Download e-book for kindle: A Social History of Company Law by Rob McQueen

By Rob McQueen

The background of incorporations laws and its management is in detail tied to alterations in social ideals in appreciate to the function and goal of the company. by means of learning the evolution of the company shape in Britain and a couple of its colonial possessions, the publication illuminates debates on key recommendations together with the meanings of laissez faire, freedom of trade, the proposal of company accountability and the position of the country within the law of industrial. In doing so, the publication advances our figuring out of the form, effectiveness and deficiencies of contemporary regulatory regimes.

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Their size and impersonality, and the free transferability of their shares enabled them to be fraudulently exploited and created considerable legal 32 A Social History of Company Law Dubois also claims that the growing problems encountered by unincorporated enterprises in attracting investors, in competition with overseas limited liability concerns, was an important factor in the introduction of legislation. This was due to the fact that even when English companies were touted as offering ‘limited liability’ this promise was meaningless in circumstances where it really mattered, such as a liquidation, as it was unenforceable.

Thomas Tooke is an example. In his evidence to Bellenden Ker’s Select Committee on Partnership, conducted during the course of 1837, Tooke asserted: If the object in view were to limit the responsibility of joint stock companies in undertakings which admit of being conducted by individuals or by ordinary partnerships, it would clearly be objectionable ... public companies are rarely, if ever, so carefully, economically and skilfully conducted as private establishments26. In a similar vein, Swinton Boult claimed in his pamphlet Trade and Partnership: the Relative Duties and Proper Liabilities of the Merchant and the State that the introduction of limited liability companies legislation in England was unnecessary due to the self reliance of English commerce: Commerce is the last thing to require from government a directing or protective hand.

The availability of limited liability to all incorporators, no matter the type of enterprise proposed or the circumstances of incorporation, is regarded as a core aspect of modern company law. The ‘liberal’ availability of limited liability is characterized as essential to the needs of ‘modern’ capitalism, and thus inevitable. In contrast, commercial legislation which makes the formation of a commercial entity contingent upon acceptance of unlimited liability is considered by such accounts to be ‘pre-modern’ and thus destined to gradual extinction with the inevitable evolution of capitalism.

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