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The Company Share

Legal Regulation and Public Policy

David Milman

In this accessible and insightful book David Milman examines the phenomenon of the company share in an holistic way, tracing the origins of the share and describing the diversity present within the family of shares. Using a comparative approach, key chapters consider the circumstances under which shares are acquired, the property law perspective relevant to shares and the rights and obligations of those who hold shares. The book concludes with some speculation on how the share might evolve in the future in the light of technological change and the development of other capital raising investments.
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Chapter 5: Shareholder rights: source, nature and enforceability

David Milman


The origin of shareholder rights is covered at the start of this chapter, with particular emphasis given to the different sources of shareholder rights (under the constitution of the company, under the common law and through legislation). The prevalence of shareholder agreements in practice is mentioned. Moving to substantive rights, the focus is on dividend expectations and voting rights. The issue of cumulative voting is noted. The circumstances under which a return of capital is permitted are explained. The new statutory right of pre-emption where new share issues occur is examined. By way of counterbalance this chapter clarifies those situations where shareholders lack rights; for example there is no automatic exit right in private companies. The enforcement of shareholder rights by pursuit of litigation is then considered.

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