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Comparative Succession LawVolume II: Intestate Succession$
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Kenneth Reid, Marius de Waal, and Reinhard Zimmermann

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198747123

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198747123.001.0001

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Intestate Succession in Roman Law

Intestate Succession in Roman Law

(p.1) 1 Intestate Succession in Roman Law
Comparative Succession Law

Thomas Rüfner

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins with the key to understanding the Roman law of intestacy – the Roman family’s legal structure. Under Roman family law, the father (pater familias) exercised almost unlimited power over his wife and the children born by her. Family members in his power could own no property and had no standing to sue in the courts. Only when the father died did his power end. Originally, not even he could end his lifelong power over the children. Yet, shortly after the law of the Twelve Tables was enacted, it became possible to release sons and daughters voluntarily through emancipatio. The chapter then discusses intestate succession under the Twelve Tables; new rules of intestacy in the pre-classical and classical eras (the praetor’s edict, Senatus consultum Tertullianum, Senatus consultum Orfitianum, Usucapio pro herede, and peculium castrense); important differences between Justinianic and classical law; and Roman rules of intestacy in the early jus commune.

Keywords:   Roman law, intestate succession, succession law, intestacy rules, legal structure, Roman family, Twelve Tables, Justinianic law, classical law, ius commune

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