Navigation auf


Rechtswissenschaftliche Fakultät Lehrstuhl Alexander

Gesellschaftsrecht II / Principles of Corporate Law

General Information and Module Booking (updated information)

The course will examine the main principles of corporate law from a comparative and European perspective. In doing so, the major doctrines of common law and civil law systems will be analysed. The areas covered include ‘Why do we have companies?’, shareholder rights, directors’ duties, agency principles, corporate governance, capital raising, insider dealing and market misconduct. The EU law principles of free movement and shareholder control of financial decisions will be covered. Also covered will be investor protection, the regulation of compensation, corporate personality, formation and limited liability. Theories of corporate social responsibility and employee rights will be explored along with the role of auditors and rating agencies. The course will use several case studies to highlight key issues.

Note (new):

Those students who are enrolled at the Faculty of Business, Economics and Informatics, and have had issues booking this course, please send a request for correction of modules (DOT, 101 KB) (Antrag zur Korrektur von Modulbuchungen) via email to Ensure you date and sign it and send it electronically to them. This must be done before Monday, 19.10.2020, at 11:30am. Alternatively, please contact +41 (44) 634 21 24 for more information. 


The lectures will be held on Monday, 14:00-15:45, starting 19 September 2022 until 19 December 2022.

It will be held as a hybrid lecture, in room KOL-F-104 and as an online live stream Zoom meeting. Subsequently, it can be viewed online as a presentation.

On Monday, 03 October 2022, the lecture will take place in room KOL-G-217.

NEW: On Monday, 07 November 2022 (lecture 8), no lecture will take place (reading week)!

Check this website for the link to the Zoom meetings.


Short Syllabus (PDF, 134 KB) (full version forthcoming)

Zoom Live Stream

Kern Alexander is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Gesellschaftsrecht II / Principles of Corporate Law
Time: Sep 19, 2022 02:00 PM Amsterdam, Berlin, Rome, Stockholm, Vienna
        Every week on Mon, until Dec 19, 2022, 14 occurrence(s)
        Sep 19, 2022 02:00 PM
        Sep 26, 2022 02:00 PM
        Oct 3, 2022 02:00 PM
        Oct 10, 2022 02:00 PM
        Oct 17, 2022 02:00 PM
        Oct 24, 2022 02:00 PM
        Oct 31, 2022 02:00 PM
        Nov 7, 2022 02:00 PM
        Nov 14, 2022 02:00 PM
        Nov 21, 2022 02:00 PM
        Nov 28, 2022 02:00 PM
        Dec 5, 2022 02:00 PM
        Dec 12, 2022 02:00 PM
        Dec 19, 2022 02:00 PM

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 665 9293 4187
Passcode: 750740

Podcast / Zoom Recording

The podcasts / Zoom recordings can be watched here. Please note that due to technical difficulties individual lectures may not be recorded or only with disturbance. Students who forgo the attendance of a lecture or the writing of their own notes do so at their own risk. For technical reasons, the constant availability of records cannot be guaranteed. The loss of access to the recordings is not sufficient cause for an appeal against the examination. Scripts or other materials declared as examination relevant take priority over the podcasts / zoom recordings. In case of ambiguity contact the lecturer immediately. The recordings are for private use only. Redistribution in whatever form, in whole or in part, is not permitted without consent of the lecturer and may be punished by disciplinary measures or otherwise.


Lecture 1 (19 Sept 2022)

Lecture 2 (26 Sept 2022)

Lecture 3 (03 Oct 2022): Video 3.1 (MP4, 159 MB), 3.2 (MP4, 151 MB), 3.3 (MP4, 172 MB), 3.4 (MP4, 136 MB), 3.5 (MP4, 102 MB), 3.6 (MP4, 112 MB)

Lecture 4 (10 Oct 2022)

Lecture 5 (17 Oct 2022)

Lecture 6 (24 Oct 2022)

Lecture 7 (31 Oct 2022)

Lecture 8 (07 Nov 2022): no lecture - reading week

Lecture 9 (14 Nov 2022)

Lecture 10 (21 Nov 2022)

Lecture 11 (28 Nov 2022)

Lecture 12 (05 Dec 2022)

Lecture 13 (12 Dec 2022)

Lecture 14 (19 Dec 2022)


Written examination (open book)

Date: 12 January 2023

Time: 10.00-12.00

! Attention: Please note that the information on our website regarding date and time (below) is not binding. Please check the official exams website to find out about the date, time and the room in which the Gesellschaftsrechts-exam will take place as well as your personal examination sequence number:

Gesellschaftsrecht Exam



Mock Exams and Former Exam Questions

HS2011_Exam example_Gesellschaftsrecht (Question 1) (PDF, 233 KB)

HS2013_Exam_Gesellschaftsrecht (PDF, 98 KB)

Exam Archive from previous years


Reading Materials


Introduction: Foundations of Swiss Company Law

Bauen and Bernet - Swiss Company Definition (PDF, 297 KB)

Bauen and Bernet - Share Capital & shares (PDF, 490 KB)

Bauen and Bernet - Alteration of Share Capital (PDF, 360 KB)

Bauen and Bernet - Legal status of shareholders (PDF, 505 KB)

Bauen and Bernet - Corporate Bodies (PDF, 250 KB)

Homburger summary of Swiss Corporate Law reform (PDF, 106 KB) (new)

Lecture 1 (19.09.22): Introduction, Theory of the Firm, Common Principles of Corporate Law across Jurisdictions, Role of Shareholders


Kern Alexander, Corporate and Banking Law, in Introduction to Swiss Law, Marc Thommen (ed.), 2022, pp. 341-344 (PDF, 1 MB) (new)

Kern Alexander, Corporate and Banking Law, in Introduction to Swiss Law, Marc Thommen (ed.), 2022, pp. 345-348 (PDF, 2 MB) (new)

M Friedman, 'A Friedman doctrine‐- The Social Responsibility Of Business Is to Increase Its Profits', The New York Times, 13.09.1970

Coase - The Firm, The Market, And the Law - Chapter 2: The Nature of the Law (PDF, 6102 KB)

The Economist - Coase's theory of the firm (PDF, 332 KB)

Dine - Chapter 2 (PDF, 2 MB)

Freer and Moll - Principles of Business Organizations (PDF, 3 MB)

Hamilton Chapter 14 (PDF, 1 MB)

Hamilton Chapter 1 (PDF, 1 MB)

Hamilton - Chapter 2 (PDF, 1 MB)


Coase - The Firm The Market and The Law Chapter 5 (PDF, 16 MB)

The Economist - Free exchange (PDF, 127 KB)

Forstmoser - Profit - das Mass aller Dinge? (PDF, 1 MB)

Financial Times - Caulkin - How we created a monster (PDF, 338 KB)

Berle and Means Chapter 2 (PDF, 2 MB)

Bauen and Bernet Chapter 5 (PDF, 307 KB)

Hirschmann - Exit, Voice, Loyalty (PDF, 819 KB)


Lecture 2 (26.09.22): Management & Agency Problems, Role of Board of Directors


Kern Alexander, Corporate and Banking Law, in Introduction to Swiss Law, Marc Thommen (ed.), 2022, pp. 349-353 (PDF, 2 MB) (new)

Dodd- For Whom are Corporate Managers Trustees (PDF, 1 MB)

Berle - For Whom are Corporate Managers Trustees (PDF, 897 KB)

Freer and Moll - Principles of Business Organizations (PDF, 3 MB)

Strine - One Fundamental Corporate Governance Question We Face (PDF, 130 KB)

The Times - Duty on shareholders when voting (PDF, 464 KB)


Mayer/Mikes/Rama Murthy: Why Shareholder Value Has Primacy (PDF, 414 KB) (new!)

Alexander: Director's Duties: a Case Study (Barings Plc No 5) (PDF, 252 KB)

Bruner - Corporate Governance Theory and Review of Board Decisions (PDF, 144 KB)

The Economist - The Halo Effect (PDF, 958 KB)

Bebchuk, Brav and Jiang - The Long-Term effects of Hedge Fund Activism (PDF, 695 KB)

Lipton and Rosenblum - A New System of Corporate Governance (PDF, 8 MB)

Blair - Shareholder Value, Corporate Governance, and Corporate Performance (PDF, 111 KB)

Re Stakefield Ltd (Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform v Doffman)

Official Receiver v Key (PDF, 72 KB)

Lipton - Important Questions About Activist Hedge Funds (PDF, 72 KB)

Forstmoser - Exit oder Voice? (PDF, 530 KB)

International Corporate Law Bulletin_September_1999_US_Dismissal of Stockholder Derivative Action Overturned (PDF, 901 KB) (new)

International Corporate Law Bulletin_July_1999_US_Entire Fairness Ruling (PDF, 627 KB) (new)

Lecture 8 (07.11.22): Reading week (updated)

--> On Monday, 07 November 2022 (lecture 8), no lecture will take place (reading week)!



Lecture 13 (12.12.22): Corporate Governance, stakeholders, and corporate social responsibility

Mandatory (updated)

John Parkinson, Models of the company and the Employment Relationship (PDF, 128 KB)

Janet Dine, 'Corporate Regulation, Climate Change and Corporate Law: Challenges and Balance in an International and Global World' (PDF, 301 KB)

Edward B. Rock, For Whom is the Corporation Managed in 2020?: The Debate over Corporate Purpose (PDF, 1 MB) (new)


Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer, Strategy and Society: The Link Between Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility (PDF, 766 KB)

PD Dr. Christoph B. Bühler, Regulating Corporate Governance Following the „Swiss Muesli“ Recipe (PDF, 22 MB)

Forstmoser, Corporate Responsibility und Reputation, in: VOGT ET AL. (Hrsg.), Unternehmen – Transaktion – Recht, Liber Amicorum für Rolf Watter zum 50. Geburtstag (PDF, 596 KB)

GMB Northern v Cable Realisations Ltd [2009] (PDF, 128 KB)

Dine/Koutsias, Chapter 2 ‘Corporate Governance’ (PDF, 22 MB)

DR. Jinchen Zhao, 'The Curious Case of Stakeholder Theory: Calling for a More Realistic Theory' (PDF, 2 MB)

Swiss Coalition for Corporate Justice - Business Responsibility Initiative (PDF, 231 KB)

Katrin Bennhold, Nazis Killed Her Father. Then She Fell in Love With One (PDF, 45 KB)

David Gelles, He Ran an Empire of Soap and Mayonnaise. Now He Wants to Reinvent Capitalism (PDF, 220 KB)

Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson, Companies under pressure to declare ‘social purpose’ (PDF, 556 KB)

Lucian A. Bebchuck and Roberto Tallarita, The Illusory Promise of Stakeholder Governance (PDF, 653 KB)

Jill E. Fisch and Steven Davidoff Solomon, Should Corporations have a Purpose? (PDF, 424 KB)



Lecture 14 (19.12.22): Selected Topics and Exam Review

No new readings

Please also take a moment to fill out this online survey about the course. We are grateful for your feedback!

Weiterführende Informationen