Peter Nobel, Wirtschaftsrecht?, in: Kunz/Herren/Cottier/Matteotti, Wirtschaftsrecht in Theorie und Praxis. Festschrift für Roland von Büren, Basel 2009.
Roland von Büren was a professor of economic law at the University of Bern; upon the conclusion of the academic year 2008/2009, he was promoted to professor Emeritus. On the occasion of his retirement, a commemorative publication (“Festschrift”) entitled “Wirtschaftsrecht in Theorie und Praxis”, was dedicated to his honor. Peter Nobel was one of 46 contributors to this publication; with his contribution “Wirtschaftsrecht”, professor Nobel wanted to show his appreciation for the commitment of Roland von Büren to legal practice, to research and to teaching.
This essay was a contribution to the commemorative publication (“Festschrift”) for Roland von Büren.
Prof. Dr. Peter Nobel places an emphasis on the analysis of what economic law is and how law and economics interact with and influence each other. He thereby outlines the historical development in Switzerland and refers also to the “Law and Economics approach” known abroad.
Economic law also addresses the issue of law in relation to economic matters. Due to the importance given to economic matters, economic law also has a high significance. Nevertheless, there is no conclusive description of what economic law is.
In a subsequent part of this essay, Prof. Nobel describes the development of economic law in Switzerland and refers to some important personalities who have coined the term economic law. He makes it clear that despite the fact that economists and jurists were at the same university (HSG), they did not seem to address economics from a legal perspective; rather, the two sciences co-existed in peace.
With regard to the historical development of economic law, the interdependence of Law and Economics in the Swiss Federal Constitution plays an important role, which manifests itself in the so-called economic rules.
In another section, Prof. Nobel summarizes the statements of influential economists and jurists as well as their observations regarding economic law and its definition. He concludes that a crucial factor for the “merger” of Law and the Economics has been the increased density of norms as well as the lack of quality of the law. The differing views of economists and jurists are particularly evident when the effect of regulation is taken into account. An adequate legislation needs economic rationality as a guardrail in order to avoid becoming a closed system, which hinders improved evolutionary possibilities. A further issue addressed here is how Law and Economics affect law.
In the final section of Prof. Nobel’s essay, he makes it clear that economic fundamentals (or some basic knowledge about economics) are essential for jurists. A practitioner of economic law is confronted with an ever more complex relationship between private and public law norms, which he must not only deal with but also formulate. State and economy are increasingly inter-mingling; therefore, it is the task of the practitioner of economic law to protect the functioning of the markets against any visible substantial political interference.
You can find a scan (PDF) of the original text here: Nobel Peter – Wirtschaftsrecht