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The End of Negotiable InstrumentsBringing Payment Systems Law Out of the Past$
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James Steven Rogers

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199856220

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199856220.001.0001

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The Puzzling Persistence of the Law of Checks and Notes

The Puzzling Persistence of the Law of Checks and Notes

2 The Puzzling Persistence of the Law of Checks and Notes
The End of Negotiable Instruments

James Steven Rogers

Oxford University Press

In the eighteenth century, any merchant would regularly have to take bills or notes as a form of payment. Then, in order to pass on the instruments, the merchant would have to indorse them. An indorser might have to pay the instrument months later as a result of the failure of some other merchant. Much of negotiable instruments law comes from the understandable desperation of people facing the prospect of financial ruin when called on to pay bills that passed through their hands long ago. While these commercial practices died out long ago, the law of negotiable instruments has inexplicably endured. In part, that is a result of confusion about the practice of discounting commercial paper. In part, it is a result of lawyers’ fascination with the idea that commercial law derives from the “law merchant.”

Keywords:   negotiable instrument, check, promissory note, law merchant, bill of exchange, indorsement, bank note, discounting, commercial paper

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