Talks & activities
The Responsiveness of National Jurisdictions to Changing Practices in International Markets. The Industrialization of Commercial Sales Law in the 19th Century
Activity: Talk or presentation (speaker at event) › Talk or presentation › Academic
12 Oct 2018
As a case study, the judicial response to changes in commercial sales practice in 19th century Europe will be analyzed. First certain changes in commercial sales law will be highlighted for the English, German and Dutch jurisdictions. Here, these changes concerned a growing reliance on immediate default once a seller had failed to deliver in time and subsequently the market price rule to calculate the damages due. Immediate default and the market price rule can indeed be related to the introduction of faster and more reliable means of transport, such as railways, but perhaps more importantly to the introduction of more industrial production techniques. It will appear that immediate default and the market price rule became entrenched in the English jurisdiction roughly between 1820 and 1840, in the German ones between 1840 and 1850, and in the Dutch jurisdiction between 1860 and 1870.
Subsequently, these similar though successive responses by the English, German and Dutch jurisdictions will be analyzed for their responsiveness to changes in commercial sales practice and whether these responses had been developed independently or for a regional, European market. Depending on the available data of judicial statistics of the 19th century, the entrenchment of immediate default and the market price rule will be related to the overall increase in commercial cases in the various jurisdictions and whether this increase in commercial cases was concentrated in courts of commercial cities with a regional or international interest. If, for instance, the adoption of immediate default and the market price rule took place simultaneously or shortly after a strong increase of commercial cases, concentrated in regional or international commercial centers, this would indicate that such a jurisdiction is highly responsive to changes in commercial (sales) practice that are moreover most likely developed within a regional, European market. Preliminary investigation of the Judicial Statistics for the Kingdom of the Netherlands seems indeed to indicate a strong responsiveness of Dutch courts in the context of a European market.
The insights obtained from this investigation can importantly contribute to a discussion about relying on national courts to timely and adequately accommodate changing commercial practices.