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Commercial Law and Business Law - What is the Difference?

Commercial law and business law are two areas of legal practice that often get confused with each other.  In fact, many use these terms interchangeably.  While the two have overlapping issues, there are real differences between them.  In this article, we will attempt to explain both the differences, as well as the commonalities found in each area.

Commercial Law

Commercial law governs the purchase, sale, and distribution of goods, along with the financing of the transactions.  Commercial law is primarily regulated by the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC).  This is what is known as a “model statute.” In other words, experts in the field have devised the UCC and then proposed it to the states to pass into law.  All states, except New Jersey and Louisiana, have adopted the entire UCC, although many of the states have made their own modifications to it.

Commercial law is sometimes considered a subcategory of business law.

Business Law

Business law generally governs other aspects of running a business, such as the formation of business entities, mergers, acquisitions, the closures of businesses, shareholder rights, leasing, and purchasing office or warehouse space, basic workplace safety and employment rules, and licensing and environmental laws. 

Business law can be regulated by local, state, and federal law.  The federal government governs stocks and instruments, workplace safety and employment laws, as well as environmental protection.  The states can add to these federal laws and pass their own laws in other areas, such as imposing licensing requirements for certain professions and establishing regulations for forming and operating a legal business.

Business law is a rather broad term and touches on many aspects of business that can be considered their own areas of law.

How Are Commercial and Business Law Disputes Handled?

Each industry faces its own unique commercial law and business law issues.  Depending on the situation, commercial disputes can be handled either through informal dispute resolution efforts, litigation, as well as alternative dispute resolution (ADR) practices.

Far too often, many business owners attempt to negotiate sales of goods without knowing the legal requirements under their state’s version of the UCC.  This can lead to canceled contracts, loss of profits, and possibly legal penalties.  Likewise, business owners don’t always fully understand the contracts they sign, which can cause irreparable harm to them and their company.

Because commercial law and business law overlap in many areas, many attorneys can assist with both types of areas.  However, because the terms are broad, a business owner should be selective in the type of lawyer they hire.  An attorney with a proven track record of commercial and business experience will be able to give you the right type of advice and recommend the appropriate course of action. 

I’m Here to Help

I’m Rob Robinson and I’ve been helping business owners like you for more than 30 years.  I can help you whether you are starting a new business or working on expanding your existing venture.  I have extensive experience with business and commercial law, including corporate formation, business sales, transactions, contract law, and human resources.  This knowledge gives me a unique ability to counsel both public and private clients with legal challenges.

If you are looking for personalized service, responsiveness, and legal counsel of the highest quality, please contact my law office at your earliest convenience.

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