Corporate Insolvency Law
The insolvency of a company gives rise to a number of fascinating questions. Why are formal (state-supplied) procedures needed for the treatment of distressed companies? When should such procedures be triggered, and for whose benefit should they be conducted? To what extent should they be geared towards the rescue of the company or its business? What rights should those to whom the company is indebted - its creditors - have over the conduct of the proceedings? In what order of priority should their claims be paid? How should the managers of the distressed company be dealt with, in and outside of formal insolvency proceedings? In this course, students explore these questions in three ways: first, by reading and evaluating theoretical and empirical literature on the purpose and design of corporate insolvency laws in general; second, by a close study of the formal insolvency and restructuring procedures available under English law, considering their operation in both purely domestic cases and in those with one or more cross-border elements; third, by exploring some of the core features of the insolvency laws of other jurisdictions, with a view to evaluating the procedures available under English law from a comparative and functional perspective.
Students taking the course can thus expect to acquire:
- an advanced understanding of English corporate insolvency law;
- knowledge of some of the core features of the corporate insolvency laws of other jurisdictions, including US, German and French law;
- knowledge of the core features of European corporate cross-border insolvency law (particularly the European Insolvency Regulation), as well as of other legal rules that influence the treatment of cross-border insolvencies in English courts;
- advanced understanding of seminal literature on the purpose and design of corporate insolvency laws, and the ability to draw on this literature to critique the laws studied in the course, or any other corporate insolvency system.
Many students taking the course intend to embark upon or continue a career in corporate or commercial law, where an advanced understanding of English corporate insolvency law (on which the insolvency laws of many other jurisdictions are modeled) is particularly valuable. However the course has also proven to be of interest to students who are interested more generally in understanding the purposes of mandatory corporate law rules, and their impact on the cost and availability of finance. No prior knowledge of corporate insolvency law is required, nor is it necessary to have studied company law, though the latter is of some advantage.