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Fear of Delaware effect after Inspire Art; rhetoric or reality? Is harmonisation a solution?

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Title: Fear of Delaware effect after Inspire Art; rhetoric or reality? Is harmonisation a solution?
Author(s): Hossain, Sheikh
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Law
Degree program: Master's Programme in International Business Law
Specialisation: Private International Law
Language: English
Acceptance year: 2016
Freedom of establishment granted to nationals of Member States which is enshrined in the Article 49 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) is one of the fundamental freedoms granted by the Treaty that extends to companies by virtue of Article 54 of TFEU. In the absence of company law harmonisation, the increased corporate mobility may lead to a competition between legal orders which in turn can produce laxer law in the Community and this fear is known as fear of Delaware effect in the European Union. Since company law is not harmonised in the EU, there are differences among national conflicts of laws rules of the Member States and many Member States felt justified to use the real seat doctrine as a defensive mechanism for negating the European Delaware. However, the judgment in Centros changed this situation and established legal forum shopping as a good practice. Subsequently the judgment in Überseering reaffirmed the principle of mutual recognition in the EU. Therefore these two judgments established the market for company incorporations and as a result it was feared that, a European Delaware is going to emerge. The purpose of this paper is to assess whether this fear is justifiable. For this purpose the traditional way of conducting legal research; looking for sources and by reading and evaluating them, using them with critical thinking and judgments, was used as a method in this paper. The paper found that, although after the judgments in Centros, Überseering and Inspire Art it was feared that a European Delaware is going to emerge; this fear was unreasonable. It is particularly because the regulatory competition not only needs the establishment of a market for company incorporations but also needs the willingness of the Member States and the companies to compete. The judgments in Centros and Überseering only established a partial market for company incorporation because a market for company incorporation needs both the ability to forum shop and the ability to reincorporate a company in another Member State. This paper also looked into the incentives for competition from the Member State’s and company’s perspective. Eventually, market for company incorporations was established after the judgment in Polbud which allowed cross-border conversion of companies; making regulatory competition possible in the EU. As a result, this paper proposed company law harmonisation as possible solution to the problem. It is high time the Commission took the initiative to make Community company law uniform so that a European Delaware does not emerge.
Keyword(s): Regulatory competition Delaware effect

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