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The development of English company law before 1900

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  • Turner, John D.

Abstract

This article outlines the development of English company law in the four centuries before 1900. The main focus is on the evolution of the corporate form and the five key legal characteristics of the corporation - separate legal personality, limited liability, transferable joint stock, delegated management, and investor ownership. The article outlines how these features developed in guilds, regulated companies, and the great mercantilist and moneyed companies. I then move on to examine the State's control of incorporation and the attempts by the founders and lawyers of unincorporated business enterprises to craft the legal characteristics of the corporation. Finally, the article analyses the forces behind the liberalisation of incorporation law in the middle of the nineteenth century.

Suggested Citation

  • Turner, John D., 2017. "The development of English company law before 1900," QUCEH Working Paper Series 2017-01, Queen's University Belfast, Queen's University Centre for Economic History.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:qucehw:201701
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Andrei Shleifer & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Rafael La Porta, 2008. "The Economic Consequences of Legal Origins," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(2), pages 285-332, June.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Contingencies of Company Law: On the Corporate Form and English Company Law, 1500-1900
      by bbatiz in NEP-HIS blog on 2017-06-01 08:02:38
    2. Contingencies of Company Law: On the Corporate Form and English Company Law, 1500-1900
      by andrewdsmith in The Past Speaks on 2017-06-19 17:43:22

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    Cited by:

    1. Veldman, Jeroen, 2018. "Inequality, Inc," MPRA Paper 86644, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bubble Act; Company; Corporate Law; Legal Personality; Limited Liability; Transferable Shares; Unincorporated Company;

    JEL classification:

    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General
    • K10 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - General (Constitutional Law)
    • K20 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - General
    • N23 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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