Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2019-2020 (archived)

Module LAW53630: Comparative Corporate Governance

Department: Law

LAW53630: Comparative Corporate Governance

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Not available in 2019/20 Module Cap


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • This course aims to assess the principal forms of corporate governance, control and regulation of the firm across countries. In particular, it will discuss the legal relationship between directors, managers, and shareholders; it will also study the growing empirical research on comparative corporate governance.
  • The overall purpose is therefore to provide a theoretical and practical grasp of core issues of corporate governance, which can be useful for academic as all well as professional work in this field.


  • Core theories of corporate governance, for example, the principal agent problems between directors and shareholders, and between minority and majority shareholders.
  • Key aspects of corporate governance will be discussed from interdisciplinary and comparative perspectives, notably the role of the board of directors and the protection of shareholders and other stakeholders.
  • This course will be taught from a comparative perspective, in particular considering the legal systems of the UK, the US, selected European and other jurisdictions. The role of international organisations such as the OECD and the World Bank will also be considered.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • good knowledge and understanding of the meaning and relevance of corporate governance from a comparative perspective;
  • detailed knowledge and understanding of selected topics of particular relevance to commercial lawyers;
  • critical understanding of the effectiveness of company law given the legal, political, economic, social and cultural context in which it operates.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • the ability to engage in independent analysis of a range of laws from various jurisdictions;
  • the ability to critically evaluate the views of legal commentators drawn from a range disciplines and to adopt and defend a reasoned position on the issues explored;
  • the ability to apply their knowledge to practical cases - using both legal analysis and business thinking
  • the ability to engage in independent research on complex legal problems.
Key Skills:
  • originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in the discipline
  • ability to describe accurately and comprehensibly the arguments and analysis of other commentators
  • ability to evaluate critically the arguments of others
  • ability to carry out research and solve practical questions

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

  • The module will be taught by interactive seminars, supported by private study by students.
  • Assessment will be by written essays, providing students with a choice of topics. Students will be encouraged to develop confidence in formulating and articulating their own ideas and perspectives on the issues.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 15 Weekly with a few reading weeks 2 30
Preparation and reading 270
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 6000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

1500 word essay

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