Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Giuliani on Civilian Treatises on Presumptions

Adolfo Giuliani, Facoltà di Giurisprudenza, University of Perugia, has posted Civilian Treatises on Presumptions, 1580-1620, which appeared in The Law of Presumptions: Essays in Comparative Legal History, ed. R. H. Helmholz and W. David H. Sellar (Comparative Studies in Continental & Anglo-American Legal History) (Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, 2009),  21-71
The theory of presumptions is one of the most obscure branches of medieval and early-modern law. Collected in long and tedious lists, presumptions knew a time of glory between the 16th and 17th centuries with the publication of a great number of treatises among which those by J. Menochio, F. Mantica and J. Mascardo are the most popular.

This essay shows that such practice-oriented works had a place in the formation of high-level legal theory. They were functional to a new vision of judicial procedure which has come to be embodied in a number of basic ideas, such as (i) the separation between law and fact, (ii) the judge’s subjection to principles of reasoning, and (iii) the centrality of will as an autonomous source of contractual obligation. The aim of this paper is to sketch the contribution made by such treatises to the genesis of those three ideas.