The condictio causa data causa non secuta under Roman law was an action ("condictio")for recovery of a transfer of property, where the purpose for the transfer had failed (causa non secuta). During the recognition of innominate contracts, and their enforcement via the actio praescriptis verbis, the condictio causa data causa non secuta still had relevance, however outwith the field of valid contracts. This can be explained by reference to the purpose which failed (the basis of the action): where pacta sunt servanda, the purpose is successful on discharge of the legal duties which flow from the contract, namely transfer of the object of the contract.
The condictio causa data causa non secuta still exists in German Law and is represented in § 812 I 2 2. Alt BGB. Its modern short form is called "condictio ob rem".
Scots Law also still recognises the action of condictio causa data causa non secuta among the other condictiones, as was shown in the landmark case, in the field of unjustified enrichment (restitiution), of Shilliday v Smith (especially per Lord President Rodger).
- ^ case citation: 1998 S.C. 725