Anatol Dutta, The Death of the Shareholder in the Conflict of Laws, Rabels Zeitschrift, Vol. 73, No. 4, October 2009
The death of the shareholder raises the question how the law applicable to the company and the law governing the succession in the deceased shareholder’s estate have to be delimitated. This borderline becomes more and more relevant against the background of recent jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Centros, Überseering and Inspire Art concerning the freedom of movement of companies in the Community. On the one hand, as a consequence of this jurisprudence the laws governing the company and the succession often differ. On the other hand, the ECJ’s jurisprudence might further blur the boundaries between the laws governing companies and successions. The article tries to draw the border between the relevant choice-of-law rules. It comes to the conclusion that the consequences of the shareholder’s death for the company and his share are subject to the conflict rules for companies (supra III.). More problematic, though, is the characterisation of the succession in the share of the deceased shareholder. Some legal systems contain special succession regimes for shares in certain private companies and partnerships. The article argues (supra IV.) that the succession in shares has to be dually-characterised and subjected to both, the law governing the company and the succession. Yet clashes between the applicable company and succession laws are to be solved by giving precedence to the applicable company law. The precedence of company law should be clarified by the legislator – by the German legislator when codifying the conflict rules for companies and by the European legislator when codifying the conflict rules for successions upon death (supra V.).
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Rabels Zeitschrift fuer auslaendisches und internationales Privatrecht [4/2009]