Legal Foundations for Business

Module description

This module introduces you to law in the business environment.  Law is intrinsic to the safe and effective operation of your business, and will have an impact upon operations from conception to dissolution.  Which format will your business take?  Will you operate as a sole trader, as a partnership or limited company?  Who will you employ and upon what terms?  And what if you decide an employee isn’t fitting in, or perhaps you overestimated the amount of support you would need.  What relationships will you have with other businesses?  Where will you source your materials for example, and on what terms?  Are you free to call your company what you like, and what if another organisation is suddenly found to be benefitting from selling your design?  Perhaps your business is damaged by bad press for which you seek compensation.  Maybe you suffer loss following receipt of faulty products or you lose business due to disruptive neighbours or negligent suppliers. 

To be savvy in business, you need to be familiar with key areas of the law, such as contract, employment, negligence, nuisance, property rights and defamation.  The law is a tool to be utilised and vast costs can be saved from simply understanding the legal system and how lawyers navigate it.  There are no pre-requisites for this module.  The module is suitable for students entirely new to law and may also be appropriate for those studying on a Flexible Combined Honours pathway. 

Full module specification

Module title:Legal Foundations for Business
Module code:BEP2080
Module level:2
Academic year:2020/1
Module lecturers:
  • Mrs Kate Holtaway - Convenor
Module credit:15
ECTS value:






Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 2:


Module aims

This module is an important aspect of your business education, and will provide a foundation for any career that you might wish to pursue when you graduate.  A sound grasp of the law is assumed of any accomplished businessperson, and to achieve this as part of your undergraduate study is sure to set you apart from competitors.  This module will provide a legal platform in business to ensure compliance, while arming you with the awareness to you need to identify when a legal professional might be required.

This module aims to introduce you to the various sectors of business law, offering an overview of basic principles while providing you with a practical understanding of key legislation.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the key legal principles that impact business;
  • 2. Link theoretical understandings of business law with practical perspectives, while developing your critical thinking through the construction of legal reasoning;
  • 3. Link theoretical understandings of business law with practical perspectives, while developing your critical thinking through the construction of legal reasoning;
  • 4. Critically assess the future direction of law and policy in business;
  • 5. Demonstrate your ability to analyse the existing law critically

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 6. Assimilate and engage effectively with a range of primary and secondary legal resources in your legal writing and reasoning;
  • 7. Critically appraise competing legal and non-legal arguments by explaining their respective merits;
  • 8. Identify key issues in problem scenarios, analyse them logically and construct balanced arguments to resolve complex legal disputes;

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 9. Understand and develop complex ideas and communicate them confidently and professionally.

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
Scheduled Learning and Teaching22Lectures (11 x 2 hours)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching3Workshops (3 x 1 hour)
Guided Independent Study70Preparation of assignments
Guided Independent Study55Preparing for workshops and reading around the topics covered

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Role play scenario and/or Barrister in-tray exercise to augment the role of business law within the legal system 3 x 1 hour workshops1-9Oral feedback on tasks assigned

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
Barristers Opinion602,000 words1-9Written
Solicitors Letter of Advice on a given scenario 40Solicitors Letter of Advice on a given scenario (40%) 1,000 words1-9Written

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Barristers Opinion 60%1-9July
Solicitors Letter of Advice on a given scenario (40%) 1,000 words40%1-9July

Syllabus plan

While the module’s precise content may vary, it is anticipated that it will cover the following topics:

• Introduction to law for non-lawyers
• The Law of Contract
• Company formation, director appointments and shareholding
• Employment Law
• Intellectual Property
• Torts such as defamation, nuisance and negligence
• Sustainable Business Practices – sustainable business development, Eco efficiency, resource productivity, waste reduction, producer responsibility, accountability, certification, regulation of sustainability standards and the role of international law
• Health & Safety at work

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

• Adams, A. (2014). Law for Business Students (8th ed.). Harlow: Pearson.  The text follows a six-part structure, beginning with an introduction to the study of law for those new to the subject, and then outlining each major area of legal concern in business including contracts and sales, liability, employment, corporate organisation and intellectual property.
• Finch, E. & Fafinski, S. (2015). Legal Skills (5th ed.). OUP.  The textbook explains how to find legal resources from statutes to cases and includes tips on legal writing.
• Cownie, F., Bradney, A., & Burton, M. (2013). English Legal System in Context (6th ed.). OUP.
• Partington, M. (2015). Introduction to the English Legal System (10th ed.). OUP.

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Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

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