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Book

Cover Company Law

Brenda Hannigan

Company Law brings clarity and analysis to the ever-changing landscape of this field. The text aims to capture the dynamism of the subject, places the material in context, highlights its relevance and topicality, and guides readers through all the major issues. From incorporation through to liquidation and dissolution, the work explores the workings of the corporate entity. The book is divided into five distinct sections covering corporate structure (including legal personality and constitutional issues), corporate governance (including directors’ duties and liabilities), shareholders’ rights and remedies (including powers of decision-making and shareholder petitions), corporate finance (including share and loan capital), and corporate insolvency.

Chapter

Cover Sealy & Worthington's Text, Cases, and Materials in Company Law

3. Corporate Activity and Legal Liability  

This chapter discusses how the company acts as a legal person. It covers: contractual liability; corporate capacity; agency and authority in corporate contracting; contracts and the execution of documents; pre-incorporation contracts; corporate gifts; tort liability; criminal liability; whether and in what circumstances knowledge should be imputed to a company or other corporate body; and when attribution can be denied by the company.

Chapter

Cover Sealy & Worthington's Text, Cases, and Materials in Company Law

4. Shareholders as an Organ of the Company  

This chapter discusses how the company acts as a legal person. It covers: contractual liability; corporate capacity; agency and authority in corporate contracting; contracts and the execution of documents; pre-incorporation contracts; corporate gifts; tort liability; criminal liability; whether and in what circumstances knowledge should be imputed to a company or other corporate body; and when attribution can be denied by the company.

Chapter

Cover Company Law

1. Introduction  

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the aims of company law and governance. Company law should hold companies and directors to account, be flexible enough to respond to novel and evolving practices, provide certainty, promote transparency, help to avoid misalignment of interests, promote corporate efficiency, and help avoid corporate disaster. The chapter then looks at other key important business structures. Other than companies, the principal business structures are the sole proprietorship, the partnership, and the limited liability partnership. A sole proprietorship is a sole individual carrying on some form of business activity on their own account. Meanwhile, two or more persons who wish to engage in business together can form an ordinary partnership. Finally, limited liability partnerships were created to provide suitable business structures for large, professional firms. In many respects, limited liability partnerships resemble companies.

Chapter

Cover Company Law

3. Lifting the veil  

Titles in the Core Text series take the reader straight to the heart of the subject, providing focused, concise, and reliable guides for students at all levels. This chapter discusses ‘lifting the veil’, a phrase that refers to situations where the judiciary or the legislature have decided that the separation of corporate personality from the members must not be maintained. In this case, the veil of incorporation is said to be lifted. ‘Lifting’ is also known as ‘peeping’, ‘penetrating’, ‘piercing’, or ‘parting’. The chapter presents statutory examples of veil lifting, many of which involve corporate group structures and others involve straightforward shareholder limitation of liability issues. It also considers cases of veil lifting by the courts as well as classical veil lifting during the periods of 1897 to 1966, 1966 to 1989, and 1989 to the present. Four cases are highlighted: Adams v Cape Industries (1990), Chandler v Cape Plc (2012), Prest v Petrodel Industries Ltd (2013), and Hurstwood Properties (A) Ltd and others v Rossendale Borough Council and another (2021) as well as important recent case development. The chapter also examines claims of tortious liability, the liability of a parent company for personal injury, and commercial tort. Finally, it looks at the costs and benefits of limited liability.

Book

Cover Sealy & Worthington's Text, Cases, and Materials in Company Law
Sealy & Worthington’s Cases and Materials in Company Law clearly explains the fundamental structure of company law and provides a concise introduction to each different aspect of the subject. The materials are carefully selected and well supported by commentary so that the logic of the doctrinal or policy argument is unambiguously laid out. Notes and questions appear periodically throughout the text to provoke persistent analysis and debate, and to enable students to test their understanding of the issues as the topics unfold. This text covers a wide range of sources, and provides intelligent and thought-provoking commentary in a succinct format. It is invaluable to all those who need vital materials and expert observations on company law in one volume. This twelfth edition brings: improved chapter order and location of materials; the incorporation of changes necessitated by Brexit; complete updating of statutory, regulatory and case law materials, including by the Corporate Governance and Insolvency Act 2020 and the many changes and additions to corporate governance codes requiring ‘apply and explain’ and ‘comply or explain’ adherence; major rewriting of Chapter 3 (Corporate Activity and Legal Liability) in the light of significant Supreme Court cases; expansion of Chapter 6 (Corporate Governance) and Chapter 9 (Company Auditors), along with additional coverage of shareholder remedies (Chapter 8), including coverage of Sevilleja v Marex Financial Ltd (2020, SC) and new cases on statutory derivative actions; and additional coverage of insolvency issues.

Chapter

Cover Company Law

4. Rules of attribution—corporate acts and liabilities  

This chapter looks at identifying whose acts are the acts of the company for the purposes of determining the rights and liabilities of the company, given that the company is an artificial legal entity. There are several distinct rules of attribution which may assist in this context. The chapter examines corporate liability in contract, corporate liability in tort, and criminal liability of the company. The chapter addresses the debate between the traditional approach to attribution, relying on directing mind and will theory, (especially in criminal matters) and the more purposive approach being adopted in civil matters. Attribution in the case of the wrongdoing director is considered as well as the application of an illegality defence.

Chapter

Cover Mayson, French & Ryan on Company Law

1. Overview  

This chapter provides an overview of the work’s contents. It introduces the basic ideas of company law. A company is an artificial legal person capable of owning property, being a party to contracts and being a claimant or defendant in legal proceedings. A company is created by registration at Companies House under the Companies Act 2006. A company is both an association of members (shareholders) and a person separate from its members. Members are not liable for the company’s debts. Members are only liable to make an agreed capital contribution in return for their shares. Members appoint directors to manage the company’s business and represent the company. Every company must have articles of association which set out the company’s constitution.

Chapter

Cover Mayson, French, and Ryan on Company Law

1. Overview  

This chapter provides an overview of the work’s contents. It introduces the basic ideas of company law. A company is an artificial legal person capable of owning property, being a party to contracts and being a claimant or defendant in legal proceedings. A company is created by registration at Companies House under the Companies Act 2006. A company is both an association of members (shareholders) and a person separate from its members. Members are not liable for the company’s debts. Members are only liable to make an agreed capital contribution in return for their shares. Members appoint directors to manage the company’s business and represent the company. Every company must have articles of association which set out the company’s constitution.

Chapter

Cover Concentrate Questions and Answers Company Law

2. Companies and Corporate Personality  

The Concentrate Questions and Answers series offers the best preparation for tackling exam questions and coursework. Each book includes typical questions, suggested answers with commentary, illustrative diagrams, guidance on how to develop your answer, suggestions for further reading, and advice on exams and coursework. This chapter considers the main legal forms used for businesses in the UK—particularly sole traders, general partnerships, limited liability partnerships (LLPs), and companies (public and private). It then examines how registered companies limited by shares come into existence. On registration a company becomes a legal person, separate from its shareholders and directors. This chapter explores this ‘corporate personality’ and the popular topic of when the ‘veil of incorporation’ can be lifted or pierced by statute or the courts.

Chapter

Cover Mayson, French & Ryan on Company Law

17. Company officers, secretary and auditor  

This chapter focuses on company officers (secretaries, auditors and managers), with emphasis on their responsibilities and liabilities under the Companies Act 2006 (CA 2006) and the appropriate sanctions for breach of its requirements. It first considers who, in general terms, is an ‘officer’ or ‘manager’ of a company for the purposes of criminal or fiduciary liability. Then it deals with the appointment and qualifications of secretaries and the appointment and reappointment of auditors. There is discussion of auditors’ remuneration, integrity and independence, the required contents of an auditor’s report and an auditor’s investigative powers. There is analysis of an auditor’s liability in contract and tort for negligence in carrying out the audit and negligent misstatement in an auditor’s report. The chapter cites relevant legislation, including CA 2006 and UK Corporate Governance Code, and considers two particularly significant cases: Caparo Industries plc v Dickman [1990] 2 AC 605 and Stone and Rolls Ltd v Moore Stephens [2009] UKHL 39, [2009] AC 1391.

Chapter

Cover Company Law

2. Corporate personality and limited liability  

Titles in the Core Text series take the reader straight to the heart of the subject, providing focused, concise, and reliable guides for students at all levels. This chapter deals with corporate personality and limited liability, two concepts that form the core of company law. It begins with a short historical background on how the process of corporatisation through charters evolved over time, including the emergence of the use of trust as an instrument to confer many of the privileges of incorporation. It then considers the case Salomon v Salomon & Co (1897) which decided on the legitimacy of small businesses with a corporate form, and offers some other good examples of the consequence of separate personality. The chapter also discusses the rights of members and shareholders with respect to ownership of the corporation, focusing on dispersed shareholdings and close companies.

Chapter

Cover Concentrate Questions and Answers Company Law

8. Corporate Liability: Contracts, Torts, and Crimes  

The Concentrate Questions and Answers series offers the best preparation for tackling exam questions and coursework. Each book includes typical questions, suggested answers with commentary, illustrative diagrams, guidance on how to develop your answer, suggestions for further reading, and advice on exams and coursework. This chapter examines company contracts including: pre-incorporation contracts, the company’s capacity, directors’ authority, and restrictions on the powers of directors to bind the company. The chapter also considers liability of the company for tortious and criminal acts, including vicarious liability; attribution; and the particular area of corporate manslaughter and the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.

Chapter

Cover Mayson, French, and Ryan on Company Law

17. Company officers, secretary and auditor  

This chapter focuses on company officers (secretaries, auditors and managers), with emphasis on their responsibilities and liabilities under the Companies Act 2006 (CA 2006) and the appropriate sanctions for breach of its requirements. It first considers who, in general terms, is an ‘officer’ or ‘manager’ of a company for the purposes of criminal or fiduciary liability. Then it deals with the appointment and qualifications of secretaries and the appointment and reappointment of auditors. There is discussion of auditors’ remuneration, integrity and independence, the required contents of an auditor’s report and an auditor’s investigative powers. There is analysis of an auditor’s liability in contract and tort for negligence in carrying out the audit and negligent misstatement in an auditor’s report. The chapter cites relevant legislation, including CA 2006 and UK Corporate Governance Code, and considers two particularly significant cases: Caparo Industries plc v Dickman [1990] 2 AC 605 and Stone and Rolls Ltd v Moore Stephens [2009] UKHL 39, [2009] AC 1391.

Chapter

Cover Introduction to Company Law

8. Liability and Enforcement  

The effective enforcement of law requires that liability be appropriately allocated, that those with the appropriate incentives be in a position to enforce the liabilities thus created and that the sanctions available be effective. Otherwise, the substantive law may be ineffective in practice.This chapter examines these issues in relation to companies and individuals connected to companies in three contexts: civil law (mainly contract and tort), criminal law, and regulatory rules. Although much of the background law is of general application, it applies in a particular way to companies and individuals engaged in corporate activities.

Chapter

Cover Company Law

17. Corporate rescue and liquidations in outline  

Titles in the Core Text series take the reader straight to the heart of the subject, providing focused, concise, and reliable guides for students at all levels. This chapter deals with the regulatory regime governing corporate rescue and liquidations. It first considers two procedures that were introduced by the Insolvency Act 1986 aimed at implementing the objective of corporate rescue: the administration order and the company voluntary arrangement, the former of which has been fundamentally reformed by the Enterprise Act 2002. It then discusses voluntary winding-up by companies, members, and creditors under the 1986 Act, as well as the grounds on which the court may initiate compulsory winding-up. The chapter also examines the consequences of a winding-up petition on dispositions of company property; winding-up in the public interest; the duties and functions of the liquidator; provisions allowing avoidance of transactions entered into prior to liquidation; the personal liability of directors under the Insolvency Act 1986; and distribution of surplus assets following liquidation. Finally, it outlines a number of amendments to the 1986 Act.