Konstrukcja prawna pożyczki morskiej w prawie rzymskim a współczesny Project Finance
Legal Structure of Sea Loan in Roman Law and Modern Project Finance
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Sea loan or pecunia traiecticia belongs to the heritage of Roman legal thought. It seems to occupy a distinctive position in the conceptual framework of private law and few researchers are interested in investigating it. One of them is Z. Benincasa who has analyzed the topic in her general monography on risk in maritime journeys till the 2nd century AD. This article has been inspired by her book, however it is also the result of own studies on sea loan not only in the ancient Roman law but also in the medieval, modern and contemporary legal thought. Thanks to broad insight into the history of sea loan it was possible to take an approach which was only mentioned before. Namely that Roman sea loan provides the solution which today seems to be present in Project Finance. It was reasonable to start the broad comparison again from ancient Roman law. First of all, it has shown that sea loan served not only as a method of taking over the risk by a creditor, but it was also a kind of speculative investment and opportunity to gain a great profi t from maritime trade. At the same time it enabled a debtor to organize a risky journey. There were two kinds of sea loan. One was a loan given on the condition that a debtor would successfully reach the port of his destination. The other one was a loan with the same condition, but also with an added time limit, e.g. 200 days of navigation – so called dies incertus sensu stricto. Secondly, the profit of a creditor was strictly attached to the gains from maritime trade and depended on the success of a maritime journey. On the one hand, debtors’ personal liability was moved as far as possible, in order to satisfy creditors just from profit or items acquired during the trade expedition. On the other hand, the way to enter into the contract to attach high interests and finally to sue a debtor and his heirs was very flexible. Thirdly, emperors were interested in sea loan and provided in their constitutions balanced position of a creditor and a debtor. It can suggest that pecunia traiecticia was important for Roman economy, maybe in the same way that Project Finance is for our times. This work seeks to broaden previous studies on western legal tradition and Roman law and is an attempt to find out whether the Roman concept of sea loan is applicable also nowadays.
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