SOAS University of London

School of Law

Multinational Enterprises and the Law I

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Taught in:
Term 1

This module provides a comprehensive, interdisciplinary study of the busines and legal organisation of multilnational enterprises (MNEs), as well as the regulatory framework within which they exist and operate.  It does so in relation to the principal - both commerial and social - issues raised by their activities. Included in the regulatory environment for international business are the sites, sources and regulatory rules at sub-national, national, and multilateral  levels. The comprehensive, interdisciplinary character of the module means that it provides a legal overview in which each aspect of the regulatory matrix is linked to and flows from the rest. This enables connections to be made and infromation to be drawn from the different issues covered by the module so that they may be brought together in the context of, for example,  the chosen essay topic and the exam.

This module has been running successfully for many years. The main proposed change is to split it into two modules. The first will focus primarily on commercial legal issues and will be compulsory to all LLM in International Commercial and Economic Law students as well as for those who wish to continue to the second module. The second will focus  primarily on the social aspects of the operations of MNEs and the way these are translated into legal rules. Substantively, more time will be allocated in the first modules to principles of property and contract law and the way they both differ and interface. The topic of jurisdiction will be enlarged to include also conflicts of law, providing an introduction to private international law by reference to MNEs..


  • 2 hour seminar per week

Scope and syllabus

1. Getting to know MNEs: Economic and Legal Perspectives

2.The Business and Legal Organisation of MNEs I: Major Tends in Business Organsiation

3.The Business and Legal Organisation of MNEs: Major Trends in Legal Structures and Organisation

4. Regulating MNEs: Sources, Sites and the Role of ideology and Related principles of Property and Contract law in the Regulation of MNEs

5. Jurisdictional Limits of National Law, Conflicts of Law and the Regulation of MNEs

6.Competition Law and Technology Transfer

7. Control Over Entry and Establishment of  MNEs

8. Liberalisation of Entry and Establishment of MNEs

9. International Investment Law: Substantive Principles

10.International Investment Law: Investor-State Dispute Settlement

Method of assessment

  • Essay: 100% (4000 words)

Suggested reading

Text book: Peter T. Muchlinski, Multinational Enterprises and the Law (OUP 3rd ed to be published 2020)

M. Sornarajah, The International Law on Foreign Investment (4th ed  CUP 2017)

Kate Miles, The Origins of International Investment Law: Empire, Environment and the Safeguarding of Capital (CUP 2013)

Jeffrey N. Gordon and Wolf Georg Ringe (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Corporate Law and Governance (OUP 2018)

Grietje Baars and Andre Spicer (eds), The Corporation: A Critical Multi-Disciplinary Handbook (CUP2017)

Terence C. Halliday and Gregory Shaffer (eds), Transnational Legal Orders (CUP 2015)

Alan Rugman (ed), The Oxford Handbook of International Business (2nd ed OUP 2009)

James Crawford,  Brownlie’s Principles of Public International Law (9th ed OUP 2019)

Andreas F. Lowenfeld, International Economic Law (2nd ed OUP 2008)

 John H. Dunning and Sarianna M. Lundan, Multinational Enterprises and the Global Economy (2nd ed Edward Elgar 2008)


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules