Relationally better laws


Why better relationships matter

Good relationships are an important value to many people, regardless of their faith. A key idea in how I apply my Christian faith in developing faith based solutions is that an important goal of the law should be to encourage better relationships. As I put it in my chapter on “Developing a Relationally Based Law of Contract” in “Christian Perspectives on Law and Relationism” (Carlisle: Paternoster Press, 2000):

“The basis of a relational analysis of the law of contract is a value-laden one. It is simply that from a relational perspective God judges a society by the quality of its relationships. Christians believe that the two greatest commandments are (1) to love God with all your heart, soul and mind; and (2) to love your neighbour as yourself. This ‘is the language of relationships.’ This concept of love transcends all other values. Paul has described it in this way: ‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails’ (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8).

This relational analysis is based on a literature commencing with Michael Schluter and David Lee’s “The R Factor” (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1993) and Michael Schluter “Relationism: pursuing a Biblical vision for society” (Cambridge Papers 6, 1997).They argue that the effect of public policy on the closeness of relationships can be measured by using the concept of ‘relational proximity’, involving five factors, such as ‘directness’, the quality of communications. I built on this model with my work in “Developing a Relationally Based Law of Contract” in Christian Perspectives on Law and Relationism eds. Beaumont, P. & K. Wotherspoon (Carlisle: Paternoster Press, 2000). I recently spoke at Cambridge University’s delightful St Catharine’s College at the Relational Academics Network 2016 Symposium. The conference theme was “Critical Perspectives on Substantive and Methodological Individualisms” and my paper, “Economic and Relational Perspectives on Corporate Law: Conflict, Convergence or Commonality”, addressed the way in which good relationships were both desirable in their own right and consistent with economic efficiency.

Books, book contributions and conference proceedings

Copp, S.F. (2001) The Law and Christian Ethics in Business. This was first published in The Law and Christian Ethics on behalf of The Church of Scotland Board of Social Responsibility (Edinburgh: Saint Andrew Press) pp. 36 – 75 [ISBN 0 86153 310 0]

Copp, S.F. (2000) Developing a Relationally Based Law of Contract – a Question of Good Faith? in Christian Perspectives on Law and Relationism eds. Beaumont, P. & K. Wotherspoon (Carlisle: Paternoster Press) pp. 53 – 92 [ISBN 0-85364-994-4]

Copp, S.F. (1998) A Christian Vision for Corporate Governance. This was first published as Chapter 5 in Christian Perspectives on Law Reform ed. Beaumont, P. (Carlisle: Paternoster Press) pp. 105 – 154 [ISBN 0-85364-852-2]

Articles and published letters

Copp, S.F. (2005) Sex, Lies and Corporate Governance Accountancy, April, p. 27 [ISSN 0001-4664]

Copp, S.F. (2005) Power vs Accountability: What Can Good Corporate Governance Teach the Church? 9 Faith in Business Quarterly, pp. 11 – 18 [ISSN 1369-653X]

Copp, S.F. (2002) Company law and alternative dispute resolution: an economic analysis This article was first published in (2002) 23 The Company Lawyer 361 – 375 by Sweet & Maxwell. [ISSN: 0144-1027]

Copp, S.F. (2002) C.S. Lewis’s Concept of the Inner Ring and the Problem of Evil in Corporate Governance 6 Faith in Business Quarterly 3 – 7 [ISSN 1369-653X]

Copp, S.F. & N. Astbury (2000) ADR and Shareholder Disputes – An Alternative to Using s. 459 CA 1985 1 Journal of ADR, Mediation and Negotiation 51 – 68 [ISSN 1470-6717]

Academic conference, professional education and workshop papers

Copp, S.F. (2016) Economic and Relational Perspectives on Corporate Law: Conflict, Convergence or Commonality presented at the Relational Academics Network 2016 Symposium at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge University (Cambridge)

Copp, S.F. (2004) The Origins of Limited Liability in England and Wales Revisited delivered to the Relational Finance Group (Linklaters, Solicitors, London) Abstract

Copp, S.F. (2002) Director/ Shareholder Relations at the CLT Conference on Shares and Shareholders (Posthouse Kensington, London)

Copp, S.F. (2002) Directors in the Family Company delivered at the CLT Company Law Conference on Directors’ Duties and Liabilities (Mayfair Conference Centre, London)

Copp, S.F. (2002) Director/ Shareholder Relations delivered at the CLT Company Law Conference on Company Law for In-house Lawyers (Cafe Royal, London)

Copp, S.F. (2001) ADR and Company Law: An Economic Analysis, delivered as part of The Company Lawyer series at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (London)

Copp, S.F. (2000) The Law and Christian Ethics in Business, delivered at a public lecture at the Martin Hall, Edinburgh University, at the invitation of the Board of Social Responsibility of the Church of Scotland, organised in partnership with the Centre for Theology and Public Issues, Edinburgh University (Edinburgh)

Copp, S.F. (1999) Developing a Relationally Based Law of Contract – a Question of Good Faith? delivered at the Relationships and Justice Conference sponsored by the LCF and the Jubilee Centre (Law Society, London)

Copp, S.F. (1999) A Vision For Corporate Governance delivered at the IIR Ltd conference on Corporate Governance in Practice, The Changing Relationship Between The Institutional Investor & Corporates (London)

Copp, S.F. (1998) Developing a Relationally Based Law of Contract – a Question of Good Faith? delivered at the LCF Academic Conference on Law and Relationism (Aberdeen University, Aberdeen)

Copp, S.F. (1996) A Christian Vision for Corporate Governance delivered at the LCF Academic Conference on Christian Perspectives on Law Reform (London)