Shareholder litigation—primarily representative litigation on behalf of all stockholders of a corporation—has proliferated globally. Shareholder litigation has long been part of the corporate landscape in the United States, where shareholders can challenge nearly any corporate decision. The scope of shareholder suits, however, has been kept largely in check by a set of substantive and procedural rules. But in recent years these suits have proliferated as shareholders have taken advantage of innovative tactics and new doctrines. Moreover, shareholder litigation has begun to spread to jurisdictions other than the US, where it has taken on new forms. This research handbook provides a modernday survey of the state of shareholder litigation and offers empirical evidence of how these suits have developed. Its chapters provide indepth analyses of the forms of shareholder litigation, including securities class actions, merger litigation, derivative suits, and appraisal litigation. Through its examination of these different types of litigation, the book details some of the advantages and disadvantages of shareholder litigation. It explores such issues as the agency costs inherent in representative litigation, the challenges of multijurisdictional litigation and disclosureonly settlements, and the rise of institutional investors. It also surveys how related issues are addressed across the globe, with examinations of shareholder litigation in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Israel, and China.
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Edited by Sean Griffith, Jessica Erickson, David H. Webber and Verity Winship
This chapter introduces the idea of the company share and its role in corporate finance, society and culture at large. The legal nature of a share is explained. It describes patterns of UK share ownership and notes the burgeoning presence of overseas shareholders in UK listed companies. The public policy reasons for regulating shares are identified. The differences between shareholders in limited companies and participators in other organisations are mapped out. Shareholders and other stakeholders are distinguished. The chapter concludes by noting the technical distinction between shareholders and members. The use of the company share as a device to facilitate fraud is noted.