Andre Mukheibir (eds) De Jure Gentium et Civili - Festschrift in Honour of Eltjo Schrage (, 2015) 1 - 8

Paul J. du Plessis 'Perceptions of Roman Justice' in Van den Bergh, R. et al. (eds) Meditationes de Iure et Historia - Essays in Honour of Laurens Winkel (UNISA PRESS, 2014) 216 - 226
Abstract: This chapter explores the relationship between 'law and books' and 'law in action' in light of one of the famous encounters between Paul, Silas and the Roman Authorities recorded in the New Testament.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Notes on a Fire' in Sturm, F. et al. (eds) Liber Amicorum Guido Tsuno (Vico Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 2013) 309 - 316
Abstract: This chapter investigates a seemingly uncontroversial text from the Digest in which Ulpian discusses fire-proofing of a Roman tenement building.

Paul J. du Plessis 'The Infringement of the Corpus as a Form of Iniuria: Roman and Medieval Reflections' in Eric Descheemaeker, Helen Scott (eds) Iniuria and the Common Law (Hart Publishing, 2013) 141 - 153
Abstract: This chapter investigates the meaning of the term corpus in the context of the Roman delict of iniuria to ascertain its scope and function in this delict. It also traces the words in the works certain late medieval jurists with a view to contributing to the larger debate about the scope and function of iniuria.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Damaging a Slave' in Burrows, Andrew, Zimmermann, Reinhard, Johnston, David (eds) Judge and Jurist: Essays in Memory of Lord Rodger of Earlsferry (Oxford University Press, 2013) 157 - 165
Abstract: This chapter examines the interplay between damnum iniuria datum, iniuria and corruptio servi in relation to the damaging of a slave in roman law.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Theory and Practice in the Roman Law of Contracts' in McGinn, T.A.J. (eds) Obligations in Roman Law: Past, Present and Future (The University of Michigan Press, 2012) 131 - 157
Abstract: This chapter focuses on legal practice in the Roman law of letting and hiring, with specific reference to the pledges required to secure payment of rent and the way in which these operated in case of default in payment by the tenant.

Paul J. du Plessis 'The historical evolution of the maxim 'sale breaks hire'' in Van der Merwe, C. and Verbeke, A.-L. (eds) Time-Limited Interests in Land (Cambridge University Press, 2012) 19 - 32
Abstract: This chapter provides an overview of the current understanding of the origin and development of the maxim 'sale breaks hire' in the history of private law in Europe.

Paul J. du Plessis '"Liability", "risk" and locatio conductio' in Roberto Fiori (eds) Modelli teorici e metodologici nella storia del diritto privato IV (Jovene, 2011) pp. 63-95
Abstract: This chapter is devoted to an investigation of the use of the terms 'liability' and 'risk" within the context of one of the consensual contracts in Roman law. The author argues that these terms mask a complex scenario of shifting concepts, the development of which is related to the procedure in Roman courts.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Civil law [1500 words]' in (eds) Encyclopedia of Political Theory (Sage, 2010)

Paul J. du Plessis 'Roman law [1500 words]' in (eds) Encyclopedia of Political Theory (Sage, 2010)

Paul J. du Plessis 'Coroporation Theory [1500 words]' in (eds) Encyclopedia of Political Theory (Sage, 2010)

Paul J. du Plessis 'Consent [1500 words]' in (eds) Encyclopedia of Political Theory (Sage, 2010)

Paul J. du Plessis 'Roman law' in (eds) Oxford Bibliographies Online: http://oxfordbibliographiesonline.com/ (Oxford University Press, 2010) http://oxfordbibliographiesonline.com/

Paul J. du Plessis 'Legal history and method(s)' in Van den Bergh, R. (eds) Libellus ad Thomasium: Essays in Roman law, Roman-Dutch law and Legal history in honour of Philip J Thomas (UNISA Press, 2010) 47 - 55
Abstract: This chapter assesses the future of the teaching of Roman law in the context of European legal education. In doing so, it engages with the debate surrounding the harmonisation of private law in Europe.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Towards the Medieval law of Hypothec' in John W. Cairns, Paul J. du Plessis The Creation of the Ius Commune: From Casus to Regula (Edinburgh University Press, 2010) 159 - 174
Abstract: This chapter investigates the medieval treatment of a rule of law for which there appears to be no justification in the Justinianic compilation of Roman law. By examining medieval justifications for this rule of law it demonstrates a variety of techniques used by the jurists to create general rules of law.

John W. Cairns, Paul J. du Plessis 'Introduction' in John W. Cairns, Paul J. du Plessis The Creation of the Ius Commune: From Casus to Regula (Edinburgh University Press, 2010) pp. 1-5
Abstract: The Roman jurists defined what a rule (regula) was. The introduction considers this and relates it to the existing literature, its strengths and weaknesses, and the contributions to the volume.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Roman law: Servius Sulpicius Rufus [1750 words]' in Katz, Stanley N. (eds) Oxford International Encyclopaedia of Legal History (Oxford University Press, 2009)

Paul J. du Plessis 'Roman law: Consuetudo [1250 words]' in Katz, Stanley N. (eds) Oxford International Encyclopaedia of Legal History (Oxford University Press, 2009)

Paul J. du Plessis 'Roman law: Ius [1250 words]' in Katz, Stanley N. (eds) Oxford International Encyclopaedia of Legal History (Oxford University Press, 2009)

Paul J. du Plessis 'Roman law: The age of Justinian [3500 words]' in Katz, Stanley N. (eds) Oxford International Encyclopaedia of Legal History (Oxford University Press, 2009)

Paul J. du Plessis 'Roman law: Property [7000 words]' in Katz, Stanley N. (eds) Oxford International Encyclopaedia of Legal History (Oxford University Press, 2009)

Paul J. du Plessis 'Roman law: Persons [5500 words]' in Katz, Stanley N. (eds) Oxford International Encyclopaedia of Legal History (Oxford University Press, 2009)

Paul J. du Plessis 'Roman law: Contract [4000 words]' in Katz, Stanley N. (eds) Oxford International Encyclopaedia of Legal History (Oxford University Press, 2009)

Paul J. du Plessis 'The Slave in the Window' in Roth, U. (eds) By the Sweat of Your Brow - Slavery in Its Socio-Economic Setting (BICS - London, 2009) 49 - 60
Abstract: This chapter investigates the law relating to the retention of movable property pledged as security for the repayment of a debt in Roman law. It argues that the evolution from pledge with possession (pignus) to pledge without possession (hypothec) may be linked to the complexity of retaining living movable property as real security.

Paul J. du Plessis 'The structure of the Theodosian Code' in Aubert, J-J. and Blanchard, Ph. (eds) Droit, religion et société dans le Code Théodosien (Universite de Neuchatel, 2009) 3 - 17
Abstract: The structure of the Theodosian Code reveals much more about the motives of its drafters than previously thought. It also cast new light on the state of the law and its relation to the society for which it was produced.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Marcus Tullius Cicero [400 words]' in Peter Cane, Joanne Conaghan (eds) The New Oxford Companion to Law (Oxford University Press, 2008)

Paul J. du Plessis 'Creative legal reasoning and rules of law: a study in the ius commune' in Fiori, R. (eds) Modelli teorici e metodologici nella storia del diritto privato 3 (Jovene, 2008) 193 - 236
Abstract: This chapter investigates whether it is possible to write the history of a rule of law in the context of the development of the ius commune in Western Europe in the period 1100 - 1900. It examines the pitfalls associated with such genealogies and argues that more emphasis needs to be placed on dogmatic history as a form of historical enquiry.

Paul J. du Plessis 'The development of legal doctrine in the ius commune: a case study' in Debinski, A. and Jonca, M. (eds) Roman Law and European Legal Culture (Catholic University of Lublin Press, 2008) 42 - 66
Abstract: This chapter investigates the appropriate methodology for writing doctrinal legal history. It assesses the use of the fashionable "diachronic comparative" method and compares it to the traditional "synchronic comparative" method using the historical progress of a specific rule of law as a case study.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Rozwoj doktryny prawniczej w ius commune: studium przypadku' in Debinski, M; Jonca, M. (eds) Prawo rzymskie a kultura prawna Europy (University Press Lublin, 2008) 44-71
Abstract: This article is concerned with the history of the right to sublet in the context of the development of legal science in Western Europe. It investigates the origin of this right in Roman law and the problems surrounding it context. After establishing the historical foundations of the right to sublet, this article examines the way in which this legal rule was incorporated into the medieval ius commune - that body of learned law consisting of Roman law, canon law and customary law. The medieval rule on subletting is traced through the history of German legal science until the enactment of the German Civil Code in 1900. The aim of this article is to contribute to the history of the law of lease in Western Europe, a topic on which very little research has been done.

John W. Cairns, Paul J. du Plessis 'Introduction: Themes and Literature' in John W. Cairns, Paul J. du Plessis Beyond Dogmatics: Law and Society in the Roman World (Edinburgh University Press, 2007) pp. 3-8
Abstract: Introduces the current debate about law and society in the Roman World discussing some of the recent literature

Paul J. du Plessis 'The hereditability of locatio conductio' in John W. Cairns, Paul J. du Plessis Beyond Dogmatics: Law and Society in the Roman World (Edinburgh University Press, 2007) pp. 139 - 153
Abstract: This article investigates the hereditability of the contract of letting and hiring. It considers the reasons for allowing the contract of lease to be passed on to heirs in light of the larger theme of this book about the relationship between law and society.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Legal Transfers and Mixed Jurisdictions: Adventures across the Pond' in Linder, Nikolaus (eds) Rechtstransfer in der Geschichte (Meidenbauer Verlag, 2006) pp. 382 - 399
Abstract: Im März 1887 erließ der Supreme Court der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika sein Urteil in der Sache Viterbo v. Friedlander 120 U.S. 707. Der Fall befaßte sich mit dem Antrag auf Beendigung eines Pachtvertrages über eine an den Ufern des Mississippi gelegene Zuckerrohrplantage auf Grund ihrer Überschwemmung. Die Urteilsbegründung des Supreme Court enthielt eine detaillierte historische Analyse der Rechtsverhältnisse zwischen Pächtern und Verpächtern im Staat Louisiana, ausgehend von dessen Civil Code. Dabei wiesen diese Betrachtungen starken zivilistischen Einfluss auf das Pachtrecht in Louisiana im Allgemeinen, und auf das Problem des Pachtzinsnachlasses auf Grund von vis maior im Besonderen nach. Dem übergeordneten Thema der Aufsatzsammlung - Rechtstransfer in der Geschichte - folgend wird der Beitrag den Ausflug des Supreme Court in die kontinentaleuropäische Rechtsgeschichte im Rahmen des Falles Viterbo v. Friedlander nutzen, um ein besonderes Beispiel für einen Rechtstransfer im Pachtrecht von Louisiana näher zu untersuchen. Dabei werden u.a. die Kollision von Rechtsnormen, spanische und französische Einflüsse während der Konsolidierungsphase des Privatrechts von Louisiana, sowie die Motive für die Einbeziehung dieses Prinzips in den Louisiana Civil Code zu erörtern sein.

Notes and Reviews

Paul J. du Plessis 'Review: Crogiez-Petrequin, S. and Jaillette, P. Le Code Théodosien. Diversité des approches et nouvelles perspectives (Rome 2009)' (2011) The Classical Review 571 - 572

Paul J. du Plessis 'Review: Grossi, P. A History of European Law (London 2009)' (2011) Edinburgh Law Review 495 - 497

Paul J. du Plessis 'Review: Dondorp, H. and Hallebeek, J. The right to specific performance (Antwerp 2009)' (2011) Edinburgh Law Review 145 - 146

Paul J. du Plessis 'Review: Lesaffer, R. European legal history (Cambridge 2009)' (2011) Edinburgh Law Review 144 - 145

Paul J. du Plessis 'Review: Van Niekerk, S.J., Kriel, D.M., Pretorius, J.T. and Van Zyl, D.H. The three books on interest-bearing loans and interests (foenus and usurae) by Gerard Noodt, Jurist and Professor of law (Pretoria 2009)' (2010) Fundamina 223 - 224

Paul J. du Plessis 'Review: Humfress, C. Orthodoxy and the Courts in late Antiquity (Cambridge 2007)' (2010) Edinburgh Law Review 173 - 174

Paul J. du Plessis 'Review: Brundage, J. The Medieval Origins of the Legal Profession: Canonists, Civilians and the Courts (Chicago 2008)' (2010) Edinburgh Law Review 174 - 175

Paul J. du Plessis 'Review: Ranieri, F. Das Europäische Privatrecht des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts: Studien zur Rechtsgeschichte und Rechtsvergleichung. (Berlin 2007)' (2009) Edinburgh Law Review 179 - 180

Paul J. du Plessis 'Review: Goldman, D.B. Globalisation and the Western Legal Tradition (Cambridge 2007)' (2009) Edinburgh Law Review 177

Paul J. du Plessis 'Review: Hamza, G. Wege der Entwicklung des Privatrechts in Europa (Passau 2007)' (2008) Edinburgh Law Review 161 - 162

Paul J. du Plessis 'Review: Hewett, M. Jacobus Voorda: Dictata ad Ius Hodiernum - transcribed, edited and translated into English (Amsterdam 2005)' (2007) Edinburgh Law Review 132 - 133

Paul J. du Plessis 'Review: Harke, J.-D. Locatio conductio, Kolonat, Pacht, Landpacht (Schriften zur Europäischen Rechts- und Verfassungsgeschichte Band 48) (Berlin 2005)' (2007) Tijdschrift voor Rechtsgeschiedenis 55 - 56

Paul J. du Plessis 'Inkeeper's Liability for Loss Suffered by Guests: Drake v. Dow' (2007) Edinburgh Law Review 89 - 94
Abstract: This is an analysis of a recent Scottish case, Drake v. Dow, in which the issue of strict liability of the proprietor of a Bed and Breakfast for loss suffered by guests was examined.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Review: Metzger, E. (ed) Law for All Times: Essays in Memory of David Daube (Aberdeen 2004)' (2006) Edinburgh Law Review 460 - 461

Paul J. du Plessis 'Review: Weßel, H. Das Recht der Tablettes Albertini (Berlin 2003)' (2006) Edinburgh Law Review 176 - 177

Paul J. du Plessis 'Review: Powell, J. and Paterson, J. Cicero the Advocate (Oxford 2004)' (2006) Edinburgh Law Review 324

Paul J. du Plessis 'Review: Metzger, E. Litigation in Roman law (Oxford 2005)' (2006) Edinburgh Law Review 323 - 324

Paul J. du Plessis 'Review: Andersen, P., Münster-Swendsen, M. and Vogt, H. (eds) Law before Gratian - Law in Western Europe c. 500 - 1100 (Proceedings of the third Carlsberg Academy Conference on Medieval Legal History 2006) (Copenhagen 2007)' (2006) Edinburgh Law Review 460 - 461

Paul J. du Plessis 'Review: Roebuck, D. and De Loynes de Fumichon, B. Roman Arbitration (Oxford 2004)' (2005) Journal of Legal History 380 - 382

Paul J. du Plessis 'Review: Meyer, E.A. Legitimacy and Law in the Roman World: Tabulae in Roman Belief and Practice (Cambridge 2004)' (2005) Edinburgh Law Review 338 - 340

Paul J. du Plessis 'Review: McKechnie, P. Thinking like a Lawyer: Essays on Legal History and General History for John Crook on his Eightieth Birthday (Leiden 2002)' (2004) Edinburgh Law Review 425 - 427

Paul J. du Plessis 'Review: Mousourakis, G. The Historical and Institutional Context of Roman Law (Ashgate 2003)' (2003) Edinburgh Law Review 421 - 423

Paul J. du Plessis 'Review: Burns, R.I. (ed) Las Siete Partidas 5 vols (Philadelphia 2001)' (2003) Edinburgh Law Review 138 - 139

Paul J. du Plessis 'Review: Aubert, J.-J. and Sirks, A.J.B. Speculum Iuris: Roman Law as a Reflection of Social and Economic Life in Antiquity (Ann Arbor 2002)' (2003) Edinburgh Law Review 275 - 276

Working Papers

Paul J. du Plessis 'Errata - New Frontiers' (2013) [Download]
Abstract: List of Errata: New Frontiers

Paul J. du Plessis 'Errata - Studying Roman Law' (2012) [Download]
Abstract: List of Errata - Studying Roman Law

Papers and Presentations

Paul J. du Plessis 'Il danno allo schiavo: Ipotesi e declinazioni dell'illecito extracontrattuale' presented at JUS: Diritto, impresa e risparmio nel tempo della crisi, Rome, 2014
Abstract: This paper examines the concept of 'damage to a slave' in Roman law.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Carriage of Goods by Sea' presented at London Roman Law Group - UCL, University College London, 2013
Abstract: In this paper the legal strategies employed by the Roman jurists to facilitate the carriage of goods by sea are explored with a view to arguing in favour of a more integrated approach to the understanding of Roman legal rules and their contexts.

Paul J. du Plessis 'The Clairvoyant Slave Woman at Philippi' presented at UNISA - Department of Jurisprudence Lecture, Pretoria, 2013
Abstract: This paper investigates Christian experiences of Roman Municipal Justice based on the account in Acts 16.12 - 40 of the Imprisonment of Paul and Silas.

Paul J. du Plessis 'The Problem with Roman Legal Definitions' presented at Conference of the Southern African Society of Legal Historians, Kwa Maritane - South Africa, 2013

Paul J. du Plessis 'Historicising Codes' presented at Griffith University, Griffith Law School, Legal History Seminar series, Queen Elizabeth II Courts of Law, Brisbane, Australia, 2013
Abstract: The aim of this paper is to reflect on the notion of codification in the history of the civilian experience.

Paul J. du Plessis 'The Splendour of Irrelevance' presented at SIHDA, Salzburg, 2013
Abstract: This paper investigates some of the criticisms commonly levelled against the teaching of Roman law as an academic discipline in the Law School curriculum and explores themes such as 'relevance' and 'linkages with modern law'.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Perpetual Tutelage of Women in Roman law - an 'empowering' Institution?' presented at LDAS VI (Legal Documents in Ancient Societies), Jerusalem, 4 - 5 October 2013, 2013

Paul J. du Plessis 'Return to the Wood' presented at Seminarium amicorum - Olga Tellegen, Tilburg, 2013
Abstract: This paper is concerned with a stilus tablet discovered during excavations in 1986 in London. The current scholarly views on the nature of this tablet are examined and a new interpretation is offered.

Paul J. du Plessis 'The Dialogue between Legal Doctrine and Legal Practice - a Case Study from the European ius commune' presented at Jahrestreffen und Mitgliederversammelung der 'Freunde des Hamburger Max-Planck-Instituts", Hamburg, 2012
Abstract: This paper examines the use of references to courts and legal practice in the traditional narrative of European legal history. It is argued, using the works of Nicolas Boyier, a French jurist of the early sixteenth-century as an example, that more emphasis needs to be placed on the importance of courts and their decisions in the development of the European ius commune.

Paul J. du Plessis 'The public and the private in the roman law of sale' presented at LDAS (legal documents in ancient societies) V - sale and community, Budapest, 2012
Abstract: This paper reexamines the relationships between the concepts of "public" and "private" in the Roman law of sale using documentary evidence of commercial practice. It is argued that a greater appreciation of the complexity of Roman categories and the interaction between public and private contexts are required for future research into sale as a commercial contract.

Paul J. du Plessis 'A culpable theory' presented at International Seminar on Culpa, Warsaw University, 2011
Abstract: This paper examines the dominant theories surrounding culpa in contract which have arisen in the second part of the twentieth century in Roman-law scholarship. By focusing on the category of consensual contracts, it argues for a reassessment of modern understanding of the Roman legal concept of culpa.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Periculum' presented at La struttura della locazione romana e il regime dei rischi, Facoltà giuridica della 'Sapienza' - Rome, 2011
Abstract: This paper revisits the traditional civilian distinction between "liability" and "risk" in the Roman law of contracts and argues that modern understanding of these concepts does not take account of the unique interconnected nature of these concepts in classical Roman law.

Paul J. du Plessis 'The idea of contract in early modern Europe: Three thoughts on Stair's Institutions of the Law of Scotland' presented at Scottish Legal History Conference, Civil Law Centre - University of Aberdeen, 2011
Abstract: This paper re-examines Stair's famous statement "every paction produceth action" in light of ius commune literature of the period and argues that Stair's references were specifically included in order to link his views on a general principle of contract with the latest debates in the ius commune on the topic.

Paul J. du Plessis 'An infringement of the corpus as a manifestation of iniuria - Roman and medieval thoughts' presented at Iniuria and the Common law, All Souls College, Oxford University, 2011
Abstract: This paper investigates the use of the term corpus with reference to physical iniuria and argues that the term should not merely be understood as "the body of the victim". It argues that the term, seemingly an invention of Ulpian, in all likelihood had both a literal and a philosophical meaning in the context of the delict iniuria.

Paul J. du Plessis '"Ignem ne habeto"' presented at 'Société internationale Fernand de Visscher pour l'Histoire des Droits de l'Antiquité' (SIHDA), Liege, 2011
Abstract: This paper examines aspects of Roman contractual interpretation with a view to contributing to the larger debate about the interaction between law and society in the Roman world.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Law, modernity and the place of European legal history' presented at European Society for Comparative Legal History, Valencia, 2010
Abstract: The aim of this paper is to assess the place of European legal history as a teaching subject as well as an emerging field of research in the context of legal education in Europe. In doing so, this paper will provide an overview of current scholarly debates concerning European legal history while at the same time addressing larger issues such as the purpose of legal education, the relationship between historic law teaching and the contemporary legal discourse and the engagement of the European Union with Europe's legal past.

Paul J. du Plessis '"Perceptions"' presented at L'Insegnamento del diritto romano in Europa. Oggi. - Seminario Internazionale, Trento, 2010
Abstract: This paper identifies the challenges facing the teaching of Roman law in Law Schools in the twenty-first century. It examines the role of the subject and common criticisms raised against it and makes some suggestions as to the future.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Savigny's Siren Call' presented at Faculty Lecture - University of Warsaw, Warsaw, 2009
Abstract: This lecture explores the relationship between legal history and comparative law in the context of the current European debate concerning the harmonisation of private law in Europe. It examines the complexities surrounding the creation of a pan-European "ius commune" and suggests alternatives.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Legal History and Methods' presented at 3rd Annual Lisowski Lecture, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, 2009
Abstract: This paper engages with some of the criticism of the teaching of historic law raised by Professor Sir Basil Markesinis in his 2004 book "Comparative Law in the Courtroom and Classroom: the Story of the last thirty-five years." It examines the accuracy of these criticisms and explores the use and relevance of legal history for the contemporary teaching of law.

Paul J. du Plessis 'The Interdictum de Migrando revisited' presented at Annual Meeting of the Association of Ancient Historians, Tampa, Florida, 2008
Abstract: Urban tenancy in Roman law, a body of legal rules and remedies, can only be understood when the contexts of these rules are explored. This paper advocates a new approach to the study of these rules using a specific example.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Theory and Practice in the Roman law of Contracts' presented at The Future of Obligations: a Conference on Roman law, American Academy, Rome, 2008
Abstract: One of the enduring qualities of Roman law in the Corpus Iuris Civilis is the level of intellectual abstraction visible in the snippets of juristic writing and Imperial rescripts. This is a testament not only to the Roman legal genius, but also to efficiency of Justinian's compilers in severing all texts from their original context. Although the lack of context, among other things, was largely responsible for the ease with which the legal rules and terminology of Roman law was grafted into the ius commune of Western Europe, it sometimes obscures the very essence of some of these rules. To that end, this paper will use a single example from the law of urban tenancy, namely the landlord's hypothec over the tenant's goods, to argue this point. It will demonstrate that a better understanding of the context in which this rule arose and of its practical application may provide new insights into both Roman law and the European ius commune.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Tacit hypothec in urban tenancy: theory and practice' presented at Forum Romanum, University of Belgrade, Serbia, 2008
Abstract: The tacit hypothec in urban tenancy, a Roman-law rule with widespread application in modern civilian systems, has often been criticised for being an inadequate for of security. This paper examines the scope and function of this rule and argues that its reception into the ius commune may have overlooked a vital aspect of the working of the rule.

Paul J. du Plessis 'The "lease" paradigm' presented at Second PostDoc-Conference on European Private Law, Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, Hamburg, 2008
Abstract: This paper assesses the utility of history in the creation and development of legal doctrine. It investigates the macro- and micro-level narratives surrounding the development of contract law in Western Europe and assesses whether these can be aligned. It demonstrates the difficulties associated with approach in light of new proposals for the harmonisation of lease law by the working project on the European Civil Code.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Legal Structures and the Theodosian Code' presented at Le Code Théodosien et l'Histoire sociale de l'Antiquité Tardive, Université de Neuchatêl, 2007
Abstract: This paper explored the composition of the commission charged with drafting the Theodosian Code. It argued that the composition of the commission, largely made up of civil servants and with jurists in a minority, had an impact upon the internal arrangement of topics in the Theodosian Code. The paper also explored the interaction between Roman private law and the Theodosian Code and concluded that its treatment of private law may shed light on the state of private law during the fifth century AD.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Language, Culture and the Exclusivity of Law' presented at 7th Roman Archaeology Conference/17th Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference, Birbeck, University of London, 2007
Abstract: The main prerequisite for the creation of any legal system is the formation of a sense of cultural identity. Once this has been recognised and has become accepted among a certain group of people, political and legal structures reinforcing this sense of "otherness" will develop. This pattern is visible in the foundation of Roman law. Throught the period of the Monarchy and until the mid-Republic, the language and content of Roman law emphasised the cultural exclusivity of the ROman people. The legal system developed around a central concept - citizenship - the holders of which had all the rights and privileges associated with being Roman. Similarly, those who did not have the benefit of citizenship were at first almost completely ignored by the legal order. As Rome's territories expanded, however, the presence of foreigners could no longer be disergarded by the law. From the mid-third century B.C., Roman law started to take account of the foreigner in various ways. This paper investigates the treatment of the foreigner in Roman law by examining both the content of the law and the language used to describe it.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Some Thoughts on Consensus' presented at Société Internationale Fernand de Visscher pour l'Histoire des Droits de l'Antiquité (61st session), Catania, 2007
Abstract: Four named contracts were grouped together under the heading "consensual contracts" in the Justinianic scheme of "obligations arising from contract". These four contracts, sale, letting and hiring, partnership and mandate were classified as such because they could be created by consensus alone without any additional formalities prescribed by law. As a conceptual category, "consensual contracts" was not an invention of Justinianic law. As early as the second century C.E., the Institutes of Gaius, a textbook written for law students, grouped these four contracts together as obligations arising from consent and there have been suggestions that this scheme may have predated Gaius. The term consensus, the constitutive element underlying this group, is derived from the Latin verb, consentio -ire (3): to agree, accord. In the context of this group of contracts, the term signified agreement by the parties on a number of fundamental requirements set by law for each contract. But for all of the apparent simplicity of this account, some aspects of consensus remain unexplored. It is, for example, not yet settled whether a general notion of consensus underpinned all four of these contracts and what the scope or function of consensus was. This paper will attempt to address some of these questions.

Paul J. du Plessis 'The development of legal doctrine in the ius commune' presented at Roman Law and European Culture, Catholic University of Lublin, 2007
Abstract: This paper examines the rise of legal doctrine in the formative period of the ius commune (1100 - 1400). It examines the intellectual techniques used by Italian and French jurists of the period to create this body of law and the transformation of casuistry into legal rules.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Legal transfers and mixed jurisdictions: an historical example' presented at World Society of Mixed Jurisdictions Conference, Edinburgh, 2007
Abstract: This paper is concerned with the history of the right to sublet in the context of the development of legal science in Western Europe. It investigates the origin of this right in Roman law and the problems surrounding it context. After establishing the historical foundations of the right to sublet, this paper examines the way in which this legal rule was incorporated into the medieval ius commune - that body of learned law consisting of Roman law, canon law and customary law. The medieval rule on subletting is traced through the history of German legal science until the enactment of the German Civil Code in 1900. The aim of this paper is to contribute to the history of the law of lease in Western Europe, a topic on which very little research has been done.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Primum vivere, deinde philosophari' presented at "Crossing boundaries" - The Annual Meeting of the Association of Ancient Historians, Stanford University, Ca., 2006
Abstract: This paper is a critique on the issues raised by Bruce Frier in a review in the 2000 (13) edition of the Journal of Roman Archaeology pp. 446 - 448. It addresses the central question about the scholarly future of Roman law by examining the historical role of Roman law in European legal education. The viability of the relocation of Roman law into Humanities is also examined.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Legal Transfers and Mixed Jurisdictions: Adventures across the Pond' presented at European Forum of Young Legal Historians, Lucerne, 2005
Abstract: In March 1887, the Supreme Court of the United States of America gave judgement in the matter of Viterbo v. Friedlander 120 U.S. 707. The case in question concerned a petition for the annulment of lease following the inundation of a sugar plantation on the banks of the Mississippi river. In reaching its judgement, the Supreme Court presented a detailed historical analysis of the law of landlord and tenant in the State of Louisiana using its Civil Code as the point of departure. This analysis revealed a large measure of civilian influence on the law of landlord and tenant in Louisiana in general and specifically on the issue of a remission of rent owing to irresistible force. In keeping with the broad theme of this conference - legal transfers in history - this paper will use the Supreme Court's foray into continental legal history in the Viterbo case as a matrix to examine a particular example of a legal transplant - the civilian principle of rent abatement owing to irresistible force - in the law of landlord and tenant in Louisiana. This will be done within the context of issues such as competing rules of law; Spanish and French influences on the formative period of private law in Louisiana and the motives for the incorporation of this principle into the Louisiana Civil Code.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Locatio conductio and virtual reality' presented at Société Internationale Fernand de Visscher pour l'Histoire des Droits de l'Antiquité (59th session), Ruhr University, Bochum, 2005
Abstract: Locatio conductio and virtual reality The consensual contract of letting and hiring (locatio conductio) in Roman private law arose during the third century B.C. from unknown origins. As one of the most practical of the consensual contracts, it fulfilled an important purpose in Roman commerce and was widely used throughout Roman legal history. Modern knowledge of this contract is primarily based on its treatment in the Corpus Iuris Civilis, which in the case of letting and hiring consists of a collection of fragments from juristic literature of the classical period (collected in D.19.2) complimented by a selection of Imperial legislation (in CJ.4.65) from 230 A.D. - 530 A.D. These legal rules essentially present a snapshot of the (developed) state of the contract in the sixth century A.D. and scholars have to look to other (non-legal) sources for the earlier history of this contract. Since Justinian's primary motive with his "codification" was to resurrect the glory of classical Roman law, it is not surprising that the law on letting and hiring in the Corpus Iuris Civilis presents a distorted view of reality. Recent studies on urban and agricultural tenancy (Frier 1980; Kehoe 1997) have, for example, shown that the majority of the fragments in D.19.2 are concerned with agricultural tenancy, which was one of the few acceptable commercial pastimes of patrician landlords in the late-republican and early classical period. Other forms of commercial lease, such as letting and hiring of warehouses and maritime transport must undoubtedly have been equally profitable, yet these are rarely mentioned. Furthermore, in the case of urban leasehold, most legal rules assume that a tenant had sufficient financial reserves to defend his interests in a court of law. This would have excluded the vast majority of impoverished tenants from the protection afforded by the Roman law of letting and hiring. It may therefore be safely assumed that the Roman law of letting and hiring presented in the Corpus Iuris Civilis was largely doctrinal and aimed at a specific target audience. Fortunately, owing to the practicality of letting and hiring, a number of negotia (contracts of lease, receipts for rent paid, eviction notices etc.) have been preserved from various periods in Roman legal history in which the practical application of the legal rules on letting and hiring are demonstrated. These documents suggest that the reality of letting and hiring differed from the doctrinal rules discussed in abstracto by the Roman jurists. The purpose of this paper is to examine selected negotia from the three species of letting and hiring (thing; services; work) to demonstrate the practical application of the Roman law of letting and hiring and its relationship to the normative rules of Roman law. The scope of the discussion will be limited to "Italic" leases and will not include the interaction between Roman law and customary law in, for example, Roman Egypt. The sui generis nature of Greco-Egyptian law and the legal pluralism prevailing during the Roman occupation of Egypt necessitates this exclusion. Bibliography Frier, B.W. Landlords and Tenants in Imperial Rome (Princeton 1980) Kaufmann, H. Die altrömische Miete (Cologne 1964) Kehoe, D.P. Investment, Profit and Tenancy: The Jurists and the Roman Agrarian Economy (Ann Arbor 1997) Taubenschlag, R. The Law of Greco-Roman Egypt in Light of the Papyri 332 B.C. - 640 A.D. 2nd revised and enlarged edition (Warsaw 1955) Watson, A. Artificiality, Reality and Roman Contract Law, (1989) (57) LHR pp. 147-56.

Paul J. du Plessis 'The hereditability of locatio conductio rei' presented at Roman law - reality and context, University of Edinburgh, 2005
Abstract: This paper explores the Roman jurists' treatment of the issue of the hereditability of locatio conductio rei. It argues that death of one of the parties to the contract was an inevitability that the jurists could not downplay in their discussions. It investigates whether the transmissibility of contractual claims arising from the contract of letting and hiring to the heir of the deceased party is founded on the nature of the legal rules governing locatio conductio.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Locatio conductio as a iudicium bonae fidei' presented at Modelli di ordine giuridico composito nella storia del diritto pubblico e privato, Brescia, 5 and 14 October 2005, 2005
Abstract: This paper adresses the issue of the scope and function of good faith in the Roman law of letting and hiring.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Locatio conductio and virtual reality' presented at Annual meeting of the American Society for Legal History, Cincinnati, Ohio, 2005
Abstract: Locatio conductio and virtual reality The consensual contract of letting and hiring (locatio conductio) in Roman private law arose during the third century B.C. from unknown origins. As one of the most practical of the consensual contracts, it fulfilled an important purpose in Roman commerce and was widely used throughout Roman legal history. Modern knowledge of this contract is primarily based on its treatment in the Corpus Iuris Civilis, which in the case of letting and hiring consists of a collection of fragments from juristic literature of the classical period (collected in D.19.2) complimented by a selection of Imperial legislation (in CJ.4.65) from 230 A.D. - 530 A.D. These legal rules essentially present a snapshot of the (developed) state of the contract in the sixth century A.D. and scholars have to look to other (non-legal) sources for the earlier history of this contract. Since Justinian's primary motive with his "codification" was to resurrect the glory of classical Roman law, it is not surprising that the law on letting and hiring in the Corpus Iuris Civilis presents a distorted view of reality. Recent studies on urban and agricultural tenancy (Frier 1980; Kehoe 1997) have, for example, shown that the majority of the fragments in D.19.2 are concerned with agricultural tenancy, which was one of the few acceptable commercial pastimes of patrician landlords in the late-republican and early classical period. Other forms of commercial lease, such as letting and hiring of warehouses and maritime transport must undoubtedly have been equally profitable, yet these are rarely mentioned. Furthermore, in the case of urban leasehold, most legal rules assume that a tenant had sufficient financial reserves to defend his interests in a court of law. This would have excluded the vast majority of impoverished tenants from the protection afforded by the Roman law of letting and hiring. It may therefore be safely assumed that the Roman law of letting and hiring presented in the Corpus Iuris Civilis was largely doctrinal and aimed at a specific target audience. Fortunately, owing to the practicality of letting and hiring, a number of negotia (contracts of lease, receipts for rent paid, eviction notices etc.) have been preserved from various periods in Roman legal history in which the practical application of the legal rules on letting and hiring are demonstrated. These documents suggest that the reality of letting and hiring differed from the doctrinal rules discussed in abstracto by the Roman jurists. The purpose of this paper is to examine selected negotia from the three species of letting and hiring (thing; services; work) to demonstrate the practical application of the Roman law of letting and hiring and its relationship to the normative rules of Roman law. The scope of the discussion will be limited to "Italic" leases and will not include the interaction between Roman law and customary law in, for example, Roman Egypt. The sui generis nature of Greco-Egyptian law and the legal pluralism prevailing during the Roman occupation of Egypt necessitates this exclusion. Bibliography Frier, B.W. Landlords and Tenants in Imperial Rome (Princeton 1980) Kaufmann, H. Die altrömische Miete (Cologne 1964) Kehoe, D.P. Investment, Profit and Tenancy: The Jurists and the Roman Agrarian Economy (Ann Arbor 1997) Taubenschlag, R. The Law of Greco-Roman Egypt in Light of the Papyri 332 B.C. - 640 A.D. 2nd revised and enlarged edition (Warsaw 1955) Watson, A. Artificiality, Reality and Roman Contract Law, (1989) (57) LHR pp. 147-56.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Subletting in the European ius commune - Interpreting C.4.65.6' presented at European Forum of Young Legal Historians, Warsaw, 2004
Abstract: Soon after the genesis of the consensual contract of lease in Roman private law during the third century BC, subletting of movable and immovable property became commonplace. Owing to the paucity of evidence, it is impossible to ascertain when the practice arose, in which form of lease it first appeared and whether it had foreign origins. Modern knowledge on subletting in locatio conductio rei is based on a few texts from the CIC, mostly in the context of urban leasehold, in which the practice is discussed. Apart from these text, an Imperial rescript dated 224 AD exists in which the state of the law is confirmed. This paper examines the context of this rescript with a view to undestanding its scope and application.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Tenants and Acts of God in Roman-Dutch Law' presented at European Forum of Young Legal Historians, Budapest, 2003
Abstract: The right of a tenant of agricultural land to a proportional reduction in the rent instalment owing to the occurrence of Acts of God (remissio mercedis) is a controversial issue in Romanist scholarship of the twentieth century. While the origin and nature of this "legal remedy" in classical Roman law has been research in great detail, comparatively little work has been done on the reception of the "remedy" in the history of the European ius commune. This contribution traces the reception and practical application of rent abatement due to Acts of God in Roman-Dutch case-law and legislation of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Deconstructing Deductio ex mercede' presented at SIHDA, Clermont-Ferrand, 2003
Abstract: In recent years, Romanist scholars have attempted to reconstruct a remedy from the legal rule stated in D 19 2 27pr [Alfenus Varus] which enabled tenants of urban property to unilaterally deduct an amount of rent where acts of God impaired their use and enjoyment. Owing to the paucity of textual evidence about this remedy, reconstructing it has been difficult. This paper provides a new perspective on conventional reconstructions of this remedy in light of the use of contractual middlemen as property managers during the final century of the Roman Republic.

Paul J. du Plessis 'Remissio mercedis - agricultural rent abatement in Roman law' presented at SIHDA (La Société Fernand de Visscher pour l'Histoire des Droits de l'Antiquité), Rotterdam, 2001
Abstract: This paper examines the controversial topic of agricultural rent abatement in Roman law with a view to providing new insights into the possible foundation of and justification for the existence of the remedy.