The Phylogeny of the Unpaid Seller’s Right to Vindicate Goods: A Test Study

31 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2018 Last revised: 9 Dec 2019

See all articles by Jan M. Smits

Jan M. Smits

Maastricht University Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2018


This contribution applies computational phylogenetics, the quantitative study of the evolutionary history of organisms, to the vexed history of the price payment-rule. This rule makes the transfer of movable property dependent on the buyer’s payment of the price. The study provides a dataset of 56 variations of the price payment-rule from 41 different jurisdictions drafted between the years 150 and 2006. Using Mesquite, these variations are quantified as phylogenetic trees and subsequently analysed to draw conclusions about their common history. The study is set up as a test study to explore the potential of computational phylogenetics in law.

Keywords: unpaid seller, price payment-rule, phylogenetics, legal history, law of sales

Suggested Citation

Smits, Jan M., The Phylogeny of the Unpaid Seller’s Right to Vindicate Goods: A Test Study (2018). Maastricht European Private Law Institute Working Paper No. 2018/01 , Jan Smits, Five Uneasy Pieces: Essay on Law and Evolution, The Hague 2020, pp.69-105; Maastricht Faculty of Law Working Paper No. 2018/01, Available at SSRN: or

Jan M. Smits (Contact Author)

Maastricht University Faculty of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, NL-6200 MD


Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics