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Obligations and contracts in Roman law

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  1. The identification of violations of privacy over the Internet
    1. Conventional attacks to privacy
    2. Attacks on Internet-specific privacy
  2. Protection mechanisms
    1. Protection of privacy in France
    2. Towards an international consensus

The French laws are constructed on the concepts and principles of obligation that the Laws of Rome are built around. Roman jurists did not develop a general theory of contracts or general principles of liability. The classical theory of bonds was built very late. It was during the Middle Ages, under the old French law and the influence of canon law and the school of natural law, that the theory of obligations appeared. In the seventeenth and eighteenth century, jurists set theories based on the Institutes and the Digest which would later be taken over by the drafters of the Civil Code in 1804.

The word ?obligation' was first used by Cicero who said that "it is more serious and difficult to answer the feelings and thoughts of others () than the obligation to pay a sum of money" This word appears again in the French language in the thirteenth century that expresses the action of ?starting'. In the fourteenth - fifteenth century, the word takes on a more general meaning i.e. that of moral or ?debt of gratitude' In common parlance, this word takes on different meanings. But in law this means that one can be forced into something. This term in rooted in the meaning of a ?bind'. There are two definitions of this word in Roman law.

The definition of Obligation:
According to Paul:
"The substance of the obligation is not to make us buy something tangible or an easement, but to compel others to give us something, do something for us or to enforce a provision in our favor?

According to the Institutes of Justinian:
"The bond is a bond by which we are bound by the need to pay something (or to execute a service) under the laws of our City."

The legal relationship is designated by ?vinculum juris'. This definition emphasizes the legal aspect of the relationship of the obligation, but also the specificity of the Roman law of obligations. It corresponds to a developed legal system where relations between creditors and debtors are considered to be legal relationships.

The three components of the obligation:

Roman jurists reached this concept very gradually and came to regard it as a link between two persons whereby the second (passive subject) is legally compelled to adopt a behavior that will provide the first (active subject) a benefit to its heritage.

The obligation creates a relationship between two parts: the active subject or the creditor (creditor) and the passive subject (Debitor).The word ?creditor' comes from the Latin ?credere' which means ?to believe' or ?entrust'. It implies trust, to the creditor, rather than demanding immediate satisfaction and relies on the debtor to discharge the obligation. The whole operation is based on credit that is extended to the debtor. The word ?Debitor' comes from the Latin ?habere' (to have less).

Classification of Obligations according to Gaius: Initially, Gaius has just set a ?summa divisio' after which the bonds were born of either a contract or a tort but this defines neither the contract nor the offense.

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