LL4CQ      Half Unit
Legal Aspects of Private Equity and Venture Capital

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Professor Sarah Paterson and Dr Simon Witney (Visiting Professor in Practice), assisted by guest teachers.


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 available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Students should note that private equity is a specialist asset class, and the basics of debt and equity are not covered in LL4CQ. The course is, therefore, recommended for students who are taking other, relevant corporate law and financial law courses, or who have relevant experience.


This course has a limited number of places and demand is typically high. This may mean that you’re not able to get a place on this course.

Course content

This course will equip students with a detailed understanding of the legal structures and issues arising in international private equity and venture capital.  It is founded on academic analysis of pertinent theoretical and legal issues complemented by insights from relevant practitioners.  

The course will cover: private equity and venture capital fund structures, terms and regulation; venture capital and buyout structures and terms; corporate governance in private equity-backed companies; and LBO financing terms.  

The course has a UK focus but will include relevant aspects of European Union law with comparative global perspectives. 


This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures in Winter Term. This course includes a Reading Week in Week 6 of Winter Term.

Formative coursework

A formative essay will be due in Week 7 and detailed feedback will be provided shortly after. The essay will have a word limit of 1,500 and will provide invaluable preparation for the summative assessment.

Indicative reading

A full Reading List will be distributed during the course. For introductory purposes, students are referred to:

Gilligan, J. and Wright, M., Private equity demystified: An explanatory guide (2020, 4th edition, Oxford University Press),

Gullifer, L. and Payne J., Corporate Finance Law: Principles and Policy (2020, 3rd edition, Hart Publishing), Chapter 16 (Private Equity),

Hale, C. (ed), Private Equity: A Transactional Analysis (2020, 4th edition, Globe Law and Business),

Witney, S., Corporate Governance and Responsible Investment in Private Equity (2020, Cambridge University Press)


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the spring exam period.

Key facts

Department: Law School

Total students 2022/23: 59

Average class size 2022/23: 15

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Lecture capture used 2022/23: Yes (LT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills