Review Essay: Corporate Constitutionalism

Sydney Law Review, Vol. 31, p. 147, 2009

ANU College of Law Research Paper No. 09-09

16 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2009

See all articles by Peta Spender

Peta Spender

ANU College of Law

Angus Corbett

Penn Program on Regulation; Centre for Healthcare Resilience and Implementation Science

Date Written: June 16, 2009


The challenge for critical corporate law scholars is to provide an account of corporate law that accommodates responsiveness to the public interest. This involves defining a space for debate about both the public policy goals of corporate law and the regulatory mechanisms for achieving those goals. This task is a complex one because it involves recognising the insights of law and economics scholars, in particular, that corporations are at once important components of markets and constituted by those markets. A recent book and winner of the 2008 Hart Socio-Legal Book Prize, The Constitutional Corporation by Stephen Bottomley, provides just such an account of corporate law. This book provides a pragmatic account of corporate law which opens up corporate law to political concerns while acknowledging that corporate law is private in its orientation. This review of The Constitutional Corporation provides an overview of Bottomley’s analysis, locates his approach in broader theoretical debates about corporate law and examines the potential of the approach to develop systems of corporate social responsibility in order to meet impending global challenges such as climate change.

Suggested Citation

Spender, Peta and Corbett, Angus, Review Essay: Corporate Constitutionalism (June 16, 2009). Sydney Law Review, Vol. 31, p. 147, 2009, ANU College of Law Research Paper No. 09-09, Available at SSRN:

Peta Spender (Contact Author)

ANU College of Law ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200


Angus Corbett

Penn Program on Regulation ( email )

Philadelphia, PA
United States
610 952 4866 (Phone)

Centre for Healthcare Resilience and Implementation Science ( email )

North Ryde
Sydney, New South Wales 2109
1 610 952 4866 (Phone)

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