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Designing the limits of creditworthiness Insolvency in Antwerp bankruptcy legislation and practice (16th–17th centuries)

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In 1516 and 1518, the Antwerp City Council introduced a collective system of debt recovery, which broke with the tradition of priority for the first seizing claimant. This view resulted in a legal framework, which was based on the concept of publicly known insolvency. Because of the vague legal definitions in the 1582 and 1608 customary law compilations, the position of pursuing creditors was strengthened. Although these rules weren't successful, they demonstrate an early intention to draw the line between criminal bankruptcy, persisting insolvency and temporary payment problems.

Affiliations: 1: Onderzoekseenheid Romeins Recht en Rechtsgeschiedenis (Research Unit Roman Law and Legal History), Faculteit Rechten (Faculty of Law), Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Tiensestraat 41, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium;, Email:


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