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WORKSHOP: The Making of Commercial Law; Small, Medium-Sized and Large Companies in Law and Economic Practice (Brussels, 21-22 May 2015)

(image source: archdaily.com)
 The Free University of Brussels (VUB), Research Group CORE (Contextual Research in Law) organizes a two-day workshop in the project "The Making of Commercial Law" (Helsinki/VUB/Frankfurt/Lille-II).

Abstract:

The goal of this workshop is to bring together scholars who have worked on the interactions between law and economic practice, and to address topics concerning the history of business ventures, from the Middle Ages until c. 1900. The papers of participants assess differences with regard to the size of partnerships and companies. Over the past years, limited and general partnerships have received ample attention from economic and legal historians. Organizational laws containing structural models for small enterprises (e.g. the French sprl and German GmbH) have been held up to the light. Doctrine and case law concerning partnerships have been analyzed. It seems that in both legal and economic practice, and for all periods mentioned, smaller companies mattered more than has previously been thought, and even in periods in which corporations existed. In view of this, many ideas about companies and firms – large and small – can be reconsidered. Topics that will be discussed during the workshop are, among others, legal personhood, limited liability, corporate finance, and corporate governance. 
The workshop is the second in a series on the history of commercial law, organized during the 2014-2017 period in Helsinki, Brussels and Frankfurt. The conferences will be organized in the framework of the project “The making of commercial law: common practices and national legal rules from the early modern period to the modern period".  Programme:

Thursday 21 May 20159h coffee

9h30-10h50 first session 
  • Ulla Kypta (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt), Associates or Agents? Trading Enterprises in Northern and Southern Germany in the Late Middle Ages 
  • Bart Lambert (University of York) Making Size Matter Less: Italian Merchant Guilds as Tools for Capital Redistribution in Late Medieval Bruges 


10h50-11h05 coffee
11h05-12h35 second session 
  • Anja Amend-Traut (Würzburg Universität), Structure of Early Enterprises – from Commenda-like Arrangements to Chartered Joint-Stock Companies (Early Modern Period) 
  • Luisa Brunori (Université Paris Sud 11 – Université Lille 2), The Secunda Scholastica and the Commercial Company: Persons and Capital in the 16th and 17th Centuries


12h35-14h lunch
14h-15h20 third session 
  • Bram Vanhofstraeten (Maastricht University), Small-scale and Medium-sized Industrial Enterprises in Seventeenth-Century Liège 
  • Julie Hardwick (University of Texas), 'She Failed to Make a Book': Account Books, Small Enterprises and Emerging Practices of Record Keeping in Early Modern Lyon 


15h20-15h35 break 
15h35-17h fourth session 
  • Stefania Gialdroni (Roma Trè, Arcadia University), Incorporation and Limited Liability in the English EIC: an Uneasy Relationship 
  • Jelten Baguet (Vrije Universiteit Brussels), Corporate Governance in a Small-Scale Pre-Modern Maritime Enterprise: The Case of the Ostend Company (1722-1731) 


Friday 22 May 2015 9h coffee

9h30-10h50 fifth session 
  • Carlos Petit (Universidad de Huelva), From Commercial Guild to Commercial Law. Spanish Company Regulations, 1737-1848. 
  • Annamaria Monti (Bocconi University), Italian Late 19th-Century Companies: Size and Corporate Governance 
10h50-11h05 coffee

11h05-12h25 sixth session 
  • Ron Harris (Tel Aviv University), Private companies in 19th century England
  • Dag Michalsen (Oslo University), The Development of Norwegian Company Law 1875-1910 
12h30-14h lunch

14h-15h20 seventh session 
  • Joeri Vananroye (KU Leuven), Partnerships in 19th-20th c. French and Belgian Doctrine 
  • Dave De ruysscher (Vrije Universiteit Brussels), Small Companies, Contractual Leeway and Third-Party Protection (Belgium, c. 1830-c. 1850) 
15h20-15h45 break 

15h45-17h10 eighth session 
  • Edouard Richard (Université de Rennes), The Banque d’Union générale: legal aspects of its shut-down (1878-1885).
  • Matthijs de Jongh (Hoge Raad, The Hague), Fuzzy Borders: Dutch Partnership and Company law in the Second Half of the 18th Century. 
Practical information:
SQUARE Brussels Meeting Centre (www.square-brussels.com/, Glass Entrance, rue Mont des Arts, B-1000 Brussels), Brussels

Entrance is free, but registration is required. The final date is 15 April 2015. Please send an email to dderuyss@vub.ac.be. Papers will be sent to participants. Source: Nomôdos.
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