What is Commercial Law?

Commercial law defines the rights that business and people have in their relationship with each other in the course of their business dealings.

The law delineates how these people and these businesses should interact when they are conducting business transactions. Commercial law regulates these business transactions, such as how goods are manufactured and sold and the associated agreements and contracts that go along with those interactions. Other areas of commercial law govern things like the entities that are involved and their structure and formation, tax considerations and intellectual property and anti-trust law.

Businesses, and people who are representing them, are considered to be more educated than the average consumer in the risks and rewards in these types of commercial law transactions.  Therefore, laws and other protections have been put into in place to protect the consumer, such as rules about disclosures and requirements that make the transaction more fair and transparent to the consumer when interacting  with a business.

In a commercial law transaction, there are no consumer protections.  The transaction is treated as one between sophisticated, experienced parties who understand the bargain they are making and the consequences thereof.  Often, there is language in the commercial agreement that specifically states that it is not a consumer transaction and that consumer rules don’t apply when interpreting the documents.

Commercial law can be considered a mix of “private” law and “public” law.  Think of “private” law as following the contract, or the written documentation that supports the transaction.

In this agreement, the parties have negotiated and agree with each other that it embodies the terms and conditions of how they are going to conduct business together. “Public” law, on the other hand, consists of the legal rules that control any transaction of this type.

It provides legal rules and guidance for some business actions.  The parties to the contract might all agree with each other and have “private law”- for example, they will waive a jury trial in the event of a dispute and agree to settle it by arbitration. 

However, the private law must still be in conformity with the legal system.  If the parties agreed to waive their right to a jury trial and instead agree settle a dispute by hand-to-hand combat, that would not be enforceable.

The laws as they exist are not meant to cover all scenarios for all businesses, which is why the smart business owner will hire an attorney to represent the business in its transactional activities, and to address specific concerns or issues related to the specific business or the specific transaction.

An experienced commercial lawyer will know what to look for from a regulatory and legal standpoint in a contract or other agreement, and can advise the business owner on the risk and reward of that particular transaction.

A commercial lawyer has the familiarity with the relevant laws and regulatory framework, such as contract and franchise law, to know what should be in the contract, and what might be missing, and what could be detrimental or favorable to the client. The commercial law attorney will also be familiar with the “public” laws and know if something that the parties are considering is illegal or unenforceable.

A busy business owner can’t be expected to be an expert in all areas of the business, but the company is still expected to comply with relevant laws, whatever they may be. The goal is to run the business profitably within applicable the legal framework.

I hope this information has been helpful.  I’m Jenna Zebrowski, and I’m a real estate lease lawyer, but I’m not your lawyer yet.  This information is provided not as specific counsel, but as general information to help you make an informed decision about your commercial lease.  Remember, hiring a lease lawyer in often much cheaper than getting in a bad business situation.  Give me a call if I can help (817) 841-5762.


Other Helpful Questions About Commercial Law