Accessio by pc10201


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Accessio is a concept from Ancient Roman property law that decided ownership of an object or work that is somehow related
to another object or work; one thing is considered the principal, and the other is considered to be an accession or addition to
it. In general the owner of the principal thing, whichever it is, became the owner of the accession also. Accessio was not a
specific rule, instead it was a principle with a number of special cases that had their own particular guidelines for
determination of ownership.
The most undisputed kind of accessio is that which arises from the union of a thing with the ground; and when the union
between the ground and the thing is complete, the thing belongs to him who is the owner of the ground. Thus if a man builds
on the ground of another man, the building belongs to the owner of the ground, unless it is a building of a moveable nature,
as a tent; for the rule of law is "superficies solo cedit." A tree belonging to one man, if planted in the ground of another man,
belongs to the owner of the ground as soon as it has taken root. The same rule applies to seeds and plants.
If one man wrote on the papyrus (chartulae) or parchment (membranae) of another, the material was considered the
principal, and of course the writing belonged to the owner of the paper or parchment. If a man painted a picture on another
man's wood (tabula) or whatever the materials might be, the painting was considered to be the principal (tabula picturae
cedit). The principle which determined the acquisition of a new property by accessio was this — the intimate and inseparable
union of the accessory with the principal. Accordingly, there might be accessio by pure accident without the intervention of
any rational agent. If a piece of land was torn away by a stream from one man's land and attached to the land of another, it
became the property of the man to whose land it was attached after it was firmly attached to it, but not before. This should
not be confused with the case of alluvio.
The person who lost his property by accessio had as a general rule a right to be indemnified for his loss by the person who
acquired the new property. The exceptions were cases of mala fides.
The term accessio is also applied to things which are the products of other things, and not added to them externally as in the
case just mentioned. Every accessio of this kind belongs to the owner of the principal thing; the produce of a beast, the
produce of a field, and of a tree belongs to the owner. In some cases a man may have a right to the produce (fructus) of a
thing, though the thing belongs to another. (usufructus)
The term accessiones was also applied to those who were sureties or bound for others, as fidejussores. (confusio)

See also
   Accession (property law)
   Quicquid plantatur solo, solo cedit

   This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities by William Smith (1870).

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