Document Type



Moratory Legislation Relating to Bills and Notes and the Conflict of Laws, 28 Yale Law Journal 324 (1919)


In Roman law a debtor might obtain through a rescript of the emperor an extension of time (moratorium) within which to pay a debt, upon giving security. Following the example of the Roman law a number of the modern continental codes authorized the granting of a judicial moratorium under_ certain conditions. Such legislation existed also with respect to bills and notes. In most of the countries such a power is no longer generally vested in the Courts. In times 0f great emergency, however, it is conferred upon them for a limited period of time. The present world war has also given rise to legislation of this kind. Emergency legislation of a different sort granting time to a debtor to pay has been passed in various countries as the result of wars, revolutions, floods and other conditions vitally affecting the economic situation of the country or a particular section thereof. At times it has taken the form of a general -moratorium which postpones all payments for a designated period, excepting those specifically enumerated by the law. More frequently it has had a more limited scope and has applied only to the payment of bills and notes. In case of war special moratory legislation is frequently passed for the benefit of members of the army and the navy; this is intended to protect the interests of those in the service of their country who are consequently unable to look after their affairs at home. Such legislation often prohibits suits against them while they are in active service and modifies the ordinary statutes of limitations.

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