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 recognize to the position and objective of the company. by means of learning the evolution of the company shape in Britain and a couple of its colonial possessions, the e-book illuminates debates on key thoughts together with the meanings of laissez faire, freedom of trade, the thought of company accountability and the position of the nation within the legislation of commercial. In doing so, the publication advances our realizing of the form, effectiveness and deficiencies of recent regulatory regimes.

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87: ‘While the term “corporation” was consistently applied only to bodies incorporated by state authority the term “company” was used indiscriminately to describe both the incorporated and the unincorporated unit ... ’. 40 Hurst, J W (1970) The Legitimacy of the Business Corporation in the Law of the United States, (Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia), 13–57. 36 A Social History of Company Law to their economic function or characteristics, were regarded as ‘companies’ by the late nineteenth century.

Investors very quickly became aware of this and consequently preferred the Continental and North American companies which offered forms of limitation of liability which were enforceable. As one commentator has characterized the position at mid-century: The main argument in favour of limited liability was that the 1844 Act was not succeeding as much as had been hoped in attracting investors into new businesses. Unlimited liability discouraged investment. The wealthier you were the more you would hesitate to invest in an unlimited company.

In this chapter such characterizations of the historical process are challenged. It is suggested that the highly restrictive, but unenforced, provisions of the Bubble Act resulted in a high level of innovation by lawyers with respect to the operation in practice of English company law during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Dubois’ suggestion that the century between the enactment of the Bubble Act in 1720 and its repeal in 1825 was an extremely fertile period for the later development of English company law is appraised.

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