previous next


OPERIS NOVI NUNTIATIO was a summary extra-judicial remedy provided by the edict against a person who was making an opus novum, by which is to be understood the building, altering, or demolishing of some structure attached to the soil (Dig. 39, 1, 12); and its object was either the maintenance of a private right, the prevention of damage, or the protection of the public interest (Dig. ib. 1, 16). The right of making the nuntiatio belonged (1) to the owner of land, “qui jus aliquid prohibendi habet:” his right might be founded either on anticipated injury to his own property, on some statutory rule (e. g. those relating to the height of buildings), or on a contract or private disposition of his neighbour; (2) to the superficiarius, pledgee, emphyteuta, and bona-fide possessor of the land; (3) to any one else who is so endangered by the opuss novum that he could demand “cautio damni infecti” (Dig. ib. 1, 17); and (4) to any full-grown citizen, if the opus is in loco sacro, religioso, or publico (Dig. ib. 3, 4). But a lessee, or a person who merely had a servitude over the threatened property, had no right of nuntiatio, and even the usufructuarius could make it only in the name and on behalf of the dominus (Dig. ib. 1, 20).

In form the nuntiatio was a notice, given on the spot (Dig. ib. 5, 4), to discontinue the opus: it could be made either personally or through an agent (though the latter would have to give the cautio de rato, Dig. ib. 5, 18), but must be in the presence of the person responsible for the work protested against, or of some subordinate [p. 2.276]of his from whom he could receive information of it. No application to or assistance from the praetor was requisite (Dig. ib. 1, 2), but it was essential that the notice should be given before the opus was completed: after completion it was of no effect (ib. 1, 1, “futura opera” ), redress being then obtainable only by the interdict “Quod vi aut clam.”

If the opus novum consisted in building on the complainant's land, or inserting or causing anything to project into his premises, it was better to apply at once to the praetor, or to prevent it per manum; that is (as it is explained) “jactu lapilli,” which was a symbolical resort to force for self-protection (Dig. ib. 5, 10; 43, 24, 20, pr.).

The result of nuntiatio was that any continuation of the work was unlawful, so that the injured person, in that event, was entitled by the so-called “Interdictum de demoliendo” to be restored in statum quo (Dig. ib. 20, pr. and 4). It could be extinguished or cancelled in a variety of ways: e. g. by waiver on the part of the nuntians, unless made in the public interest (Dig. ib. 1, 10; 2, 14, 7, 14); by the death of the nuntians (ib. 8, 6), or by his parting with the land which entitled him to raise his voice against the opus; by the person answerable for it giving security that if judgment were delivered against its legality he would at his own cost restore things in statum quo (Dig. ib. 5, 17), and by the nuntians refusing such security when properly tendered. When the cautio was given, or unlawfully rejected by the nuntians, the party was entitled to an “Interdictum prohibitorium” for his protection in prosecuting the work (Dig. ib. 20, 9 sqq.). Finally, the person to whom notice was given could take legal proceedings (extra ordinem, Dig. ib. 1, 9) to obtain permission for carrying the work on (remissio: “operis novi nuntiationem remiserit,” Lex Gall. Cisalp. x.), on the ground that the nuntiatio was illegal or had been waived, or that the public interest required its completion; but such remissio was not a final determination of the rights of the case, which could be attained only by a real action.

(Die. 39, 1; 43, 25; Cod. 8, 11. Besides the account given of the law on the matter in the usual text-books on Roman Law, there are express treatises on the subject by Stölzel, Reinhard, Polis, Hesse, Burkhard, and others.)


hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: