Presentation on Company Law Reform in South Africa – Professor Irene-Marie Esser

The Edinburgh Centre for Commercial Law was delighted to welcome Professor Irene-Marie Esser to Edinburgh Law School on the 2nd of August 2010. Irene-Marie Esser is a Professor at the University of South Africa (UNISA) and lectures in Entrepreneurial Law, Company law and Corporate Governance to undergraduate and postgraduate students. Professor Esser is an active researcher in the areas of company law, mostly on corporate governance issues like directors’ duties and stakeholder protection and has published widely in these fields at a national and international level.

The title of Professor Esser’s presentation was 'Directors' Duties: The new Companies Act and King III – A South African Perspective’. The talk involved an exposition of recent Company Law and Corporate Governance reforms and initiatives in South Africa. In particular, Professor Esser offered some fascinating comparative perspectives on the approaches to the reform of the law of directors’ duties in both the UK and South Africa. The ‘Enlightened Shareholder Value’ approach which was adopted in the UK was contrasted with the position in South Africa and the wider stakeholder perspective.

Professor Esser’s presentation was well-received by the delegates in attendance and sparked a number of interesting questions and observations. A short wine reception followed in convivial surroundings in Old College. Bearing in mind that Edinburgh is currently awash with Festival attractions, the Edinburgh Centre for Commercial Law was particularly delighted with the turnout of fellow academics from Universities throughout the UK, as well as with the practitioner and student representation. A big thank you to all of our supporters.