Advanced

Den aktiebolagsrättsliga separationsprincipen i ett komparativt perspektiv

Gunnard, Fredrik LU (2012) JURM02 20121
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Aktieägaravtal är vanligt förekommande i såväl svenska aktiebolag som i dess danska, norska och tyska motsvarigheter. Avtalen kan grovt förenklat sägas tjäna som ett instrument för att säkerställa aktieägarnas intressen när dessa inte anses tillräckligt tillgodosedda genom lag eller bolagsordning.

Inom svensk aktiebolagsrätt brukar man skilja mellan ett aktieägaravtals obligationsrättsliga rättsverkningar och dess rättsverkningar i förhållande till bolaget. Avtalet anses binda parterna obligationsrättsligt men sakna verkan i förhållande till bolaget om lagstöd saknas. Detta brukar benämnas den aktiebolagsrättsliga separationsprincipen och får anses utgöra gällande rätt. Hur principens tillämpningsomfång bör avgränsas råder det större... (More)
Aktieägaravtal är vanligt förekommande i såväl svenska aktiebolag som i dess danska, norska och tyska motsvarigheter. Avtalen kan grovt förenklat sägas tjäna som ett instrument för att säkerställa aktieägarnas intressen när dessa inte anses tillräckligt tillgodosedda genom lag eller bolagsordning.

Inom svensk aktiebolagsrätt brukar man skilja mellan ett aktieägaravtals obligationsrättsliga rättsverkningar och dess rättsverkningar i förhållande till bolaget. Avtalet anses binda parterna obligationsrättsligt men sakna verkan i förhållande till bolaget om lagstöd saknas. Detta brukar benämnas den aktiebolagsrättsliga separationsprincipen och får anses utgöra gällande rätt. Hur principens tillämpningsomfång bör avgränsas råder det större oenighet om. Enligt ett synsätt inom rättsvetenskapen omfattar principen endast avtal vilka reglerar ett aktiebolags inre rättsförhållanden medan ett annat förordar att principen omfattar allt som är reglerat i aktiebolagslagen (2005:551).

Syftet med denna uppsats är att, mot bakgrund av en jämförelse med dansk, norsk och tysk rätt, redogöra för de lege lata och de lege ferenda aspekter som den aktiebolagsrättsliga separationsprincipen ger upphov till. Finns det skäl för en mer liberal nyordning? Om inte, bör i sådana fall den aktiebolagsrättsliga separationsprincipen kodifieras i svensk rätt?

Grundtanken om en skiljelinje mellan obligationsrätt och aktiebolagsrätt återfinns även inom dansk, norsk och tysk rätt. Dock märks vissa skillnader i förhållande till den svenska rätten. Dansk rätt karaktäriserades tidigare av ett liberalt förhållningssätt där ägaravtal under vissa omständigheter ansågs medföra rättsverkningar i förhållande till bolaget. Detta synsätt har dock kommit att förändras sedan kodifieringen av en separationsprincip i Lov om aktie- og anpartsselskaber (470 af 12/6 2009). Rättsläget i Tyskland präglas sedan en tid tillbaka av en viss osäkerhet kring vilka rättsverkningar som ett ägaravtal ska anses medföra. I två fall har Bundesgerichtshof tillerkänt ägaravtal verkningar i förhållande till bolaget trots den förhärskande uppfattningen att sådana avtal endast binder parterna.

Den svenska rätten erkänner inga undantag från separationsprincipen. Dock har det på vissa håll argumenterats för en nyordning där aktieägaravtalet under vissa omständigheter bör kunna tillerkännas verkan i förhållande till bolaget. En sådan nyordning kan anses motiverad på praktiska grunder men riskerar att skapa oklarhet i hur rättsläget bör förstås.

Mot en kodifiering av den aktiebolagsrättsliga separationsprincipen talar att den redan utgör en given grund i svensk aktiebolagsrätt. Detta till trots finns det i mina ögon starka skäl som talar för en legaldefinition av vad som avses med ”aktiebolagsrättsliga verkningar”. (Less)
Abstract
Shareholders’ agreements are commonly used in Swedish, Danish, Norwegian and German limited companies. In short, such agreements can be seen as an instrument to ensure the shareholders’ interests when these interests are not considered to be sufficiently protected by company law or by the articles of association.

In Sweden, a difference is made between the legal effects of a shareholders’ agreement in company law and in contract law. Whereas the shareholders agreement creates contractual obligations for the parties involved, explicit legal support in statutory law is necessary in order for a shareholders’ agreement to also have company law effects. This is referred to as the separation principle and is established by law. However, the... (More)
Shareholders’ agreements are commonly used in Swedish, Danish, Norwegian and German limited companies. In short, such agreements can be seen as an instrument to ensure the shareholders’ interests when these interests are not considered to be sufficiently protected by company law or by the articles of association.

In Sweden, a difference is made between the legal effects of a shareholders’ agreement in company law and in contract law. Whereas the shareholders agreement creates contractual obligations for the parties involved, explicit legal support in statutory law is necessary in order for a shareholders’ agreement to also have company law effects. This is referred to as the separation principle and is established by law. However, the scope of the principle has been disputed. Some interpret the principle as covering everything dealt with by the Swedish Companies Act (2005:551) while others claim that it only covers a company’s internal legal relations.

The purpose with this thesis is to examine the de lege lata and de lege ferenda aspects of the separation principle in Swedish law, through a comparison with Danish, Norwegian and German law. Are there reasons for Swedish law to take a more liberal position and allow for shareholders’ agreements to have effect also in company law? If not, is a codification of the separation principle preferable?

The fundamental idea of separation between company law and contract law is also established in Danish, Norwegian and German law. However, some differences from Swedish law can be found. Danish law used to be characterised by a liberal position where shareholders’ agreements under certain circumstances were considered to have legal effect in company law. This position changed after the codification of a separation principle in the Danish Companies Act (470 of 12/06/2009). In German law the legal effects of a shareholders’ agreement are uncertain. Despite the existence of a general separation principle in German law, the Bundesgerichtshof held shareholders’ agreements to have legal effect in company law in two rulings.

Swedish law permits no exceptions of the separation principle. However, some scholars have argued that shareholders’ agreements should have legal effect in company law under certain circumstances. Even though such a change could be justified on practical grounds, it could also create uncertainty for the understanding of the law.

Even though the separation principle is already established by Swedish law, which provides an argument against codifying the principle, this paper will argue that there are strong reasons for a legal definition of the scope of the separation principle. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Gunnard, Fredrik LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
The separation principle in comparative perspective
course
JURM02 20121
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
aktieägaravtal aktiebolagsrättsliga separationsprincipen
language
Swedish
id
2740383
date added to LUP
2012-10-15 12:04:02
date last changed
2012-10-15 12:04:02
@misc{2740383,
  abstract     = {Shareholders’ agreements are commonly used in Swedish, Danish, Norwegian and German limited companies. In short, such agreements can be seen as an instrument to ensure the shareholders’ interests when these interests are not considered to be sufficiently protected by company law or by the articles of association. 

In Sweden, a difference is made between the legal effects of a shareholders’ agreement in company law and in contract law. Whereas the shareholders agreement creates contractual obligations for the parties involved, explicit legal support in statutory law is necessary in order for a shareholders’ agreement to also have company law effects. This is referred to as the separation principle and is established by law. However, the scope of the principle has been disputed. Some interpret the principle as covering everything dealt with by the Swedish Companies Act (2005:551) while others claim that it only covers a company’s internal legal relations.

The purpose with this thesis is to examine the de lege lata and de lege ferenda aspects of the separation principle in Swedish law, through a comparison with Danish, Norwegian and German law. Are there reasons for Swedish law to take a more liberal position and allow for shareholders’ agreements to have effect also in company law? If not, is a codification of the separation principle preferable? 

The fundamental idea of separation between company law and contract law is also established in Danish, Norwegian and German law. However, some differences from Swedish law can be found. Danish law used to be characterised by a liberal position where shareholders’ agreements under certain circumstances were considered to have legal effect in company law. This position changed after the codification of a separation principle in the Danish Companies Act (470 of 12/06/2009). In German law the legal effects of a shareholders’ agreement are uncertain. Despite the existence of a general separation principle in German law, the Bundesgerichtshof held shareholders’ agreements to have legal effect in company law in two rulings. 

Swedish law permits no exceptions of the separation principle. However, some scholars have argued that shareholders’ agreements should have legal effect in company law under certain circumstances. Even though such a change could be justified on practical grounds, it could also create uncertainty for the understanding of the law. 

Even though the separation principle is already established by Swedish law, which provides an argument against codifying the principle, this paper will argue that there are strong reasons for a legal definition of the scope of the separation principle.},
  author       = {Gunnard, Fredrik},
  keyword      = {aktieägaravtal aktiebolagsrättsliga separationsprincipen},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Den aktiebolagsrättsliga separationsprincipen i ett komparativt perspektiv},
  year         = {2012},
}