The Nature of Corporate Governance

The Nature of Corporate Governance

The Significance of National Cultural Identity

Corporations, Globalisation and the Law series

Janet Dine

This book presents a thoughtful inquiry into the nature and rationale of corporate governance. The authors address fundamental questions including; What is the balance between ownership and control?; For whose interests should the company be run?; What is the institutional balance between shareholders, directors and other potential stakeholders, including the economy?

Chapter 4: The United Kingdom

Janet Dine

Subjects: law - academic, corporate law and governance


The development of the social phenomenon that is the company in the UK presents many interesting aspects and is of particular significance. The UK possesses a unique position in the framework of the analysis of the relevant subject matter for a variety of reasons. Firstly, the UK is one of the very few jurisdictions internationally that evolved continuously over centuries, providing the legal world with an abundance of legal principles, norms and regulations that reflect the realities of the historical moment in which they were adopted. As analysed previously in this book, it is impossible to view and assess a piece of legislation independent of the social environment that gave birth to it. In this sense the UK with its centuries’ old legal tradition provides us with a clear picture of the legal and social evolution that shaped the corporation and led to the legislative framework and the predominant principles in company law, at least as we know and experience them today. Furthermore, the UK managed to create an empire that at its peak expanded in all continents, therefore resulting in an unprecedented large-scale extension of legal norms and standards. Therefore, the UK legislative standards were adopted by several nations around the world which shared any sort of links with their former colonial power. The country’s legal order is based on common law, a mixture of judicial precedence and statutes that proved to be particularly influential for other nations around the world.

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