Business Law

Module description


To be taken by students on BSc Accounting only.
This module considers the law that affects business in Great Britain (focusing on the law as it applies in England & Wales). You will gain an appreciation and understanding of the workings of the legal system, the law of tort, contract law, the law of agency, employment law, the law of partnerships, company law and other areas of law that effect businesses.

Additional Information:
Many legal systems in the world are based on the UK system (Hong Kong, ex-Commonwealth countries, Australia, USA) and so although this module is UK-based; it has relevance to countries that have adapted the UK law system. As part of the business law, you will also be taught European Law.
This module will increase your knowledge of legal principles and help you understand the role of law in regulating businesses. It will develop your oral and written communication skills and you will learn to use appropriate legal language, identify and analyse legal problems, produce reasoned arguments and conclusions and recommend a course of action based on legal principles either working independently or as part of a team. Knowledge of the law and the skills developed in this module will provide you with a solid foundation which can be applied to all employment situations.

External Engagement

The module has input from the following external accreditation bodies:
ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accounts in England and Wales)
ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants)
ICAS (Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland)
CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants)

Law is relevant to every issue on sustainability and knowledge of the law is required in order to practice any kind of sustainability related activity.
All of the resources for this course are accessible through ELE (Exeter Learning Environment).

Full module specification

Module title:Business Law
Module code:BEA2011K
Module level:2
Academic year:2015/6
Module lecturers:
  • Mrs Sue Hickman - Convenor
Module credit:15
ECTS value:






Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 3:


Module aims

The aim of this module is to enable you to understand and demonstrate knowledge of the legal systems in Great Britain and the principle features of business law. By the end of the module, you will be able to identify and assess legal issues and apply knowledge to legal problems affecting business and reach appropriate conclusions.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Understand and demonstrate knowledge of the legal systems in England & Wales and Scotland using appropriate legal language.
  • 2. Understand and demonstrate knowledge of the principal features of the law of tort, law of contract, law of partnerships and law of companies.
  • 3. Understand and demonstrate knowledge of key principles of the law of agency, employment law and other areas of law effecting businesses.
  • 4. Explain, summarise and assess coherently the principal features of the laws relating to businesses in England & Wales.
  • 5. Identify issues arising in areas of business law and identify and apply relevant legal rules.
  • 6. Use different legal sources to explain and assess legal issues relating to businesses.
  • 7. Apply knowledge to legal problems and reach appropriate conclusions.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 8. Understand the role of law in regulating businesses.
  • 9. Use appropriate legal and business language in discussing issues and problems.
  • 10. In the context of a business environment, identify and analyse legal problems, apply legal principles and reach conclusions/recommend a course of action.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 11. Produce reasoned arguments and conclusions to issues and problems.
  • 12. Work independently to gather and organise information.
  • 13. Demonstrate written communication skills.
  • 14. Demonstrate problem solving skills.
  • 15. Demonstrate oral communication skills.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Contact Hours22Lectures
Contact Hours11Tutorials

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Questions (various formats) in TutorialsWeekly one hour tutorials (requiring regular preparation.1-12, 14-15Discussed in tutorials; further discussion with individual student if required.

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Examination802 hours1-11, 13-14Email communication and/or individual meetings with student if required
Coursework201,000-2,000 words1-14Email communication and/or individual meetings with student if required

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Examination Examination (2 hours)1-11, 13-14Referred or deferred assessment period
CourseworkCoursework (1,000 - 2,000 words)1-14Referred or deferred assessment period

Re-assessment notes

Students will be reassessed by means of examination or coursework depending on which element(s) is referred/deferred. Marks for referred elements will be capped in accordance with University Guidelines. 

Syllabus plan

The Legal System in England, Scotland and Wales:
• Introduction – the nature and purpose of law.
• Classification of law by reference to:
o The subject matter of the dispute.
o The distinction between the civil and criminal law.
o The main sources of law.
• Sources of law:
o European law.
o Acts of Parliament.
o Delegated legislation.
• The doctrine of judicial precedent.
• The court structure in England, Scotland and Wales.
• The nature of tort.
• Vicarious liability.
• The tort of negligence.
• General defences:
o Contributory negligence.
o Volenti non fit injuria.
• Remedies.
• Formation:
o Consensus in idem.
o Consideration.
o Intention to create legal relations.
o Capacity.
o Formality.
o Illegality.
o Third party rights.
• Electronic contracts.
• Terms:
.o Express and implied terms.
.o Exclusion and limitation clauses.
.o The Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 and the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations 1999.
• Vitiating factors:
o Mistake.
o Misrepresentation.
o Undue influence.
o Duress.
• Restrictive covenants and competition law.
• Discharge of contract:
o Performance.
o Novation.
o Breach.
o Frustration.
• Remedies:
o Damages.
o Rescission and specific performance.
o Retention and lien.
• Definition and creation of agency.
• Authority of an agent.
• Duties and rights of an agent.
• Termination of agency.
Employment law:
• The distinction between employees and independent contractors.
• Contracts of employment.
• Working Time Regulations.
• Termination of employment.
• Wrongful and unfair dismissal.
• Redundancy.
Miscellaneous matters:
• Introduction to trusts.
• Intellectual property.
• The regulation of businesses:
o The Data Protection Act 1998.
o Environmental legislation.
The Company as a Business Enterprise:
• Types of Business Enterprise:
o Sole traders.
o Partnerships.
o Companies.
o Other organisations.
• The Law of Partnerships:
o The firm and partners.
o Liability.
o Authority.
o Dissolution.
o Limited Partnerships and LLPs.
• Classification/types of Companies.
• Key distinctions between companies and other enterprises.
Creating a Company:
• Formation of a Company:
o Documents required.
o Registration.
o Promoters.
o Pre-incorporation contracts.
o Purchasing ‘off-the-shelf’.
• Legal Personality:
o Separate personality.
o Consequences.
• Lifting the Veil of Incorporation:
o Statutory examples.
o Evading obligations.
o Corporate groups.
o Agency.
• Corporate Criminal Responsibility.
Managing and Administering a Company:
• The Company Constitution:
o Memorandum of Association.
o Articles of Association.
o Objects of a company.
o Company Name.
o Registered Office.
o Alteration of the Articles.
o Contractual effect of constitution.
• Meetings.
• Resolutions.
• Company Secretary.
• Company Directors:
o Concept.
o Appointment.
o Vacation, retirement and removal.
o Disqualification.
• Annual Returns.

Responsibilities and Relationships:
• Directors’ Duties:
o Codification.
o To whom are duties owed.
o General Duties.
o Particular statutory duties.
o Liability.
• Shareholder Remedies:
o The Rule in Foss v Harbottle.
o Derivative Claims.
o Unfair Prejudice.
o Just and Equitable winding up.
Financing a Company:
• Shares:
o Features of a share.
..o Types of share.
o Becoming a member.
o Classes of share .
o Variation of class rights.
o Transfer of shares.
o Allotment.
o Pre-emption rights.
o Bonus issues.
o Employee share schemes.
• Share Capital:
o Types of share capital.
o Principle of capital maintenance.
o Issue at a discount.
o Non-cash consideration.
o Issue at a premium.
o Dividends.
o Financial Assistance.
• Issue of Securities:
o London Stock Exchange.
o Listing conditions.
o Public offers (listed/unlisted).
• Loan Capital.
o Debentures.
o Distinction between shares and debentures
o Types of debenture.
• Charges:
o Fixed charges.
o Floating charges.
o Registration and priority.
o Remedies of lender (secured and unsecured).
Revision Sessions.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:
• Keenan D. and Riches, S. (2011) Business Law, 10th edition, Harlow: Pearson
• Macintyre, E. (2014) Business Law, 7th edition, Harlow: Pearson
• Adams A, (2014) Law for Business Students, 8th edition, Harlow: Pearson

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Lecture notes, tutorial questions and solutions will be posted on ELE

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

•¬†Lecture handouts will be provided.

Origin date


Last revision date