Law merchant

The law merchant or commercial law as it is also known worldwide, is the branch of law responsible for regulating the different relationships that occur between individuals, contracts and trade. It is part of private law, which includes the different rules regarding the development of commercial work.

What is law merchant?

Law merchant is the branch of law that is responsible for exercising the different legislations to regulate the exercise of all commercial activities that occur in a particular place, and that regulates traders in the exercise of their profession.

About law merchant

It consists of the regulations of the rights, legal relations and behavior of persons and companies engaged in commerce, including aspects such as land and sea transport, merchant marine; the different life and accident insurance, letters of exchange, bank checks and associations. It consists of drafting laws to regulate company contracts, contracting practices, and the manufacture and sale of consumer goods.

Law merchant characteristics

Legal nature

Its legal nature is to function as a public right that deals with the relationships that may arise between traders, tracking people who are mercantile in nature and traders, who are natural persons at the same time.

Background and history of law merchant

Law merchant, was born along with commercial law during the Middle Ages, in the Greek and Roman civilization as a set of rules and principles that were related to merchants and mercantile transactions which had been adopted by merchants themselves in order to achieve regulate their commercial relations. Thus, law merchant developed in the early eleventh century as a measure to protect foreign traders who were not under the jurisdiction and protection of local law.

Foreign traders were often subject to confiscations and other types of harassment, so a type of law was needed by which traders themselves could negotiate contracts, associations, trademarks, and various aspects of buying and selling. The law merchant gradually expanded as merchants moved from place to place. Courts established by traders themselves at trade fairs or in cities administered a uniform law in Europe, regardless of differences in national laws and languages. It was mainly based on Roman law, although there were some Germanic influences; and this formed the basis for modern commercial law.

General principles

Some general principles of law merchant are as follows:


Law merchant is governed by three sources:

Importance of law merchant

It is important because it regulates entrepreneurs and business owners and the acts they perform to achieve development in their economic activities. It also regulates private activities and relations between entrepreneurs and their clients. It is the right of a person, the merchant and the acts he performs through his company emphasizing the market.


The following are examples of law merchant:

Written by Gabriela Briceño V.

How to cite this article?

Briceño V., Gabriela. (2019). Law merchant. Recovered on 24 February, 2024, de Euston96:

Recommended for you