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Company Law Review

Aims & objectives

This project was carried out for the Department of Trade and Industry in connection with its present review of Company Law in the UK. The aim was to provide an overview and assessment of the present state of research on empirical and economic issues relating to company law. This informed the work of the Company Law Review Steering Group which was established by the DTI to look into company law reform.

The specific aims were:

  • To survey the existing literature on the impact and effects of company law in the 'priority areas' identified by the DTI Company Law Review, that is to say: the position of the the 'small' (including 'closed') firm; the stakeholder issue; high-level accounting/reporting; company formation, objects clauses, and the general commercial company; capital maintenance; boundaries of law and regulation; response to electronic technologies; international jurisdictional issues.
  • To offer an assessment of the research findings in the above areas, based on an analysis of the different methodologies employed by researchers.
  • To survey the existing literature on the impact and effects of company law in the 'non-priority areas' which include directors' duties, board structure, and alternative legal forms for the business enterprise.

Results & dissemination

By the end of September 2000, 11 working papers relating to the 'priority' issues had been completed, and the first stage of updating the original papers had been completed. Simon Deakin presented a paper on the economics of legal sanctions to a sub-committee of the Company Law Review which was addressing the issue of criminal and civil sanctions in company law. This work was subsequently drawn on by the Company Law Review in its consultation document, Modern Company Law for Competitive Economy: Completing the Structure (December 2000), chapter 13.

Working papers

Armour, J. (2000) 'Capital maintenance.' In, ESRC Centre for Business Research, Literature Survey on Factual, Empirical and Legal Issues, ch. 6. Papers prepared for the DTI Company Law Review. 

Cook, J. (2000) 'High level reporting.' In, ESRC Centre for Business Research, Literature Survey on Factual, Empirical and Legal Issues, ch. 3. Papers prepared for the DTI Company Law Review. 

Cook, J. (2000) 'Electronic technologies.' In, ESRC Centre for Business Research, Literature Survey on Factual, Empirical and Legal Issues, ch. 4. Papers prepared for the DTI Company Law Review. 

Cook, J. and Deakin, S. (2000) 'International and jurisdictional matters.' In, ESRC Centre for Business Research, Literature Survey on Factual, Empirical and Legal Issues, ch. 8. Papers prepared for the DTI Company Law Review. 

Cook, J. and Deakin, S. (2000) 'Stakeholding'. In, ESRC Centre for Business Research, Literature Survey on Factual, Empirical and Legal Issues, ch. 1. Papers prepared for the DTI Company Law Review. 

Cook, J. and Deakin, S. (2000) 'Corporate governance, board structure and accountability.' In, ESRC Centre for Business Research, Literature Survey on Factual, Empirical and Legal Issues, ch. 10. Papers prepared for the DTI Company Law Review. 

Deakin, S. (2000) 'Company formation.' In, ESRC Centre for Business Research, Literature Survey on Factual, Empirical and Legal Issues, ch. 5. Papers prepared for the DTI Company Law Review. 

Deakin, S. (2000) 'Economic effects of criminal and civil sanctions in the context of company law'. Research Note prepared for the DTI Company Law Review. 

Deakin, S. and Cook, J. (2000) 'Boundaries of law and regulation.' In, ESRC Centre for Business Research, Literature Survey on Factual, Empirical and Legal Issues, ch. 9. Papers prepared for the DTI Company Law Review. 

Lahovary, C. (2000) 'Employee representation and codetermination.' In, ESRC Centre for Business Research, Literature Survey on Factual, Empirical and Legal Issues, ch. 2. Papers prepared for the DTI Company Law Review.

News coverage

5 July 2002: Put small business first, Trade Secretary tells 3CL/CBR conference

Project leader

Simon Deakin

Research fellow

Jacqueline Cook

Research associates

John Armour
Clare Lahovary

Research assistant

Hannah Reed (until March 2000)

Project status

Completed