Legal Regulation and Public Policy
Chapter 5: Shareholder rights: source, nature and enforceability
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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