law merchant

the principles and rules, drawn chiefly from custom, determining the rights and obligations of commercial transactions; commercial law.

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▪ medieval European law
      during the Middle Ages, the body of customary rules and principles relating to merchants and mercantile transactions and adopted by traders themselves for the purpose of regulating their dealings. Initially, it was administered for the most part in special quasi-judicial courts, such as those of the guilds in Italy and, later, regularly constituted piepoudre courts in England (see piepoudre court).

      The law merchant was developed in the early 11th century in order to protect foreign merchants not under the jurisdiction and protection of the local law. Foreign traders often were subject to confiscations and other types of harassment if one of their countrymen had defaulted in a business transaction. A kind of law was also needed by which the traders themselves could negotiate contracts, partnerships, trademarks, and various aspects of buying and selling. The law merchant gradually spread as the traders went from place to place. Their courts, set up by the merchants themselves at trade fairs or in cities, administered a law that was uniform throughout Europe, regardless of differences in national laws and languages. It was based primarily on Roman law, although there were some Germanic influences; it formed the basis for modern commercial law.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • law merchant — n: the commercial rules developed under English common law that influenced modern commercial law and that are referred to as supplementing rules set down in the Uniform Commercial Code and in state codes Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law.… …   Law dictionary

  • Law merchant — Law Law (l[add]), n. [OE. lawe, laghe, AS. lagu, from the root of E. lie: akin to OS. lag, Icel. l[ o]g, Sw. lag, Dan. lov; cf. L. lex, E. legal. A law is that which is laid, set, or fixed; like statute, fr. L. statuere to make to stand. See… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • law merchant — n. all the rules and usages originating in the customs of merchants and now applied to dealings in trade and commerce, where not changed by statute; mercantile or commercial law …   English World dictionary

  • Law Merchant — The Law Merchant is a legal system used by merchants in medieval Europe, including England. Rather than being the result of the edict of a final authority, it was evolved based on common usage.OriginsThe Law Merchant, or Lex Mercatoria , was… …   Wikipedia

  • law merchant — noun the body of rules applied to commercial transactions; derived from the practices of traders rather than from jurisprudence (Freq. 2) • Syn: ↑mercantile law, ↑commercial law • Topics: ↑law, ↑jurisprudence • Hypernyms: ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • law merchant — A body of commercial law embracing the usages of merchants in different commercial countries, but not resting exclusively on the institutions and local customs of any particular country, consisting of certain principles of equity and usages of… …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • law-merchant — lawˈ merˈchant noun (obsolete) The customs that have grown up among merchants in reference to mercantile documents and business, commercial law • • • Main Entry: ↑law …   Useful english dictionary

  • law merchant — law′ mer′chant n. bus law the customary principles and rules determining the rights and obligations of commercial transactions …   From formal English to slang

  • law merchant — Body of law governing commercial transactions which had its origin in common law of England regulating merchants. See U.C.C. No. 1 103. See also commercial law mercantile law Uniform Commercial Code …   Black's law dictionary

  • law merchant — noun (plural laws merchant) Date: 15th century the legal rules formerly applied to cases arising in commercial transactions …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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