[image ALT: Much of my site will be useless to you if you've got the images turned off!]
Bill Thayer

[image ALT: Cliccare qui per una pagina di aiuto in Italiano.]

[Link to a series of help pages]
[Link to the next level up]
[Link to my homepage]

 p340  Commissoria Lex

Article by George Long, M.A., Fellow of Trinity College
on p340 of

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

COMMISSO′RIA LEX is the term applied to a clause often inserted in conditions of sale, by which a vendor reserved to himself the privilege of rescinding the sale, if the purchaser did not pay his purchase-money at the time agreed on. The lex commissoria did not make the transaction a conditional purchase; for in that case, if the property were damaged or destroyed, the loss would be the loss of the vendor, inasmuch as the purchaser, by non-payment of the money at the time agreed on, would fail to perform the condition, but it was an absolute sale, subject to be rescinded at the sole pleasure of the vendor, if the money was not paid at the time agreed on; and consequently if after this agreement the property was lost or destroyed before the day agreed on for payment, the loss fell on the purchaser. If the vendor intended to take advantage of the lex commissoria, it was necessary that he should declare his intention as soon as the condition was broken. If he received or claimed any part of the purchase money after the day agreed upon, he thereby waived the advantage of the lex commissoria. It was usual to insert in the commissoria lex an agreement that if the vendor had to sell the property again, the first purchaser should make up any deficiency in the price, that is, the difference between the amount for which it was first sold, and the less amount which it produced at the second sale. [Pignus.] (Dig. 18, tit. 3; Thibaut, System, &c. § 548, 9th ed.).

[image ALT: Valid HTML 4.01.]

Page updated: 11 May 01