Codifying commercial bankruptcy must be in harmony with the characteristics of both public and private life. The economic circumstances of nations do not maintain one constant rhythm but fluctuate between crisis and opulence, hardship and ease. The case is similar with the merchant, whose affairs may alternate between ease and difficulty. It is the function of commercial legislation to keep abreast of all the circumstances that may be faced by individuals and societies. While commercial activity is primarily the trade of the merchant, whether a natural or a legal person, one of the most important subjects in commercial law are the provisions laying out the principles of bankruptcy. Bankruptcy Law No. 27/2006 in the Qatari commercial law code is restricted to traders, as is the case in Roman law. It does not include civil insolvency. Bankruptcy is a group regulation for the dissolution of the property of an indebted merchant who has stopped paying back his commercial debts. A merchant’s bankruptcy shall only be declared by virtue of a judicial ruling issued by the competent court within the judicial structure. It is undoubtedly an onerous law for the merchant who is subject to it, due to the criminal consequences that ensue from it in addition to its commercial consequences. Despite the severity of the legislation in confronting bankruptcy, the law leaves the door open for the merchant to be delivered from the crisis by reconciling with the creditors, especially if the merchant was well-intentioned but unlucky, if the financial difficulties are not attributable to neglecting commercial affairs or to miscalculation, but simply to unexpected circumstances which could not be avoided. Such circumstances include natural disasters that destroy his property, economic crises that hinder the marketing of goods or collecting revenues, or the entry of strong competition from big companies. In these circumstances the law paves the way for the merchant to avoid the effects of bankruptcy in a way that may help him to stand on his feet and to recover from his distress. In some of its parts, this study contains a comparative study of Islamic legislation and American law.
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