The Law of Corporate Insolvency

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Ms Sarah Paterson


This course is available on the BA in Anthropology and Law and LLB in Laws. This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.

Course content

The Law of Corporate Insolvency forms an increasingly important legal arena, which is now recognised as meriting study in its own right. The last thirty years have seen great strides in the development of corporate insolvency law in England. We have seen the adoption of an enhanced legislative framework and the development of conceptual aspects and jurisprudence of the subject. As the recession of the early 1990's eased off there was a period of reflection and assessment of our insolvency law and procedures which resulted in reform of law on the books, although perhaps not of law in action.  English lawyers have had to revisit the toolbox during the financial crisis in order to adapt existing legal procedures to meet the needs of new, modern financing structures.  There is now another period of wide spread reflection and debate in Europe and the US, as jurisdictions consider whether the insolvency law and procedures which they have are fit for the twenty-first century.

During the course we analyse the legal rules affecting distressed and insolvent companies and those concerned with them (for example, creditors, directors and employees) and assess the issues and principles underlying a corporate insolvency regime. (Corporate Insolvency Law bears a close relationship to the Law of Business Associations (BA) and students may find that taking BA as well as Corporate Insolvency will give them a broad understanding of major themes relating to corporate activity.)

Outline Syllabus:

Outline of corporate borrowing and development and nature of security interests: fixed and floating charges.

The Role and Objectives of Corporate Insolvency Processes and Procedures

Corporate Insolvency Processes and Procedures

(a) Informal Negotiation

(b) Liquidation

(c) Receivership

(d) Administration

(e) Pre-packaged administration

(f) Company voluntary arrangements

(g) Regulation

Realising the Assets and Distributing Them

(a) Setting aside transactions

(b) The pari passu principle

(c) Preferential claims

(d) Secured creditors

(e) Security devices for consumer creditors and commercial suppliers

(f) Company Directors

(g) Employees

(h) Corporate Groups


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

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the MT and LT.

Students will be expected to prepare for participation in weekly seminar discussion.

Indicative reading

Detailed reading lists will be provided during the course. The recommended book is V. Finch, Corporate Insolvency Law: Perspectives and Principles (2nd ed., 2009) (Cambridge University Press).


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

The examination will be based on the full syllabus. Unmarked, unannotated versions of the relevant legislation may be taken into the examination.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2016/17: 23

Average class size 2016/17: 24

Capped 2016/17: Yes (24)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills