Accounting Standards and Legal Capital in EU Law



This paper examines the interaction between accounting standards and legal capital in the European Union legal framework. More in particular, it attempts to compare on a parallel basis the distributional and behavioural function of both concepts and to address whether the current legal status quo in the European Union fulfils these functions. First, this paper makes a short reference to the various accounting families which are encountered today, with a strong emphasis on the distinction between Anglo-American and Continental systems. Then, it describes the EU accounting regulation and the introduction of IFRS in domestic legislation. Further, it discusses the concept of legal capital as it has been established in European jurisdictions and it points to the relevance of the Continental accounting standards. It is argued that both are characterized by paternalism, contrasting with Anglo-American standards and American distributional methods, which are outlined by contractariansm. The final argument is that the combination of legal capital rules and Anglo-American standards, like the IFRS, neither achieves the protective role prescribed to the former, nor guarantees the aims of the latter.


corporate lawaccountingEU lawIFRSlegal capital
  • Page/Article: 139-158
  • DOI: 10.18352/ulr.322
  • Published on 29 Sep 2016
  • Peer Reviewed