Professor Lorraine Talbot

Professor Lorraine Talbot

Birmingham Law School
Professor of Company Law in Context
Deputy Director of Research (environment)

Contact details

Birmingham Law School
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Professor Talbot writes and teaches on company law and corporate governance from a law in context approach, with particular emphasis on the political economy of the company. She has written several books on company law and corporate governance as well as many scholarly articles. Her current project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, ‘Making the Company Fit for Social Purpose’, deals with the barriers to social progress presented by the global corporation and proposes reforms to promote companies with social purpose.  She is a coordinating lead author for the International Panel on Social Progress and co-leads the section on Companies, Finance and Markets. 


  • BA (hons)
  • LLM, PhD (Kent Law School)


Professor Talbot Joined Birmingham Law School in January 2018, having previously held a Chair at the University of York.  She was an Associate Professor at Warwick Law School for many years and before that she taught at London Guildhall University and Kent University. Professor Talbot co-convenes the company law stream of the Society of Legal Scholars, she is a coordinating lead author for the International Panel on Social Progress and a Research Fellow of the Future of the Corporation programme. Professor Talbot is a Steering Committee Member of the Daughters of Themis: International Network of Female Business Scholars.


Company Law


Professor Talbot researches in contextual and critical approaches to company law, corporate governance and business organisations; approaches which include issues around political economy, theory, power, gender and history. Her work is particularly concerned with the tension between labour and capital in the company and how the company might become a force for social progress. Her 2013 book Progressive Corporate Governance for the 21st Century (Routledge 2013 and 2014) shows how political choices shape the company and determine whether companies will operate in the interests of investment or in the interests of labour and the wider community. The book draws on historical, comparative, theoretical and legal sources. Her 2014 book, Great Debates in Company Law, in Palgrave’s Great Debates series draws out the vigorous political debates that reside within this subject. She is currently writing a third edition of Critical Company Law (Routledge 2007, 2015) and completing a monograph entitled Extracting Global Values and Corporate Capitalism: How we could make the Company Fit for Social Purpose. Professor Talbot’s work is concerned to make critical academic work both useful and assessable to students. With that goal in mind she will be publishing an edited collection entitled Critical Commercial and Corporate Law in 2019.



  • Critical Company Law (Routledge 2015, 2nd Edition) 280pp, monograph/text hybrid
  • Great Debates: Company Law and Corporate Governance (Palgrave 2014) 255pp
  • Progressive Corporate Governance for the 21st Century (Routledge 2012) 240pp monograph
  • Critical Company Law (Routledge-Cavendish 2008) 393pp, monograph/text hybrid

Books under contract/preparation 

  • International Corporate Governance and Law in Context (2019) with Andrew Johnston and Charlotte Villiers
  • Extracting Global Values and Corporate Capitalism (2018)
  • Great Debates in Company Law (2019, 2nd edition)
  • Critical Commercial and Corporate Law (2019)

Chapters in books 

  • ‘The Political Economy of the Company’ in Cambridge Handbook of Corporate Law, Corporate Governance and Sustainability  (Edited by Beate Sjafell and Christopher Bruner, Cambridge University Press 2018)

  • ‘Markets, finance and corporations: does capitalism have a future?’ in Social Progress for the 21st Century (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2018)
  • ‘Reclaiming Value for Bangladeshi Women Workers in Global Value Chains’ Corporate Sustainability and Gender (Edited by Irene Lynch-Fannon and Beate Sjåfjell, Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2017) 
  • ‘Capitalism and Companies: Why they are unfit for social purpose and how they might be reformed’ in Shaping the Corporate Landscape (Edited by Nina Beoger and Charlotte Villiers, Hart Publishing, forthcoming 2017)
  • ‘Legal Institutions: A Marxist-progressive Approach to the Modern Corporation' Routledge Handbook of Heterodox Economics, Theorising, Analysing and Transforming Capitalism (Edited by Tae-Hee Jo Suny, Lynne Chester, Carlo D’Ippoliti Sapienza, Routledge, June 2017)

Journal articles 

  • Why Is Modern Capitalism Irresponsible and What Would Make It More Responsible? A Company Law Perspective’, (2018) King's Law Journal, Co-authored with Professor Andrew Johnston  
  • ‘Trying to Change the World with Company Law? Some Problems’ (2016) 36 Legal Studies 513
  • ‘Operationalizing sustainability in corporate law reform through a labour-centred corporate governance. A UK perspective’ (2014) 11 European Company Law 94
  • ‘Why shareholders shouldn’t vote: A Marxist-progressive critique of shareholder empowerment’ (2013) 76 Modern Law Review 791
  • ‘Polanyi’s Embeddedness and Shareholder Stewardship: A contextual analysis of current Anglo-American perspectives on Corporate Governance’ (2011) 62 Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly 451
  • ‘'Enumerating Old Themes? Berle’s Concept of Ownership and the Historical Development of English Company Law in Context ' (2010) 33 Seattle University Law Review 1201
  • 'Of Insane Forms: Building Societies from Collectives to Management Controlled Organisations to Shareholder Value Organisations' (2010) 11 Journal of Banking Regulation 223
  • 'Keeping Bad Company: Building Societies a Case Study' (2009) 60 Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly 443
  • ‘Critical Corporate Governance and the Demise of the Ultra Vires Doctrine’ (2009) 38 Common Law World Review 170
  • A Contextual Analysis of the Demise of the Doctrine of Ultra Vires in English Company law and the Rhetoric and Reality of Enlightened Shareholders’ (2009) 30 Company Lawyer 323

Book reviews

  • Book Review: Dauvergne, Peter and LeBaron, Genevieve, Protest Inc. The Corporatization of Activism, (Cambridge, Polity Press, 2014), (2015) 17 International Journal of Feminist Politics 176
  • Book Review: Regulation and Corporate Governance After the Financial Crisis’ Editors P.M. Vasudev and Susan Watson (Edward Elgar 2012) ‘An opportunity for a stakeholders’ corporation?’ (2013) Journal of Banking Regulation

Reports and public engagement

  • Co-author of social progress report by the International Panel for Social Progress
  • Chapter 6 ‘Markets, finance and corporations: does capitalism have a future?’ (37,200 words)  (August 2016) Meetings in Istanbul (Aug 2015), Paris (March 2016), Lisbon (January 2017)
  • Written evidence to Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee inquiry into corporate governance, focusing on executive pay, directors’ duties, and the composition of boardrooms, including worker representation and gender balance in executive positions (October 2016)
  • Written response to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Green Paper on executive pay, employee and customer voice, corporate governance in large private businesses (January 2017) 


  • ‘The Consequences of Mr. Trump - Voices from Global Academia’ The Huffington Post (7 February 2017)
  • ‘How Running Companies for Shareholders Drives Scandals like BHS’ The Conversation (12 August 2016)
  • ‘Fighting the Fat Cats’ Raconteur Magazine (12 August 2016) interview
  • ‘Five Business Reforms to make Brexit Britain a Fairer Society’ The Conversation (5 July 2016)
  • ‘Is Raising the Minimum Wage Good News for UK Employees’ News Leak (1 May 2016)
  • ‘Will the National Living Wage be bad for Business?’ The Conversation (31 March 2016)
  • ‘Progressive corporate governance: Still a political economy and still a political choice’ The European Financial Review (2014 April/May) 

Conference papers

  • ‘Companies. Company Law and Streeck’s Debt State’ In ‘The constitutional displacement and the reconfiguration of political space in the debt state’ University of Glasgow, 29 May 2018

  • The Political Economy of the Company: The Marxian Approach Workshop ‘Daughters of Themis’, 30 May – 2 June 2017, Kea, Greece
  • The global economy and the to grow or not to grow conundrum ‘International Trade and Investment’ SMART Conference 9-10 May 2017, Oslo University
  • How to Make the Company Fit for Social Purpose ‘’Shaping the Corporate Landscape’ Symposium 14-15 June 2016, Centre of Law and Enterprise, University of Bristol Law School
  • Reclaiming Value for Women in Global Supply Chains Workshop ‘Daughters of Themis’, 15-18 May 2016, Kea, Greece
  • Why the Company Can’t be Sustainable and What Might Make it So  ‘Novel Challenges – Novel Solutions: Innovation in Environmental Law and Policy’, 21 April 2016, University College Cork
  • The Nature of Corporate Power ‘Plenary’ Society of Legal Scholars Conference, 3 September 2015, York University
  • Capital and Labour in English Company Law ‘Who are the Stakeholders? Comparative Perspectives on Corporate Governance and Employees’, 17 May 2015, Helsinki University
  • Changing the World with Company Law in Economic Crises SLSA, 2 April 2015, Warwick University
  • A conversation about corporate power in the context of climate change and globalisation Roundtable, 5 May 2014, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies
  • Considering Social Sustainability in Company Law Reform: Corporate Goals and Organisational Innovations ‘Integrated Approaches to Environmental Law and Regulation’, 3rd April 2014, University College Cork
  • Why Shareholder Shouldn’t Vote and Why We Think They Should Critical Corporations Project, 9December 2013, Cass Business School
  • Operationalizing sustainability in corporate law reform through a labour-centred corporate governance. A UK perspective ‘Sustainable Companies: We Make it Happen’ 5 to 6 December 2013 Oslo University
  • Can Companies be Moral?  June 2013 ‘Warwick Student Review Conference’, Warwick University Why orientating corporate governance around labour creates the necessary conditions for a sustainable company, 'New Perspectives on the Role of the Board', 11 June 2013, Oslo University
  • Is the Board a neutral (and therefore reform-able) institution or one composed of individuals and groups whose decision-making is defined by their socio-economic position?  'The Role of the Board and Possible Reform Proposals', 12 June 2013, Oslo University
  • Why shareholders shouldn’t vote: a progressive critique of shareholder empowerment Society of Legal Scholars Annual Conference, 11Sep 2012, Bristol University
  • Politicising the company share ‘Symposium in Political Economy’, 20 September 2013, Warwick University
  • ‘Pouring Oil on Fire: The problem with shareholders, ‘Not Just Law’ 6 July 2012, Warwick University
  • Shareholder Entitlement, Primacy and Empowerment, ‘Socializing Economic Relationships – New Perspectives and Methods for Analysing Transnational Risk Regulation’, 15 to 16 April 2010 Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, Oxford University
  • Enumerating Old Themes: Berle the Progressive  ‘In Berle’s Footsteps’ Opening symposium of the Adolf A. Berle Centre for Corporations, Law and Society’ 7 to 9 November 2009, Seattle University
  • Of Insane Forms: Governance and Building Societies ‘SLS Conference’, 8 to 11 September 2009, Keele University
  • Keeping Bad Company: Building Societies: A Case Study ‘Financial Crisis Symposium’, 17 April 2009, Warwick University 

View all publications in research portal



  • Corporate governence and reform
  • Company Law and reform
  • Shareholder rights and shareholder centred governance
  • The impact of corporate activities: sustainability and labour 
  • Corporations and social progress, including gender issues
  • The political economy of companies