通往小股东保障之路径:中国派生诉讼 (Pathway to Minority Shareholder Protection: Derivative Actions in the People’s Republic of China)

36 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2015

See all articles by Donald C. Clarke

Donald C. Clarke

George Washington University Law School

Nicholas Calcina Howson

University of Michigan Law School

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

Chinese Abstract: 本文基于对50多个案例中法院判决的分析,阐述在《中华人民共和国公司法》(2006年1月生效)明确规定派生诉讼前后,股东派生诉讼的执行情况与发展态势。此外,我们介绍在当代中国企业组织和公司治理的独特环境,批判派生诉讼的制度设计,并提出相应的改革建议。我们发现中国派生诉讼的制度设计在某些方面是具有创新性的,适合中国的实际情况。例如,法律除了规定针对内部人士和信义义务人的纵向诉讼之外,还允许针对控制股东或大股东的横向诉讼。同时,我们也发现一些制度设计方面的瑕疵。例如,原告在立案方面存在障碍,原告向董事会提出的诉讼请求、以及此类请求的赦免与拒绝等问题尚不明晰,不必要的区分针对公司信义义务人的派生诉讼的过错要求与针对以控制股东为代表的其他人的派生诉讼的过错要求。我们还发现在法律正式规定派生诉讼前后,原告和主审法官对于这一制度的利用是非常大胆甚至是过于激进的。正如中国法院对公司法其他规定的适用,派生诉讼的适用似乎完全限于闭锁型公司。对有大量股东的股份有限公司不适用派生诉讼,这点是非常出人意料的。因为2006年公司法修订中规定的派生诉讼的目的恰恰就是为了给予这类公司的小股东一个途径去追究内部人士和控制股东肆意渎职的法律责任。此外,派生诉讼是以注意义务为代表的公司法原则的必要载体。而我们注意到一些中国法院对此类原则缺乏理解或持谨慎态度。本文是以英文发表的“Pathway to Minority Shareholder Protection: Derivative Actions in the People’s Republic of China”的中文译文。该文原载于D. Puchniak等主编的《派生诉讼在亚洲:比较研究和功能性研究》(剑桥大学出版社,2012年8月),并构成该书的一章。

English Abstract: Using a dataset of Chinese judicial opinions arising in over fifty cases, this paper analyses the development and current implementation of shareholder derivative actions in the courts of the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”), both before and after the derivative lawsuit was explicitly authorized in the PRC’s 2006 Company Law effective January 1, 2006. In addition, we describe the very unique ecology of enterprise organization and corporate governance in modern China, and critique the formal design of the derivative action and offer reform suggestions. We find the design of the Chinese derivative lawsuit to be, in some respects, innovative and appropriate for Chinese circumstances. For instance, the statutory scheme permits “horizontal” claims against controlling or oppressive shareholders in addition to “vertical” claims against orthodox insiders and fiduciaries. At the same time, we find certain design flaws, including standing-based obstacles for plaintiffs, a lack of clarity regarding demand, demand excuse and refusal, and an unnecessary distinction regarding the required wrong underlying derivative actions directed at corporate fiduciaries, on one hand, and others (such as controlling shareholders), on the other. In implementation, we find extremely robust -- even overly-aggressive -- use of the mechanism by both plaintiffs and deciding judges before and after its formal recognition in law. As in other applications of the corporate law before the courts in China, this use of the derivative action seems to be entirely limited to the closely-held form of corporation. The absence of application with respect to the widely-held, joint stock, form of company is striking because the derivative lawsuit itself was included in the 2006 PRC Company Law revision precisely so as to give minority shareholders in such widely-held companies a way to hold insiders and controlling shareholders accountable at law for rampant malfeasance. In addition, we note the way in which some PRC courts are wary or uncomprehending of the underlying corporate law doctrines for which the derivative action is a necessary vehicle, particularly the duty of care. This is a Chinese language translation of a chapter originally published in the English language in “Pathway to Minority Shareholder Protection: Derivative Actions in the People’s Republic of China” in D. Puchniak et al. (eds.), The Derivative Action in Asia: A Comparative and Functional Approach (Cambridge University Press, August 2012).

Note: Downloadable document is in Chinese.

Keywords: China, Chinese law, company law, corporate law, derivative actions, comparative law

JEL Classification: K22,K41

Suggested Citation

Clarke, Donald C. and Howson, Nicholas Calcina, 通往小股东保障之路径:中国派生诉讼 (Pathway to Minority Shareholder Protection: Derivative Actions in the People’s Republic of China) (2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2580535 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2580535

Donald C. Clarke (Contact Author)

George Washington University Law School ( email )

2000 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20052
United States
202-994-2830 (Phone)
202-318-4479 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://docs.law.gwu.edu/facweb/dclarke/

Nicholas Calcina Howson

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

701 South State Street
3234 South Hall
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-3091
United States

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