In Search of Corporate Accountability

There is currently much debate over corporate social responsibility on whether business companies should look beyond shareholder primacy and profit maximisation to act for the benefit of others. It is generally agreed, however, even amongst advocates of shareholder primacy, that profit maximisation should only be achieved within the framework of external laws regulating the conduct of individuals and companies generally. If the objectives of such external laws are not to be defeated, then it is important for controllers of companies to ensure corporate compliance with the law. Despite this, controversies have arisen where corporate enterprises may have improperly flouted or evaded liabilities under the law. Against this background, it is argued in this book that it is necessary to ensure that responsible persons are accountable under the law so as to promote compliance with legal regulations in the corporate context. Individuals or entities behind the company who are responsible for wrongful conduct should be held liable under the law – whether it be tort law or statutory regulation. Some counter that the corporate law principles of limited liability and separate entity have the primacy to effectively shield those behind the company from at least certain types of liability. However, it is undesirable for corporate insiders to hide behind the company to avoid tortious or statutory liabilities. This book adopts a theory of interactive (corrective) justice that is applied in the corporate context to justify the imposition of civil liability on responsible directors, shareholders and other corporate participants under Anglo-Australian law. In light of this theoretical framework, possibilities of rectifying deficiencies in the law through judicial development of existing legal principles are examined. To the extent that appropriate directions in the law cannot be achieved via judicial development of the law, the book also investigates possibilities of statutory reform.

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Publisher Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Release Date
ISBN 1443887714
Pages 410 pages
Rating 4/5 (17 users)