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Aktieägaravtalets civilrättsliga verkningar - särskilt om separationsprinciperna

Kjellberg, Minnie LU (2013) JURM01 20132
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Aktieägaravtalet är ett populärt komplement till de vanliga aktiebolagsrättsliga styrdokumenten. Det syftar till att ytterligare reglera aktieägarnas mellanhavanden och associeras med en rad kommersiella fördelar så som avtalsfrihet och konfidentialitet. Däremot har aktieägaravtalets bolagsrättsliga verkningar under många år varit föremål för diskussioner.

Den gängse uppfattningen har länge varit att aktieägaravtalet endast binder parterna och inte bolaget. Principen formulerades i och med den ”aktiebolagsrättsliga separationsprincipen” som säger att avtal aldrig i frånvaro av lagstöd [medför] aktiebolagsrättsliga verkningar. Kvarstår gör dock en rad frågor kring principens tillämpningsområde samt definition och avgränsning av... (More)
Aktieägaravtalet är ett populärt komplement till de vanliga aktiebolagsrättsliga styrdokumenten. Det syftar till att ytterligare reglera aktieägarnas mellanhavanden och associeras med en rad kommersiella fördelar så som avtalsfrihet och konfidentialitet. Däremot har aktieägaravtalets bolagsrättsliga verkningar under många år varit föremål för diskussioner.

Den gängse uppfattningen har länge varit att aktieägaravtalet endast binder parterna och inte bolaget. Principen formulerades i och med den ”aktiebolagsrättsliga separationsprincipen” som säger att avtal aldrig i frånvaro av lagstöd [medför] aktiebolagsrättsliga verkningar. Kvarstår gör dock en rad frågor kring principens tillämpningsområde samt definition och avgränsning av begreppet ”aktiebolagsrättslig verkan”. Den aktiebolagsrättsliga separationsprincipens upphovsman, jur. dr. Niklas Arvidsson, hävdar att endast de inre aktiebolagsrättsliga normerna träffas av principen. HD, å andra sidan, konkluderar i NJA 2011 s. 429 att allt som regleras i ABL omfattas av separationsprincipen.

Debatten om aktieägaravtal har även behandlat frågan om aktieägaravtalets eventuella status som ett ”enkelt bolag”. Fokus har legat på rekvisitet ”kvalificerat gemensamt ändamål”. Med ett undantag tycker en majoritet av de rättskunniga att så kan vara fallet. De förordar därför att en prövning av aktieägaravtalet mot BL:s rekvisit ska göras i varje enskilt fall, en uppfattning som stöds av uppsatsförfattaren. Anses aktieägaravtalet utgöra ett enkelt bolag medför det att BL:s tvingande bestämmelser beträffande uppsägning och skadestånd även blir tillämpliga på aktieägaravtal.

Den här uppsatsen syftar till att med användning av en traditionell juridisk metod undersöka såväl aktieägaravtalets aktiebolagsrättsliga som avtalsrättsliga verkningar samt dess eventuella status som ett enkelt bolag. Författaren anlägger ett praktiskt perspektiv och fokuserar huvudsakligen på de faktiska konsekvenserna. I syfte att erbjuda läsaren referenspunkter har även bolagsordningen behandlats. Förutom en mer generell presentation av institutet har särskild tyngd lagts på de bolagsordningsklausuler, hembud-, förköp och samtyckesförbehållen, som mest liknar avtalsteman i aktieägaravtal.

Sammanfattningsvis kan sägas att bolagsordningen och aktieägaravtalet till viss del är varandras spegelbilder. Det bolagsordningen skänker i form av förutsägbarhet och rättssäkerhet stympas av dess ringa tillämpningsområde, och det aktieägaravtalets avtalsfrihet inspirerar till förmörkas av dess bristande trygghet och rättssäkerhet. (Less)
Abstract
The shareholders’ agreement is a popular complement to the articles of association. It seeks to further regulate shareholders' dealings and is associated with a range of commercial advantages such as freedom of contract and confidentiality. However, the company law implications on the shareholders' agreement are still subject for discussions.

The prevailing view has long been that the shareholders’ agreement only has effect in relation to the parties and not the company. The principle was defined through the “separation principle in company law”, which states that statutory law support is necessary in order for an agreement to have company law effects. Still a number of issues surrounding the principle's scope and the definition and... (More)
The shareholders’ agreement is a popular complement to the articles of association. It seeks to further regulate shareholders' dealings and is associated with a range of commercial advantages such as freedom of contract and confidentiality. However, the company law implications on the shareholders' agreement are still subject for discussions.

The prevailing view has long been that the shareholders’ agreement only has effect in relation to the parties and not the company. The principle was defined through the “separation principle in company law”, which states that statutory law support is necessary in order for an agreement to have company law effects. Still a number of issues surrounding the principle's scope and the definition and delimitation of the concept "company law effects” remain. The originator of the separation principle of company law, JD Niklas Arvidsson, claims that only internal provisions of the company law fall within scope. The Swedish Supreme Court, on the other hand, concludes in NJA 2011 s. 429 that all provisions governed by the Swedish Companies Act (Sw: Aktiebolagslag) also are subject to the separation principle in company law.

The debate has also addressed the issue of shareholders’ agreements’ possible status as a "sole trader" (Sw: enkelt bolag). The focus has been on the definition of the requirement of a “qualified common purpose". With one exception, a majority of the Swedish legal scholars consider it possible that the shareholders’ agreement can constitute a sole trader. They therefore recommend an assessment of each shareholders’ agreement to be made based on the Swedish Commercial Legislation’s (Sw: Lag om Handelsbolag och enkla bolag) necessary conditions for a sole trader in each case, a view supported by the writer of this essay. If the shareholders’ agreement constitutes a sole trader the Swedish Commercial Legislation’s mandatory termination and damages provisions will apply to it.

This paper aims to examine, by the usage of a traditional legal method, both the contract law’s and company law’s effect on the shareholders’ agreement as well as the shareholders’ agreements’ possible status as a sole trader. The author adopts a practical perspective, focusing primarily on the concrete implications. In order to present the reader with a frame of reference, the essay also addresses the articles of association. Alongside of a more general presentation, special emphasis has been placed on those of its provisions that resemble typical shareholders’ agreements’ provisions, i.e. the right of first refusal, pre-emption and consent reservations.

In summary, the shareholders' agreement and articles of association are to a certain extent mirror images of each other. What the articles of association brings in terms of predictability and legal assurance are restricted by its limited scope in the same way as the shareholders' agreement’s contractual freedom are darkened by its lack of security and certainty. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Kjellberg, Minnie LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
The Shareholders' Agreement - In the Light of the Separation Principles in Company Law
course
JURM01 20132
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
associationsrätt, avtalsrätt
language
Swedish
id
4113520
date added to LUP
2013-11-08 13:10:43
date last changed
2013-11-08 13:10:43
@misc{4113520,
  abstract     = {The shareholders’ agreement is a popular complement to the articles of association. It seeks to further regulate shareholders' dealings and is associated with a range of commercial advantages such as freedom of contract and confidentiality. However, the company law implications on the shareholders' agreement are still subject for discussions.

The prevailing view has long been that the shareholders’ agreement only has effect in relation to the parties and not the company. The principle was defined through the “separation principle in company law”, which states that statutory law support is necessary in order for an agreement to have company law effects. Still a number of issues surrounding the principle's scope and the definition and delimitation of the concept "company law effects” remain. The originator of the separation principle of company law, JD Niklas Arvidsson, claims that only internal provisions of the company law fall within scope. The Swedish Supreme Court, on the other hand, concludes in NJA 2011 s. 429 that all provisions governed by the Swedish Companies Act (Sw: Aktiebolagslag) also are subject to the separation principle in company law.

The debate has also addressed the issue of shareholders’ agreements’ possible status as a "sole trader" (Sw: enkelt bolag). The focus has been on the definition of the requirement of a “qualified common purpose". With one exception, a majority of the Swedish legal scholars consider it possible that the shareholders’ agreement can constitute a sole trader. They therefore recommend an assessment of each shareholders’ agreement to be made based on the Swedish Commercial Legislation’s (Sw: Lag om Handelsbolag och enkla bolag) necessary conditions for a sole trader in each case, a view supported by the writer of this essay. If the shareholders’ agreement constitutes a sole trader the Swedish Commercial Legislation’s mandatory termination and damages provisions will apply to it.

This paper aims to examine, by the usage of a traditional legal method, both the contract law’s and company law’s effect on the shareholders’ agreement as well as the shareholders’ agreements’ possible status as a sole trader. The author adopts a practical perspective, focusing primarily on the concrete implications. In order to present the reader with a frame of reference, the essay also addresses the articles of association. Alongside of a more general presentation, special emphasis has been placed on those of its provisions that resemble typical shareholders’ agreements’ provisions, i.e. the right of first refusal, pre-emption and consent reservations.

In summary, the shareholders' agreement and articles of association are to a certain extent mirror images of each other. What the articles of association brings in terms of predictability and legal assurance are restricted by its limited scope in the same way as the shareholders' agreement’s contractual freedom are darkened by its lack of security and certainty.},
  author       = {Kjellberg, Minnie},
  keyword      = {associationsrätt,avtalsrätt},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Aktieägaravtalets civilrättsliga verkningar - särskilt om separationsprinciperna},
  year         = {2013},
}