Corporate Law and Accounting

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Julia Morley


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

Course content

The purpose of this course is to examine areas in which law and accounting intersect in promoting an efficient market economy. It is interdisciplinary in focus, and provides students from varying backgrounds with new perspectives and leads to in-depth study by way of a Dissertation.

Topics in Michaelmas term may include: An introduction to law and regulation in the accounting context; the legal requirement for accounts and audit, and the role of accounting standards; “true and fair view” as the cornerstone of financial reporting and auditing; the strategic report; tax and accounting; groups in law and group accounting; auditor liability; law, accounting and equity: capital maintenance; law, accounting and debt: financial covenants; the regulation of the professions. Other issues in accounting and the law may be substituted/added during this term.

Lent term will focus on preparation for the Dissertation.  It will start with a series of seminars on the research process, which may include:  overview and finding a title; developing a research question; methodology; finding and using sources.  Other topics relating to the research process may be substituted/added during the first part of the term.  The second half of the term will comprise a series of seminars in which students will present their preliminary research proposal and receive feedback from the course convenors and their peers.


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

One meeting with each individual student's dissertation supervisor in ST.

There will be a reading week in week 6 in MT and LT.

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 one formal meeting with individual student’s Dissertation Supervisor, and during office hours.

Indicative reading

Although no one book covers the entire syllabus, the following two books provide background information:

Gower's principles of modern company law (2016), P L Davies, S Worthington, E Micheler, LCB Gower

Financial accounting and reporting (2017), B Elliot and J Elliot

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 & Coffee J, The Regulatory Aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis (2012, 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);

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

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


Exam (50%, duration: 2 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the summer exam period.
Dissertation (50%, 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.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2018/19: 26

Average class size 2018/19: 27

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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