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Regulatory Competition, Choice of Forum, and Delaware's Stake in Corporate Law

82 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2009  

Faith Stevelman

New York Law School

Date Written: April 29, 2009


As Delaware corporate law confronts the twenty-first-century global economy, the state's legislators and jurists are becoming sensitive to increased threats to the law's sustained preeminence. The increased presence of federal laws and regulations in areas of corporate governance traditionally allocated to the states has been widely noted. The growth of federal corporate law standards may be undermining Delaware's confidence in the sustained prosperity of its chartering business - which has been a vital source of revenues and prestige for Delaware, its equity courts, and especially its corporate bar. The Delaware Court of Chancery appears to be concerned about the emigration of corporate law cases to other states' courtrooms, and is exercising its discretionary jurisdiction more expansively in parallel proceedings to deny defendants' motions to stay. There are even more aggressive measures that Delaware companies and lawmakers could take to restrict Delaware shareholders' choice of forum and keep these cases in Delaware. But Delaware has much to lose from trying to gain monopoly power over the adjudication of its corporate law. Indeed, in a system where corporate managers (or founders/controlling shareholders) select the state of incorporation - and hence effectuate the choice of Delaware corporate law - it is likely that allowing shareholder-plaintiffs freedom in forum selection has a salutary, modulating effect on Delaware corporate law. The ability of Delaware shareholder-plaintiffs to litigate elsewhere most likely plays a key role in preventing Delaware corporate law from becoming hostage to corporate defendants' interests.

Keywords: Delaware, Journal, Corporate, Law, forum, competition, Chancery

Suggested Citation

Stevelman, Faith, Regulatory Competition, Choice of Forum, and Delaware's Stake in Corporate Law (April 29, 2009). Delaware Journal of Corporate Law (DJCL), Vol. 34, No. 1, 2009; NYLS Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08/09-10. Available at SSRN:

Faith Stevelman (Contact Author)

New York Law School ( email )

185 West Broadway
New York, NY 10013
United States
212-431-2197 (Phone)
212-431-1830 (Fax)


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