Corporate Accountability: Topics in Legal and Accounting Regulation

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Julia Morley


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; 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.


22 hours of seminars in the MT. 22 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

All students will be expected to contribute to class discussion. Feedback on performance and progress will be provided during class, on two written homework assignments, in two formal meetings with individual student’s Long Essay Supervisor, and during office hours

Indicative reading

No one book covers the entire syllabus.


Detailed reading lists will be provided during the course and will include articles from law, accounting, economics and sociology journals and books. Students will also be provided with relevant examples of practitioner reports, policy papers, and referred to relevant websites.


Some illustrative references to texts and primary materials are:


Baistrocchi E and Roxan I (eds.), Resolving Transfer Pricing Disputes: A Global Analysis (2012, Cambridge University Press);

Botzem S, The Politics of Accounting Regulation: International Standard Setting in Financial Reporting (2014, Edward Elgar);

Dezalay Y & Sugarman D (Eds), Professional Competition and Professional Power: Lawyers, Accountants and the Social Construction of Markets (1995);

Ferran E, Moloney N, Hill J & Cofeee J, The Regulatory Aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis (2012, Cambridge University Press);

Finch V, Corporate Insolvency Law: Principles and Perspectives (2nd ed, 2009, Cambridge University Press);

Freedman J and Power M (eds.), Law and Accountancy: Conflict and co-operation in the 1990s (1992, SAGE);

Kershaw D, Company Law in Context: Text and Materials (2012, Oxford University Press);

E. Micheler, Disguised Returns of Capital – An Arm´s Length Approach, Cambridge Law Journal, Volume 69, Issue 01, March 2010, pp. 151-185;

Parkinson, Corporate Power and Responsibility (1995, Oxford University Press);

Power M, The Audit Society (1999, Oxford University Press); .


Exam (60%, duration: 2 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the main exam period.
Essay (40%, 10000 words) in August.


Law and Accounting Prize

The international law firm Herbert Smith Freehills sponsors a prize for the best examination performance on the MSc Law and Accounting. The prize is awarded at the Herbert Smith Freehills reception in November each year.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2015/16: 29

Average class size 2015/16: 28

Controlled access 2015/16: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills