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Commercial law

Commercial law or Mercantile law, also known as trade law, is the body of law that applies to the rights, relations, and conduct of persons and businesses engaged in commerce, merchandising, trade, and sales. It is often considered to be a branch of civil law and deals with issues of both private law and public law. Commercial law includes within its compass such titles as principal and agent; carriage by land and sea; merchant shipping; guarantee; marine, fire, life, and accident insurance; bills of exchange, negotiable instruments, contracts and partnership. Many of these categories fall within Financial law, an aspect of Commercial law pertaining specifically to financing and the financial markets. It can also be understood to regulate corporate contracts, hiring practices, and the manufacture and sales of consumer goods. Many countries have adopted civil codes that contain comprehensive statements of their commercial law. In the United States, commercial law is the province of both the United States Congress, under its power to regulate interstate commerce, and the states, under their police power. Efforts have been made to create a unified body of commercial law in the United States; the most successful of these attempts has resulted in the general adoption of the Uniform Commercial Code, which has been adopted in all 50 states with some modification by state legislatures, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories. Various regulatory schemes control how commerce is conducted, particularly vis-a-vis employees and customers. Privacy laws, safety laws e.g., the Occupational Safety and Health Act in the United States, and food and drug laws are some examples.

Lex mercatoria

Lex mercatoria, often referred to as "the Law Merchant" in English, is the body of commercial law used by merchants throughout Europe during the medieval period. It evolved similar to English common law as a system of custom and best practice, which was enforced through a system of merchant courts along the main trade routes. It functioned as the international law of commerce. It emphasised contractual freedom and alienability of property, while shunning legal technicalities and deciding cases ex aequo et bono. A distinct feature was the reliance by merchants on a legal system developed and administered by them. States or local authorities seldom interfered, and did not interfere a lot in internal domestic trade. Under lex mercatoria trade flourished and states took in large amounts of taxation. In the last years new theories had changed the understanding of this medieval treatise considering it as proposal for legal reform or a document used for instructional purposes. These theories consider that the treatise cannot be described as a body of laws applicable in its time, but the desire of a legal scholar to improve and facilitate the litigation between merchants. The text is composed by 21 sections and an annex. The sections described procedural matters such as the presence of witnesses and the relation between this body of law and common law. It has been considered as a false statement to define this as a system exclusively based in custom, when there are structures and elements from the existent legal system, such as Ordinances and even concepts proper of the Romano-canonical procedure.

Outline of commercial law

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to commercial law: Commercial law – body of law that governs business and commercial transactions. It is often considered to be a branch of civil law and deals with issues of both private law and public law. It is also called business law.

Administration (law)

As a legal concept, administration is a procedure under the insolvency laws of a number of common law jurisdictions, similar to bankruptcy in the United States. It functions as a rescue mechanism for insolvent entities and allows them to carry on running their business. The process – in the United Kingdom colloquially called "under administration" – is an alternative to liquidation, or may be a precursor to it. Administration is commenced by an administration order. A company in administrative receivership is operated by an administrator on behalf of its creditors. The administrator may recapitalize the business, sell the business to new owners, or demerge it into elements that can be sold and close the remainder. Most countries distinguish between voluntary and involuntary receivership. In voluntary administrative receivership, the administrator is appointed by the company directors. In involuntary administrative receivership, the administrator is appointed by a judicial court. The legal terms for these processes vary from country to country, and the processes may overlap.

Apparent authority

In the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and South Africa, apparent authority relates to the doctrines of the law of agency. It is relevant particularly in corporate law and constitutional law. Apparent authority refers to a situation where a reasonable third party would understand that an agent had authority to act. This means a principal is bound by the agents actions, even if the agent had no actual authority, whether express or implied. It raises an estoppel because the third party is given an assurance, which he relies on and would be inequitable for the principal to deny the authority given. Apparent authority can legally be found, even if actual authority has not been given. There must be some act or some knowing omission on the part of the principal - if the agent alone acts to give the third party this false impression, then the principal is not bound. However, the principal will be bound if the agent so acts in the presence of the principal, and the principal stands silently and says nothing to dissuade the third party from believing that the agent has the authority to bind the principal. Apparent authority can also occur where a principal terminates the authority of an agent, but does not inform third parties of this termination. This is called lingering apparent authority. Business owners can avoid being liable by giving public notice of the termination of authority, and by contacting any individual third parties who would have had reason to know of such authority. In relation to companies, the apparent authority of directors, officers and agents of the company is normally referred to as "ostensible authority." Apparent authority issues also arise in the Fourth Amendment context, concerning who has authority to consent to a search.

Arbitration award

An arbitration award is a determination on the merits by an arbitration tribunal in an arbitration, and is analogous to a judgment in a court of law. It is referred to as an award even where all of the claimants claims fail, or the award is of a non-monetary nature.

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