OBLIGATION , in
See also:law, a
See also:term derived from the
See also:Roman law, in which obligatio signified a tie of law (vinculum
See also:juris) whereby one
See also:person is bound to perform or forbear some
See also:act for another . The obligatio of Roman law arose either from voluntary acts or from circumstances to which legal consequences were annexed . In the former case it was said to arise ex contractu, from contract, in the latter quasi ex contractu, ex delicto, or quasi ex delictothat is to say, from tort, or from acts or omissions to which the law practically attached the same results as it did to contract or tort . Obligatio was used to denote either end of the legal chain that bound the parties, the right of the party who could compel fulfilment of the obligatio, the creditor, or the
See also:duty of the party who could be compelled to fulfilment, the debitor . In
See also:English law obligation has only the latter sense . Creditor and debtor have also lost their Roman law signification; they have been narrowed to mean the parties where the obligation is the payment of a sum of
See also:money . In English law obligation is used in at least four senses—(1) any duty imposed by law; (2) the
See also:special duty created by a vinculum juris; (3) not the duty, but the evidence of the duty—that is to say, an instrument under seal, otherwise called a bond; (4) the operative
See also:part of a bond . The third use of the word is chiefly confined to the older writers . Simplex and duplex obligatio were the old names for what are now more commonly called a single and a
See also:double or conditional bond . The party bound is still called the obligor, the party in whose favour the bond is made the obligee . The
See also:fourth, like the third, is a use scarcely found except in the older writers . The word " bond " is of course a mere
See also:translation of obligatio .
Obligations may be either perfect or imperfect . A perfect obligation is one which is directly enforceable by legal proceedings; an imperfect or moral obligation (the naturalis obligatio of Roman law) is one in which the vinculum juris is in some respects incomplete, so that it cannot be directly enforced, though it is not entirely destitute of legal effect . A perfect obligation may become imperfect bylapse of
See also:time or other means, and, conversely, an imperfect obligation may under certain circumstances become perfect . Thus a
See also:debt may be barred by the
See also:Statute of Limitations and so cease to be enforce-able . The obligation, however, remains, though imperfect, for if there be a subsequent
See also:acknowledgment by the debtor, the debt revives, and the imperfect obligation becomes again perfect . At one
See also:period there was some doubt among English lawyers whether a moral obligation could be regarded as sufficient
See also:consideration for a contract; it has now, however, been long decided that it cannot be so regarded .
See also:American law is in general agreement with English, except in the case of
See also:Louisiana, where the terms obligor and obligee are used in as wide a sense as the debitor and creditor of Roman law . By
See also:art . 3522 of the Louisiana
See also:code obligor or debtor means the person who has engaged to perform some obligation, obligee or creditor the person -in favour of whom some obligation is contracted, whether such obligation be to pay money or to do or not to do something . The term obligation is important in
See also:America from its use in art. i. s. ro of the constitution of the
See also:United States, "No state . . . shall pass any ... law . . . impairing the obligation of contracts." This does not affect the power of Congress to pass such a law .
Contracts between private individuals are of course within the
See also:provision . So are private conveyances, charters of private corporations and statutory and other grants by a state . On the other
See also:marriage and
See also:divorce, and arrangements which are
See also:political in their nature, such as charters of municipal corporations, licences to carry on particular trades or regulations of
See also:police are not within the provision . In
See also:order to fall within it, the law must act upon the terms of the agreement, and not merely upon the mode of procedure . If it act not upon the terms but upon the remedy, it impairs the obligation if it purport to be retrospective, but it is valid so far as it applies to subsequent contracts .
OBNOXIOUS (Lat. obnoxiosus, from ob, over, against,...
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