Monday, July 1, 2019

Barnes and Whewell on Contract Law in Britain's Shanghai Consular Court

Victoria Barnes, and Emily Whewell, Max Planck Institute for European Legal History, have posted English Contract Law Moves East: Legal Transplants and the Doctrine of Misrepresentation in British Consular Courts, which appears in the Chinese Journal of Comparative Law 7 (2019): 26-48:
This article analyses the legal conception of misrepresentation in the well-noted case of Von Gumpach v Hart (1870). It investigates to what extent the English doctrine of misrepresentation was adapted for the local context when the case was heard by the British Supreme Court for China and Japan in Shanghai. The article adds to our understanding of the historical evolution of the doctrine of misrepresentation in the common law world. We find that legal ideas concerning misrepresentation did not change significantly when they crossed borders. Lawyers in the British consular courts in China borrowed their legal understandings and knowledge from English contract law. It points to the context, the origins, and the socialization of the legal community as one way of understanding transfers between spatially separated groups. It also draws attention to other aspects of this phenomenon, which influence the ways in which legal ideas were received, such as information asymmetries between those at the centre and the periphery, the speed in the circulation of legal texts, and the movement of those in the legal profession.
 --Dan Ernst