BiographyJohn Armour is Professor of Law and Finance at Oxford University and a Fellow of the British Academy and the European Corporate Governance Institute. He was previously a member of the Faculty of Law and the interdisciplinary Centre for Business Research at the University of Cambridge. He studied law (MA, BCL) at the University of Oxford and then at Yale Law School (LLM). He has held visiting posts at various institutions including the University of Auckland, the University of Chicago, Columbia Law School, the University of Frankfurt, the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Private Law in Hamburg, the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the University of Sydney. He is a member of the American Law Institute and an Academic Member of the Chancery Bar Association. Armour has published widely in the fields of company law, financial regulation, and corporate insolvency. His main research interest lies in the integration of legal and economic analysis, with particular emphasis on the impact on the real economy of changes in company law, corporate insolvency law and financial regulation. He serves as an Executive Editor of the Journal of Corporate Law Studies and the Journal of Law, Finance and Accounting, and has been involved in policy-related projects commissioned by the UK’s Department of Trade and Industry (now BEIS), Financial Services Authority (now FCA) and Insolvency Service, the Commonwealth Secretariat, and the World Bank. He served as a member of the European Commission’s Informal Company Law Expert Group from 2014-19.
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- Anwendungen der Knstlichen Intelligenz (KI) werden das Gesellschaftsrecht im Allgemeinen und die Corporate Governance (CG) im Besonderen stark beeinflussen: Am Horizont steht die „selbstfahrende Kapitalgesellschaft“. Wir unternehmen es, einen konzeptionellen Rahmen fur dieUntersuchung von CG-Fragestellungen bei KI-Anwendungen zu entwickeln. Agenturprobleme in Kapitalgesellschaften verlieren an Bedeutung: Algorithmen optimieren eine vorgegebene Zielfunktion. In den Vordergrund rucken Fragen der Zielbestimmung von Kapitalgesellschaften. Wir beschaftigen uns zunachst mit dem Stand der derzeitigen technischen Moglichkeiten. Er wird von Anwendungen im Bereich des Maschinellen Lernens (ML) gepragt. Sodann untersuchen wir die Implikationen der Data Governance fur CG-Fragestellungen, insbesondere hinsichtlich Qualifikation und Verantwortlichkeit von Unternehmensleitern. Anschließend beschaftigen wir uns mit der Zukunft der Kapitalgesellschaft beisteigender KI-Funktionalitat. Hier geht es um die „selbstfahrende tochtergesellschaft“ im Konzern sowie das Zentralproblem der Kalibrierung der Unternehmensziele. Regulatorische Implikationen sehen wir in einem von Regulierungswettbewerb gekennzeichneten Umfeld vor allem in der ex ante-Prufung unternehmenssteuernder Algorithmen sowie in einer strikten Haftung kombiniert mit einer (Haft-)Pflichtversicherung entsprechend gesteuerter Kapitalgesellschaften. Alternativ ist eine unbeschrankte pro rata-Haftung der Anteilseigner gegenuber Deliktsglaubigern in Betracht zu ziehen.ISBN: 0044-2437ISBN: 2047-1866‘Crowdfunding’ is a burgeoning phenomenon. Its still‐evolving status is reflected in diversity of contracting practices: for example, ‘equity’ crowdfunders invest in shares, whereas ‘reward’ crowdfunders get advance units of product. These practices occupy a hinterland between existing regimes of securities law and consumer contract law. Consumer protection law in the UK (but not the US) imposes mandatory terms that impede risk‐sharing in reward crowdfunding, whereas US (but not UK) securities law mandates expensive disclosures that hinder equity crowdfunding. This article suggests that while crowdfunding poses real risks for funders, the classical regulatory techniques of securities and consumer law provide an ineffective response. Yet, a review of rapidly‐developing market mechanisms suggests they may provide meaningful protection for funders. An initially permissive regulatory approach, open to learning from market developments yet with a credible threat of intervention should markets fail to protect consumers, is justified.ISBN: 0026-7961According to a common narrative, the failure of banks in the financial crisis reflected poor corporate governance practices, as well as inadequate prudential regulatory safeguards. Yet it turns out that the ‘best’ governance practices according to ordinary standards were the ones that did worst during the financial crisis. In the period leading up to the financial crisis, it was believed that regulation would cause banks to internalize the costs of their activities, meaning that what maximized bank shareholders’ returns would also be in the interests of society. Consequently, large banks used the same governance tools as non-financial companies to minimize shareholder-management agency costs, namely independent boards, shareholder rights, the shareholder primacy norm, the threat of takeovers, and equity-based executive compensation. Unfortunately, such tools had the adverse effect of encouraging bank managers to take excessive risks. Consequently a significant rethink about the way in which banks are governed is required.ISBN: 9780198743682Crowdinvesting--raising many small contributions of capital from individual funders via specialized online platforms--is a burgeoning phenomenon. This Chapter first highlights the perils to which individual investors are exposed when they access these platforms. Next, it describes the legal regime in two sample jurisdictions, the US with its tradition of high-fixed-cost, disclosure-intensive securities laws that had to be tweaked to make equity crowdfunding viable, and the UK, which has early on provided for a nimble set of rules for the same. Finally, the Chapter offers some thoughts on the merits of introducing a lighter regime for equity crowdfunding.ISBN: 978-3-319-66118-6This chapter explores how globalization has affected the operation of securities markets and the challenges this poses for their regulation. We review the current state of the law and practice of international securities transactions and services, with a view to identifying issues where further research may usefully inform the future design of U.S. securities regulation. In so doing, we offer a framework for understanding cross-border issues in securities regulation policymaking and consider some of the most salient phenomena debated by legal scholars and financial economists, and addressed by policymakers, in recent decades. We also zoom in, by way of contrast, on some issues on which other countries have taken a notably different regulatory approach from the U.S. Our focus, in keeping with the general orientation of the New Special Study (‘NSS’), is on equity markets.Innovation and its main output, technology, are changing the way we work, socialise, vote, and live. New technologies have improved our lives and made firms more productive, overall raising living standards across the world. Thanks to progress in information technology, the rate of change is accelerating. Disruption and disequilibrium are the new normal. In this essay, prepared as a chapter for the first phase of the British Academy ‘The Future of the Corporation’ initiative, we reflect upon the role that corporate, competition, and tax law can play both to facilitate innovation and simultaneously assuage emergent societal risks arising from new technologies. We consider means of enhancing investment in research and development (‘R&D’) and optimising corporate organisation. But we also reflect on the risks associated with innovation, such as the use of technology to exploit consumers, manipulate markets, or distort, unwittingly or not, the political process. Finally, we consider the way in which the environment for business law reform is subject to new political risks following the challenge to the liberal order from populism and the rising power of dominant technology companies.ISBN: 2052–7217DOI: doi:10.1017/S0022109017000461We study the impact of the enforcement of financial regulation by the United Kingdom’s regulatory authorities on the market price of penalized firms. Existing studies rely on analyses of multiple events that may distort the measurement of reputational losses. In the United Kingdom, the entire enforcement process involves only one public announcement and is accompanied by complete information on legal penalties. We find that reputational losses are nearly nine times the size of fines and are associated with misconduct harming customers or investors but not third parties.ISBN: 0022-1090The UK’s recent vote for Brexit has sparked a fierce debate over the implications for the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in the rest of the EU. So far, however, there has been relatively little discussion of the implications of Brexit for legal persons – that is, corporate citizens of the EU, which may also be profoundly affected by consequent changes. The ECJ’s 1999 decision in Centros made clear that the freedom of establishment protects the entitlement of corporate persons formed in one EU Member State to carry on their business in another Member State. Since then, many entrepreneurs in continental European countries have chosen to form companies in the UK, while still carrying on their business in their home country. What will the consequences of Brexit be for such companies?ISBN: 1566 7529DOI: 10.1093/oxrep/grx014Financial services constitute an important net export for the UK economy, for which the rest of the EU is the largest market. This paper considers the likely consequences of Brexit for this sector. A ‘soft’ Brexit, whereby the UK leaves the EU but remains in the single market, would be a lower-risk option for the City than other Brexit options, because it would enable financial services firms to continue to rely on regulatory passporting rights. Under a ‘hard’ Brexit scenario, where the UK leaves the single market, the UK might in principle be able to benefit from the EU’s third country ‘equivalence’ frameworks for financial services, but these are cumbrous and incomplete alternatives to passporting. UK firms would find it considerably more costly to export to the EU. This would also be a loss to the EU27, because the UK specializes in capital markets services for which the EU, over-reliant on banking, recognizes a need. However, much of this ‘UK’ activity is provided by subsidiaries of US-headquartered groups. In the event of hard Brexit, these firms may be able to compete just as effectively from New York as from London. If soft Brexit proves politically impossible, it seems highly desirable that the UK push for a transition period of continued EU membership pending at the very least completion of equivalence determinations and, more usefully, the conclusion of a suitable bilateral agreement.ISBN: 1460-2121Brexit is on its way. By mid 2019, the UK will no longer be a member of the European Union and its new relationship with the EU will be have taken shape. Getting to that point will involve complex negotiations untangling legal, economic and political issues. This volume brings together leading commentators to examine three crucial questions on the risk, the negotiating framework and the process.ISBN: 9781509919987ISBN: 9780198739630The financial crisis of 2007-9 revealed serious failings in the regulation of financial institutions and markets, and prompted a fundamental reconsideration of the design of financial regulation. As the financial system has become ever-more complex and interconnected, the pace of evolution continues to accelerate. It is now clear that regulation must focus on the financial system as a whole, but this poses significant challenges for regulators. Principles of Financial Regulation describes how to address those challenges. Examining the subject from a holistic and multidisciplinary perspective, Principles of Financial Regulation considers the underlying policies and the objectives of regulation by drawing on economics, finance, and law methodologies. The volume examines regulation in a purposive and dynamic way by framing the book in terms of what the financial system does, rather than what financial regulation is. By analysing specific regulatory measures, the book provides readers to the opportunity to assess regulatory choices on specific policy issues and encourages critical reflection on the design of regulation.ISBN: 0198786484The manner in which hostile takeovers have historically been executed has just begun to receive serious academic attention. Similarly, while the literature on the accuracy and determinants of share prices is voluminous, there has been little systematic historical analysis of when and how modern standards of share price efficiency took shape. This Article addresses both subjects in depth to ascertain the extent to which developments in the market for corporate control may have been associated with, or facilitated by, developments in stock market efficiency. We identify potential linkages between hostile control transactions and stock market pricing and explore these linkages empirically with a new hand-collected dataset of control contests occurring between 1900 and 1965. We show that, while the evolution of acquiror tactics in control contests was plausibly linked in some circumstances to changes affecting the manner in which shares were priced, other factors have to be taken into account to explain how the market for corporate control developed over this period.ISBN: 0276-9948ISBN: 9781781001837Financial difficulties at large financial institutions present governments and regulators with an unenviable dilemma. On the one hand, they are afraid to permit such a firm to enter 'ordinary' insolvency proceedings, lest this transmit financial shock to other, connected, institutions. Yet every voter can grasp the moral hazard problems and distributional inequity associated with government handouts for the financial sector. Consequently many jurisdictions have introduced, or are designing, 'special resolution' mechanisms for financial institutions. The first generation of such mechanisms were based on the US FDIC receivership regime. They focus on waiving property rights so as to effect a very rapid transfer of complex assets and short-term liabilities to a purchaser who will be able to stand behind those liabilities and thereby ensure stability. This model works well for small to medium sized domestic banks, but is insufficient to provide a credible alternative to bailouts for large, complex financial institutions. As a result, a series of new measures which we have termed 'second generation' resolution mechanisms have been developed. First, there has been a realization that the level of complexity is such that resolution ex post is impossible without careful planning by supervisors ex ante. Second, this planning process can be used not only to understand, but also to modify, the structure of complex financial institutions and their regulatory oversight so as to facilitate resolution should it be necessary. Third, the use of 'bail-in' or mandated debt to equity swaps provides a potentially very useful additional resolution tool when used in conjunction with such forward planning and oversight. Fourth, in the context of international financial institutions, coordination and allocation of responsibility amongst national regulators is an integral part of the planning process. The implications of this shift are clear. For the resolution of large complex financial institutions to be credible, it must be thought of as an integral part of the ongoing oversight of financial institutions by regulators, and not as simply a set of mechanisms that are kept for troubled times. Investment in regulatory capacity recruitment and training to build human capital in the regulatory sector is therefore crucial to ensuring the success of resolution.ISBN: 9780199687206The global financial crisis of 200708 triggered a plethora of regulatory reforms under the auspices of international bodies such as the G20 and Financial Stability Board. Yet the implementation of these reforms remains a task for individual countries. This paper presents a risk-based framework for implementing international financial regulation within national economies, in particular in small states. It shows how these countries can navigate the standard setting processes used by the relevant international bodies. It includes case studies to illustrate how the framework can be integrated with standard setting processes to improve outcomes for small states.ISBN: 9781849291408The financial crisis has demonstrated serious flaws in the corporate governance of systemically important financial firms. In particular, the norm that managers should seek to maximize shareholder value, as measured by the stock price, proves to be a faulty guide for managerial action in systemically important firms. This is not only because the failure of such firms will have spillovers that defy the cost-internalization of the tort system, but also because these spillovers will harm their own majoritarian shareholders. The interests of diversified shareholders fundamentally diverge from the interests of managers and other controllers because the failure of a systemically important financial firm will produce losses throughout a diversified portfolio, not just own-firm losses. Among the consequences: the business judgment rule protection that makes sense for officers and directors of a non-financial firm leads to excessive risk-taking in a systemically important financial firm. To encourage appropriate modification of incentives, we propose officer and director liability rules as a complement to (and substitute for) the prescriptive rules that have emerged from the financial crisis.ISBN: 21617201This Article examines the origins of the market for corporate control in the United States. The standard historical narrative is that the market for corporate control took on its modern form in the mid-1950s with the emergence of the cash tender offer. Using handcollected data from newspaper reports, we show that there in fact were numerous instances during the opening decade of the twentieth century where a bidder sought to obtain voting control by purchasing shares on the stock market. Moreover, share-for-share exchange tender offers likely were used to make takeover bids as early as 1901 and cash tender offers can be traced back to at least the mid-1940s. We argue that the way in which cash tender offers came to dominate the market for control after World War II can be explained primarily by changes in the pattern of share ownership and reduced opportunities bidders had for managing the stock price of intended targets.ISBN: 02769948ISBN: 9780199661770Since 2000, a growing proportion of lawsuits against directors of public companies incorporated in Delaware have been filed outside Delaware. There has also been a large increase in the likelihood of litigation challenging M&A transactions involving Delaware targets, and the likelihood that suits involving the same transaction will be filed both in Delaware and elsewhere. In this Article we explore one potential cause for these trendsintensified competition between plaintiffs law firms. We trace the development of the plaintiffs bar from the 1970s to the present and identify three changes that plausibly contributed to the out-of-Delaware trend and a higher litigation rate: (1) stronger competition among plaintiffs lawyers specializing in securities litigation also affected the corporate law side of the plaintiffs bar; (2) changes in how the Delaware courts selected lead counsel encouraged non-Delaware filing by firms who were unlikely to win lead counsel status in Delaware; (3) potential obstacles associated with launching a suit in a jurisdiction other than Delaware become less of a concern to the plaintiffs bar. This Article draws upon data and insights developed more fully in a related policy-oriented paper: Delawares Balancing Act, 87 Indiana Law Review 1345 ( 2012), and a related empirical paper (Is Delaware Losing its Cases, Journal of Empirical Legal Studies (forthcoming 2012)).ISBN: 08980721Delawares courts and well-developed case law are widely seen as integral elements of Delawares success in attracting incorporations. However, as we show using empirical evidence involving reported judicial decisions and filed cases concerning large mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, and options backdating, Delawares popularity as a venue for corporate litigation is under threat. Today, a majority of shareholder suits involving Delaware companies are being brought and decided elsewhere. We examine in this Article the implications of this out-of-Delaware trend, emphasizing a difficult balancing act that Delaware faces. If Delaware accommodates litigation too readily, companies, fearful of lawsuits, may incorporate elsewhere. But if plaintiffs attorneys find the Delaware courts unwelcoming, they can often file cases in other courts. Delaware could risk losing its status as the de facto national corporate law court, as well as the case flow that lets it provide the rich body of precedent that is part of Delawares overall corporate law brand. We assess how the Delaware courts and legislature, and Delaware companies, might respond to this threat to Delawares pre-eminence as the leading forum for corporate cases, as well as incorporations.ISBN: 00196665DOI: 10.1111/j.1740-1461.2012.01268.xDelawares expert courts are seen as an integral part of the states success in attracting incorporation by public companies. However, the benefit that Delaware companies derive from this expertise depends on whether corporate lawsuits against Delaware companies are brought before the Delaware courts. We report evidence that these suits are increasingly brought outside Delaware. We investigate changes in where suits are brought using four hand-collected data sets capturing different types of suits: class action lawsuits filed in (1) large M&A and (2) leveraged buyout transactions over 19942010; (3) derivative suits alleging option backdating; and (4) cases against public company directors that generate one or more publicly available opinions between 1995 and 2009. We find a secular increase in litigation rates for all companies in large M&A transactions and for Delaware companies in LBO transactions. We also see trends toward (1) suits being filed outside Delaware in both large M&A and LBO transactions and in cases generating opinions; and (2) suits being filed both in Delaware and elsewhere in large M&A transactions. Overall, Delaware courts are losing market share in lawsuits, and Delaware companies are gaining lawsuits, often filed elsewhere. We find some evidence that the timing of specific Delaware court decisions that affect plaintiffs firms coincides with the movement of cases out of Delaware. Our evidence suggests that serious as well as nuisance cases are leaving Delaware. The trends we report potentially present a challenge to Delawares competitiveness in the market for incorporations.ISBN: 1740-1461DOI: 10.1515/1555-5879.1507The theoretical literature debates whether debtors should be permitted to contract with lenders over control rights in bankruptcy. Proponents point to coordination benefits from concentrating control rights; detractors point to inter-creditor agency costs. A recent reform of UK bankruptcy law provides an opportunity to test these theories. Until 2003, UK bankruptcy law permitted firms to give complete ex post control to secured creditors, through a procedure known as receivership. A bankruptcy reform then required firms to use a different procedure, administration, which confers greater control on unsecured creditors. We present empirical findings from a hand-coded sample of 340 bankruptcies from both before and after the change in the law. Whilst gross realizations have increased following the change in the law, these have tended to be eaten up by increased bankruptcy costs. We infer that dispersed and concentrated creditor governance in bankruptcy may be functionally equivalent.ISBN: 1555-5879Shareholder activism by hedge funds became a major corporate governance phenomenon in the United States in the 2000s. This article puts the trend into context by introducing a heuristic device referred to as the market for corporate influence to distinguish the ex ante-oriented offensive brand of activism hedge funds engage in from the ex post-oriented defensive activism carried out by mutual funds and pension funds. This article traces the rise of hedge fund activism and anticipates future developments, arguing in so doing that despite the blow the 2008 financial crisis dealt to hedge funds, their interventions will remain an important element of U.S. corporate governance going forward.ISBN: 1520-3255ISBN: 978-1-74210-263-4ISBN: 9781841139388Offensive shareholder activism involves buying up sizeable stakes in underperforming companies and agitating for changes predicted to increase shareholder returns. Though hedge funds are currently highly publicized practitioners of this corporate governance tactic, there has been no analysis of the extent to which managers of U.S. public companies were faced with challenges of this nature during the first half of the 20th century. This paper correspondingly examines instances during this period where investors engaged in offensive shareholder activism, based on a hand collected dataset of proxy contests occurring between 1900 and 1949. Our findings indicate that offensive shareholder activism, while not commonplace, did occur and was considerably more prevalent in the 1930s and 1940s than in earlier decades. We explain our results by reference to a simple model of offensive shareholder activism and argue that the ebb and flow of takeover activity may have been the primary determinant of the trends we observe.ISBN: 978-0230107328n each of the three largest economies with dispersed ownership of public companiesthe United States, the United Kingdom, and Japanhostile takeovers emerged under a common set of circumstances. Yet the national regulatory responses to these new market developments diverged substantially. In the United States, the Delaware judiciary became the principal source and enforcer of rules on hostile takeovers. These rules give substantial discretion to target company boards in responding to unsolicited bids. In the United Kingdom, by contrast, a private body consisting of market professionals was formed to adopt and enforce the rules on hostile bids and defenses. In contrast to those of the United States, the U.K. rules give the shareholders primary decisionmaking authority in responding to hostile takeover attempts. The hostile takeover regime in Japan, which developed recently and is still evolving, combines substantive rules with elements drawn from both the United States (Delaware) and the United Kingdom, while adding distinctive elements, including an independent enforcement role for Japans stock exchange. This Article provides an analytical framework for business law development to explain the diversity in hostile takeover regimes in these three countries. The framework identifies a range of supply and demand dynamics that drives the evolution of business law in response to new market developments. It emphasizes the common role of subordinate lawmakers in filling the vacuum left by legislative inaction, and it highlights the prevalence of preemptive lawmaking to avoid legislation that may be contrary to the interests of important corporate governance players. Extrapolating from the analysis of developed economies, the framework also illuminates the current state and plausible future trajectory of hostile takeover regulation in the important emerging markets of China, India, and Brazil. A noteworthy pattern that the analysis reveals is the ostensible adoptionand adaptationof best practices for hostile takeover regulation derived from Delaware and the United Kingdom in ways that protect important interests within each emerging markets national corporate governance system.ISBN: 0017-8063The forthright brand of shareholder activism hedge funds deploy emerged by the mid-2000s as a major corporate governance phenomenon. This Article explains the rise of hedge fund activism and offers predictions about future developments. The Article begins by distinguishing the offensive form of activism hedge funds engage in from defensive interventions mainstream institutional investors (e.g. pension funds or mutual funds) undertake. Variables influencing the prevalence of offensive shareholder activism are then identified using a heuristic device, the market for corporate influence. The rise of hedge funds as practitioners of offensive shareholder activism is traced by reference to the supply and demand sides of this market, with the basic chronology being that, while there were direct antecedents of hedge fund activists as far back as the 1980s, hedge funds did not move to the activism forefront until the 2000s. The Article brings matters up-to-date by discussing the impact of the recent financial crisis on hedge fund activism and draws upon the market for corporate influence heuristic to predict that activism by hedge funds is likely to remain an important element of corporate governance going forward.ISBN: 0360-795XEuropean corporate law has enjoyed a renaissance in the past decade. Fifteen years ago, this would have seemed most implausible. In the mid1990s, the early integration strategy of seeking to harmonize substantive company law seemed to have been stalled by the need to reconcile fundamental differences in approaches to corporate governance. Little was happening, and the grand vision of the early pioneers appeared more dream than ambition. Yet since then, a combination of adventurous decisions by the Court of Justice, innovative approaches to legislation by the Commission, and disastrous crises in capital markets has produced a headlong rush of reform activity. The volume and pace of change has been such that few have had time to digest it: not least policymakers, with the consequence that the developments have not always been well coordinated. The recent financial crisis has yet again thrown many quite fundamental issues into question. In this article, we offer an overview that puts the most significant developments of this decade into context, alongside each other and the changing patterns of corporate structure in European countries. Such developments cover, for instance, corporate mobility, corporate freedom of establishment, golden shares case law, as well as the Commissions Company Law Action Plan CLAP and Financial Services Action Plan FSAP. Harmonization of Member States company laws on the rules governing listed companies and the facilitation of cross-border restructuring are also examined.ISBN: 0165-0750The legal origins hypothesis is one of the most important and influential ideas to emerge in the social sciences in the past decade. However, the empirical base of the legal origins claim has always been contestable, as it largely consists of cross-sectional datasets, which provide evidence on the state of the law only at limited points in time. There is now a growing body of data derived from techniques for coding crossnational legal variation over time. This time-series evidence is reviewed here and is shown to cast new light on some of the central claims of legal origins theory. Legal origins are shown to be of little help in explaining trends in the law relating to shareholder protection, although the classification of legal systems into English-, French-, and German origin families has greater explanatory force in the context of creditor rights. The widely-held view that increases in shareholder rights foster financial development is not supported by time-series analyses. More generally, the new evidence casts doubt on the suggestion that legal origins operate as an exogenous force, independently shaping both the content of laws and economic outcomes. It is more plausible to see legal systems as evolving in parallel with changes in economic conditions and political structures at national level.ISBN: 9781841139357Much attention has been devoted in recent literature to the claim that a countrys legal origin may make a difference to its pattern of financial development and more generally to its economic growth path. Proponents of this view assert that the family within which a countrys legal system originated, be it common law, or one of the varieties of civil law, has a significant impact upon the quality of its legal protection of shareholders, which in turn impacts upon economic growth, through the channel of firms access to external finance. Complementary studies of creditors rights and labour regulation have buttressed the core claim that different legal families have different dynamic properties. Specifically, common law systems are thought to be better able to respond to the changing needs of a market economy than are civilian systems. This literature has, however, largely been based upon cross-sectional studies of the quality of corporate, insolvency and labour law at particular points in the late 1990s. In this paper, we report findings based on newly constructed indices which track legal change over time in the areas of shareholder, creditor and worker protection. The indices cover five systems for the period 1970-2005: three parent systems, the UK, France and Germany; the worlds most developed economy, the US; and its largest democracy, India. The results cast doubt on the legal origin hypothesis in so far as they show that civil law systems have seen substantial increases in shareholder protection over the period in question. The pattern of change differs depending on the area which is being examined, with the law on creditor and worker protection demonstrating more divergence and heterogeneity than that relationg to shareholders. The results for worker protection are more consistent with the legal origin claim than in the other two cases, but this overall result conceals significant diversity within the two legal families,' with different countries relying on different institutional mechanisms to regulate labour. Until the late 1980s the law of the five countries was diverging, but in the last 10-15 years there has been some convergence, particularly in relation to shareholder protection.DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-5893.2009.00380.xThe process of liberalisation of India's economy since 1991 has brought with it considerable development both of its financial markets and the legal institutions which support these. An influential body of recent economic work asserts that a country's 'legal origin'-as a civilian or common law jurisdiction-plays an important part in determining the development of its investor protection regulations, and consequently its financial development. An alternative theory claims that the determinants of investor protection are political, rather than legal. We use the case of India to test these theories. We find little support for the idea that India's legal heritage as a common law country has been influential in speeding the path of regulatory reforms and financial development. There is a complementarity between (i) India's relative success in services and software, (ii) the relative strength of its financial markets for outside equity, as opposed to outside debt, and (iii) the relative success of stock market regulation, as opposed to reforms of creditor rights. We conclude that political explanations have more traction in explaining the case of India than do theories based on 'legal origins'.ISBN: 0023-9216DOI: 10.1111/j.1740-1461.2009.01157.xIt is often assumed that strong securities markets require good legal protection of minority shareholders. This implies both good lawprincipally, corporate and securities lawand enforcement, yet there has been little empirical analysis of enforcement. We study private enforcement of corporate law in two common-law jurisdictions with highly developed stock markets, the United Kingdom and the United States, examining how often directors of publicly traded companies are sued, and the nature and outcomes of those suits. We find, based a comprehensive search for filings over 20042006, that lawsuits against directors of public companies alleging breach of duty are nearly nonexistent in the United Kingdom. The United States is more litigious, but we still find, based on a nationwide search of court decisions between 20002007, that only a small percentage of public companies face a lawsuit against directors alleging a breach of duty that is sufficiently contentious to result in a reported judicial opinion, and a substantial fraction of these cases are dismissed. We examine possible substitutes in the United Kingdom for formal private enforcement of corporate law and find some evidence of substitutes, especially for takeover litigation. Nonetheless, our results suggest that formal private enforcement of corporate law is less central to strong securities markets than might be anticipated.DOI: 10.1111/j.1740-1461.2009.01146.xUsing a panel data set covering a range of developed and developing countries, we show that common-law systems were more protective of shareholder interests than civil-law ones in the period 19952005. However, civilian systems were catching up, suggesting that legal origin was not much of an obstacle to formal convergence in shareholder protection law. We find no evidence of a positive impact of these legal changes on stock market development. Possible explanations are that laws have been overly protective of shareholders and that transplanted laws have not worked well in contexts for which they were not suited.ISBN: 1740-1453ISBN: 9789013070903Shares in publicly-quoted UK companies are, similarly to those in their US counterparts, dispersed amongst many holders. The central problem of corporate governance for UK listed firms is therefore rendering managers accountable to shareholders. This paper investigates the way in which the mechanisms used to control these managerial agency problems are enforced. It provides a roadmap of the enforcement strategies employed, and a first approximation of their empirical significance. The results suggest three stylised facts about the UK corporate governance system. First, shareholder lawsuits are conspicuous by their absence. Formal private enforcement plays little or no role in controlling managers. Secondly, and contrary to leading accounts in the economic literature, it is public, rather than private, enforcement which dominates in relation to listed companies. However, the lion's share of the interventions by the relevant agencies - the Takeover Panel, the Financial Reporting Review Panel, and the Financial Services Authority - is of an informal character, not resulting in any legal action. Suasion, rather than sanction, is the order of the day. Thirdly, a simple divide between public and private enforcement fails fully to take account of the role played by institutional investors in the UK, who have engaged systematically in informal private enforcement activity. Strong informal private enforcement has historically therefore been the flipside, in the UK, of weak formal private enforcement.ISBN: 9781841138060This collection of essays is a festschrift to honour Professor Dan Prentice who retired in 2008 from the Allen & Overy Professorship of Company Law in the University of Oxford. Dan Prentice has been deeply involved in corporate law from all perspectives: as a scholar, teacher, law reformer and practising member of Erskine Chambers. His interests have covered the full range of corporate law, finance and insolvency. The occasion of his retirement from his Professorship has afforded a number of leading corporate law experts from around the world, many of whom are his former students and colleagues, an opportunity to address some of the most important issues in corporate law today, in his honour. Corporate law has always been a fast-moving area, but the present pace of change seems quicker than ever. The Companies Act 2006, by some way the longest piece of legislation ever passed by the UK Parliament, is reshaping the landscape of domestic company law. At the same time, legislative and judicial developments at the European level in corporate and securities law are of unprecedented importance for corporate lawyers based in the UK. This outstanding series of papers addresses a number of the most important issues currently facing the subject, including the impact of the new Companies Act on directors' duties, shareholder litigation and capital maintenance; aspects of insolvency and banking regulation, the Capital Requirements Directive, and a new Convention on Intermediated securities. It will be essential reading for all those interested in the field.This review paper is a contribution to a symposium on the 'Future of Secured Credit in Europe'. Its theme is the way in which empirical research has shed light on earlier theoretical literature. These findings tend to suggest that the legal institution of secured credit is, on the whole, socially beneficial, and that such benefits are likely to outweigh any associated social costs. Having made this general claim, the paper then turns to consider the effects of four particular dimensions across which systems of secured credit may differ, and which may therefore be of interest to European law-makers. These are: (i) the scope of permissible collateral; (ii) the efficacy of enforcement; (iii) the priority treatment of secured creditors; and (iv) the mechanisms employed to assist third parties in discovering that security has been granted. In each case, consideration is paid first to the theoretical position, and then empirical findings. It is argued that perhaps the most difficult of these issues for European law-makers concerns the appropriate design of publicity mechanisms for third parties.DOI: 10.1093/aler/ahn008Recent initiatives in a number of countries have sought to promote entrepreneurship through relaxing the legal consequences of personal bankruptcy. Whilst there is an intuitive link, relatively little attention has been paid to the question empirically, particularly in the international context. We investigate the relationship between bankruptcy laws and entrepreneurship using data on self-employment over 16 years (19902005) and fifteen countries in Europe and North America. We compile new indices reflecting how "forgiving" personal bankruptcy laws are. These measures vary over time and across the countries studied. We show that bankruptcy law has a statistically and economically significant effect on self-employment rates when controlling for GDP growth, MSCI stock returns, and a variety of other legal and economic factors.ISBN: 1465-7252With effect from September 15, 2003, the Enterprise Act made significant changes to the governance of corporate rescue procedures in the United Kingdom which involved a shift away from a "concentrated creditor" model of governance towards a "dispersed creditor" model of governance which vests greater control rights in unsecured creditors collectively. These changes were motivated by fairness and efficiency concerns, notably the concern that the UK's administrative receivership procedure was not conducive to rescue outcomes and operated to the detriment of unsecured creditors. This article discusses the Enterprise Act reforms in the context of wider theoretical debates about the desirability (or otherwise) of secured creditor control of corporate rescue procedures. It then presents in summary form the findings of an empirical study carried out by the authors that sought to evaluate the impact of the Act by comparing the gross realizations, costs and net returns to creditors in a sample of 284 corporate insolvencies commenced before and after the law changed. Whilst we find that gross realizations have increased under the streamlined administration procedure, we also find that costs have increased. These findings imply that secured creditor control of the insolvency procedure (as in receivership) may be no worse for unsecured creditors than control by dispersed unsecured creditors (as in administrations) at least as regards returns.Private equity, characterized by firms operating as privately held partnerships organizing the acquisition and "taking private" of public companies, has recently dominated the business news due to deals unprecedented in number and size. If this buyout boom continues unabated, the 1989 prediction by economist Michael Jensen of The Eclipse of the Public Corporation could be proved accurate. This article argues matters will work out much differently, with the current version of private equity being eclipsed. One possibility is that a set of market and legal conditions highly congenial to "public-to-private" transactions could be disrupted. A "credit crunch" commencing in the summer of 2007 stands out as the most immediate threat. The article draws on history to put matters into context, discussing how the spectacular rise of conglomerates in the 1960s was reversed in subsequent decades and how the 1980s buyout boom led by leveraged buyout associations - the private equity firms of the day - collapsed. If legal and market conditions remain favorable for private equity, its eclipse is likely to occur in a different way. Privacy has been a hallmark of private equity, with industry leaders operating as secretive partnerships that negotiate buyouts behind closed doors and restructure portfolio companies outside the public gaze. However, the private equity boom created momentum among market leaders to carry out public offerings and diversify their operations. If this trend proves sustainable, then even if the taking private of publicly quoted companies remains a mainstream pursuit, the exercise will be carried out in the main by broadly based financial groups under the umbrella of public markets.DOI: 10.1093/ojls/gqm009Recent work in both the theory of the firm and of corporate law has called into question the appropriateness of analysing corporate law as merely a set of standard form contracts. This article develops these ideas by focusing on property law's role in underpinning corporate enterprise. Rights to control assets are a significant mechanism of governance in the firm. However, their use in this way predicates some arrangement for stipulating which parties will have control under which circumstances. It is argued that property rulesa category whose scope is determined functionallyprotect the entitlements of parties to such sharing arrangements against each other's opportunistic attempts to grant conflicting entitlements to third parties. At the same time, the legal system uses a range of strategies to minimize the costs such protection imposes on third parties. The choice of strategy significantly affects co-owners freedom to customize their control-sharing arrangements. This theory is applied to give an account of the proprietary foundations of corporate law, which has significant implications for the way in which the subject's functions are understood and evaluated.ISBN: 0143-6503Hostile takeovers are commonly thought to play a key role in rendering managers accountable to dispersed shareholders in the "Anglo-American system of corporate governance. Yet surprisingly little attention has been paid to the very significant differences in takeover regulation between the two most prominent jurisdictions. In the United Kingdom, defensive tactics by target managers are prohibited, whereas Delaware law gives U.S. managers a good deal of room to maneuver. Existing accounts of this difference focus on alleged pathologies in competitive federalism in the United States. In contrast, we focus on the supply-side of rule production by examining the evolution of the two regimes from a public choice perspective. We suggest that the content of the rules has been crucially influenced by differences in the mode of regulation. In the United Kingdom, self-regulation of takeovers has led to a regime largely driven by the interests of institutional investors, whereas the dynamics of judicial law-making in the United States have benefited managers by making it relatively difficult for shareholders to influence the rules. Moreover, it was never possible for Wall Street to privatize takeovers in the same way as the City of London, because U.S. federal regulation in the 1930s both pre-empted selfregulation and restricted the ability of institutional investors to coordinate.ISBN: 0016-8092ISBN: 0008-1973ISBN: 978-3-7255-5124-8