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Noxa caput sequitur

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image of Tijdschrift voor Rechtsgeschiedenis / Revue d'Histoire du Droit / The Legal History Review

Generally it is assumed that caput in the phrase noxa caput sequitur refers to the delinquent slave or filius familias. The liability for the delict is attached to his person. It is argued, however, that caput refers to the pater familias of the delinquent. The Twelve Tables contained a rule on their direct and personal liability (with surrender to the autorities). The introduction of the edicts on furtum and the lex Aquilia, with the direct and exclusive liability of the pater familias for the wrongdoings of those, subjected to his potestas, led to a correction: the pater could now refuse to defend them and surrender them to the authorities, or engage in the process, with afterwards still the possibility to surrender, now to the plaintiff. The phrase as such refers then to the inclusion of the decemviral rule on liability of persons subjected to patria potestas, into the formulas for the delicts.


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