Also known as commercial law, this field is the legislation and adjudication of the body of laws relating to the operation, rights and responsibilities of corporations and individuals in business. It is wide-reaching and often vague in jurisdiction, sometimes blurring the lines with other significant fields of law. Generally (though one must allow for deviation by country), this set of laws cover the buying and selling of goods, distribution of products, proper compensation methods, guarantees, business taxes, consumer credit, intellectual property, bankruptcy and partnerships/joint ventures in both the public and private sectors. However, in some cases, commercial law stretches to include property, tax and employment laws too
With the emergence of the global market, it has become increasingly necessary to harmonize commercial laws across nations. In the medieval era, a system of law called the lex mercatoria (‘merchant’s law’) evolved to cover inter-European trade independent of any sole reigning power and elements of that remain as an unwritten code of conduct. However, since WWII there have been a number of more modern efforts to produce a standard set of international trade laws, from the Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods agreed upon by UNCITRAL in 1980 (now with over 78 countries signing on) to the establishment of the World Trade Organisation in 1995 to the 2010 Incoterms defining business terms on a global scale.
Medieval coins of mixed origin that would have been like those traded in Europe for goods or services under conduct outlined in the lex mercatoria.
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