DELAWARE CASE-LAW ON FIDUCIARY DUTIES

Good faith, not a good result, is what is required of the board

According to the Delaware Court of Chancery in its decicion of 18 October 2016 regarding Capital One (click here), the standard under Delaware law for imposing oversight liability on a director (sometimes referred to as Caremark liability) is an exacting one that requires evidence of bad faith, meaning that “the directors knew that they were not discharging their fiduciary obligations.”

In this derivative action, a stockholder of Capital One Financial Corporation asserts that its directors breached their fiduciary duty of loyalty and unjustly …
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01
Nov 2016
CATEGORY

Corporate

COMMENTS No Comments

THE ARUBA PUBLIC LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY

Managing and supervisory directors’ liability

I will refer only to the Aruba NV type of company, otherwise known as the public limited liability company, governed by the Commercial Code of Aruba. Furthermore, I will discuss only the basic concept of managing and supervisory directors’ liability.

Duties

Section 106(1) of the Aruba Commercial Code (ACC) provides that, in performing their duties, each member of the management board should focus on the interests of the NV. In accordance with the “stakeholder model”, a.k.a. “stakeholder orientation”, the board must take into account various interests, not only those of the company, its business and …
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13
Oct 2016
CATEGORY

Corporate

COMMENTS No Comments

TYPES OF LIABILITY IN ARUBA

A three-part distinction

With regard to liability a three-part distinction can be made. The first distinction relates to the basis of the liability: liability pursuant to a contractual relationship (the attributable failure in this respect) and liability pursuant to a wrongful act.

Another distinction relates to the personal liability (thus for the party’s own actions or omissions) and vicarious and/or strict liability: liability for or the acts and omissions of others (vicarious liability) or liability for certain things that happen (strict liability).

For example, employers can be held vicariously liable for certain actions of their employees. According to the Aruba …
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06
May 2016
CATEGORY

Legal

COMMENTS No Comments

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

COMMENTS No Comments

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
CATEGORY

Corporate

COMMENTS No Comments

FRAUDNET – THE POWER OF ONE GLOBAL NETWORK

FraudNet in action

According to The Irish Times, lawyer Antenor Pereira Madruga Filho (a member of FraudNet) is hired by the Irish Government to represent it in a high-profile case involving a lawyer who fled Ireland in 2007 with debts of €80m. The lawyer was arrested in Brazil almost two years ago and has been held since in a prison (click here for the newspaper article). FraudNet Members are regularly in the news and you can read about some of them here.

FraudNet is a worldwide network of lawyers specialized in asset tracing and …
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25
Aug 2015
CATEGORY

Legal

COMMENTS No Comments

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
CATEGORY

Corporate

COMMENTS No Comments

THE CONCEPT OF LIABILITY IN THE DUTCH CARIBBEAN

A three-part distinction

With regard to liability a three-part distinction can be made. The first distinction relates to the basis of the liability: liability pursuant to a contractual relationship (the attributable failure in this respect) and liability pursuant to a wrongful act.

Another distinction relates to the personal liability (thus for the party’s own actions or omissions) and vicarious and/or strict liability: liability for or the acts and omissions of others (vicarious liability) or liability for certain things that happen (strict liability).

For example, employers can be held vicariously liable for certain actions of their employees. According to the Civil …
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03
Aug 2015
CATEGORY

Legal

COMMENTS No Comments

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
CATEGORY

Corporate

COMMENTS No Comments

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
CATEGORY

Corporate

COMMENTS No Comments

LIABILITY OF A NEW PARTNER

Supreme Court creates clarity

The National Ordinance on Partnerships (Landsverordening personenvennootschappen) of Curacao (1 January 2012) and St. Maarten (1 April 2014) mentions two main variants of the partnership: the public partnership and the silent partnership. The public partnership is a partnership (i) for carrying on a profession or business or performing professional or business acts, which (ii) partnership acts externally in a way which is clearly recognizable by third parties (iii) under a name it uses as such (Section 7:801 subsection 1 of the Civil Code).

The partners of a public partnership are jointly and severally liable for the …
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04
Apr 2015
CATEGORY

Corporate

COMMENTS No Comments

LIABILITY OF A TRUST DIRECTOR

No lighter liability system

The National Ordinance on the supervision of Trust Service Providers (Landsverordening toezicht trustwezen) does not provide anything with regard to the liability of trust offices (a.k.a. management services companies) or their representatives acting as a director under the Articles (of Association) of a legal entity (for instance a company limited by shares (‘NV‘), private company with limited liability (‘BV‘) or foundation). The question is whether this liability is governed by the usual rules in this area. Because the trust office as a director of a legal entity usually fulfills a different role from a director – …
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28
Mar 2015
CATEGORY

Corporate

COMMENTS No Comments