Transnational Company Law

Key information

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Entry requirements:

Available to Law students and Non-Law students

Module description

Module description:

With the process of economic globalisation, the increasing market internationalisation and the mobility of capital, national company laws need to be understood within their broader transnational context. The corporation was originally treated as an object regulated by nation-states. However, public companies today are not governed solely by regulation created by public national and supranational (e.g. European Union) regulators but they are governed by and reacting to regulation created by quasi-public or private transnational actors (such as Multinational Corporations, international organisations, expert commissions, investor 3 representative groups, NGOs and other private actors). This perspective challenges the traditional monolithic view of company law as state (public) regulation. For transnational company law, borders and territoriality are of diminished importance, the line between the public and private spheres has blurred, and private authority is a reality.

This module will study these overlapping local, national, international, supranational and transnational company law regimes and will expose the students to the various public and private actors that influence the norm-making processes in company law today. Topics to be covered will vary from year to year to reflect the most recent research and policy debates, but will generally include: the purpose of the corporations and the increasing emphasis on the social role of companies (including the consideration of ESG factors by boards and investors); the tension between harmonisation of national company laws and regulatory competition; the interplays between hard and soft law (studying, for instance, the development of ‘say on pay’ laws); the development of corporate governance codes and stewardship codes as a form of market self-regulation (drawing on national corporate governance codes, the OECD Guidelines, codes issued by pension funds and stock exchanges etc.); board diversity; and transnational actors (such as institutional investors) as object and source of transnational company law and regulation. 

Assessment details

1 summative essay – 3,500 words (100 %) 

Educational aims & objectives

The aim of this module is to familiarise the students with the complex nature of the modern corporation and its regulatory environment and to expand the analytical toolkit of domestic (UK) company law by focusing on transnational regulation. The students will study all forms of rule-making relating to the governance of public companies, including hard law rules imposed and enforced at national, regional (e.g. EU), and international level and non-binding or less binding soft law as well as self-imposed or self-enforced rules (private ordering). The module also aims to ensure that the students understand that transnational company law today reaches both within and beyond the nation state and is interdisciplinary in nature drawing upon many disciplines, including company law, corporate governance, political theory and political economy, law and economics, and CSR/ethics. 

Learning outcomes

The module will assist the students:

  • To analyse the interaction between national company laws, international corporate governance, supranational (EU) company law and transnational company law
  • To demonstrate a critical understanding of the interplays between hard law, soft law, and self-regulation
  • To understand the role of national (e.g. legislators, courts), supranational (e.g. Court of Justice of the EU), international (e.g. OECD) and transnational (e.g. Multinational Corporations, institutional investors and their associations, credit rating agencies) actors.
  • To map ‘regulatory spaces’ in areas such as ‘say on pay’ laws, board structure or shareholder stewardship.
  • To understand the modern corporation within its broader political, institutional and economic context drawing upon company law, corporate governance, political theory and political economy, law and economics and CSR/ethics.

Teaching pattern

Seminar – 1 x 2 hours per week  (Contact 22 hours)