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Bill of exchange

(2,135 words)

Author(s): Denzel, Markus A. | Löhnig, Martin
1. Economics 1.1. Basics The bill of exchange (Italian lettera di cambio, French letter de change, German Wechsel), “one of the most important achievements in the history of economics” [4], was developed in Italy on the basis of ancient precursors during the Commercial Revolution (12th–14th centuries). In its classic form, dating from the 14th century, it represented an order for payment, in which the maker (drawer) of the bill instructed the drawee (acceptor) to clear a debt elsewhere for a beneficiary or bearer in his pl…
Date: 2019-10-14

Incapacity, legal

(727 words)

Author(s): Löhnig, Martin
1. Basic definitionIn Germany, legal incapacity ( Entmündigung) was a public legal act that completely or partially deprived a person of his or her legal capacity or prevented one from coming into his or her majority; it was abolished in Germany in 1992. In the early modern period, legal incapacity was very important in legal practice, but it was no longer viewed, as it had been during the Middle Ages, as restricted to the operations of intra-family law, but rather as a right to protection which, under the influence of natural law, was seen as the duty of the state.Martin Löhnig2. Reasons for…
Date: 2019-10-14

Particular law

(995 words)

Author(s): Löhnig, Martin
1. Definition and proliferation Particular law is the name given to sources of law that were valid only in a specific thematic or geographic area ( ius patriae, i.e. native customary law), where they competed with  ius commune derived from Roman law. The designation of a source of law as “particular” became important as a means of differentiating such laws from ius commune. A plethora of particular laws were in force in early modern Europe, from long-established customs to municipal law and territorial law. Despite the reception of ius commune, “a scarcely conceivable pluralism…
Date: 2020-10-06

Maritime commercial law

(852 words)

Author(s): Löhnig, Martin
1. Legal scopeThroughout the early modern period, maritime commercial law was the branch of private law that regulated shipping by sea. It covered the legal relations of those involved in deep sea navigation: (1) the ship owner or shipping company as proprietor of the ship; (2) the skipper or captain of the ship as the highest authority on board and the proprietor’s representative; (3) the crew, which stood under the captain’s authority; and (4) finally the merchants shipping their wares. Seafarers’ articles of agreement ( Heuervertrag) were concluded between the proprietor …
Date: 2019-10-14


(1,095 words)

Author(s): Löhnig, Martin
1. ConceptSelf-defense is legitimate defense against an attack. Consequently, where such a defender otherwise fulfills the criteria of having committed a crime, for example, by inflicting physical harm or killing, he or she is neither punishable for it in criminal law nor liable for damages in civil law.Martin Löhnig2. Criminal lawMedieval legal collections contain only regulations concerning individual cases of defense. The Bamberger Halsgerichtsordnung of 1517 and the  Constitutio Criminalis Carolina (CCC) of 1532 then proceeded to a comprehensive regulation der…
Date: 2021-08-02


(1,473 words)

Author(s): Löhnig, Martin
1. ConceptThe law of pledge establishes security for a debt, particularly as incurred in the provision of credit. In effect, the pledge serves as protection for the debt secured. The pledgee may sell or exchange the object pledged in order to satisfy his claim from the proceeds if the pledgor fails to repay the debt. A pledge may be made through a contractual provision (bailment; see below, 3.) or as a creditor’s act of enforcement (see below, 4.). Beginning in the late Middle Ages, ecclesiastica…
Date: 2020-10-06


(976 words)

Author(s): Löhnig, Martin
A purchase is a legal transaction entailing the exchange of goods for money. As barter of goods for other goods waned in the Middle Ages, purchase increased in importance, especially in cities as the money economy became established, and it remained the most important commercial transaction throughout the early modern period.1. Fulfillment and effectsA purchase in the early modern period was – in principle, and in the light of the reception of ius commune – accomplished only by the agreement of purchaser and vendor on the purchase object and the purchase price. Howe…
Date: 2021-03-15

Contract for work/labor

(791 words)

Author(s): Löhnig, Martin
1. DefinitionIn a contract for work/labor (Latin,  locatio conductio operis) in the early modern period, one contracting party (Contract [private law]) (the employee, contractor) undertook to perform a specific work for the other contracting party (the employer, commissioner). The contract for work/labor differed from a service contract, which stipulated only a specific, ongoing activity on the part of the employee. The work that the contractor owed the commissioner of the work could be material or immat…
Date: 2019-10-14


(3,292 words)

Author(s): Löhnig, Martin | Sanz Lafuente, Gloria | Troßbach, Werner
1. Legal aspects 1.1. DefinitionA lease (German Pacht) today is understood to be the contractual transfer of an object or right in exchange for money (cf. Interest [banking]), whereupon the recipient may use or – in contrast to rent and loans for use (commodatum) – enjoy the fruits of the object for a certain time. In contrast to a renter, the lessee is broadly responsible for the maintenance of the object of the lease. Leases based on loan contract, which could in theory be canceled at any time and la…
Date: 2019-10-14


(885 words)

Author(s): Löhnig, Martin
1. DefinitionA Schenkung (donation) in German usage is a legal transaction in which one party (donor) conveys property to another (donee) without receiving return consideration. A Schenkung may take the form of a manual donation [5. 74–103], whereby the gifted object is immediately delivered to the donee and the form of a promise of a later donation. Schenkungen are generally possible only inter vivos, but donations  mortis causa arranged between living parties but not taking effect until the death of the donor are also possible. The lack of return cons…
Date: 2021-08-02


(927 words)

Author(s): Löhnig, Martin
1. Concept and evolutionRental or hire (German Miete) is understood today as the transfer of the use of a movable or immovable asset in exchange for the payment of rent. Such a transfer without monetary exchange is called a loan for use ( commodatum). The time-limited transfer of immovable assets in exchange for rent payments developed (especially in urban contexts) as a distinct contractual form in the late Middle Ages in Europe, out of a precursor, called in German Erbleihe, a form of tenure owing quit-rent and functioning as a heritable and alienable right of use of an object  in rem (i.e.…
Date: 2021-08-02


(1,038 words)

Author(s): Löhnig, Martin
1. DefinitionA mortgage is a lien (Pledge, law of) on a piece of real property. It serves as security for debts, especially for credit, and makes the property liable for the secured debt, so that the creditor has a claim on the property if the debtor defaults. There were two different types of mortgage in the early modern period: the hypothec (see 2. below), in use throughout the period, and the land charge (see 3. below), which came into use toward the end of the period.Martin Löhnig2. Hypothec 2.1. Significance of the hypothecMortgages were already in use throughout Europe in the M…
Date: 2020-04-06


(849 words)

Author(s): Löhnig, Martin
1. Concept Since the late Middle Ages, a trust in the anglophone legal sphere has been a legal relationship in which one person (the “trustee”) assumes a fiduciary duty to safeguard the interests of another person (the “settlor”) [2]; [4]. Usually, but not invariably, this involves the transfer of “trust property” (the “corpus”) from the settlor to the trustee, or the trustee’s receipt of property on behalf of the settlor. German derived the nearly equivalent concept of Treuhand (literally “hand of trust”) from the Latin fidelis manus. Legal institutes akin to the trust or Treuhand wer…
Date: 2022-11-07


(762 words)

Author(s): Löhnig, Martin
1. Definition and significanceA surety is a guarantee in which a party (also the “surety,” or “guarantor”) undertakes to guarantee the obligation of a debtor (the “principal”) to a creditor (the “obligee”). The normal practice today, whereby the surety’s liability is purely financial, is the outcome of a long evolution away from the imposition of debt bondage that was completed only in the 15th century [3]; [4]. Legislation on sureties from the 16th to 18th centuries reflects the move away from regional legal concepts to those of Roman law. This reception pr…
Date: 2022-08-17


(290 words)

Author(s): Martin Löhnig
Eheaufhebung - Staatlich Eine Ehe kann auf Antrag durch familiengerichtlichen Beschl. m. Wirkung für die Zukunft aufgehoben werden (§ 1313 BGB), wenn einer der in § 1314 BGB aufgezählten Aufhebungsgründe vorliegt. Die Aufhebungsfolgen bestimmen sich grds. nach den Vorschriften über die Ehescheidung, allerdings i. d. R. nur zugunsten des Ehegatten, der den Aufhebungsgrund nicht verursacht hat u. nicht kannte (§ 1318 BGB). Die E. ist 1998 an die Stelle der rückwirkenden Ehenichtigkeit getreten. Die E. kommt in Betracht, wenn die Ehe unter Verstoß gegen die Eheverb…


(1,380 words)

Author(s): Martin Löhnig | Stefan Rambacher
Ehescheidung - Staatlich Eine Ehe kann auf Antrag eines od. beider Ehegatten in einem bes. Gerichtsverfahren (§§ 133 ff. FamFG) geschieden werden. Durch rechtskräftigen familiengerichtlichen Beschl. – eine Privatscheidung sieht das geltende Recht bislang nicht vor – wird das staatl. Eheband zwischen den Ehegatten m. Wirkung für die Zukunft gelöst (§ 1564 S. 2 BGB) u. es treten die Scheidungsfolgen ein. Etwa 40 % aller Ehen werden durch E. aufgelöst. Eine Ehe kann geschieden werden, wenn sie gescheitert ist (§ 1565 Abs. 1 S. 1 BGB). Das Scheitern der Ehe ist…


(2,554 words)

Author(s): Martin Löhnig | Johannes Klösges | Martin Herzog
Ehevertrag - Staatlich Durch einen E. (§ 1408 BGB) können Ehegatten auf Vermögensebene Abweichungen von den gesetzlichen Regeln vereinbaren; der E. bedarf der notariellen Form (§ 1410 BGB). Regelmäßig enthält ein E. auf Grundlage der in seiner Präambel niedergelegten Vorstellungen der Ehegatten über ihr eheliches Leben drei Regelungsbereiche. Die Ehegatten können den gesetzlichen Güterstand der Zugewinngemeinschaft (§§ 1363 ff. BGB) modifizieren, indem sie Vermögensgegenstände aus dem bei Ehescheidung durchgeführten Zuge…


(542 words)

Author(s): Martin Löhnig | Günter Assenmacher
Ehenichtigkeit - Staatlich Die E. ist im dt. Eherecht durch die Eherechtsreform (1998) zugunsten einer Aufhebung der Ehe für die Zukunft (Eheaufhebung) abgeschafft worden. Auch beim Vorliegen von Mängeln, die unmittelbar den Ehekonsens betreffen (Willensmängel, Fehlen der Geschäftsfähigkeit), hält es der Gesetzgeber für unangemessen, die gelebte Ehe der Beteiligten (von denen mind. einer i. d. R. auch der eigenen Überzeugung nach verheiratet war) von Rechts wegen als niemals existent zu qualifizieren. Allerdings kennt das dt. Recht weiterhin die gesetzlich nicht …


(3,128 words)

Author(s): Martin Löhnig | Jürgen Olschewski | Christian Witt | Thomas Németh | Rudolf Prokschi | Et al.
Eheschließung - Staatlich Die bürgerlich-rechtliche Ehe lässt sich gleichermaßen als Institution wie als Vertrag begreifen (Ehevertrag). Sie ist – trotz Ehescheidungsmöglichkeit – die auf Lebenszeit angelegte umfassende Lebens- u. Verantwortungsgemeinschaft zwischen zwei Personen versch. od. – dies gilt seit 2017 – gleichen Geschlechts (§ 1353 Abs. 1 BGB), bei deren einvernehmlicher Ausgestaltung weitreichende Freiheit besteht (Lebensgemeinschaft, eheliche). Zur E. ist die gleichzeitige Anwesenheit der Verlobten vor einem Standesbeamten erforder…


(1,708 words)

Author(s): Martin Löhnig | Stefan Killermann | Rudolf Prokschi | Walter Homolka | Martin Herzog
Ehebruch - Staatlich E. stellt eine Verletzung der Pflicht zur ehelichen Lebensgemeinschaft (§ 1353 Abs. 1 S. 2 BGB) dar. Der jeweils andere Ehegatte kann infolgedessen vor dem Familiengericht Wiederherstellung der ehelichen Gemeinschaft beantragen (§ 1353 Abs. 2 BGB). Ein entspr. familiengerichtlicher Beschl. ist jedoch gegen den untreuen Ehegatten nicht vollstreckbar (§ 120 Abs. 3 FamFG). Seit Einf. der Zerrüttungsscheidung (Ehescheidung) i. J. 1977 spielt E. als Scheidungsgrund keine Rolle mehr. Allerdings kann die Verletzung der ehelichen …
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