At the end of the 16th century, English law in relation to insolvent debtors was established but harsh. The common law relied heavily on imprisonment. Bankruptcy as a result of the Act of 1570 was restricted to traders (as it would be for almost another 300 years), offenders could find themselves "out of the Queen's protection" and those who assisted them imprisoned. The Merchant of Venice, written between 1594 and 1598 and first published in 1600, provides an insight into the importance of the law of debt and of bankruptcy to the emerging commercial structure of late 16th and early 17th century England. This article will consider the relationship between the play and the law, particularly the law of debt and bankruptcy and examine how the expansion of trade and credit affected the early bankruptcy legislation.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Insolvency law journal|
|Publication status||Published - 1998|