The Case of Mixt Monies: Confirming Nominalism in the Common Law of Monetary Obligations

40 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2011

See all articles by David Fox

David Fox

School of Law, University of Edinburgh

Date Written: October 6, 2010

Abstract

Brett v. Gilbert (1605), commonly known as the Case of Mixt Monies, confirms the principle of monetary nominalism in the common law of obligations. It is fundamental to the modern understanding of the legal nature of obligations to pay money and goes far to define a distinctive conception of what money means in the law. This paper considers the historical origins of the principle of nominalism in English law. The paper demonstrates the use made of civil law monetary theory from the medieval and early modern periods in the development of common law reasoning. It argues that English law applied a principle of monetary nominalism long before it was explicitly adopted in the Case of Mixt Monies. The coinage proclamations of the English sovereigns all assumed a legal theory of nominalism.

Keywords: monetary nominalism, obligations, money, currency, monetary theory, mixt monies

JEL Classification: K0, K1

Suggested Citation

Fox, David, The Case of Mixt Monies: Confirming Nominalism in the Common Law of Monetary Obligations (October 6, 2010). University of Cambridge Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 11/2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1763741 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1763741

David Fox (Contact Author)

School of Law, University of Edinburgh ( email )

Old College
South Bridge
Edinburgh, EH8 9YL
United Kingdom

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