Bringing creditors to the negotiating table. Reconsidering the law on indebtedness and economic failure in earlynineteenth-century Belgium (1808-1850)

Project Details


Belgian law regarding indebtedness, proclaimed insolvency (faillite) and bankruptcy
(banqueroute, which was a crime), of the first half of the nineteenth century, has traditionally
been labelled as severe and out of touch with commercial reality. This image has been built
up mainly from normative texts, and in particular on the basis of some sections of the
Napoleonic Code de commerce, even though many other left open amicable approaches. For
the period from 1808 until 1850 included, the relative importance and the contents of
negotiated solutions, which were agreed upon in the meetings of creditors that were organized
upon a debtor's faillite, or which had the form of agreements that were drawn up outside the
court, have never been studied. Judicial statistics demonstrate that concordats and
extrajudicial arrangements were very important, and they suggest continuity with the
eighteenth-century situation. In the proposed project, it will be detailed which strategies
creditors pursued when being confronted with financial problems of their debtors, thereby
using the possibilities of the open-ended legislative framework. The results of the research
will add weight to recent arguments pointing to an optimal bankruptcy proceeding as
involving the balancing of interests of debtor and creditors.
Effective start/end date1/01/1431/12/17

Flemish discipline codes

  • History of law
  • Law
  • Metalaw


  • Interdisciplinary Study of the Law
  • Meta-Law