Corpus Juris Civilis

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The Corpus Iuris Civilis ("Body of Civil Law") is the modern name for a collection of fundamental works in jurisprudence, issued from 529 to 534 by order of the Byzantine emperor Justinian I. It is also sometimes referred to metonymically after one of its parts, the Code of Justinian.



The translations used here are by S. P. Scott. [1]

  • Iustitia est constans et perpetua voluntas ius suum cuique tribuens. Iurisprudentia est divinarum atque humanarum rerum notitia, iusti atque iniusti scientia.
    • Justice is the constant and perpetual desire to give to each one that to which he is entitled. Jurisprudence is the knowledge of matters divine and human, and the comprehension of what is just and what is unjust.
    • Institutes, Bk. 1, title 1. [2]
  • Iuris præcepta sunt hæc: honeste vivere, neminem laedere, suum cuique tribuere.
    • The following are the precepts of the Law: to live honestly, not to injure another, and to give to each one that which belongs to him.
    • Institutes, Bk. 1, title 1.
  • Quod vero naturalis ratio inter omnes homines constituit, id apud omnes populos peræque custoditur vocaturque ius gentium, quasi quo iure omnes gentes utuntur.
    • But the law which natural reason has established among all mankind and which is equally observed among all peoples, is called the Law of Nations, as being that which all nations make use of.
    • Institutes, Bk. 1, title 2. [3]
  • Iure enim naturali ab initio omnes homines liberi nascebantur.
    • According to Natural Law, all men were originally born free.
    • Institutes, Bk. 1, title 2.
  • Cuius merito quis nos sacerdotes appellet: iustitiam namque colimus et boni et æqui notitiam profitemur, æquum ab iniquo separantes, licitum ab illicito discernentes, bonos non solum metu pœnarum, verum etiam præmiorum quoque exhortatione efficere cupientes, veram nisi fallor philosophiam, non simulatam affectantes.
    • Anyone may properly call us [lawyers] the priests of this art, for we cultivate justice and profess to know what is good and equitable, dividing right from wrong, and distinguishing what is lawful from what is unlawful; desiring to make men good through fear of punishment, but also by the encouragement of reward; aiming (if I am not mistaken) at a true, and not a pretended philosophy.
    • Pandects, Bk. 1, title 1, section 1, quoting Ulpian, Institutes, Bk. 1. [4]
  • Domus tutissimum cuique refugium atque receptaculum sit.
    • The house of every individual should be for him a perfectly secure refuge and shelter.
    • Pandects, Bk. 2, title 4, section 18, quoting Gaius, On the Law of the Twelve Tables, Bk. 1. [5]
  • Nulla iniuria est, quæ in volentem fiat.
    • No injury is committed against one who consents.
    • Pandects, Bk. 47, title 10, section 1, quoting Ulpian, On the Edict, Bk. 56. [6]
    • Often quoted as "Volenti non fit injuria".
  • Digna vox maiestate regnantis legibus alligatum se principem profiteri: adeo de auctoritate iuris nostra pendet auctoritas.
    • It is a statement worthy of the majesty of a reigning prince for him to profess to be subject to the laws; for Our authority is dependent upon that of the law.
    • Codex, Bk. 1, title 14, section 4, quoting an edict of the emperors Theodosius II and Valentinian III. [7]

See also

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