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Contribution to Book
A Business Trust for Partnerships? Early Conceptions of Company-Related Assets in Legal Literature, and Antwerp Forensic and Commercial Practice (Later Sixteenth-Early Seventeenth Century)
Company law in late-medieval and early modern Europe, Leuven, Peeters, 2015, in the press (2016)
  • Dave De ruysscher, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Abstract
The Antwerp example demonstrates that in the early modern period entity shielding for partnerships existed in some form by law, and that it was devised in doctrine and the practice of courts rather than in legislation. The affectation of assets for the business venture that did not entail limited liability nonetheless allowed for some separation of personal from partnership-related assets. This innovation, which was devised in doctrine in the early 1600s, was important in a mercantile context in which partnerships with open goals and with active partners or directors engaged in diverse business activities. Yet, according to an older rule of Antwerp law, a general mandate to sign contracts allocated the business risk firmly with the principal or principals, and this was also the case within a partnership. A commercial decision of an agent or administrator of the partnership could not be reversed with regard to third parties, and this remained so even if assets of the firm had been brought outside the reach of partners. A form of ‘tracing’ that over the first decades of the seventeenth century was developed in Antwerp legal practice, in close interaction with views of international legal authors, softened some of the harsh consequences of that rule. In general, the example of the Antwerp law and of its interpretation on the basis of legal doctrine in the first half of the seventeenth century provides evidence of how civil law (ius commune) had a concrete impact on legal solutions for business.
Keywords
  • partnership law,
  • business fund,
  • separation ownership and control
Publication Date
Spring 2016
Editor
W. Decock and B. Van Hofstraeten
Publisher
Peeters
Series
Iuris Scripta Historica
Citation Information
Dave De ruysscher. "A Business Trust for Partnerships? Early Conceptions of Company-Related Assets in Legal Literature, and Antwerp Forensic and Commercial Practice (Later Sixteenth-Early Seventeenth Century)" LeuvenCompany law in late-medieval and early modern Europe, Leuven, Peeters, 2015, in the press (2016)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/deruysscher/12/