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Trade Law Definition
Trade Law covers all aspects and questions arising out of and in the context of national and international commercial transactions, e.g. supply contracts, distribution-, retail-, franchise and commercial agency agreements, shipping and transport contracts or disputes resulting from such business relationships.
Virtually all areas of law are covered. Even though, the focus lays on – often non-discretionary – civil law rules and regulations, the complexity of Trade Law matters is often significantly increased by administrative as well as criminal / administrative offences laws and regulations that come into play. Under German legislation the relevant general civil law provisions of the German Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch – BGB) are flanked by specific rules of the German Commercial Code (Handelsgesetzbuch – HGB) governing trader’s rights and obligations as well as a wide range of special laws applicable and tailored to certain branches, goods and / or business operations.
As nowadays the majority of business transactions are on an international scale, national legislation is often supplemented or overlapped by bi-lateral and / or multi-lateral treaties and conventions (e.g. the United Nations Convention on the International Sale of Goods) and also the safeguarding of the client’s compliance with customs legislation, export control and applicable sanction regimes is crucial. Further, anti-trust provisions, public procurement law, product safety and other consumer protection legislation as well as intellectual property and unfair competition is often of relevance in Trade Law matters.
However, the mere adherence of all relevant substantive law rules and regulations is only one side of the coin. An experienced Trade Law lawyer must in addition in particular also focus on the practical feasibility and enforceability of potential claims and always keep the clients commercial interests in mind.
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