A group of leading practitioners and academics will be brought together for a one-day conference on corporate externalities at Harris Manchester College on Friday 17 January, jointly organised by the Commercial Law Centre and the EW Barker Centre for Law & Business, National University of Singapore. 

Externalities have always been dealt with in corporate law, but prior to the financial crisis emphasis was on controlling them via regulation external to corporate law. More recently there has been a renewed interest in deploying corporate law techniques to constrain externalities. This is very much a developing but large field, so this conference will concentrate on some of the main controversies in current discussions. The day will start with a paper by John Armour, which analyses the ways in which the externalities issue can be framed most fruitfully. Alain Pietrancosta will then discuss two recent French legislative changes which are potentially ground-breaking. The first concerns the liability of companies for illegalities, committed by subsidiaries or with the company’s supply chain by entities outside the group. The second relates to the encouragement of publicly traded companies to adopt an explicit raison d’être to supplement its standard commercial objective. The remainder of the conference considers four areas of corporate law which are core for the development of rules on externalities. These are the basis for attributing wrongful acts to companies committed by individuals (Rachel Leow); possible constraints on the rights of institutional shareholders which have substantial shareholdings across companies (Kenneth Khoo); the role of corporate “culture” in both constraining and promoting externalities (Amir Licht); and the potential role for soft-law via a stewardship code in shaping corporate behaviour (Paul Davies). 

This will be the fifth joint conference between CLC and CLB, following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two centres on 26 February 2016.

NUS/CLC Conference

Coping with the Negative Externalities of Corporate Behaviour

9am                             Registration and coffee

9.30am                        Welcome

9.45am                         Framing the Issues 

                                   (Chair: Sarah Paterson, LSE)

                                    John Armour (Oxford)

                                    Commentator: Georg Ringe (Hamburg)

10.45am                       Coffee

11.00am                       French Reforms: the Duty of Vigilence and Defining the Enlightened Corporate Interests (Raison d’Ȇtre)

                                    (Chair: Vanessa Knapp, Brunel)

                                    Alain Pietrancosta (Paris I)

                                    Commentator: Christian Hofmann (NUS)

12.00pm                      Are “Failure to Prevent” Corporate Criminal Liabilities Necessary?

                                   (Chair: Eva Micheler, LSE)

                                    Rachel Leow (NUS)

                                   Commentator: Robert Stevens (Oxford)

1.00pm                        Lunch

2.00pm                        Common Ownership and Pecuniary Externalities

                                    (Chair: Martin Bengtzen, King’s London)

                                    Kenneth Khoo (Yale)

                                    Commentator: Thom Wetzer (Oxford)

3.00pm                        Coffee

3.15pm                        Culture and Social Institutions

                                    (Chair: Arad Reisberg (Brunel))

                                    Amir Licht (Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya)

                                    Commentator: Kristin Van Zwieten (Oxford)

4.15pm                        The Stewardship Code: From Saving the Company to Saving the Planet

                                    (Chair: Jennifer Payne, Oxford)

                                     Paul Davies (Oxford)

                                    Commentator: Dionysia Katelouzou (King’s London)