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Klaus J. Hopt, Max-Planck-Institut für ausländisches und internationales Privatrecht, Germany,Thomas Von Hippel, Max-Planck-Institut für ausländisches und internationales Privatrecht, Germany
A part civilian training and recollections of the labours of Tribonian's teams predisposed the writer of this paper, nurtured on both common and Roman law, to feel sympathetic to practicable European harmonisation of non-profit law. Yet as became apparent at the Heidelberg Conference in July 2006 the field there surveyed is vast and heterogeneous, especially if one includes mutual benefit associations whose treatment in English law, as we shall see, pays scant tribute to principles applied in the case of public benefit organisations. Moreover, additional input to the survey from the civilian jurisdictions of Latin Europe (France, Italy, Spain, Portugal) is so obviously necessary that only preliminary interim initiatives directed at common understanding can be effectively promoted. Such understanding may lead to the use of local forms and institutions and compliance with local regulatory controls by outside organisations with cross border aims and aspirations.
The present paper builds not only on discussions at Heidelberg in July 2006 but also on papers consulted since then. It derives further energy from an address on the subject of “The Governance of Charities” given by the writer to the Law Society of Singapore at the end of March 2007, a subject of great topicality in the Republic, given the recent governance scandal within one of its most prominent national charities of Singapore, the National Kidney Foundation.
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