Commercial and Enterprise Law

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

To be confirmed


This course is available on the BSc in Accounting and Finance, BSc in Business Mathematics and Statistics, BSc in Economics, BSc in Management, BSc in Statistics with Finance and Diploma in Accounting and Finance. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

Course content

Commercial and Enterprise Law introduces the basic institutions of the market economy, and the governance of enterprise, in a post-financial crisis world: the law of contract, companies, labour and insolvency. It is the LSE’s oldest course (since 1895, originally named ‘Commercial and Industrial Law’) and probably the first in the world to teach labour law. Over the years it has attracted enquiring students from non-law departments, a number of whom became Nobel laureates.

Michelmas term is the law of contract. We examine how agreements become legally binding, the regulation of unfair terms and basic consumer protection laws. We see how a contract may be cancelled when fully informed and true consent is not present, including through misrepresentation or coercion, and examine remedies for breach of contract.

Lent term examines enterprise governance: introducing companies, labour relations and insolvency law. How are company directors accountable to shareholders, employees and other stakeholders? Which fiduciary duties and duties of care do directors owe a company? What voice does labour have in corporate governance? Should banks acquire privileges through securitised lending over other creditors? How will a corporate insolvency be administered, and the losses distributed? Finally, how can directors and shareholders be held to account after insolvency? The aim is to understand the operation of the basic institutions in the market segment of the economy.


20 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the MT. 20 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 2 hours of classes in the ST.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 2 essays in the MT and LT.

Indicative reading

Core texts: 

E McKendrick, Contract Law (11th edn 2015)

A Dignam and J Lowry, Company Law (8th edn 2014)

A Burrows, A Casebook on Contract (4th edn 2013)

L Sealy and S Worthington, Cases and Material in Company Law (10th edn 2013)


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2016/17: 37

Average class size 2016/17: 18

Capped 2016/17: Yes (39)

Lecture capture used 2016/17: Yes (MT & LT)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills