Title
From usages of merchants to default rules : practices of trade, ius commune and urban law in early modern Antwerp From usages of merchants to default rules : practices of trade, ius commune and urban law in early modern Antwerp
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Law
Publication type
article
Publication
London ,
Subject
Law
History
Source (journal)
The journal of legal history. - London
Volume/pages
33(2012) :1 , p. 3-29
ISSN
0144-0365
ISI
000305058500001
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
In sixteenth-century Antwerp, commercial contracts were supported with refined government-made rules that brought techniques, usages and customs practised by merchants to the level of sophisticated law. Because no body of unwritten substantive law on commerce existed and because commercial practices were often too rudimentary from a legal perspective, in the 1500s detailed and balanced normative precepts on contracts of trade came to be crafted. When in the first decades of the sixteenth century more and more foreign merchants visited Antwerp, its rulers gradually started supplementing and upgrading practices of merchants to default rules regarding contracts, with materials and concepts drawn from the ius commune. In the second half of the sixteenth century, the use of civil law not only further determined the contents of the default rules that were imposed by the Antwerp aldermen, but it also lay at the basis of a change in the latter's policy of establishing precepts of urban law. After 1550, the philosophy of rationality and exhaustiveness found within civil law writings, the appreciation of which was triggered by political and economic factors, was reflected in wide-ranging collections of Antwerp law that covered many legal questions regarding commercial arrangements.
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