Topics: Law, Contract, Common law Pages: 9 (3124 words) Published: December 9, 2012

Prof. (Dr.) Mohd. Hussain
Tanveer Ahmad
Roll No. 04
LL.M 2nd sem

The word ‘obligation’ is derived from the Latin "obligare" which comes from the root “lig" which suggests “being bound”, as one is to God; for instance in "re-ligio". Obligations did not originally form part of Roman law, which mostly concerned issues of succession, property, and family relationships. It developed as a solution to a gap in the system, when one party committed a wrong against another party. These situations were originally governed by a basic customary law of revenge. This undesirable situation eventually developed into a system of liability where people were at first encouraged and then essentially forced to accept monetary compensation from the wrongdoer or their family instead of seeking vengeance. This signaled an important shift in the law away from vengeance and towards compensation. The state supported this effort by standardizing amounts for certain wrongs. Thus the earliest form of Obligation law derives out of what we today call “Delict”. The person entitled to the benefit of an obligatio was in Roman law termed creditor, while he who was bound by it was called debitor. However, it is important to note that liability in this form did not yet include the idea that the debtor "owed" monetary compensation to the creditor; it was merely a means of avoiding punishment. If the debtor or his family didn't have the means to pay then the old rules still applied as outlined in the Twelve Tables specifically in Table 3. This section, despite how harsh it may appear to us, was originally developed as a means to protect debtors from the excessive abuses of creditors. | |

Today the term Obligation, as it applies within civilian legal systems, means more specifically a legal bond between two or more persons, by which one person, the debtor, is held liable to another, the creditor, to perform a "prestation" consisting of "doing" or "not doing" something at the risk of legal sanction. Thus the term encompasses both sides of the equation, both the duty of the debtor and the right of the creditor. Nature of obligations:

The law of obligations regulates the rights and duties arising between individuals. The specific rights and duties within this area of the law can themselves be referred to as obligations. Although obligations may be about items of property, they have nothing to do with the distinct property rights that a person may have in a thing. Generally, an obligation will be that a particular person will do, or will avoid doing a specified act. Obligations also differ from real rights as they only relate to specific relationships. This means that certain individuals – usually those within that relationship – can only enforce them. Furthermore, these rights may only be enforced against other specific persons. For this reason the rights enforceable under the law of obligations are also known as 'personal rights'. In all cases the person to whom an obligation is owed is known as the obligee or creditor, whereas the person who must perform the obligation can be referred to as the obligant or debtor. Obligations are duties which are owed by one person to another. Corresponding to such duties are rights of the one to whom the duty is owed to ensure that the obligation is complied with. Thus, the class of individuals against whom an obligation may be enforced, and who indeed may enforce the obligation, is generally limited. For this reason, obligations are also referred to as ‘personal rights’. There are various ways in which an obligation may be created. However, all obligations may be broadly categorized in one of two ways, depending...
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