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Relational Obligations

Relational Obligations

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Published by Marcos

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Published by: Marcos on Jul 31, 2009
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11/26/2010

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XII. Relational Obligations
Hypothesis: The elemental legal categories of twelfth century England were wrongs(unilaterally involuntary, damage producing occasions) and relational obligations.Relational obligations were, of course, obligations that arose from a voluntary relationship,not from a promise. You will tend immediately to equate the actions of debt, detinue, andcovenant with obligations deriving from a promise to pay or to do. That later becomes so; itwas not so originally. With tenures, of course, one can easily speak of relational obligationsin the twelfth century: they concentrated on maintaining the expectations that arose out of the relationships between the parties, rather than analyzing rights vested "in" one party or the other, the equivalency of what was given or gotten. In just this way, the relationship of  buying-selling, lending-borrowing, leasing, suretyship, and agency were sociallyrecognized relationships with obligations that the law sought to maintain. The proper remedy was standing to the relationship, not damages. Thus, the writ of account brought bya manorial lord against his estate manager called a bailiff sought to make the bailiff stand tohis obligation: the remedy in the writ of account was that the bailiff would account. Theresult of the account was a debt, but one which the lord might have to sue foindependently: account was to make the bailiff account, not to make him pay. In a similar way, detinue in lending situations was primarily to enforce the obligation of the borrower toreturn the goods; in covenant the remedy was to make the defendant stand to the agreementhe had made; in debt the debtor was to pay. The central idea was not promise, but relationalobligation.XII.A. The Manner of Pleading in Lincoln: Materials #186.In the first place, know that the pleas of the city of Lincoln are held by the bailiff and atleast two attending judges on Mondays.. . .[Pleas of wound/blood]Know further that he who complains of a wound and blood is supposed to pledge his faithin the bailiff's hand, and if he wants to find pledges to the bailiff that he will follow hiscomplaint, the bailiff is supposed then immediately to put the other by pledges. If thecomplaint is of wound and blood and he does not want to find pledges, he is supposed totake his body. If the complaint is not of such matters nor (BUT?) of shame or debt, then heis supposed to summon him.. . .On the next Monday, if both appear in court, the complainant will make his complaint inthese words
 
[Count for assault]I complain of such a one, that when I went about my home in the peace of God and the peace of the city (or when I was in my home during the day or night or whatever he want tosay, he will say), that W. came and violently put hands on me and threw me to the groundand beat and wounded me and gave me a wound and bloodshed and made off with 20s. inmoney from me and in shame and he inflicted abuses that I did not want to have for 100s.Wherefore I seek that right be done me for love of God and king.Immediately the other will respond or will consult his counsel. If immediately, he willdefend the peace of God and the peace of the city and injury and the violent putting of hands and that he beat or wounded him and that he gave him a wound or bloodshed and thesum of money and the shame etc., word for word and say that he is ready to do whatever the consideration of the court shall impose on him, as if a Frenchman immediately law will be adjudged and he will pledge his faith in the hand of the bailiff and in the hand of thecomplainant to do his law and he will do it with the third hand and will find pledges to dohis law or his body will remain in custody until they are found. If in fact he does not make(his faith) in the hand of the bailiff or of the adversary but goes from court, he will fall inthe mercy of the reeve.Likewise, if he shall have pledged his faith in the hand of the bailiff or of the adversary before the judgment of the court, he will fall in the mercy of the bailiff. If in fact he will notdefend as a Frenchman, he will make his law with the twelfth hand. If the complainant ask for sureties before judgment, he will have them, and he will name six.Likewise, if he does not defend blood or wound fully, he will be put by consideration of thecourt in the prison of the lord king for fully 40 days. If in fact he defends blood etc., and notthe shame or word for word he will fall in the mercy of the bailiff and will recover his plea by mercy.Likewise, know that if anyone answer for the defendant, if he respond badly or well, thedefendant will be asked if he grants that which he said for him. If he grants it, the other isquit; if not, he will remain in the mercy of the bailiff. And the defendant will immediatelydefend or the other for him. The complainant in fact is well able if he wants to make hisattorney in court to take his law.. . .[Pleas of debt]Likewise, know that if anyone complains in court of a debt, he is immediately supposed tofind pledges to follow his complaint if he wants. The debtor, however, will be summoned by judgment of court. If therefore he appears in court on the next Monday at the firstsummons and the complainant make his complaint solely of a debt, the debtor if he wantswill request his reasonable summonses. If he is supposed to have them, they will beadjudged him immediately. And he will have three summonses.
 
Further, if he does not appear in court after three summonses, he will be distrained by judgment of court. If in fact after he is distrained he does not appear in court, he will bedistrained better and be distrained a third time.Likewise, after he is distrained a third time, if he does not appear in court, the complainantor his attorney will request distress by gage and pledges if he wants. Hence, if the (debtor)will find pledges, the (complainant) will have them by judgment of court. If he wants, thecomplainant in fact can well make his attorney in court to prosecute his complaint to win or lose. If the debtor comes in court and asks for his distress by gage and pledges, he will havethem outside by judgment of court if he finds pledges. And a certain day will be given himto appear in court to answer and to be rightfully condemned. And in fact on the day he canmake himself to be essoined if he wants, etc., as above. Truly, on the next Monday he mustappear in court to warrant his essoin or to defend himself.Likewise, know that after his reasonable summonses have been adjudged and he appearsafterwards in court (after) the first or second summons, for another cause or complaint, andthe complainant or his attorney makes his complaint, the debtor must answer immediately.Likewise know that the claimant makes his claim in these words,[Count in debt]I complain of this N. that he owes me and unjustly detains 20s. of money wherefore I amdamaged to the value of a half mark in the peace of God and of the city. Hence I ask you for love of the lord king make for me to have right.Hence if the debtor immediately defends the peace of the city and injury and the debt of 20s. and damage and loss of a half mark etc., word for word and says that he is ready to doetc, as if a Frenchman. If the other wants to prove, law will be adjudged and he will do itwith the third hand. If in fact he wants to prove, he will say these words,[Creditor's claim to prove the debt]You unjustly defend this, for I will have at the day and term what I must and within asufficient proof that you granted me this debt, to wit 20s., and this I am ready to do etc.Immediately his proof will be adjudged and a certain day will be given him to come to prove this.At the beforeestablished day he must come in court so fortified, to wit, with three law-worthy men who will conduct themselves in this manner before the bailiffs and judges.They will be asked nothing, but one of them will begin by saying thus,[Form of creditor's suit's proof]

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