Talk:Lex Minucia Moravia de civitate eiuranda (Nova Roma)

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II.A : Commentary

"Notification of the Censors": timing

The following comments were made by A. Apollonius a. d. V Kal. Iun. C. Buteone Po. Minucia cos. MMDCCLIX a.u.c. in discussion in the forum (message 44018 in the archive):

There are a couple of points of interpretation. First, is it effective at the time of dispatch or the time of receipt? The wording is unclear, but chapter III says that someone who resigns immediately loses all offices "at the time that the Censors receive a resignation", so presumably the same is true of citizenship itself - the relevant time is the time when received, not the time when dispatched.
If that's correct, it raises two further questions. First, what counts as receipt where an e-mail to a list is concerned? Is it, for example, when the recipient actually reads the e-mail, or when the e-mail arrives in his in-box (assuming he receives e-mail from the list), or when it first reaches the e-mail list itself? Second, is the resignation only effective once received by both censores, or is it effective as soon as one censor receives it?
To the first question I would tend to answer that an e-mail is received as soon as it arrives in the recipient's in-box. In English law a letter is counted as received not when the recipient actually becomes aware of it but as soon as it arrives at his address (except that letters delivered to business addresses outside working hours don't count as received until the beginning of the next work day). But of course Roman law is not English law, and although as far as I'm aware Roman law itself had no particular rule on the subject it would be useful to know how the problem is dealt with in modern civil-law jurisdictions.
To the second question I would answer that it is sufficient for one of the censores to have received the e-mail. The censores are colleagues like other magistrates, but even more than other magistrates they are required to act unanimously. They are in some ways virtually a single person in public law, and communication to one of them ought to count as communication to both.


"Notification of the Censors": means of communication

II.A says that notification "may be transmitted in writing via any available means". In debate preceding the enactment of the lex the proposers appeared to take the view that this would include publication in a public forum.

After the enactment of the lex, however, the Censores seemed to adopt a narrower interpretation. A. d. IV Id. Iun. censor Cn. Equitius made the following comments in the forum (message 44301 in the archive) concerning a citizen who had recently announced his resignation in that same forum:

What I did say to this person, in a private note, was that a public post of resignation has no legal meaning. He will have to write to the censors at censores@... in order to resign.

This interpretation, though narrow, can perhaps be justified thus: Although the notification may be "by any available means", it must nonetheless be submitted "to the Censors". This can be read as requiring an intentional act of submission to the Censores (i.e. the person resigning must knowingly and deliberately attempt to tell the Censores that he is doing so); since a person making such an announcement in a public forum would not necessarily have this intention, it may be reasonable to say that publication in a public forum cannot be regarded as submission to the Censores.

It could be argued, however, that this narrow interpretation leaves the phrase "via any available means" with no meaningful application. But perhaps it simply means that the notice may be submitted by e-mail, but post, by fax, by personal delivery, &c.


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