Received: 2016-02-15  |  Accepted: 2016-07-20


Threats to sustainable development: asset grabbing phenomenon and the legal concept of Force and Fear in Roman Law


Stability and functioning of entrepreneurial environment in accordance with the principles of lawfulness is regarded as an essential prerequisite for sustainable development of a country operating under the market economy conditions. Allowed use of illegal duress, including violence, against entrepreneurs directly and unequivocally poses a threat to sustainable existence of society and country. For instance, the so-called Reiderstvo or asset-grabbing is regarded as one of the numerous risks in entrepreneurship which makes investing into the Russian economy less attractive than it should objectively be. In the same way, violent and intimidating actions may seriously endanger stability and sustainability of entrepreneurial environment. The abovementioned is recognised by the laws of the Republic of Latvia which respectively criminalise a range of wrongful acts in which force and fear or violence and different types of threatening are mentioned as one of the essential elements of offence. The same way, the Civil Law of Latvia points to unacceptability of unlawful application of force in legal transactions. Therefore, the contemporary legal norm maker, enforcer and defender needs in-depth understanding of the essence of the concept of force and fear and logical interrelations thereof. Since the origins of the idea of the legal framework of force and fear, just like of many other contemporary legal thought phenomena, go back to Roman law, understanding of the legal concept of force and fear is impossible without a thorough study of primary sources of Roman law. This research was developed guided by the abovementioned reasons. Under this research, the legal essence of force (vis – Latin) and fear (metus – Latin) was identified, the signs characteristic of them and criteria qualifying them were analysed. The mechanism of sanctions provided for in relation to unlawful use of force and fear was studied. The methodology for identifying the person liable for force and fear, i.e. the defendant, was reviewed. Procedural mechanisms and conditions for settlement of disputes were studied.


sustainable development, asset grabbing, corporate raiding, Roman law, Ancient Rome, vis, metus

JEL classifications

K19 , K39 , K42





Apsītis, Allars
Rīga Stradiņš University
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Joksts, Jānis
Rīga Stradiņš University
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Antanavičienė, Jūratė
Vilnius Gediminas Technical University
Entrepreneurship and Sustainability Center
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Journal of Security and Sustainability Issues

Issue date



ISSN 2029-7017 (print)
ISSN 2029-7025 (online)


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