Research line 1
Company Groups and Global Networks
Team leaders: Mieke Olaerts & Anna Beckers
In a globalizing world providers of goods and services often operate in groups or global networks, using the same name and creating an image of unity. Groups and global networks are important economic players whose activities are complex to regulate as legal rules often only apply to individual companies forming part of a group or network. Stakeholders may be affected by their operations and regulators are increasingly looking for tools to ensure a responsibility of the group or network as a whole for certain important societal interest that transcendent the legal entity that forms part of the group or network. This development raises several questions, such as: in which situations should the group or network be seen as an economic unity? What legal or regulatory tools can be used to regulate group and network relations? What are the consequences of these developments for the internal governance of company groups and networks? This research line focuses on how these issues can be addressed and how company groups and global networks can be regulated.
Central to this research line are: i. the protection of stakeholders and ii. governance aspects of groups and networks. The research focuses on both the internal and the external dimension of groups and networks. The internal dimension relates to the relationship among the members within the group\network, whereas the external dimension concerns the relationship of the group\network vis a vis third parties such as the relevant stakeholders. One of the aims within the scope of this research line is to investigate to what extent existing liability rules have an influence on the governance of company groups and networks and in what way internal group policies can be enforced within company groups as well as how compliance with these rules can be ensured. The research line has so far led to several research projects, collaboration and reports such as for example the national report on Company Groups in the Netherlands for the International Academy of Comparative Law in 2017. Several publications on the governance of company groups and an ongoing book project related to Governance in company groups from a comparative law perspective.
"Groups of Companies", published by Springer, edited by Rafael Mariano Manovil, containing a contribution of ICGI member Mieke Olaerts on the National Report on the Netherlands, May 2020.
"Van het Concern", 10th edn., published by Wolters Kluwer, written by Adriaan Dorresteijn and ICGI members Steef Bartman and Mieke Olaerts, September 2020.