SOAS University of London

School of Law

Multinational Enterprises and the Law II

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Taught in:
Term 2

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 hours seminar per week

Scope and syllabus

1. Regulating Through Company Law I: Corporate Governance, Disclosure and Directors Duties

2. Regulating Through Company Law II: Group Liability, Network Liability and Director's Duties

3.Corporate Social Responsibility

4. Transnational Tort Litigation

5. Taxation

6. International Financial Institutions and their Social and Economic Impact

7. Labour Relations

8. Human Rights and MNEs

9. The Environment, Rights of Nature and MNEs

10.Colonialism, post colonialism and MNEs

Method of assessment

  • Unseen exam paper: 70% (2 hours)
  • Essay: 30% (1500 words)

Suggested reading

  1. Text book: Peter T. Muchlinski, Multinational Enterprises and the Law (OUP 3rd ed to be published 2020)
  2. Kate Miles, The Origins of International Investment Law: Empire, Environment and the Safeguarding of Capital (CUP 2013)
  3. Grietje Baars and Andre Spicer (eds), The Corporation: A Critical Multi-Disciplinary Handbook (CUP2017)
  4. Anna Grear, Redirecting Human Rights: Facing the Challenge of Corporate Legal Humanity (Palgrave Macmillan 2010)
  5.  Christopher D. Stone, Should Trees have Standing: Law. Morality and the environment (3rd edn OUP 2010)
  6. Ramon Mullerat, International Corporate Social Responsibility (Kluwer Law International 2010)
  7. Janet Dine, Companies, Trade and International Human Rights, (CUP 2005) 
  8.  Ronen Palan, Richard Murphy and Christian Chavagneux, Tax Havens: How Globalization Really Works (Cornell University Press 2010)
  9. Jeffrey N. Gordon and Wolf Georg Ringe (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Corporate Law and Governance (OUP 2018)
  10. Christian A. Witting, Liability of Corporate Groups and Networks (CUP2018) 


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules