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Are there any general principles of commercial law?

McMeel, G. (2020) Are there any general principles of commercial law? In: Mitchell, C. and Watterson, S. (eds.) The World of Maritime and Commercial Law: Essays in Honour of Francis Rose. Hart Publishing, Oxford, pp. 181-200. ISBN 9781509932436

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To link to this item DOI: 10.5040/


In this chapter, I address the question of whether there are any general principles of commercial law. The subject has long been celebrated by its practitioners and adherents – from Mr Justice Buller’s fulsome tribute to Lord Mansfield in the Age of Enlightenment to the twenty-first century. Its virtues are trumpeted as being myriad, embracing certainty, predictability, flexibility, amenity to innovation and, foremost, a facilitative demeanour. The pride in English achievements often sails dangerously close to meriting the rebuke that the English, like the Romans, were ‘much too convinced of the superiority of their legal and political system to pay much attention to foreign laws’. The domestic rhetoric often involves hostility to notions such as good faith. So, Lord Falconer boasted: ‘English commercial law provides predictability of outcome, legal certainty, and fairness. It is clear and built upon well-founded principles, such as the ability to require exact performance...

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Law
ID Code:96037
Publisher:Hart Publishing

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