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Focus on commercial law

The commercial law is a special private law for merchants. The application of the commercial law depends on the merchant characteristics of at least one of the entities involved by the commercial code.

Contrary to what the name suggests, today’s commercial law is not only for trading merchants but also for the craft sector, industry and other economic sectors.

Definition of commercial law

In the narrow sense, commercial law is the law that is regulated by the commercial law (HGB) and its supplementary laws. In a broader sense, commercial law comprises - next to the laws mentioned before – corporate law, securities law, banking and stock exchange law.

Characteristics of the merchant

The most important feature of the commercial law (HGB) is the “Kaufmannsbegriff”. The characteristics of the merchant lead to numerous duties and privileges of the merchant,  that are regulated separately in the HGB.

Commercial sales intermediaries

The sales agent

According to § 84 Abs. 1 S. 1 HGB, a sales agent is “an independent tradesman who is permanently entrusted with mediating business for another entrepreneur or concluding transactions in his name.”

The distributor

The distributor is an independent tradesman who permanently sells the products of another entrepreneur in his own name and for his own account. He promotes sales similar to a sales representative or a commission agent.

Commercial transactions: The current account

The current account is one of the most important and at the same time most difficult part of the whole commercial law, a fact that made Isaac Abraham Levy even qualify it as a „mystical ingredient“. The most important use of this simplified paying method is the checking account. It is legally defined in § 355 HGB and causes  mutual financial settlements after the termination of a billing period.

A distinction between four different types of contract must be made:

  • Current account agreement
  • Clearing
  • Determination of the surplus
  • Business contract.