DISCHARGING THE MANAGEMENT BOARD

Only for matters evident from the accounts

The shareholders of a Dutch Caribbean limited liability company (NV or BV) may provide a discharge (décharge) to members of the management board for matters evident from the annual accounts, or matters otherwise made known to the general shareholders meeting. This is a standard item on the agenda for shareholders meetings at which a company’s annual accounts are adopted.

The aim of this discharge is that the company generally has no longer a legal cause of action against a management board member.

The effect of a discharge is limited. A discharge does not …
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18
Jan 2016
CATEGORY

Corporate

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BESTUURDERSAANSPRAKELIJKHEID

Symposium Sint Maarten 1 december 2015

Het Ministerie van Justitie te Sint Maarten en de Orde van Advocaten te Sint Maarten hebben op 1 december 2015 een symposium over Boek 2 van het Burgerlijk Wetboek van Sint Maarten georganiseerd.

De sprekers waren prof.mr. Peter van Schilfgaarde, prof.mr. Gerard van Solinge, mr. Jeroen Eichhorn en ikzelf. Mijn bijdrage ging over bestuurdersaansprakelijkheid. De tekst van mijn bijdrage is hier te vinden. Wat ik over het recht van St. Maarten te melden heb geldt ook voor Aruba, Curacao en de BES-eilanden.

Karel Frielink

(3 december 2015)

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03
Dec 2015
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Corporate

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HET BESTUUR VAN EEN RECHTSPERSOON

Het belang van de rechtspersoon moet worden gediend

De taakvervulling door een bestuurder van een (privaatrechtelijke) rechtspersoon is niet vrijblijvend. Op de bestuurder rust een inspanningsverplichting. In artikel 2:8 lid 3 van het Burgerlijk Wetboek (van Curaçao, St. Maarten en de BES-eilanden) is een belangrijke norm voor die taakvervulling vastgelegd:

Bij de vervulling van zijn taak richt het bestuur zich naar het belang van de rechtspersoon en, voor zover daarvan sprake is, de met deze verbonden onderneming.

Die norm geldt overigens ook in Aruba.

Er bestaat natuurlijk niet zoiets als ‘het’ belang van de rechtspersoon. Er is bijna altijd sprake van …
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28
Nov 2015
CATEGORY

Corporate

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LIABILITY OF COMPANY DIRECTORS

No derivative suit

It is considered a general rule of Dutch Caribbean corporate law that the management board (a.k.a. board of directors) must act in the best interests of the company (an NV or BV) in the performance of its duties, even when acting on instructions from others (e.g. shareholders). This includes the interests of the shareholders, the employees and, according to most legal writers, the creditors of the company.

Under the Civil Codes of Curacao, St. Maarten and the BES-islands (Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba), directors of a limited liability company (naamloze vennootschap or besloten vennootschap) are personally and …
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18
Nov 2015
CATEGORY

Corporate

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SHAREHOLDER APPROVAL REQUIRED FOR SELLING ALL ASSETS

In particular circumstances this rule may be set aside

Generally speaking, the management board of a company (NV or BV) is not entitled to sell the company’s business or a substantial part thereof, without the approval of the shareholders’ meeting. The Enterprise Chamber of the Court of Appeal in Amsterdam confirmed this in its decision of 27 February 2014 (ECLI:NL:GHAMS:2014:597; JOR 2014, 160). According to the Court, (the managing board of) a legal entity that intends selling all shares in its subsidiaries must observe the requirements for adopting a resolution to liquidate that entity.

According to Section 2:7(2) of the Civil …
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11
Nov 2015
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Corporate

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KNOWLEDGE CEO CAN BE IMPUTED TO CORPORATION

Interesting opinion of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Knowledge can be both actual and constructive. The question is under what circumstances actual knowledge, for instance the CEO’s knowledge, can be imputed to the corporation. This question was addressed by the Ninth Circuit in its opinion of 23 October 2015 (securities class action lawsuit against ChinaCast Education Corporation et al).

Summary (prepared by court staff):

Reversing the dismissal of a securities fraud claim, the panel held that a CEO’s fraud could be imputed to his corporate employer, even though his alleged embezzlement and misleading …
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26
Oct 2015
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Corporate

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CORPORATE GOVERNANCE AND STATE-OWNED ENTERPRISES

Speech Karel Frielink – Conference of the Caribbean Ombudsman Association

Ladies and Gentlemen!

I have only half an hour, so I won’t travel back in time to the early days of mankind. I just start with Plato (427 – 347 B.C.E.). You may have heard of this philosopher. And of ‘Platonic love ’ of course. Plato himself mistrusted and generally advised against physical expressions of love.

Ladies and gentleman, we are real people. Human beings of flesh and blood. We are no zombies! So I imagine that Plato would have advised people like you and me: “govern yourself, put restrictions …
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19
Oct 2015
CATEGORY

Corporate

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NO DERIVATIVE ACTION IN CURACAO

A claim based on tort is possible though

Curaçao corporate law does not provide for any derivative suit mechanism (and neither do the laws of Aruba, St. Maarten and the BES-islands). This matter was first decided in the cases of Poot v. ABP, Hoge Raad (Dutch Supreme Court) 2 December 1994, NJ 1995, 288, and Constance et al. v. Noro et al., Gemeenschappelijk Hof van Justitie van de Nederlandse Antillen en Aruba (Joint Court of Appeal of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba) 13 December 1994, SJD 1994, 498.

However, a shareholder suffering derivative damage may commence proceedings against, for instance, …
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02
Sep 2015
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Corporate

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DUTIES OF A MANAGING DIRECTOR OF A DUTCH CARIBBEAN NV OR BV

Acting in the best interests of the company

Although not explicitly provided for in Book 2 of the Civil Codes of Curacao, St. Maarten and the BES-islands (Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba) (“CC”), it is considered a general rule of corporate law that the management board (a.k.a. board of directors) must act in the best interests of the company (an NV or BV) in the performance of its duties, even when acting on instructions from others (e.g. shareholders). This includes the interests of the shareholders, the employees and, according to most legal writers, the creditors of the company.

The management …
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10
Aug 2015
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Corporate

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STATE-OWNED ENTERPRISES AND GOOD CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

Speech by Karel Frielink at the 8th Biennial Conference of the Caribbean Ombudsman Association

Ladies and Gentlemen!

First of all, I would like to thank the Curaçao Ombudsman, Alba Martijn, for inviting me to speak at this conference. Unfortunately, she will leave office in about a month. She did an excellent job, and her professionalism, dedication and impartiality leave a lasting legacy. Thank you Alba!

I have only half an hour, so I won’t travel back in time to the early days of mankind. I just start with Plato (427 – 347 B.C.E.). You may have heard of this philosopher. …
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26
May 2015
CATEGORY

Corporate

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LIABILITY OF THE SILENT PARTNER

The Supreme Court can give its opinion

I will first describe Dutch law in this respect. A limited partnership (commanditaire vennootschap: ‘CV’) is a contractual, legal relationship between two or more persons or legal entities to carry on a business under a joint name, whereby the aim is to gain proprietary benefits on the basis of their contributions. The CV (with multiple managing partners) is therefore a special form of the general partnership (vennootschap onder firma: ‘VOF’). This special status consists of the business operations also being carried on at the expense of one or more silent partners (limited partners), …
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24
Apr 2015
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Corporate

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SUPREME COURT U-TURN

The bankruptcy of a general partnership (‘VOF’) does not automatically mean the bankruptcy of its partners

For many decades the rule had to be adhered to that the bankruptcy of a general partnership (vennootschap onder firma: ‘VOF’) also meant the bankruptcy of the individual partners (Supreme Court 14 April 1927, NJ 1927, page 725).

However, in a ruling of 6 February 2015 the Supreme Court made a U-turn and held that there is no (or no longer) any justification for this connection (ECLI:NL:HR:2015:251). The Supreme Court has justified its new position as follows:

3.4.1 A VOF has no corporate personality. …
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16
Apr 2015
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Corporate

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