Status Controversy in Roman and Common Law

Matej Mlkvý


The aim of the article is to analyse whether villain under the English common law was legally the same category as slave under the Roman law. Perhaps at fi rst sight a remarkable notion, such conclusion could be theoretically justifi ed by the evident reception of Roman law in a major medieval book of authority De Legibus et Consuetudinibus Angliae by Bracton. With regard to the personal status Bracton uses terms found in the Roman law codifi cation of Justinian. To examine the question, the article from the methodological perspective compares the terminology, modes of acquiring and loosing the servile status and the legal capacity of slaves and villains. In its second part the article examines the judicial proceedings subject matter of which is the determination of disputed status libertatis. Since both the Roman and the common law system are systems built on remedies rather than substantive rights, principally the Roman controversia de libertate and the English writ de native habendo as the respective forms of action are examined.

Słowa kluczowe: niewolnictwo, niewolnik, pańszczyzna, villain

[Printed sources

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