LL4CF Half Unit
UK Corporate Law
This information is for the 2020/21 session.
Prof. David Kershaw and Dr Elizabeth Howell
This course is available on the LLM (extended part-time), LLM (full-time) and University of Pennsylvania Law School LLM Visiting Students. This course is not available as an outside option.
This course is capped at 90 students. This course will be relevant to the following LLM specialisms: Corporate and Securities Law; Corporate and/or Commercial Law.
1. The Evolution of the UK company. This session will address the evolution of the corporate form from the mid-19th century, and outline the partnership based conception of UK company. It will contrast the partnership conception with the corporate / entity conception. 2. Legal personality, formation and structure – considering the implications and function of separate legal personality and the scope to disregard the corporate veil; the process of formation; and the constitutional make-up of the company. 3. Corporate Actions – considering how the company acts in contract, tort and crime. 4. The distribution of power in a UK company – considering the location and contractual distribution of power in a UK corporation; the problem of separation of ownership and control / the agency problem; mandatory versus default rules; core mandatory rights: removal of directors and calling shareholder meetings. 5. Director’s duties I: the nature of duties; who owes them; to whom; the corporate objective; the duty to promote the success of the company. 6. Directors Duties II: the duty of care (business judgments, business process, monitoring, systems and controls, risk management) 7. Directors Duties III: the duty of loyalty (self-dealing transactions, corporate opportunities, competing with the company, bribes and commissions). 8. Company law and creditor protections – shareholder incentives to exploit creditors; the scope for unlimited liability, duties to creditors; wrongful trading. 9. Derivative Actions: the rule in Foss v Harbottle; the new derivative action mechanism; indemnity orders and contingency fees; reflective loss. 10. Minority shareholder protections – common law restraints on the exercise of majority shareholder power and influence; statutory constraints on the exercise of such power and influence (122(g) Insolvency Act 1986 and section 994 Companies Act 2006.
This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totalling a minimum of 20 hours in Michaelmas Term. This year teaching will be delivered through recorded online lectures and a mix of both in-person and online classes to accommodate students who are unable to physically be on campus. This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Michaelmas Term.
One 2,000 word essay.
Core Texts: David Kershaw, Company Law in Context (2nd ed, OUP 2012).
Paul Davies, Gower and Davies' The Principles of Modern Company Law (9th eds, Sweet & Maxwell, 2012).
For detailed reading lists please see the Moodle website.
Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours, reading time: 30 minutes) in the summer exam period.
Important information in response to COVID-19
Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.
Total students 2019/20: 42
Average class size 2019/20: 21
Controlled access 2019/20: Yes
Value: Half Unit