Corporate Social Responsibility and "Contemporary Community Expectations"

Posted: 25 Sep 2019

See all articles by Jean Du Plessis

Jean Du Plessis

Deakin University, Geelong, Australia - Deakin Law School

Date Written: February 1, 2017


This article examines recent developments in company law surrounding corporate social responsibility (CSR). The focus is on the recognition of stakeholder interests and the role of contemporary community expectations in director decision making. The author provides judicial evidence regarding the recognition of the legitimate interests of shareholders and other stakeholders in company decision making, but acknowledges that the case law does not establish these interests as “rights”. There is discussion of the role of a company as a “good corporate citizen” and contemporary community expectations concerning responsible corporate behaviour and sustainable growth that does not harm the environment or society. The author subsequently argues that contemporary community expectations form a policy basis for judges to interpret the law to reflect CSR. The unique legislative approaches to CSR adopted in the United Kingdom, Canada, India and the European Union are analysed, with consideration of the legislative elements that serve to promote CSR, and those that merely allow corporations to carry on with profit maximisation in a “business as usual” manner. The article concludes that CSR obligations should be reviewed in Australia, with a view to potential law reform in this area considering recent international developments.

Keywords: Corporate responsibility, Social responsibility, Community Expectation, Company Law, Corporate behaviour

JEL Classification: L00, K10, K20, K22, K23

Suggested Citation

Du Plessis, Jean, Corporate Social Responsibility and "Contemporary Community Expectations" (February 1, 2017). Deakin Law School Research Paper No. 19-12, Available at SSRN: or

Jean Du Plessis (Contact Author)

Deakin University, Geelong, Australia - Deakin Law School ( email )

221 Burwood Highway
Burwood, Victoria 3125, Victoria 3125

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