Research Handbook on the History of Corporate and Company Law
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Research Handbook on the History of Corporate and Company Law

Edited by Harwell Wells

Understanding the corporation means understanding its legal framework, but until recently the origins and evolution of corporate law have received relatively little attention. The topical chapters featured in this Research Handbook, contributed by leading scholars from around the world, examine the historical development of corporation and business organization law in the Americas, Europe, and Asia from the ancient world to modern times, providing an invaluable resource for both further historical research and scholars seeking the origins of present-day issues.
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Chapter 11: A history of the corporation in Spain in the twentieth century: towards Europe

Susana Martínez-Rodríguez


Chapter 11 examines the development of corporation law in Spain. In some ways, Spanish law was notably conducive to corporations. In 1829 Spain adopted a corporation law allowing any man to register a corporation, a departure from the rules of most other European nations which at that time required incorporators to seek special governmental approval. While this right of general incorporation was suspended in 1848, it was again made available in 1869. When Spain adopted a new Commercial Code in 1885, it was surprisingly favourable to corporations, as its relative lack of detailed requirements gave corporate organizers great flexibility to arrange the internal affairs of their firms as they saw fit. This relative flexibility continued through much the twentieth century, extending to the limited liability company (Sociedad de Responsabilidad Limitada, or SRL), which was legalized in 1919. While Spain’s company law was updated throughout the century, significant change only came again at the century’s end when Spain’s entry into the European Economic Community (EEC) required legislative reforms to bring its law in line with European directives.

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