Nikitas Hatzimihail, ‘Genealogies of Lex Mercatoria’

The historical study of mercantile law has, without a question, much to teach both business and private international lawyers. Such study requires a sophisticated methodology that combines the rigour of professional historians with understanding of doctrinal complexity. However, most of the popular historical narratives about the “old” law merchant have little to contribute to historical scholarship and appear instead primarily concerned with genealogy: their principal aim is to inspire their audience or to provide argumentative weapons to their party in the modern debates about lex mercatoria and the governance of transnational business activities. In comprehensive historical accounts and casual references to a common historical consciousness alike, the “ancient” law merchant is presented as an autonomous, cosmopolitan, transnational legal system. This imagery is also recurring in the modern conflict-of-laws literature, as well as domestic commercial law. It permeates historical narratives in comparative law and doctrinal legal history. The ancient law merchant even serves as case-study material for legal and economic theorists …

Hatzimihail, Nikitas, Genealogies of Lex Mercatoria (December 9, 2013). Athens Faculty of Law, STUDIES IN MEMORIAM OF PROFESSOR ANTHONY M. ANTAPASIS (Athens, 2013: Ant N Sakkoulas), pp 411-452.

First posted 2014-12-09 06:58:07

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