Mercantile law arranges the legal relationships between traders. In many countries, this forms part of the private law. It can be recorded in a separate law falling under private law or it can be integrated in a general Code.
Mercantile law is a separate part of the law in Belgium. There is a separate commercial code for a specifically defined category of traders or trading acts. In general, furnishing proof among traders is more flexible and easier. There are separate courts of commerce, also referred to as Commercial Courts.
The bankruptcy law only applies to traders and only they can be declared bankrupt under Belgian law. There are alternative so-called insolvency proceedings or collective debt-repayment arrangement for non-traders. In addition, the Law on Continuity of Enterprises provides traders access to certain protective measures vis-à-vis creditors. Please note: these apply simultaneously for certain legal persons who, strictly speaking, are not traders.
The trade register falls under these regulations and, originally, also under the accounting legislation.
An accurate summary of what traders are is reflected in the first Articles of the Belgian Commercial Code. As a matter of fact, the Code refers to merchants. In very simple terms, it amounts to the fact that industry (the secondary sector) and trade (the tertiary sector) fall under mercantile law, whereas agriculture, mining and fishing (the primary sector) and professions fall under civil law.
All companies, such as those outlined in the Companies Code, have a trading or a civil activity. For example, a company of lawyers such as Metis Advocaten is therefore a civil company. If a company does construction works, then it is a trading company. The company concerned can take on the