Gentleman's Agreement: The Antisemitic Origins of Restrictions on Stockholder Litigation
Author(s)Mitchell, Lawrence E.
Law and Society
Business Organizations Law
Law and Society
Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility
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AbstractA deeply ingrained, seemingly ineradicable, hostility to plaintiffs’ lawyers and especially to plaintiffs’ lawyers in stockholder suits seems to have existed for most of the past century. This hostility is manifest not only in the tone of judicial opinions but in law review articles, the popular press, and, often, in legislation. This article analyzes the circumstances under which the first security-for-expense statute was adopted in New York in 1944, including the contemporaneous justification for the statute, focusing on the demographics of the New York bar at the time and the ethnic sociology of New York. In so doing, it concludes that both the statute and the justification were deeply flawed, and finds a pervasive antisemitism as a proximate cause of the statute’s adoption. The article further goes on to argue that this antisemitism poisons, albeit subconsciously, our contemporary attitudes towards plaintiffs’ lawyers, an attitude which led to excessive and poorly justified restrictions on stockholders’ litigation in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The author concludes that this history should caution us to be careful in examining our motivations for restricting the corporate plaintiffs’ bar.
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Public Wrongs, Private Actions : Civil Lawsuits to Recover Stolen AssetsSotiropoulou, Anastasia; Sylvester, Katherine Rose; Mekki, Yannis; Brun, Jean Pierre; Dubois, Pascale Helene; Uttamchandani, Mahesh; Jaïs, Sarah; van der Does de Willebois, Emile; Hauch, Jeanne (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2014-10-20)Corruption and thefts of public assets harm a diffuse set of victims, weakens confidence in public institutions, damages the private investment climate, and threatens the foundations of the society as a whole. In developing countries with scarce public resources, the cost of corruption is an impediment to development: developing countries lose between US$20 to US$40 billion each year through bribery, misappropriation of funds, and other corrupt practices. Corruption is by no means a "victimless crime." This study aims to explore the standing of States and Government entities as victims and the possible recourse to private actions to redress public wrongs. States and Government entities may act as private litigants and bring civil suits to recover assets lost to corruption. The goal of this work is to promote knowledge and understanding as well as to increase the use of civil remedies and private lawsuits to recover stolen assets in the context of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) offences. The UNCAC, the global standard for the fight against corruption, does not contain a legal definition of corruption itself but lists an array of offences, including public and private sector bribery and the embezzlement of public and private sector funds. The study will mainly focus on these two types of corruption, namely bribery and embezzlement of funds. This study is not intended in any way to minimize the importance of criminal proceedings and confiscation in addressing acts of corruption. Rather, it will show that civil law remedies can effectively complement criminal penalties by attacking the economic base of corrupt activities both in the public and the private sectors. In fact, given the magnitude of the challenges, all avenues of asset recovery, be they criminal or civil, should be explored simultaneously in order to tackle corruption from each and every angle and achieve the goals of deterrence and enforcement. Hence, while criminal law expresses society's disapproval of the corrupt acts and aims at dissuasion, punishment, and confiscation of illicit proceeds, civil law focuses on victims' interests and aims at compensation and restitution. These procedures may occur sometimes in parallel, sometimes sequentially. An effective response to corruption very often requires concomitant use of both criminal and civil law remedies to achieve the desired result.
The World Bank Legal Review, Volume 4 : Legal Innovation and Empowerment for DevelopmentMuller, Sam; Thomas, Chantal; Cissé, Hassane; Wang, Chenguang; Wang, Chenguang; Thomas, Chantal; Muller, Sam; Cissé, Hassane (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2013)The World Bank legal review gathers this input from around the world and compiles it into a useful resource for all development practitioners and scholars. The subtitle of this volume, legal innovation and empowerment for development, highlights how the law can respond to the chal-lenges posed to development objectives in a world slowly emerging from an economic crisis. The focus on innovation is a call for new, imaginative strategies and ways of thinking about what the law can do in the development realm. The focus on empowerment is a deliberate attempt to place the law into the hands of the poor; to give them another tool with which to resist poverty. This volume shows some of the ways that the law can make an innovative and empowering difference in development scenarios. Development problems are complex and varied, and the theme of innovation and empowerment naturally has a broad scope. Consequently, this volume reaches far and wide. It considers the nature, promise, and limitations of legal innovation and legal empowerment. It looks at concrete examples in places such as Africa, the Asia-Pacific region, and Latin America. It considers developments in issues with universal application, such as the rights of the disabled and the effectiveness of asset recovery measures. The theme of legal innovation and empowerment for development complements substantive and institutional sensibilities in current development policy. Substantively, development policy discourse seems to have moved away from tacking hard toward statist policy or neoliberal policy. Although this brief introduction cannot do justice to the richness and complexity of these contributions, it does consider each focal point in turn.
Morocco : Legal and Judicial Sector AssessmentWorld Bank (Washington, DC, 2013-07-09)The overall legal framework in Morocco is not a priority area for reform. The law-making process, however, is weak, resulting in poorly drafted laws, and legal dissemination is inadequate. Legal education relies upon outdated curricula and is offered in competing languages, French and Arabic, the selection of which largely determines students' choices for future employment. The training of legal professionals is minimal and is poorly supervised. The general public has little access to legal information. Legal aid is embryonic and restricted to criminal matters. This assessment of the legal and judicial sector offers recommendations in the areas of case law dissemination, capacity building of the law-making institutions, development of a legal toolkit for judges, redesign of legal studies, training of legal professionals to improve quality, supervision of translators and experts, redirecting the activities of lawyers towards legal advice, expanding the notaries, redesigning court operations, expanding judicial participation on the High Council for the Judiciary and ensuring greater judicial independence, offering professionalized training to the judiciary, including language proficiency as a criteria for recruitment and promotion, obtaining judicial consent for judicial transfers, making public judicial resources, improving the transparency of the inspection process, drafting a code of legal ethics, training for non-judicial appointments, developing court management capacities, improving personnel management, acknowledgment of the profession of registrar, reviewing and enforcing the regulations concerning judicial experts, further decentralizing of the management of the judicial budgets and development of budget management capacity, improving court statistics, upgrading judicial infrastructure, court construction and renovation, overhauling the entire enforcement system, development of public information procedures, improving access of the public to legal information and advice, and enactment of the arbitration code.