A Natural Law Perspective of Corporate Governance

Michael Ambrosio, Professor of Law, Seton Hall University School of Law, USA

My aim is to consider the legal regulation of the public corporation and its governance from the perspective of natural law theory. There are many theories of natural law that have appeared since the Stoic philosophers in Ancient Greece first coined the term natural law more than 2500 years ago. A vast array of moral, legal and political theories are considered natural law theories because they, more or less, reflect Aristotle’s view that law is necessary because humans are rational and social beings with a capacity for morals. The natural law perspective that law and morals are connected and that the purpose of law is to achieve justice and the common good stands in sharp contrasts to more limited generally accepted views of the nature and function of law. For the sake of clarity and precision the references to natural law, for the most part, are to elements of the thought of John Finnis, who in his treatise, Natural Law and Natural Rights, sets out a restatement of the classical Aristotelian-Thomistic view of natural law.

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