Save

Culpa Levissima and the Eclipse of Strict Liability

In: Grotiana
Author:
James GordleyTulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, jgordley@tulane.edu

Search for other papers by James Gordley in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution

Purchase

Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):

$34.95

Abstract

In Roman law, as interpreted by the medieval jurists, in a gratuitous loan (commodatum), the borrower was liable for culpa levissima, failure to use be as diligent as “most diligent” (diligentissimus). It would seem, then, that a person could be liable for conduct that he could not help. That consequence troubled the medieval canonists a person would then be liable who had not sinned. It troubled the late scholastics because a person would then be liable for an accident, which was not a violation of commutative justice. Some concluded that liability for culpa levissima was a creature of positive law, based on pragmatic considerations but with no grounding in principle. There was another explanation glimpsed by the late scholastics and by Hugo Grotius: commutative justice requires that one who borrows gratuitously indemnify the lender against any loss. Unfortunately, in the following centuries, that explanation was lost from sight.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 372 190 19
Full Text Views 15 9 1
PDF Views & Downloads 54 25 2