THE INTRODUCTION OF LIMITED LIABILITY INTO THE ENGLISH AND AUSTRALIAN COLONIAL COMPANIES ACTS: INEVITABLE PROGRESSION OR CHAOTIC HISTORY?

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Author: Phillip Lipton
Date: Apr. 2018
From: Melbourne University Law Review(Vol. 41, Issue 3)
Publisher: Melbourne University Law Review
Document Type: Article
Length: 20,702 words
Lexile Measure: 1860L

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Abstract :

This article examines the introduction of limited liability into the English and Australian companies legislation in the mid-19th century and compares how this legal change was adopted in two different societies. This historical development illustrates that the interaction of legal change and socio-economic developments is complex, unpredictable and the result of a number of historical contingencies and so offers an alternative perspective to functionalist, and in particular, the predominant law-and-economics explanations of the rationale for limited liability. It is a contention of this article that recognising the complexity of legal change better enables us to question why the law developed as it did and whether it should be reformed. The concept of limited liability has given rise to particular problems such as corporate group tort liabilities and 'phoenix' companies that should be reconsidered in the light of its historical development.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A543612081