The political legitimacy of company law and regulation
Keywords:company law, corporate law, market regulation, regulatory theory
Two interrelated objectives are pursued in this article: the first concerns the relationship and interaction between the UK’s company law and market-based regulation; the second explores the legitimacy of marketbased regulation in light of its potential to mould and influence the substantive law. Although the article finds that the two systems retain carefully defined, essentially consistent and mutually complementary roles, it submits that market-based formations run the risk of not readily or plausibly lending themselves to dominant political and democratic accounts, which are deployed customarily to substantiate the legitimacy of state interventionist techniques. Simultaneously, the deployment of a rival conception of legitimacy, conceived as technocratic expertise and market consensus and conformity, is problematic for a number of theoretical and practical reasons. This has implications for the effects and outcomes of the UK’s company law and governance.