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Chapter 15: The Dutch Corporate Governance Code: Self-Regulation or Interactive Legislation?
Jellienke Stamhuis1 Introduction This chapter deals with the regulation of corporate governance in the Netherlands, in particular, the Dutch Corporate Governance Code which was introduced in December 2003. The code is more informally known as the Tabaksblat Code, named after the chairman of the committee that designed it. The Tabaksblat Code has been presented and is generally regarded in the Netherlands as an example of self-regulation. This chapter will explore whether that assumption is correct. It starts by formulating a definition of the concept of self-regulation. It will then introduce and discuss the concept of interactive regulation by way of comparison and contrast with that of self-regulation. This will be followed by a history of the code and a short introduction to it. Finally, it will be argued that it is more accurately conceptualised as an example of interactive legislation and the implications of that conclusion will be considered. What is self-regulation? Top-down and bottom-up In recent years the phenomenon of self-regulation has received considerable attention. From the 1980s the concept can be located more frequently in all types of legal literature. The quantity of legal provisions in which self-regulation is either directly or indirectly referred to has also increased considerably. Self-regulation can be employed for different aims and be studied from different perspectives. These include a legal perspective (is it ‘law’?), an instrumental perspective (is it effective?) or a theoretical-empirical perspective (how does it work and why?). Furthermore, it is a subject often discussed within a normative context. This...
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