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Britain has a reputation for having a stock market-oriented corporate economy and there is an extensive literature maintaining that laws affording substantial protection to outside investors are needed for a thriving stock market. Historically, however, UK equity markets have not always flourished and, when they have, law’s contribution has been open to question. This paper considers the uneasy match between law and Britain’s stock market development from when shares first began to trade publicly through to the present day, offering in so doing insights on the relationship between law and equity markets and current reforms intended to revive a flagging UK stock exchange.

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