RESPONSA PRUDENTUM, civil law. Opinions given by Roman lawyers. Before the
time of Augustus, every lawyer was authorized de jure, to answer questions
put to him, and all such answers, response prudentum had equal authority,
which had not the force of law, but the opinion of a lawyer. Augustus was
the first prince who gave to certain distinguished jurisconsults the
particular privilege of answering in his name; and from that period their
answers required greater authority. Adrian determined in a more precise
manner the degree of authority which these answers should have, by enacting
that the opinions of such authorized jurisconsults, when unanimously given,
should have the force of law (legis vicenz,) and should be followed by the
judges; and that when they were divided, the judge was allowed to adopt that
which to him appeared the most equitable.
2. The opinions of other lawyers held the same place they had before, they were considered merely as the opinions of learned men. Mackel. Man. Intro. Sec. 43; Mackel. Hist. du Dr. Rom. SSSS 40, 49; Hugo, Hist. du Dr. Rom. Sec. 313; Inst. 1, 2, 8,; Institutes Expliquees, n. 39.