„De bloedige hand en neemt geen erffenis“ – Erbunwürdigkeit aufgrund Tötung des Erblassers: Römisches und römisch-holländisches Recht ('De bloedige hand en neemt geen erffenis' – Unworthiness to Inherit as a Result of Killing the Testator: Roman and Roman-Dutch Law)
Festschrift für Rolf Knütel zum 70. Geburtstag, pp. 1469-1491, Holger Altmeppen et al., eds., C. F. Müller, 2009
Posted: 17 Sep 2010 Last revised: 31 Jan 2013
Date Written: December 1, 2009
If a person kills another, the former forfeits whatever right he may have had to inherit the property of the latter. He is “not worthy to inherit” from the person whom he has killed. The present article examines the origin of this rule, known in all modern codifications, in Roman law. It discusses the relevant fragments in the Roman sources, particularly Marcian. D. 34, 9, 3 (did the rule only apply to intentional killing or also to cases of negligence?). It then examines the reception and development of the rule, which came to be known by the maxim “de bloedige hand en neemt geen erffenis,“ in “classical” Roman-Dutch law (late 17th and 18th centuries) and in modern Roman-Dutch law as it prevails in South Africa today. The following issues, inter alia, are discussed in the article: To whom did the property of the deceased go, if not to the person who had killed him? What degree of fault is required for the rule to be invoked? Is unworthiness to inherit wiped out if the deceased has forgiven the heir? Does the rule only apply to killing or also to other grave offences vis-à-vis the deceased? Does it also apply if the deceased has been killed “for good reason?" What was the rationale of the rule?
Please note that this is an article published in German.
Keywords: de bloedige hand en neemt geen erffenis, indignitas succedendi, Roman law, Roman-Dutch law, South African law, succession law, unworthiness to inherit
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