13 May 2015, pp 1-29
Abstract: This article, drawing on a wide range of archived materials, and using one of the earliest sets of English business law imported to Hong Kong – the Bankruptcy Ordinance of 1864 – as a case study, argues that the transplantation of the English bankruptcy regime into early colonial Hong Kong was contrary to the business interests of both the European and Chinese communities and wrongfully displaced the traditional Chinese business norms and practices that had contributed to the health of the colonial economy prior to the regime's introduction. This article constitutes one of the first empirical studies to place English business law and its widely acknowledged contribution to the economy of early colonial Hong Kong under scrutiny. From the perspective of the relationship between English law and former British colonies’ development of business modernity, the findings presented herein contradict the readily accepted notion that English business law provided a solid legal infrastructure upon which colonial Hong Kong's prosperity and economic growth were built and call for more nuanced studies of the positive role of Chinese legal traditions in Hong Kong's development of business modernity in its early colonial period. Click here to download the full article.