The Conceptual Structure of Commercial Law


  • Tamara M. Buckwold



This article argues that commercial law is not merely a collection of rules, but a doctrinally coherent and conceptually sophisticated body of law structured through conceptions of property. The analysis focuses specifically on the aspects of commercial law that govern recovery of debt. The argument advances two related themes; that commercial law is built around conceptions of property and reciprocally defines the conceptions of property around which it is built. The article first addresses the role of property as the structural framework of commercial law. Property creates the basis for assertion of rights and provides the conceptual interface between the legal regimes of secured financing, judgment enforcement, and bankruptcy. Further, property is the basis on which commercial law rights and interests are reconciled with rights and interests that fall outside its boundaries. The article then explores the means by which commercial law resolves practical problems through the creative definition of property. The article concludes with thoughts on the importance of understanding the central role of property in the structure and function of commercial law.