The Governance of Corporate Groups

The Governance of Corporate Groups

The Governance of Corporate Groups

The Governance of Corporate Groups

Synopsis

This book explores the legal issues concerning groups of companies including regulation at national, international and global level. It offers a comparative discussion of the way in which issues common to the regulation of groups have been approached in the UK, in the European Union, in other member states of the union, in the United States and, where helpful, in other countries including the emergent economies of eastern European states. The author highlights the often tragic consequences of globalization by transnationals including polarization of income and environmental damage.

Excerpt

My colleagues have commentated frequently on my propensity to see a company law illustration for (nearly) any issue under discussion, accusing me of expecting company law to 'take over the world'. This is the book where I discover that not company law but companies have all but done so and confront us with the frightening reality of polarisation of incomes and the globalisation of poverty. The 'heart' of the book lies in the discussion of groups of companies operating on a global basis and out of regulatory control. However, in order to understand the legal mechanisms that have helped to create this situation I have investigated first the philosophical foundations of single companies, the choice of which informs regulatory mechanisms that are applied both at internal, nation-state level and internationally, shown how impoverished is the concept of shareholder control, investigated regulatory theories, shown how choice of certain underpinning theories militates against a legal concept of a group and its governance and explored the application of conflict of laws as a mechanism for regulating interconnected companies. Finally, after what I hope is a rather frightening analysis of the power and regulatory immunity of global corporations, I have suggested a way of handing some legal tools to pressure groups which could strengthen their ability to mobilise consumer resistance to products produced in a way damaging to the world or its disadvantaged populations.

In completing the book I have to thank all my colleagues at Essex University Law department. I think everyone has felt the force of my obsession at some time over the past two years. Special thanks to Steve Anderman, Nick Bernard, Jim Gobert, Gerry McCormack, David Ong, Peter Stone and Bob Watt. Thanks, too, to Sheldon Leader, especially for the communitaire analysis. As always love and thanks to my family, Keith, Rob, Helen and Lix. Much patience was necessary.

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