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p985 Redhibitoria Actio

Article by George Long, M.A., Fellow of Trinity College
on p985 of

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

REDHIBITORIA ACTIO was an actio which a buyer had against a seller for rescinding the bargain of sale on account of any non-apparent defect at the time of the purchase in the thing purchased, which the buyer was not acquainted with, and which according to the Edict of the Curule Aediles, he ought to have been acquainted with; or for any defect in the qualities of the thing which the seller had warranted. The seller was answerable even if he was not aware of the defects. "Redhibere," says Ulpian, "is so to act that the seller shall have back what he had, and because this is done by restoration, for that reason it is called 'Redhibitio,' which is as much as to say 'Redditio.' "

The effect of the redhibitio was to rescind the bargain and to put both parties in the same condition, as if the sale had never taken place. The time allowed for prosecuting the actio redhibitoria was "sex menses utiles," when a cautio had been given, which were reckoned from the day of sale or from the time when any statement or promise had been made relating to the matter (dictum promissumve, the words of the Edict). If there was no cautio, the time allowed was two months (Dig. 21 tit. 1).


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