Not available in 2019/20
The Law of Corporate Insolvency

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Ms Sarah Paterson


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

Course content

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 were forced to revisit the toolbox during the financial crisis of 2007-2008 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 key insolvency procedures available in English law, before analysing the legal rules affecting distressed and insolvent companies and those concerned with them (for example, creditors, directors and employees)and 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.)


Corporate Borrowing

• Outline of corporate borrowing and development and nature of security interests: fixed and floating charges; security by the use of ownership rights.

• Types of creditor.


Insolvency Procedures

• Out-of-court workouts

• Receivership

• Administration and pre-packaged administration

• Company Voluntary Arrangements

• Liquidation

• Comparison with Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code

• Corporate insolvency theory

Realising and distributing the assets

• Setting aside transactions

• The pari passu principle

• Security devices for consumer creditors and commercial suppliers

• Liability of company directors

• Employees

• The regulation of insolvency practitioners


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 & 1 essay in the LT. The formative essay in the LT may take the form of a mock examination.

Indicative reading

Detailed reading lists will be provided during the course. The recommended book is V. Finch and D. Milman, Corporate Insolvency Law: Perspectives and Principles ( 3rd ed., 202017) (Cambridge University Press).


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the summer 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 2018/19: 25

Average class size 2018/19: 25

Capped 2018/19: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills