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Unlike most of its sister international surveys, this review focuses on litigation – how rights are created and vindicated against the backdrop of courtroom proceedings. While the subject matter is limited to securities litigation any survey of litigation is in great part a survey of procedure as much as substance.
As the chapters that follow make clear, there is great international variety in both private litigation procedure as a tool for securities enforcement and public enforcement regimes. At one extreme is the United States, with its broad access to courts, relatively permissive pleading requirements, expansive pre-trial discovery rules, readily available class-action principles and generous fee incentives for plaintiffs’ lawyers. At the other extreme lie jurisdictions like Poland, where private securities litigation is complex, expensive, seldom remunerative and accordingly quite rare.
Alongside dissimilarities in the world’s securities disputing systems we also have significant convergence in the objectives and design of international securities litigation. Nearly every jurisdiction in our survey features a national securities regulatory commission, empowered both to make rules and enforce them; focuses securities regulation on the proper disclosure of investment-related information to allow investors to make informed choices, rather than prescribing investment rules; and provides both civil penalties that allow wronged investors to recover their losses and criminal penalties designed to punish wrongdoers in the more extreme cases.
The ambition of this volume is to provide readers with a point of entry to these wide varieties of regulations, regulatory authorities and enforcement mechanisms. Each chapter observes and reports important regulatory and litigation trends, revealing significant patterns that cut across jurisdictions. Finally, each chapter reflects on where the law has been, and where it is headed in the coming years. The narrative here, as with the book as a whole, is of divergence and convergence, continuity and change.