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Iniuria and the Common Law

Editor(s): Eric Descheemaeker, Helen Scott
Media of Iniuria and the Common Law
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Published: 22-08-2013
Format: Hardback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 276
ISBN: 9781849465038
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Series: Hart Studies in Private Law
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
RRP: £70.00
Online price : £49.00
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About Iniuria and the Common Law

The delict of iniuria is among the most sophisticated products of the Roman legal tradition. The original focus of the delict was assault, although iniuria-literally a wrong or unlawful act-indicated a very wide potential scope. Yet it quickly grew to include sexual harassment and defamation, and by the first century CE it had been re-oriented around the concept of contumelia so as to incorporate a range of new wrongs, including insult and invasion of privacy. In truth, it now comprised all attacks on personality.

It is the Roman delict of iniuria which forms the foundation of both the South African and-more controversially-Scots laws of injuries to personality. On the other hand, iniuria is a concept formally alien to English law. But as its title suggests, this book of essays is representative of a species of legal scholarship best described as 'oxymoronic comparative law', employing a concept peculiar to one legal tradition in order to interrogate another where, apparently, it does not belong. Addressing a series of doctrinal puzzles within the law of assault, defamation and breach of privacy, it considers in what respects the Roman delict of iniuria overlaps with its modern counterparts in England, Scotland and South Africa; the differences and similarities between the analytical frameworks employed in the ancient and modern law; and the degree to which the Roman proto-delict points the way to future developments in each of these three legal systems.

Table Of Contents

1. Iniuria and the Common Law
Eric Descheemaeker and Helen Scott
2. Iniuria, Roman and English
David Ibbetson
3. The actio iniuriarum in Scots Law: Romantic Romanism or Tool for Today?
Kenneth McKenzie Norrie
4. Solatium and Injury to Feelings: Roman Law, English Law and Modern Tort Theory
Eric Descheemaeker
5. Dissimulatio
Paul Mitchell
6. Contumelia and the South African Law of Defamation
Helen Scott
7. An Infringement of the corpus as a Form of iniuria: Roman and Medieval Reflections
Paul J du Plessis
8. The Protection of corpus in Modern and Early Modern Scots Law
John Blackie
9. The Gist of Defamation in South African Law
Anton Fagan
10. Retraction, Apology and Reply as Responses to iniuriae
Jonathan Burchell
11. Harassment: A Wrong without a Right?
François du Bois


“[An] admirable volume which contains eleven excellent essays...a most rewarding source of information [and] a considerable pleasure to read.” –  Geoffrey MacCormack, The Edinburgh Law Review

“The book bristles with stimulating analysis that shows the sometimes surprising interaction of Roman, South African, Scots and English law.” –  Ken Oliphant, Yearbook of European Tort Law

“[T]his is a well-presented book which reports an interesting seminar that has achieved its goal...” –  Tammo Wallinga, Roman Legal Tradition, Volume 10

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