A single, fairly simple proposition lies at the heart of the present contribution, viz. that the development of early-modern literature on international law should be regarded as a specific form of the early usus modernus during the second half of the sixteenth century and the first half of the seventeenth century.In Section 1 that general proposition and some of its ramifications will receive some further explanation. First, the main characteristics of usus modernus will be set out, and, subsequently, their applicability to early-modern literature on international law will be outlined. In addition, the question should be raised, what purpose the characterisation of that literature as part of the more general usus modernus may serve. These considerations may inevitably appear somewhat abstract. Section 2 will therefore aim to provide a particular illustration, based on two contemporary works on the law of naval warfare, viz. A. Gentili's Hispanicae Advocationis Libri Duo and H. Grotius' De jure praedae.
Against allegations that the 1820 draft of a Civil code for the Kingdom of the Netherlands was too doctrinal and theoretical, one of J.M. Kemper's arguments during the parliamentary discussions consisted in pointing out that far from being academic, the provisions of the draft which further elaborated on general principles expressed in the French Civil Code were in fact meant to settle through legislation controversies which had appeared in French legal practice and case law after the enactment of that code. Kemper's unsuccessful argumentation was especially developed in the course of the debate in the Lower House on the draft's preliminary articles relating to (i) the non-retrospective effect of statutes and (ii) nullity as a default-sanction for violation of statutory rules.
A case-study of a litigation during the years 1566–1574 between merchants from Oudenaarde and the Corporation of Free Shippers in Ghent shows that the corporation's liability for damage caused by one of its members was controversial. Although art. 20 of the ordinance of 14 February 1541 appeared to phrase the corporation's vicarious or subsidiary liability in general terms, the corporation's counsel, assisted by consultancies from a.o. E. Leoninus and J. Wamesius, successfully argued that in the light of the ordinance's rationale, which limited the free shippers' privileges in the aftermath of Charles V's punishment of Ghent in 1540, the corporation's liability had correspondingly to be construed restrictively, viz. only with regard to cargo shipped in Ghent under its control.
M. Oosterbosch's additional calendar of documents belonging to the series 'Appeals from Holland' (Brussels, General Archives of the Realm, Collection Great Council of Mechlin) refers to hitherto unknown documents which may encourage fresh thematic research and case-studies on conflicts and litigation which originated mostly from Holland and Zeeland (from the 1460s until the 1580s), and to a lesser extent from Utrecht and (also during later periods) from Gelderland.