24 February 2017

CFP: "The Making of Commercial Law” Fifth Conference: (Helsinki, 26-28 September 2017)

WHAT The Making of Commercial Law Fifth Conference, Historiography of Commercial Law: Past, Present, and Future 

WHEN September 26-28, 2017

WHERE University of Helsinki, Law Faculty, Helsinki 

deadline March 31, 2017

“The Making of Commercial Law” Conference n:o 5 - Historiography of Commercial Law: Past, Present, and Future (Helsinki, 26-28 September 2017), Doctoral school session

The organisers of the 5th conference of the project ”The Making of Commercial Law” are pleased to call for papers for a doctoral school session at the upcoming conference ”Historiography of Commercial Law: Past, Present, and Future” to be held in Helsinki, Finland on 26-28 September, 2017. The director of the project is Prof. Heikki Pihlajamäki (University of Helsinki, email:, and it is funded by the Academy of Finland and the Finnish Cultural Foundation.

The project seeks to study the history of commercial law through contemporary scholarly literature and statutory material as well as court records, thus re-evaluating the concept of a medieval and early modern lex mercatoria. According to critics, the main problem with this concept is that it is lacking empirical evidence, at least if a legally binding commercial practice in the form of lex mercatoria is thought to have covered more or less the whole European continent. More local studies are still needed, however, to find out to what extent common rules or practices existed, how binding they were, and whether commercial disputes were solved in courts of law or elsewhere in different parts of Europe. Because historical arguments have been used to bolster modern legal theories of modern lex mercatoria, it is pivotally important to screen the historical argumentation and to do it comparatively, setting national histories in an international context.

This conference aims to examine the historiography of commercial law in a broad perspective. First, there will be presentations by invited scholars from various European countries discussing the historiography in their respective regions (The Past). The second conference day will begin with a debate with invited historians and positive-law scholars discussing, e. g., the relationship between history and positive law in commercial matters (The Present). The final part of the conference is dedicated to a doctoral school for Ph.D. students introducing their current research (The Future). The preliminary programme of the Past and Present sections is available on our project website:

Six Ph.D. students will be selected through this open call to participate in the doctoral school session. The presentations (15 min) will first be commented by a senior researcher (10 min) followed by a discussion (10 min) Papers may cover the history of commercial law from the medieval to the modern period. Presentations should be in English. For the six selected students, hotel accommodation in single rooms for two nights in Helsinki and travel costs up to 500 euros per person will be paid. More students may be selected to participate at their own cost and conference fee of 50 euros.

To offer a paper, please send the title of the paper, a short abstract (200-400 words), and a short CV to the project coordinator Jussi Sallila ( by 31 March, 2017. Accepted papers will be announced by 15 April, 2017.

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