NOVELS, NOVELL/E CONSTITU TIONES. In Civil Law. The name given to the constitutions or laws of Justinian and his immediate successors, which were promulgated soon after the Code of Jus tinian.
2. It appears to have been the intention of Justinian, after the completion of the second and revised edition of the Code, to supply what had not been foreseen in the preceding lawm. together with any necessary amend ments or alterations, not by revising the Code, but by supplementary laws. Such laws he promulgated from time to time; but no official compilation of them is known to have been made until after his death, when his laws, 159 in number, with those of the reigns of Justin II. and Tiberias, nine in number, were oollected, together with some local edicts, tinder this name. They belong to various times between 535 and 565 A.D.
, 3. Although the 'Novels of Justinian are the best known, and when the word Novels only is mentioned those of Justinian ars always intended, he was not the first who used that name. Some of the acts of Theo - dosius, Valentinian, Leo, Severus, Authen, nius and others, were also called Novels. But
the 'Novels of the emperors wbo preceded Justinian had not the force of law after the legislation of that emperor. Those Novels are not, however, entirely.useless ; because, the Code of Justinian having been compiled to a considerable extent from tbe Theodosian Code and the earlier Novels, the latter fre quently remove doubts which arise on the construction of the Code.
4. The original language of the Novels was 'for the most part Greek ; but they are represented in the Corpus Juris Civilis by a Latin translation of 134 of them. These form the fourth part of the Corpus Juris Ci vilis. They are directed either to some offi cer, or an archbishop or bishop, or to some private individual of Constantinople ; but they all had the force and authority of law.
The 118th Novel is the fbundation and groundwork of the English Statute of Distri bution of Intestates' Effects, which has been copied in many states of the Union. See 1 P. Will. 27 ; Prec. in Chanc. 593.