Branches of commercial law deal with business and financial transactions. They mainly include contract law, property law, corporate law, intellectual property law, tax law, negotiable instrument law, and uniform commercial code.

Commercial Law Overview

Commercial law or business law comprises the whole set of laws related to trade and sales. It includes laws on business contracts, sale of goods, banking, insurance, finance, partnership, bankruptcy, and taxation. It defines rights and obligations of parties in different types of contracts, such as agency agreements, guarantees, and contracts for carriage, sales and purchase of goods.

Elements of a Contract

It is difficult for sellers and buyers to make transactions without a clearly defined contract. Without a contract, there would be no assurance that the other party will honor the transaction. There are certain rules that need to be followed while forming these agreements. They make sure that the contract becomes enforceable through the legal system.

There are three main elements of a contract:

  • Offer: The party proposing to enter into a contract must make an offer setting out the terms of the contract. The offer must be made with an intention of entering into a legally binding contract.
  • Acceptance: The party to whom the offer is made must accept it unconditionally, and convey its acceptance to the offerer. Conditional acceptance and counter offers do not form a valid contract.
  • Consideration: When one party is forgoing something, it must also receive something in return. That “something in return” for a promise to do or abstain from doing something is called consideration. A contract without consideration is not enforceable.

Branches of Commercial Law

  • Contract Law: Contract law seeks to regulate the formation and enforcement of contracts. It sets out the essential elements of a valid contract and the remedies available to parties in the case of a breach of contract.
  • Property Law: This law governs the transactions pertaining to different types of property. Although it mainly includes sale, transfer, lease, and rental of immovable property, it also covers within its ambit bailment of moveable property.
  • Business Regulations: This set of law covers government rules and regulations for business organizations, factories, trade unions, and labor.
  • Corporate Law: This is where corporations get their power from. Corporate law deals with formation, management, and termination of corporations. It sets out legal provisions for issues such as election of directors, raising of capital, prevention of insider trading, distribution of dividends, redemption of shares, and mergers and acquisitions.
  • Intellectual Property Law: This is an umbrella law that provides for patenting of inventions and copyrighting of creative work.
  • Tax Law: Tax law covers government levy of direct and indirect taxes on business transactions. Primary types of taxes include income, sales, excise, gift, capital gain, and profit distribution taxes.
  • Uniform Commercial Code: The UCC or the Uniform Commercial Code aims at bringing consistency to commercial law across all the states of the USA.

Common Legal Issues in Commercial Law

All commercial and business laws are associated with different types of the legal issues. The most common among them is the violation of contracts. In addition to this, there are several other issues such as advertising disputes, marketing term violation, unfair trade practices, deficiency in service, consumer complaints, and leakage of trade secrets.

Sometimes, a contract between two parties may affect the rights of someone else who is not a party to the contract. Similarly, sometimes, a dispute may involve more than one law. Commercial law helps in resolving such complex issues as well.

Resolving Commercial Law Disputes

Commercial law offers a number of options to resolve a dispute, depending upon the type of violation. The common remedies in commercial disputes include the following:

  • Monetary compensation for losses incurred
  • Rescission of a contract
  • Injunction and other equitable remedies
  • Mediation, reconciliation, and arbitration

Often, a remedy can be different depending upon whether the breaching party is a business entity or a normal citizen. Sometimes, a commercial law dispute affecting a number of people may give rise to a class action lawsuit.

Should You Hire a Lawyer for Commercial Law Issues?

Disputes involving commercial law can be pretty complex, and it's often advisable to consult or hire a good business law attorney for the legal issue you face. In addition to researching your case and strengthening your legal position, your attorney can also help you with filing a lawsuit and represent you in the court.

If you need help with branches of commercial law, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Stripe, and Twilio.