The Emergence of English Commercial Law: Analysis Inspired by Ottoman Experience
Daniel M. Klerman
USC Gould School of Law
September 10, 2008
71 Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 638-646 (2009)
USC CLEO Research Paper No. 08-19
USC Law Legal Studies Paper No. 08-24
Thirteenth-century England was a commercial backwater whose trade was dominated by foreigners. To accommodate and encourage foreign merchants, England modified its legal system by creating legal institutions which were available to both domestic and foreign traders. Among the most important of these institutions were streamlined debt collection procedures and mixed juries composed of both Englishmen and foreigners. By introducing institutions which treated locals and foreigners equally, England created a level playing field which enabled English merchants to become increasingly prominent in the later Middle Ages. England's ability to modernize its law was facilitated by the secular nature of English law, the representation of merchants in Parliament, and legal pluralism. Medieval England contrasts sharply with the early modern Ottoman Empire. The latter created special institutions for foreign merchants, which eventually put Ottoman Muslims at a competitive disadvantage.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 29
Keywords: Contracts, Commercial Law, England, Ottoman Empire
JEL Classification: K12, N13, N15
Date posted: September 12, 2008 ; Last revised: December 17, 2014
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