The business corporation is one of the greatest organizational inventions, but it creates risks both for shareholders and for third parties. To mitigate these risks, legislators, judges, and corporate lawyers have at all times tried to learn from foreign experiences and adapt their regulatory regimes to them. Corporate law is therefore a prime exemplar for the comparative law approach: US corporation law has evolved from European precedents, the German states copied many provisions from the French Code de Commerce, and Japan adopted rules from Germany. These are just a few prominent examples. In the last three decades, the comparative approach has grown into an interdisciplinary and international movement that led to a stream of law reforms, client memoranda, law review articles, and international conferences unseen before. Corporate governance, the system by which companies are directed and controlled, is today one of the key topics for legislation, practice, and academia around the world.
The origins of the present volume on Comparative Corporate Governance lie in the XVIIIth International Congress of Comparative Law/Le XVIIIe Congrès International de droit comparé of the International Academy of Comparative Law/L’Académie Internationale de droit comparé in Washington, DC from July 25, 2010 to August 1, 2010. The Congress devoted one section to “Commercial law/Droit commercial,” and within this section one group of international lawyers focused on “Corporate Governance/Le gouvernement d’entreprise.” Klaus J. Hopt, the General Reporter nominated by the International Academy, prepared a questionnaire (reprinted in this volume on pp. 1093–1102), to which corporate lawyers from all over the world (principally chosen by the Academy) responded with thirty-one country reports. These reports gave detailed accounts of the corporate governance regimes of Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, China, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, the UK, and the US.