Lessons in Portuguese Commercial Law by João Espírito Santo

Lessons in Portuguese Commercial Law by João Espírito Santo

AAFDL has a new book of lessons by professor and lawyer João Espírito Santo, “Direito Comercial Português: Doutrina Geral”, in preparation for teaching Commercial Law in Law Degree programs.

“These lessons represent the confluence of three factors in my academic career:

(i) my interest in Commercial Law, which began between 1986, when I had my first contact with the subject as an undergraduate, and 1989, when I accepted Signo Publishing’s invitation to translate Francesco Galgano’s Storia del diritto commerciale into Portuguese from the 1980 Italian edition (Il Mulino).

(ii) my general interest in the scientific field of History and the realisation, from the translated work, of how markedly historical and socio-economic vicissitudes can shape a sector of the legal system (without neglecting, of course, that all law is a product of human history and culture), and,

(iii) the teaching of Commercial Law over several years, in different registers (theoretical and practical teaching) and various Lusophone geographies.

The lessons are structured in seven chapters, covering the fundamental coordinates of Commercial Law, its system of sources, the theory of the act of commerce, as a central element in the delimitation of Portuguese Commercial Law, the specific incidence of commercial activity on people and, in particular, the exact nature of commercial activity.

In many ways, this path is no different from certain classic lines of commercial law teaching. It couldn’t be any other way: the stability of the central system elements that remain in the CCom1888 necessarily determines this result.

The reader will find in these lessons analytical perspectives and articulations, both normative and evaluative, which are my own and which differ from those of various illustrious national scholars of Commercial Law who have preceded me in the task of writing lessons.

By comparison with the Commercial Law lessons by Portuguese authors published in the second half of the 20th century and up to the present day, the reader will certainly notice that the historical frameworks take on a more extensive dimension in these lessons of mine. In doing so, I wanted to recover a historical-critical character that was very present in European commercialism in the 1800s, but now they are lost. I think this recovery is beneficial.

As I have already written in another context, the loss of this historical reference has the negative effect of dissolving the evolutionary perception of legal institutes; better still: the awareness that the concrete current conformation of a legal institute may be a circumstantial product, but one that time itself and renewed socio-economic circumstances have removed.

If what I’m saying isn’t a particularism of Commercial Law, the truth is that this sector of the legal system – in line with Italian doctrine – is a historical category, i.e., a domain of the legal system – in line with Italian doctrine – is a historical category, i.e. a field of social regulation whose existence, meaning and content can only be fully understood through analyses of economic and social history”.

Publisher AAFDL Editora

Author João Espirito Santo

More in Communication