Colloquium ‘The Merchant and the Law: Mind the Gap?’

Op 30 en 31 maart vindt in Maastricht het colloquium The Merchant and the Law: Mind the Gap? plaats.

“For present-day legal historians, the historical development of commercial law in early modern Europe is characterized by the definitive breakthrough of top-down legislation (royal ordinances, urban statutes, etc.) as the formal source of law par excellence. Thus far, the accretion of such legislative efforts in the early modern period has always been portrayed in a causal relationship with the lingering demise of custom as the most pre-eminent source of law in Europe, and consequently, also as the dynamic force behind every modification of private and commercial law.

Within the field of economic history, however, a different narrative is predominating. Here, changes in the organisation of trade, as well as commercial law, are primarily attributed to merchants as customarily operating actors within the world of European commerce. As such, the historical development of commercial law implies a bottom-up operation in the first place, whereby the dynamic usages and practices of merchants continued to function as the fundamental source of law, despite the growing number of legislative activities of local and central authorities.

Both interpretations not only seem to take for granted the existence of a gap between the merchant and the law; they also give proof of a well-maintained and structural lack of interdisciplinary cooperation between both fields of research. Therefore, the colloquium aspires to build bridges. It seeks to promote interdisciplinary cooperation between economic and legal historians. Likewise, and by means of dialogue and debate, the colloquium seeks to assess the actual significance of customary practices of merchants on the one hand and legislative efforts of local and central authorities on the other hand within the historical development process of early modern commercial law in a more nuanced manner.”

Dit is de website van het colloquium, alwaar ook het definitieve programma (en meer info m.b.t. tot de doelstellingen en inhoud) te vinden is:

Het colloquium staat open voor iedereen, maar registratie is evenwel verplicht. Dit kan via de website van het colloquium. Voor één dag betaalt men 25 euro; voor twee dagen 40 euro (participation fee).  Het programma vindt u ook als bijlage bij dit bericht.Program.dockx