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Money in the Western Legal TraditionMiddle Ages to Bretton Woods$
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David Fox and Wolfgang Ernst

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198704744

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198704744.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 13 June 2021

The Enforcement of Nominal Values to Money in the Medieval and Early Modern Common Law

The Enforcement of Nominal Values to Money in the Medieval and Early Modern Common Law

Chapter:
(p.203) 11 The Enforcement of Nominal Values to Money in the Medieval and Early Modern Common Law
Source:
Money in the Western Legal Tradition
Author(s):

David Fox

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198704744.003.0011

This chapter describes the development and enforcement of the concept of monetary nominalism in the English common law during the medieval and early modern periods. The case of Gilbert v. Brett (1604) expressly confirmed that the common law applied a nominal conception of the value of money and monetary obligations. But the common law had applied this nominal conception for some centuries beforehand. Nominalism arose from the constitutional relations between the sovereign and the common law courts, and from the pleading and enforcement of actions based on monetary debts. The courts would recognise and enforce the value of money fixed by the sovereign. Monetary obligations stipulated for payment in abstract sums rather than quantities of metal. The common law action of debt made it difficult for obligees to enforce debts at anything but their nominal value.

Keywords:   monetary nominalism, coin values, common law, debasement, debt actions, sovereign prerogative, monetary obligations, Gilbert v. Brett, valuation of money, monetary standard

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