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.  Alternatively, please contact +41 (44) 634 21 24 for more information. 


The lectures will be held on Monday, 14:00-15:45, starting 20 September 2021 until 20 December 2021 in room KOL-F-104. Subsequently, they will be available to view online as podcasts.


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

Lecture 2

Lecture 3

Lecture 4

Lecture 5

Lecture 6

Lecture 7

Lecture 8

Lecture 9

Lecture 10

Lecture 11

Lecture 12

Lecture 13

Lecture 14 (MP4, 131 MB)


Written examination (open book) - 24 hour essays exam

Principles of Corporate Law 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

Lecture 6: Investor Protection, Shareholder Control Issues, and Minority Shareholders Rights, Ethics and Corruption


Financial Times - Rossbach - A cautionary tale of power (PDF, 292 KB)

The Economist - Swiss Takeover Law - Avalanche in the Alps (PDF, 56 KB)

Audiolux SA v Groupe Bruxelles Lambert SA (PDF, 149 KB)

La Porta / Lopez / Shleifer / Vishny - Investor Protection and Corporate Governance (PDF, 135 KB)

Lucian Bebchuk - The Myth of Hedge Funds (PDF, 272 KB)

Martin Lipton - Bite the Apple (PDF, 64 KB)

Tomoeh Murakami Tse - Activist Investors Rally Reclaim Power - WP (PDF, 185 KB)

Stephen Foley - Activist Investors learn to mind their manners -FT (PDF, 677 KB)

Davies / Hopt / Ringe, Chapter 8: Control Transactions, in: Kraakman et al. (eds.), The Anatomy of Corporate Law, 3rd. ed., 2017, pp. 205-242 (PDF, 269 KB)

FT - Saint-Gobain gives up fight for control of SIKA (PDF, 123 KB)


Hertig / Kraakman / Rock - Issuers and Investor Protection (PDF, 3 MB)

New York Times - Sorkin - The Secrets Big Investors Get to Keep (PDF, 222 KB)

New York Times - Davidoff - Corporate Disclosure – Not Just a Game (PDF, 293 KB)

Berle and Means - pp. 244-252 (PDF, 7 MB)

Berle and Means - pp. 207-218 (PDF, 4 MB)

Berle and Means - The resultant position of the stockholders 119-140 (PDF, 6 MB)

Berle and Means - Chapter 5 Evolution of Control 66-111 (PDF, 2 MB)

Enriques / Hansmann / Kraakman / Pargendler, Chapter 4: The Basic Governance Structure, in: Kraakman et al. (eds.), The Anatomy of Corporate Law, 3rd. ed., 2017, pp. 79-108 (PDF, 220 KB)


Lecture 10: Corporate Governance, Stakeholders and Corporate Social Responsibility


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: 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!