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By Rob McQueen

The historical past of incorporations laws and its management is in detail tied to alterations in social ideals in recognize to the position and function of the company. through learning the evolution of the company shape in Britain and a couple of its colonial possessions, the e-book illuminates debates on key options together with the meanings of laissez faire, freedom of trade, the idea of company accountability and the function of the kingdom within the law of industrial. In doing so, the e-book advances our figuring out of the form, effectiveness and deficiencies of recent regulatory regimes.

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Thomas Tooke is an example. In his evidence to Bellenden Ker’s Select Committee on Partnership, conducted during the course of 1837, Tooke asserted: If the object in view were to limit the responsibility of joint stock companies in undertakings which admit of being conducted by individuals or by ordinary partnerships, it would clearly be objectionable ... public companies are rarely, if ever, so carefully, economically and skilfully conducted as private establishments26. In a similar vein, Swinton Boult claimed in his pamphlet Trade and Partnership: the Relative Duties and Proper Liabilities of the Merchant and the State that the introduction of limited liability companies legislation in England was unnecessary due to the self reliance of English commerce: Commerce is the last thing to require from government a directing or protective hand.

G (1936) British Corporation Finance 1775–1850: A Study of Preference Shares, (Baltimore: John Hopkins Press) 1. 20 A Social History of Company Law Bubble Act in the slow development of alternatives to the partnership and the chartered company. The symbolic force of the Act is blamed for the lack of progress in the acceptance of new organizational structures for business. It is suggested that it was this symbolic status of the Bubble Act, rather than the force of legal sanctions it contained, which prevented the development of the corporate form in England.

It had shifted from the dynamic arena of commercial practice with its ‘economic’ definition of what constituted a ‘company’ to the more rarified confines of the courtroom with its body of ‘legal’ rules which defined the nature of the ‘corporate’ entity. As we will observe later in the book this shift in the source of corporate legitimacy carried with it, and continues to do so, significant implications for ‘company law’ and corporate regulation. What then was the purpose of corporate legislation in the middle of the nineteenth century, if it was not principally to confer ‘legitimacy’ on those business associations seeking corporate status, but without benefit of Charter or Act of Parliament?

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