This contribution applies computational phylogenetics, the quantitative study of the evolutionary history of organisms, to the vexed history of the price payment-rule. This rule makes the transfer of movable property dependent on the buyer’s payment of the price. The study provides a dataset of 56 variations of the price payment-rule from 41 different jurisdictions drafted between the years 150 and 2006. Using Mesquite, these variations are quantified as phylogenetic trees and subsequently analysed to draw conclusions about their common history. The study is set up as a test study to explore the potential of computational phylogenetics in law.
Smits, Jan M, The Phylogeny of the Unpaid Seller’s Right to Vindicate Goods: A Test Study (2018). Maastricht European Private Law Institute Working Paper No 2018/01; Maastricht Faculty of Law Working Paper No 2018/01.