The Historical Roots of Belgian Commercial Law Cover Image

The Historical Roots of Belgian Commercial Law
The Historical Roots of Belgian Commercial Law

Author(s): Laurent Waelkens
Subject(s): Law, Constitution, Jurisprudence
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego
Keywords: Belgian commercial law; civil law; Roman law; canon law; banking practices; bill of exchange; notarial practice; Hanseatic League; companies with legal personality; Napoleonic Code de Commerce of 1807

Summary/Abstract: The article presents a synthetic approach to the history of Belgian commercial law. The author starts with the regulations of Roman law and leads us from the beginnings of civil law in the times of the Roman Republic, describing the role of aediles and praetors, to the times of the Roman Empire. A significant part is dedicated to the grain trade and searches – not always successfully – for a self-contained commercial law. A separate analysis of the Roman banking practices includes a discussion of cheques and accounting. The fall of the Western Roman Empire brought changes in trade in the Mediterranean region. The description of the Middle Ages includes a series of causal factors that contributed to the development of commercial law in Western Europe and that were related to the Roman tradition (for example the development of canon law and the Church itself as an institution, as well as the development of universities). It also contains the analysis of organisational elements of commercial law that mainly pertain to Italy, which at that time had a leading role. Attention is also devoted to the development of the notarial profession and the bill of exchange. In the 11th century, cities and, by consequence, autonomous and trade-oriented systems of city rights began to gain importance. This evolution which started on the Apennine Peninsula later also took place in the north of Europe, including in the German maritime cities, and eventually brought organisational changes and led to the establishment of the Hanseatic League. Legal regulations embraced, inter alia, the maritime trade. When the first annual fairs were organised, improved safety and decreased toll rates furthered the development of towns situated on trade routes. Changes in the socioeconomic structure and the fall of Constantinople influenced the progressive standardisation of commercial law in different countries. The Greeks brought to the West not only their money and wealth but also their law. In the modern era, the first companies with legal personality appeared

  • Issue Year: 6/2013
  • Issue No: 4
  • Page Range: 365-386
  • Page Count: 22
  • Language: English