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Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2021/2022

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: Law


Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Not available in 2021/22


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To provide an introduction to corporate insolvency law, with particular reference to the corporate insolvency laws of the United Kingdom.


  • This module will introduce students to the basic objectives and benchmarks of corporate insolvency law, dealing with corporate failure and insolvency as well as the area of corporate rescue. The module will examine procedures such as the priority rules, administration, liquidation and company arrangements. The role of insolvency practitioners and the effect of insolvency upon shareholders, creditors, directors and employees will also be considered.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will gain a thorough knowledge of relevant common law rules relating to insolvency, the provisions of the Insolvency Act 1986, relevant provisions of the Companies Act 2006, and the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000;
  • Students will understand how to deal with requests by foreign insolvency practitioners to obtain control over assets located in the United Kingdom;
  • Students will be able to explain insolvency law problems facing corporations incorporated in the United Kingdom.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Analyse and evaluate relevant common law rules and the provisions of the Insolvency Act 1986 and relevant provisions of the Companies Act 2006 and the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and apply these to particular problem situations
  • Demonstrate a capacity to deal with problem-solving relating to insolvency law problems facing corporations incorporated in the United Kingdom
  • Identify relevant insolvency law principles and procedures;
  • Deal with requests by foreign insolvency practitioners to obtain control over assets located in the United Kingdom.
Key Skills:
  • A systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of their academic discipline, field of study, or area of professional practice;
  • A comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship;
  • Originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in the discipline;
  • Conceptual understanding that enables the student: to evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in the discipline; and to evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them, and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The teaching will be based on Socratic seminars supported by substantial but targeted reading assignments before each seminar session. The readings are selected from both established doctrinal sources as well as cutting-edge scholarship in the area. The seminars will work from a basic level of doctrinal knowledge and build on that foundation into discussions of more difficult and controversial issues within the sub-discipline. This will encourage students to learn the material and develop the ability to discuss it and understand where each aspect of the reading fits in with the relevant debates.
  • The elements of assessment support the aims of the teaching methods. The essay will assess the extent to which students have developed an overall grasp of the subject matter and issues, and can discuss challenging problems emerging in the sub-discipline. It will also assess the ability of the students not only to analyse the subject material, but to perform research in the sub-discipline, and present a structured, articulate argument on the subject. The formative essay will assist in preparation for the summative essay.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lecture 1 weekly 1hr 1
Seminars 5 weekly 3 hrs 15
Preparation and reading 134

Summative Assessment

Component: Summative Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 3,000 words 100% 3,000 words

Formative Assessment:

Students will complete an essay of no more than 1,500 words on a topic that will be provided in week 2 of Term

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University