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Through the Twentieth Century

15 January, 2016 - 09:35

Partnership is an ancient form of business enterprise, and special laws governing partnerships date as far back as 2300 BC, when the Code of Hammurabi explicitly regulated the relations between partners. Partnership was an important part of Roman law, and it played a significant role in the law merchant, the international commercial law of the Middle Ages.

In the nineteenth century, in both England and the United States, partnership was a popular vehicle for business enterprise. But the law governing it was jumbled. Common-law principles were mixed with equitable standards, and the result was considerable confusion. Parliament moved to reduce the uncertainty by adopting the Partnership Act of 1890, but codification took longer in the United States. The Commissioners on Uniform State Laws undertook the task at the turn of the twentieth century. The Uniform Partnership Act (UPA), completed in 1914, and the Uniform Limited Partnership Act (ULPA), completed in 1916, were the basis of partnership law for many decades. UPA and ULPA were adopted by all states except Louisiana.