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Rättsinstitutet särskild granskning enligt aktiebolagslagen – har reglerna kommit att missbrukas? - En kartläggning över 211 granskningsärenden under perioden 2008 – 2015

Ahlgren, Magnus LU (2015) JURM02 20152
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Uppsatsen behandlar vissa frågor kring rättsinstitutet särskild granskning enligt aktiebolagslagen. Särskild granskning tillhör aktiebolagslagens minoritetsskyddsregler och ger en minoritet av aktieägare rätt att genom Bolagsverkets försorg få en särskild granskare utsedd. Genom en specialundersökning kan avgränsade förhållanden i bolaget som är av extraordinär natur granskas. Förarbetena har uttalat att granskning ska kunna aktualiseras när misstankar om missförhållanden eller oegentligheter i bolaget föreligger. Lagens bestämmelser om särskild granskning består endast av tre paragrafer och förefaller lämna många rättsfrågor oreglerade. Eftersom det är Bolagsverket som formellt beslutar och utser en granskare, aktualiseras även en del... (More)
Uppsatsen behandlar vissa frågor kring rättsinstitutet särskild granskning enligt aktiebolagslagen. Särskild granskning tillhör aktiebolagslagens minoritetsskyddsregler och ger en minoritet av aktieägare rätt att genom Bolagsverkets försorg få en särskild granskare utsedd. Genom en specialundersökning kan avgränsade förhållanden i bolaget som är av extraordinär natur granskas. Förarbetena har uttalat att granskning ska kunna aktualiseras när misstankar om missförhållanden eller oegentligheter i bolaget föreligger. Lagens bestämmelser om särskild granskning består endast av tre paragrafer och förefaller lämna många rättsfrågor oreglerade. Eftersom det är Bolagsverket som formellt beslutar och utser en granskare, aktualiseras även en del förvaltningsrättsliga principer. Därför har uppsatsen i viss mån även belyst praxis från Bolagsverket och Länsstyrelserna, vilka fram t.o.m. november 2013 hanterade granskningsärenden, samt de principer som utvecklats där.
Mot bakgrund av att aktiebolagslagens regler om särskild granskning är mycket allmänt utformade, medför det i princip att alla förhållanden i aktiebolag kan bli föremål för granskning. Granskningstemat som bestämmer inom vilka ramar granskningen får hålla sig inom behöver inte närmare specificera vad en granskning ska avse. Av Bolagsverkets beslut kan utläsas att myndigheten endast gör en formell prövning och inte ifrågasätter teman som delvis är otillåtna enligt ABL. Istället ankommer det på den särskilda granskaren att bedöma lagligheten av utformade granskningsteman. Under senare år har man på Justitiedepartementet blivit uppmärksammad på att reglerna inte använts ändamålsenligt och att bestämmelserna t.o.m. har överutnyttjats av minoritetsägare. Dessa tycks i viss utsträckning ha använt granskningsinstitutet i rent skadesyfte. Därmed har man befarat att reglerna kommit att missbrukas. Som en konsekvens har lagändringar föreslagits för att komma till rätta med nämnda problem. I uppsatsen har tonvikt lagts kring denna missbruksproblematik. Arbetet kretsar kring att belysa missbruk av institutet och att undersöka om departementets farhågor är befogade.
I förarbetena till äldre och nuvarande ABL liksom doktrin kännetecknas missbruk av att reglerna används i chikanöst syfte. Det här innebär att aktieägare ges möjligheten att utnyttja granskningsinstitutet i strid med dess avsedda syfte där man uteslutande på olika sätt påkallar granskning för att orsaka kostnader och problem i bolaget. För att definiera och sätta upp kriterier för vad missbruk utgörs av har jag, förutom att ha tagit fasta på uttalanden i förarbeten och doktrin, utgått från de riktlinjer Justitiedepartementet och Länsstyrelsen i Stockholms Län har lämnat. B.la. innefattar kriterierna att granskning görs återkommande i samma bolag och då minoriteten som ansökt om granskning bedriver konkurrerande verksamhet.
Den empiriska studien jag har genomfört i uppsatsen visar att totalt 211 granskningsärenden har inkommit till Länsstyrelserna och Bolagsverket under de senaste sju åren. Av dessa når 41 ärenden upp till de missbrukskriterier som jag konstruerat. Min undersökning pekar alltså på att ett missbruk förekommer i nästan 20 % av ärendena. Genom att betrakta dessa siffror kan man misstänka att detta förhållande inte är ovanligt i landets aktiebolag. Med tanke på att det finns mer än 400 000 registrerade aktiebolag i Sverige utgör emellertid de här ärendena en ytterst marginell del.
Studieresultaten som presenterats i arbetet är de första i sitt slag och ska tolkas med försiktighet. Uppenbart är att det inte går att göra någon långtgående analys för vad som gäller de ärenden där missbruk konstaterats, vilket beror på att det är först efter att granskningen avslutats som man med säkerhet kan avgöra om ett missbruk varit för handen. Fortsatta studier måste gå vidare med att samla in mer information. Av detta följer att slutsatserna är begränsade.
Även om antalet granskningsärenden har ökat de senaste åren och att undersökningen i viss utsträckning talar för att Justitiedepartementets misstankar är befogade, är min uppfattning att departementets farhågor är en aning överdrivna. Det här baseras på att det absoluta flertalet av missbruksärendena avsett granskningar i dotterbolag och nämnda svårighet med att på utseendestadiet bedöma ett missbruk. Till stöd för min tes kan även vikt fästas vid Bolagsverkets remissyttrande; nämligen att det missbruk lagändringar syftar till att stävja inte är särskilt utbrett. (Less)
Abstract
The thesis deals with certain questions concerning the legal institute’s special examination according to the Swedish Companies Act (SCA). Requesting a special examiner is a part of different protection controls for minority shareholder in SCA and gives a minority of shareholders the right to get a special examiner appointed by the Swedish Companies Registration Office (SCRO). By conducting a special investigation, delimited conditions in the company which are of extraordinary nature, can be reviewed. The preparatory work of the law have stated that examination should be invoked when suspicions of misconducts or irregularities exist in the company. The provisions for special examination in SCA only contains three paragraphs, hence seem to... (More)
The thesis deals with certain questions concerning the legal institute’s special examination according to the Swedish Companies Act (SCA). Requesting a special examiner is a part of different protection controls for minority shareholder in SCA and gives a minority of shareholders the right to get a special examiner appointed by the Swedish Companies Registration Office (SCRO). By conducting a special investigation, delimited conditions in the company which are of extraordinary nature, can be reviewed. The preparatory work of the law have stated that examination should be invoked when suspicions of misconducts or irregularities exist in the company. The provisions for special examination in SCA only contains three paragraphs, hence seem to leave many legal questions unanswered. Since it´s the SCRO who formally decides and nominates an examiner, some administrative provisions applies as well. As a result, the article in addition illuminates the practice from SCRO and county administrations, which up until November 2013 was in charge of examination of legal conditions and principles derived therefrom.
Due to the fact that SCA’s provisions are designed very general and non-specific, all circumstances in a Swedish Limited Company can become subject for examination. The examination theme that sets up boundaries of which the examination should be within doesn´t have to further specify what the examination should consist of. From decisions determined by the SCRO, it can be concluded that the agency only provides a formal test and do not question themes that are partially unauthorized by the SCA. Instead, the task to assess the legality of formulated themes is designated to the special examiner. In recent years, it has come the Swedish Ministry of Justice (SMJ) attention that the rules have not been used in its intended way and that the regulations further have been exploited by minority shareholders. It has been pointed out that these shareholders in some extension have used the institute to cause harm. Many have feared that the rules have been abused and consequently amendments been suggested. The thesis has put emphasis about this mentioned abuse. The work is designed to illustrate misconduct of the institute and to investigate whether SMJ´s apprehensions are legitimated.
In the preparatory work of previous and present SCA and statements in the legal literature, the abuse is characterized by that the regulations are being used in a chicane way. This implies that shareholders are given the opportunity to exploit special audit in violation with its intended aims. Thus, shareholders may apply for examination exclusively in order to cause costs and problems in variously ways in the company. Apart from statements in the different preparatory work of previous and present SCA and expressions in the literature, I have paid attention to what has been stipulated in the guidelines that the SMJ and the county administration of Stockholm have presented in order to define and set criteria of what abuse consists of. For instance, the criteria include recurrent examinations in the same company and situations when the minority shareholder who has applied for examination operates a competitive business.
The empirical study I have conducted shows that in total 211 errands have been submitted to the county administrations and the SCRO during the last seven years. Among these, 41 errands fulfill the criteria of abuse which I have highlighted. My survey suggests that an abuse is present in almost 20 % of the errands. By looking at these numbers, one can suspect that this condition is not rare in the Swedish Limited Companies. Considering there are more than 400 000 registered limited companies in Sweden, these errands are distinguished as an exceedingly marginal part.
The results that have been presented are the first of its kind and should be interpreted with caution. Clearly it is not possible to perform any extensive analysis for those errands where abuse has been noted. This is explained by the fact that it´s first after the examination has ended as one with certainty can determine if an abuse exists. In order to perform a deeper analysis, further studies must be conducted and more information needs to be collected. The conclusions are therefore limited at this time.
Although the numbers of errands have increased in recent years and the survey to some extent supports that SMJ´s suspicions are justified, it is of my opinion that SMJ´s qualms are a bit exaggerated. This is based on the absolute number of errands that are characterized by abuse mention examinations in subsidiaries. Even the difficulty to assess abuse at the nomination phase can´t be ignored. As support for my thesis, emphasis can also be put on SCRO´s remittance as governmental bodies are investigating the amendments at the moment; namely that the abuse the amendments strive to overcome isn´t particular widely-spread. (Less)
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author
Ahlgren, Magnus LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
The legal institute special examination according to the Swedish Companies Act - have the provisions been abused? A study of 211 errands during the period 2008 – 2015
course
JURM02 20152
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
aktiebolagsrätt, missbruk, särskild granskning, associationsrätt, minoritetsskydd
language
Swedish
id
8512103
date added to LUP
2016-01-29 14:35:02
date last changed
2016-02-01 10:52:38
@misc{8512103,
  abstract     = {The thesis deals with certain questions concerning the legal institute’s special examination according to the Swedish Companies Act (SCA). Requesting a special examiner is a part of different protection controls for minority shareholder in SCA and gives a minority of shareholders the right to get a special examiner appointed by the Swedish Companies Registration Office (SCRO). By conducting a special investigation, delimited conditions in the company which are of extraordinary nature, can be reviewed. The preparatory work of the law have stated that examination should be invoked when suspicions of misconducts or irregularities exist in the company. The provisions for special examination in SCA only contains three paragraphs, hence seem to leave many legal questions unanswered. Since it´s the SCRO who formally decides and nominates an examiner, some administrative provisions applies as well. As a result, the article in addition illuminates the practice from SCRO and county administrations, which up until November 2013 was in charge of examination of legal conditions and principles derived therefrom. 
 Due to the fact that SCA’s provisions are designed very general and non-specific, all circumstances in a Swedish Limited Company can become subject for examination. The examination theme that sets up boundaries of which the examination should be within doesn´t have to further specify what the examination should consist of. From decisions determined by the SCRO, it can be concluded that the agency only provides a formal test and do not question themes that are partially unauthorized by the SCA. Instead, the task to assess the legality of formulated themes is designated to the special examiner. In recent years, it has come the Swedish Ministry of Justice (SMJ) attention that the rules have not been used in its intended way and that the regulations further have been exploited by minority shareholders. It has been pointed out that these shareholders in some extension have used the institute to cause harm. Many have feared that the rules have been abused and consequently amendments been suggested. The thesis has put emphasis about this mentioned abuse. The work is designed to illustrate misconduct of the institute and to investigate whether SMJ´s apprehensions are legitimated. 
 In the preparatory work of previous and present SCA and statements in the legal literature, the abuse is characterized by that the regulations are being used in a chicane way. This implies that shareholders are given the opportunity to exploit special audit in violation with its intended aims. Thus, shareholders may apply for examination exclusively in order to cause costs and problems in variously ways in the company. Apart from statements in the different preparatory work of previous and present SCA and expressions in the literature, I have paid attention to what has been stipulated in the guidelines that the SMJ and the county administration of Stockholm have presented in order to define and set criteria of what abuse consists of. For instance, the criteria include recurrent examinations in the same company and situations when the minority shareholder who has applied for examination operates a competitive business. 
 The empirical study I have conducted shows that in total 211 errands have been submitted to the county administrations and the SCRO during the last seven years. Among these, 41 errands fulfill the criteria of abuse which I have highlighted. My survey suggests that an abuse is present in almost 20 % of the errands. By looking at these numbers, one can suspect that this condition is not rare in the Swedish Limited Companies. Considering there are more than 400 000 registered limited companies in Sweden, these errands are distinguished as an exceedingly marginal part. 
 The results that have been presented are the first of its kind and should be interpreted with caution. Clearly it is not possible to perform any extensive analysis for those errands where abuse has been noted. This is explained by the fact that it´s first after the examination has ended as one with certainty can determine if an abuse exists. In order to perform a deeper analysis, further studies must be conducted and more information needs to be collected. The conclusions are therefore limited at this time. 
 Although the numbers of errands have increased in recent years and the survey to some extent supports that SMJ´s suspicions are justified, it is of my opinion that SMJ´s qualms are a bit exaggerated. This is based on the absolute number of errands that are characterized by abuse mention examinations in subsidiaries. Even the difficulty to assess abuse at the nomination phase can´t be ignored. As support for my thesis, emphasis can also be put on SCRO´s remittance as governmental bodies are investigating the amendments at the moment; namely that the abuse the amendments strive to overcome isn´t particular widely-spread.},
  author       = {Ahlgren, Magnus},
  keyword      = {aktiebolagsrätt,missbruk,särskild granskning,associationsrätt,minoritetsskydd},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Rättsinstitutet särskild granskning enligt aktiebolagslagen – har reglerna kommit att missbrukas? - En kartläggning över 211 granskningsärenden under perioden 2008 – 2015},
  year         = {2015},
}