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p394 Depositum

Article by George Long, M.A., Fellow of Trinity College
on p394 of

William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D.:
A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875.

DEPOSITUM. The notion of depositum is this: a moveable thing is given by one man to another to keep until it is demanded back, and without any reward for the trouble of keeping it. The party who makes the depositum is called deponens or depositor, and he who receives the thing is called depositarius. The act of deposit may be purely voluntary; or it may be from necessity, as in the case of fire, shipwreck, or other casualty. The depositarius is bound to take care of the thing which he has consented to receive. He cannot use the thing unless he has permission to use it, either by express words or by necessary implication. If the thing is one "quae usu non consumitur," and it is given to a person to be used, the transaction becomes a case of locatio and conductio [Locatio], if money is to be paid for the use of it; or a case of commodatum [Commodatum], if nothing is to be paid for the use. If a bag of money not sealed up is the subject of the depositum, and the depositarius at any time asks for permission to use it, the money becomes a loan [Mutuum] from the time when the permission is granted; if the deponens proffers the use of the money, it becomes a loan from the time when the depositarius begins to use it (Dig. 12 tit. 1 s9 § 9, s10). If money is deposited with the condition that the same amount be returned, the use of it is tacitly given. If the depositum continues purely a depositum, the depositarius is bound to make good any damage to it which happens through dolus or culpa lata; and he is bound to restore the thing on demand to the deponens, or to the person to whom the deponens orders it to be restored. If several persons had received the deposit, they were severally liable for the whole (in solidum). The remedy of the deponens against the depositarius, is by an actio depositi directa. The depositarius is entitled to be secured against all damage which he may have sustained through any culpa on the part of the deponens, and to all costs and expenses incurred by his charge; and his remedy against the deponens is by an actio depositi contraria. The actio was in duplum, if the deposit was made from necessity; if the depositarius was guilty of dolus, infamia was a consequence. (Inst. 3 14 (15); Cod. 4 tit. 34; Dig. 16 tit. 3; Cic. de Off. I.10; Juv. Sat. XIII.60; Dirksen, Uebersicht, &c. p597; Thibaut, System &c. § 480, &c. 9th ed.)


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