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Corporate Law: an Introduction

Corporate Law: an Introduction

An intensive summer programme designed to introduce students aged 19+ to the principles of Corporate Law.

A one-week programme, residential in a college of the University of Oxford.

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Course Summary

This course will introduce students to central issues in corporate law. It will start by showing students how to select the most appropriate type of entity for a company as companies in all jurisdictions share a number of legal attributes such as legal personality, limited liability, delegated management, transferable shares and investor ownership.

It will seek to answer the question ‘What form of corporate entity is preferable for the nature of a business, for example limited liability or a partnership?’. This selection process can be confusing and students will be supported in determining the most appropriate type of entity in the light of such considerations as taxation, desired management structure, liability protection and costs and students’ will be invited to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of different entities.

Following the 2007-2009 financial crisis there have been many major regulatory changes in the global corporate governance landscape with institutional investors taking an ever more active ownership role, so the spotlight will then turn to the basic governance structure of the contemporary corporation, including the powers of the board of directors and the shareholder meetings. This discussion and debate will be further extended into an analysis of the role that corporate law plays in the regulation of financial markets.

The course will finish off by looking at the issue of agency problems and relationships in a broad range of contexts along with the critical role of corporate law in cases of insolvency and mergers and acquisitions.

Course Outcomes

By the end of the course students will understand:

  • The best legal entity for the business model and take steps to make this corporate entity a reality
  • How to structure a company legally and the legal implications of raising capital for a business entity
  • How to address corporate law issues in different countries around the world using a set of legal strategies.

Course Outcomes

Monday Lecture 1: Choosing the type of corporate entity and company name
Seminar 1: How to choose the type of entity-critical analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of different business entities through legal case studies
Tuesday Lecture 2: Corporate governance structures-minority shareholders and majority shareholder
Seminar 2: Discussion and debate on the types of company disputes that can arise between shareholders and directors
Wednesday Lecture 3: Raising capital for a business to operate-providing a framework for a business to raise funds
Seminar 3: Critical legal discussion and cases on the advantages and disadvantages of equity and debt financing
Thursday Lecture 4: Agency Problems- motivating the agent to act in the principal’s interest
Seminar 4: Research and discussion in to the types of agency problem that arise in corporations. Identifying legal strategies for addressing these problems
Friday Lecture 5: Dissolution – devising an exit strategy
Seminar 5: Presentations, course review and action planning


Assessment Methods

1 x Written Assignment (500-750 words)

1 x Group Presentation


Oxford College Accommodation

  • Location Oxford
  • Ages Ages: 12+, 13-15, 16-18, 19+
  • Bedroom Type Single and twin
  • Bathroom Type En-suite & Shared (single gender)
  • Year Built Founded in 1096 (University of Oxford)

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