Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2019-2020 (archived)

Module LAW45415: Fundamentals of Corporate Law

Department: Law

LAW45415: Fundamentals of Corporate Law

Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2019/20 Module Cap None.


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • The module is intended for those who have not studied company/corporate law before. It is introductory, and allows students to acquire an understanding of what companies are, their main legal features, the economic role they play, and some of the key regulatory challenges they present.


  • The following are the main topics which will be addressed during the module:
  • Corporate personality and limited liability
  • The advantages and disadvantages of companies – why do businesses operate as companies?
  • The role and power of a company’s directors.
  • Regulating directors through legal duties – an introduction.
  • Shareholders’ rights and inter-shareholder disputes

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Understand the nature of companies, including the concepts of corporate legal personality and limited liability
  • Understand some of the principal regulatory issues which companies present, and
  • Understand how UK company law has addressed these issues,
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Be able to identify the legal issues that arise in respect of a hypothetical factual scenario related to use of a corporate entity;
  • Be able to describe and apply some of the key concepts, principles and rules in UK company law that are relevant to those legal issues
  • Understand and describe some of the debates about the role that company law ought to play in regulating corporate entities;
Key Skills:
  • Understanding of complex materials
  • Ability to describe accurately and comprehensibly the arguments and analysis of other commentators
  • Ability to critically evaluate the arguments of others

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The lecture will introduce the subject and convey basic information about the module. Seminar sheets will be distributed, identifying the scope of the different seminar topics, the reading students must undertake for them, and the questions must attempt to answer prior to attendance at each seminar. In seminars themselves, students will have the opportunity to test, and to develop, their own understandings and knowledge of the materials presented in lectures/private study.
  • The assessment will take the form of essays. The formative assessment will give students an opportunity both (1) to test whether they are acquiring the subject knowledge, and the skills, identified above; and (2) to practice writing the sort of essay that will be expected for the summative. The summative essay will then test whether students have acquired the subject knowledge and skills set out above.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 1 weekly 1 term 1
Seminars 7 weekly 1 term 14
Preparation and reading 135

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 3,000 100% 3,000 words, different title

Formative Assessment:

One essay of up to 1,000 words.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University