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QUORUM BONORUM, INTERDICTUM. The object of this interdict was to give a person who had a primâ--facie claim to an inheritance interim possession of things belonging to it, until a suit respecting the inheritance was determined. Thus it was an interdict for acquiring possession (ad ipiscendae possessionis causa). [INTERDICTUM] The Interdictum quorum bonorum was originally the only means by which the bonorum possessor or praetorian heir could obtain possession of the property of the inheritance, since such successor, not being heres, could not claim by hereditatis. petitio, nor by vindicatio, since he was not civil owner; in course of time, however, when bonitarian ownership (in bonis) was established, this kind of equitable ownership was attributed to the bonorum possessor, and so he might be able to maintain vindicatio utilis. Moreover, if the bonorum possessor lost possession, he could in many cases recover it by the possessory interdicts. If he continued in possession for the period of usucapion, he became civil owner. Only property of which a person could have possession or quasi-possession was the object of the interdictum quorum bonorum, but in the matter of obligations the praetor put the bonorum possessor in the same position as the heres by allowing him to sue in respect of the claims that the deceased had, and allowing any person to sue him in respect of claims [p. 2.537]against the deceased, in an actio utilis (Ulp. Fr. 28.12; Gaius, 2.52-58). Ultimately the bonorum possessio was put on the same footing in respect of actions as the hereditas, the possessoria hereditatis petitio being given to the bonorum possessor, corresponding to the hereditatis petitio of the heres.

The new form of procedure co-existed with the interdict, and a person might avail himself of either mode of proceeding, as he thought best, the two remedies differing not only in their extent but also in the fact that the one was a provisional remedy pending an action, while the petitio was an action definitively determining the right to the inheritance. Thus in the legislation of Justinian we find both forms of procedure mentioned. Some writers maintain that the p. p. her, was recognised in the Edictum Perpetuum of Hadrian, while others think that it must have been of later origin (see Leist, 1.295; Lenel, Das Edictum Perpetuum, 15.67).

The name of the Interdictum quorum bonorum is derived from its introductory words, and it runs as follows: “Ait Praetor: quorum bonorum ex edicto meo illi possessio data est: quod de his bonis pro herede aut pro possessore possides, possideresve si nihil usucaptum esset: quod quidem dole malo fecisti, uti desineres possidere, id illi restituas.” ( “The Praetor declares: Whatever portion of the property granted in pursuance of my edict to be possessed by such and such a one, thou possessest as heir or as unentitled occupant, or wouldest so possess but for usucapion, or hast fraudulently ceased to possess, such portion do thou deliver up to such a one.” ) (Poste's Gaius, iv., § § 138-170 comm.)

Accordingly he was entitled to this interdict when he had obtained a grant of bonorum possessio from the praetor, if any one of the following conditions applied to the defendant:--

  • 1. That he was in possession claiming to be heir.
  • 2. That he was in possession without any title.
  • 3. That he had acquired ownership by usucapio pro herede.
  • 4. That he would be in possession, if he had not fraudulently made away with the property.

The third condition requires some explanation.

According to the old law, any malâ--fide possessor could acquire the ownership of a thing belonging to the hereditas, in the interval between the death of the deceased person and the entrance (aditio) of his heres on the inheritance. But Hadrian (Gaius, 2.57) by the SC. Juventianum changed the law so far as to protect the heres against the usucapion of an improbus possessor, and to restore the thing to him. Hence the words relating to usucapion were introduced into the formula of the interdict. In the legislation of Justinian these words have no meaning, since usucapio lucrativa pro herede forms no part of it; yet the words have been retained in the compilation of Justinian, like many others belonging to an earlier age, though they had lost their practical significance. According to another explanation, a title by lucrativa usucapio pro herede was not a defence to the Interdictum quorum bonorum, even before the enactment of the SC. Juventianum, the effect of this law being only to allow the heres to recover by hereditatis petitio from a person who had acquired property of the inheritance by such usucapion. [HERES; BONORUM POSSESSIO.] (Dig. 43, 2; Gaius, 4.144; Savigny, in Zeitsch. für gesch. Rechtsw. 5.1, and 6.239; Francke, Das Recht der Notherben, 100.97, &c.; Fabricius, Ursprung und Entw. der B. P. 158, &c.; Leist, Bonorum Possessio, 1.342; Huschke, in Richter's Jahrq. iii. pp. 19, 20, 26, &c.)


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