Corporate Accountability: Topics in Legal and Accounting Regulation

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Robert Kershaw NAB7.28 and Mr Eduardo Baistrocchi NAB7.33


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Law and Accounting. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

The purpose of this course is to acquaint students with the central issues faced by law and accounting in relation to problems of corporate accountability and regulation. It is interdisciplinary in focus, and provides students from varying backgrounds with new perspectives and leads to in-depth study by way of a Long Essay. Topics may include: Regulatory institutions and techniques: statutes, markets, financial reporting The interrelated functions and the rights and duties of directors and auditors Company law and stakeholders: shareholders, creditors, employees and the 'public interest' Models of the corporate form: corporate groups Stakeholder reporting and environmental audit Audit committees, internal controls; the audit process and auditor liability. Form, substance and the 'true and fair view' in financial reporting Accounting standards and company law; capital maintenance; executive remuneration; accounting standards and tax law Accounting for, and regulating, networks, SMEs and micro companies. Regulating the professions; overview of functions of accountants and lawyers in corporate governance and the relation between them Other issues in accounting and the law may be substituted/added.


20 hours of seminars in the MT. 20 hours of seminars in the LT. 2 hours of seminars in the ST.

Two meetings with each individual student's Long Essay supervisor.

Formative coursework

Feedback on performance and progress on the course will be provided during the seminars, on two written homework assignments, and during office hours.

Indicative reading

Detailed reading lists will be provided during the course and will include articles from law, accounting, economics and sociology journals and books. Some illustrative references to texts and primary materials are: V. Finch, Corporate Insolvency Law: Principles and Perspectives (2nd ed, 2009, Cambridge University Press); D. Kershaw, Company Law in Context: Text and Materials (2009, Oxford University Press); Bromwich & Hopwood, Accounting and Law (1992); Freedman & Power, Law and Accountancy: Conflict and Cooperation in the 1990s (1992); Power, The Audit Society (1999); Dezalay & Sugarman (Eds), Professional Competition and Professional Power: Lawyers, Accountants and the Social Construction of Markets (1995); Zeff & Dharan, Readings and Notes on Financial Accounting: Issues and Controversies (1997); Gower and Davies, Principles of Modern Company Law, (2008); Parkinson, Corporate Power and Responsibility (1993); Easterbrook & Fischel, The Economic Structure of Corporate Law (1991); McCahery, Piciotto & Scott, Corporate Control and Accountability (1993).


Exam (60%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (40%, 10000 words) in August.

A Long Essay of up to 10,000 words due by 19 August 2014 (40%) and one formal two-hour examination in May/June (60%). Students will be required to answer three questions. The Long Essay is a compulsory part of the course. The topic for the Long Essay must be selected by the student early in the LT in consultation with their Academic Adviser and the Course Leader and must be approved by the Programme Director.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2012/13: 26

Average class size 2012/13: 27

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills