(A2-3) Religious Influences on Commercial Law

Today, modern economies and their respective legal framework are largely considered as a sphere that is free of religious influences. This indication has changed, however – at least since Islamic banks have been established whose business policy is aimed at complying with the requirements of Islamic law. However, even outside the so-called Islamic banking, an increasing number of economic agents can be seen to advertise that they intend to comply with the requirements of a religious community or at least with general, ethically or religiously motivated moral values. Sustainability and eco-friendly funds or church banks may serve as keyword examples here.

What these economic agents have in common is that they put their products under a government jurisdiction that has an ideologically neutral organisation, at least in countries with a distinct Western influence. Nevertheless, contracts are drawn up in such a way that they comply with the religious and ethical requirements, at the same time being economically attractive. The tension thus created will be investigated more closely within the research project in a comparative legal and legal economic perspective. The main focus is the role of religious supervisory boards or ethics committees consisting of external members respectively, monitoring whether the respective moral values are adhered to.

The second research focus addresses religious influences on patterns of justification, which play an important role in commercial law. The current debate on the legitimation of speculation may serve as an example here. The religious influences in the context of this debate, particularly its influence on the rising call for a stricter regulation of financial markets, will be investigated more closely in the research project. Thirdly, traces of religiously motivated prohibitions in the applicable commercial law, such as the canonical prohibition on usury, will be identified.


  • Essay project on possible religious roots of the ban on interest according to stock corporation law
  • Essay project on historical parallels of the commenda as an early form of the contemporary limited partnership and the Mudarabah, which plays an important part in Islamic finance; commentation of the limited partnership
  • Book project: Traces of religious bans on interest in contemporary commercial law
  • Book project: Islamic Finance in Europe
  • Research project: Religious patterns of justification in the current discussion about the limiting of speculation
  • Intended essay about current regulatory undertakings on the capital market

The Project is part of interconnecting platform E Differentiation and De-Differentiation and coordinated project group Religious influences on economic systems and activities.