English Company Law: Legal Architecture for a Global Law Market


English-architecture company law describes the distinct and diverse group of company or corporate law used in more than 60 jurisdictions worldwide. English-architecture company law provides a robust platform for innovation and development due to its permissive structure, opportunity for choice of law in an entity’s internal governance, and scalability permitting variation for small and large entities. It is the dominant form among International Financial Centers (IFCs), many of which have legal systems with a British connection. This body of law responds to competition and maintains dynamism by engaging its practice community through “learning by doing” and “frictioneering.” An architecture approach permits a broader review of developments in company law that more closely captures the reality of global law practice. The IFC experience of climbing the value chain from tax arbitrage to provide solutions for entities or structures left out in the corporate law of larger jurisdictions provides a useful global governance model to maintain normative, jurisprudential, and regulatory coherence even as it responds to more specialized and unanticipated needs. This Article explores what makes English-architecture company law so successful and how IFCs use it to compete in the global law market.