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Author: Serge Dauchy


Why did Louis XIV establish high courts in the distant and sparsely populated North-American colonies? The logic of the establishment of the Sovereign Council of Québec in 1663 and the Superior Council of Louisiana in 1712 is indeed in no way similar to the one which led to the creation of high courts in the metropolitan territories previously under foreign sovereignty. In the colonies, there was no need to safeguard the provincial privileges, in particular that to be judged in accordance with the local customs and procedural rules. Historians have emphasized the idea that justice foremost asserted the king’s authority on his overseas territories and France’s position on the international scene. Colonial institutions were thus merely considered as extensions of the metropolitan model. This paper proposes to study the high courts of New France through the prism of legal transplant theories, focusing on the objectives and expectations of the donor rather than on their objects or on the obstacles faced by the receiver. We assert that the overseas high courts were a means to define and orientate the French colonial policy rather than an end in themselves. Their judicial and, above all, regulatory competences made them indeed a particularly suitable instrument for the fulfillment of the monarchy’s political and economic expectations.

In: Tijdschrift voor Rechtsgeschiedenis / Revue d'Histoire du Droit / The Legal History Review


Georges de Ghewiet's reports on cases decided by the Sovereign Court (Parlement) of Flanders in the Kingdom of France was primarily based on the reports written by Jacques Pollet, a judge in the same court, which were published in 1716. In his own work, de Ghewiet, an advocate, added new decisions, both of the Parlement of Flanders and of other courts in France and in the Low Countries, and included commentaries referring extensively to European legal literature. Like many other reports of the French Parlement of Flanders (all, however, written by judges), de Ghewiet's reports were never printed, although the author had intended to have the work published. A modern critical edition has been prepared by the authors of the present article. In this contribution, they discuss de Ghewiet's Jurisprudence du parlement de Flandre in comparison with other reports of the French Parlements, the author's purpose and the structure of the work, and also his use of a wide range of legal authorities.

In: Tijdschrift voor Rechtsgeschiedenis / Revue d'Histoire du Droit / The Legal History Review
The contributions of Understanding the Sources of Early Modern and Modern Commercial Law: Courts, Statutes, Contracts, and Legal Scholarship show the wealth of sources which historians of commercial law use to approach their subject. Depending on the subject, historical research on mercantile law must be ready to open up to different approaches and sources in a truly imaginative and interdisciplinary way. This, more than many other branches of law, has always been largely non-state law. Normative, ‘official’, sources are important in commercial law as well, but other sources are often needed to complement them. The articles of the volume present an excellent assemblage of those sources.

Anja Amend-Traut, Albrecht Cordes, Serge Dauchy, Dave De ruysscher, Olivier Descamps, Ricardo Galliano Court, Eberhard Isenmann, Mia Korpiola, Peter Oestmann, Heikki Pihlajamäki, Edouard Richard, Margrit Schulte Beerbühl, Guido Rossi, Bram Van Hofstraeten, Boudewijn Sirks, Alain Wijffels, and Justyna Wubs-Mrozewicz.
In: The Company in Law and Practice: Did Size Matter? (Middle Ages-Nineteenth Century)
This volume brings together nine chapters by specialist legal historians that address the topic of the scale and size of companies, in both legal and economic history. The bundled texts cover different periods, from the Middle Ages, the Early Modern Period, to the nineteenth century. They analyse the historical development of basic features of present-day corporations and of other company types, among them the general and limited partnership. These features include limited liability and legal personality. A detailed overview is offered of how legal concepts and mercantile practice interacted, leading up to the corporate characteristics that are so important today.

Contributors are: Anja Amend-Traut, Luisa Brunori, Dave De ruysscher, Stefania Gialdroni, Ulla Kypta, Bart Lambert, Annamaria Monti, Carlos Petit, and Bram Van Hofstraeten.
In: Understanding the Sources of Early Modern and Modern Commercial Law