Few legal institutions developed solely under the Roman Empire, but there is one which can provide a rare illustration of the emperors' involvement in building private law: although Roman law did not recognize a `trust' in the same sense as it is used in common law today, it did develop a device - the fideicommissum - which achieved very similar ends. It has remained largely ignored, and yet it is an ideal case study in the evolution of law. As the most versatile
institution of Roman inheritance law, it crucially affected the strategies of succession open to testators, and gives insights into a social history of testators' ambitions and legislative concerns. Over six centuries the trust expanded at the expense of established legal
institutions, and with Justinian's reforms it finally became dominant. This book studies the history of the trust and its rise to prominence, with reference to the possible influence of the Roman `fideicommissum'.
'a clear and well authenticated account'
D.L. Carey Miller, Scots Law Times
'an excellent history of the substantive law of fideicommissa from their origin in republican Rome until the time of Justinian ... a brilliant study ... The balancing of competing theories is exemplary, and the clarity of exposition is impressive.'
W. Hamilton Bryson, University of Richmond School of Law, American Journal of Legal History
'an interesting work on the development of the Roman law fideicommissum ... This is a clearly written and interesting account of a very important subject.'
T.G. Watkin, Journal of Legal History
'This is a clearly written and interesting account of a very important subject.'
T.G. Watkin, Journal of Legal History May '90
Theory, practice, and history: Rudiments; Action and reaction: From republic to empire; Conspiracy of silence: Secret trusts; The dead hand: Perpetuities and settlements; An end to the horror: Trusts on intestacy; Words, deeds, and doubts: Interpretation; Of action and execution: Procedure; From morals to obligations: Evolution