Legal Transplants and Adaptation in a Colonial Setting: Company Law in British Malaya
Singapore Journal of Legal Studies  pp. 123-150
28 Pages Posted: 16 May 2014 Last revised: 17 Aug 2015
Date Written: May 1, 2014
This paper traces the development of company law during the colonial era in British Malaya, providing details on the laws of the Straits Settlements and the Federated Malay States. It also presents an account of economic development and the use of the limited liability company form in these two interlinked jurisdictions. The paper notes the lack of connection between the evolution of the company law in Malaya, local economic and political developments and the actual local use of the law. We situate this material within three current debates about the nature of colonial company law; whether the law is more a product of the “transplant effect” than of legal family, whether the dispersal of company law to the colonies was as straightforward as is often assumed, and whether the law is best characterised as “imperialism”.
Keywords: company law, history, British Malaya, Straits Settlements, Federated Malay States, transplant effect, legal family
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