Negotiorum gestio (Latin for "management of business") is a form of spontaneous voluntary agency in which an intervenor or intermeddler, the gestor, acts on behalf and for the benefit of a principal (dominus negotii), but without the latter's prior consent. The gestor is only entitled to reimbursement for expenses and not to remuneration, the underlying principle being that negotiorum gestio is intended as an act of generosity and friendship and not to allow the gestor to profit from his intermeddling. This form of intervention is classified as a quasi-contract and found in civil-law jurisdictions and in mixed systems (e.g. Scots, South African, and Philippine laws).
For example, while you are traveling abroad, a typhoon hits your home town and the roofing of your house is in danger. To avoid the catastrophic situation, your neighbour does something urgently necessary. You are the 'principal' and your neighbour here is the 'gestor', the act of which saved your house is the negotiorum gestio.
It originated as a Roman legal institution in which an individual acted on behalf of another, without his asking and without remuneration. It was considered a part of officium (duty), for instance, to defend a friend's or neighbour's interests while the friend or neighbour was away.
The principal, or dominus, more fully dominus negotiorum dominus rei gestae, is bound to indemnify the gestor for the expenses and liabilities incurred. If the principal fails to do so, there is unjust enrichment, and the gestor then has a claim to bring an action for restitution. In Napoleonic civilian jurisdictions, including Louisiana, the action takes the form of the actio de in rem verso.
Negotiorum gestio is not recognised at common law, despite certain English salvage cases, as well as some cases in equity where trustees were on occasion remunerated for services voluntarily rendered.
It is variously known as follows:
- Czech Republic: "uncommanded agency" (Czech: nepřikázané jednatelství) under the Czech Civil Code
- France: "undertaking formed without agreement" (French: engagement formé sans convention) or "management of affairs" (French: gestion d'affaires) under the French Civil Code
- Germany: "agency without specific authorisation" (German: Geschäftsführung ohne Auftrag) or "voluntary agency" (German: Geschäftsführung) under the German Civil Code
- Italy: "management of business of another" (Italian: gestione di affare altrui) under the Italian Civil Code
- Japan: "management of business" (Japanese: 事務管理, jimu kanri) under the Japanese Civil Code
- Louisiana: "management of affairs" under the Louisiana Civil Code
- Netherlands: "agency of necessity" (Dutch: zaakwaarneming) under the Dutch Civil Code
- South Africa: "management of affairs" under the South African law
- Switzerland: "agency without authority" under the Swiss Civil Code
- Poland: "management of business of another without an order" (Polish: Prowadzenie cudzych spraw bez zlecenia) under the Polish Civil Code
- Russia: "action in the interest of another (without instruction)" (Russian: действия в чужом интересе (без поручения)) under the Russian Federation Civil Code
- Taiwan: "management of affairs without mandate" (Chinese: 無因管理; pinyin: wú yīn guǎnlǐ) under the Taiwanese Civil Code
- Thailand: "management of affairs without mandate" (Thai: จัดการงานนอกสั่ง; rtgs: chat kan ngan nok sang) under the Civil and Commercial Code
- J.A. Crook, Law and Life of Rome (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press), 236–37.
- Jeroen Kortmann, Altruism in Private Law: Liability for Nonfeasance and Negotiorum Gestio (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2005).
- Czech Civil Code, Part 4, Chapter IV, Title 2
- See FCC - Book 3 - Title 4
- Langenscheidt Translation Service (2011-07-21). "Civil Code, Book 2, Title 13". Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection. Retrieved 2014-01-06.
- See ICC - Book IV - Title VI
- "Civil Code, Part III, Chapter 3". Japanese Ministry of Justice. 2009-01-04. Retrieved 2014-01-06.
- M. L. Hendrikse et al. (2008). Aspects of Maritime Law: Claims Under Bills of Lading. Netherlands: Kluwer Law International. p. 340. ISBN 9789041126238.
- "Swiss Civil Code, Part Five, Division One, Title One, Section One, Article 38". Federal Authorities of the Swiss Confederation. 2013-01-01. Retrieved 2014-01-06.
- See K.c. - Book 3 - Title XXII
- See RF CC - Part III - Сhapter 50
- "Civil Code, Part Ⅱ, Chapter I, Section 1, Sub-section 3". Law and Regulations Database of ROC. 2012-12-26. Retrieved 2014-01-06.
- Kamol Sandhikshetrin (2007). Civil and Commercial Code, Books I–VI, and Glossary (8th ed.). Bangkok: Nitibannakan. p. 91. ISBN 9789744473493.
- Leland H. Ayres & Robert E. Landry (September 1988). "The Distinction Between Negotiorum Gestio and Mandate" (pdf). Louisiana State University. Retrieved 2014-01-06.