These special courts were commonly known as Courts Staple,Admiralty Courts, and Courts of Piepoudre.(a)
The law of merchants.
— This subheading might well be taken to indicate that merchants had a special and peculiarkind of law that was applicable to them and their legal affairs.In fact, such was the case during the Middle Ages. Duringthis time, there were numerous periods of rather intensecommercial activity. In England, this activity was centered onso-called fairs or staples at which were gathered merchantsfrom many countries seeking to sell their goods. Partnerships
ourished during these periods of activity.During this same period, the common law courts ofEngland were thought to be celebrated for their slowness andtheir methodical exactness of form. The merchants movedmore rapidly than the law and they required that justice be more speedy and that it be in general accord with theircustoms. This background and need gave rise to the specialcourts mentioned above.(b)
English law of partnership.
— In time, the use of thesespecial courts was discontinued and their functions were takenover by the law courts. During his term as Chief Justice, LordMans
eld sought to establish a common law for commercialmatters. His efforts were directed toward establishing andde
ning the customs of merchants and supplementing this body of law with the applicable principles of the civil law. Itwas not until the latter years of the 18th century that the lawof partnership as we know it today began to assume bothform and substance.In 1778, Lord Mans
eld decided the case of
Fox vs. Han-bury
(2 Cowp. 445, 98 Eng. Rep. 1179 .) which dealt withthe relative rights of partners as well as the rights of partner-ship and separate creditors so far as partnership propertywas concerned. In 1794, William Watson wrote a text on thesubject of partnership. (William Watson, Partnership, Lon-don .)(c)
Beginning of law of partnership. —
These two sources,speaking most generally, may be said to mark the beginning