Multinational Enterprises and the Law I

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Term 1
Module code
FHEQ Level
School of Law

Module overview

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 commercial 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 information 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.

For the purpose of this course, MNEs are regarded as diverse and flexible organisations which range from traditional, hierarchically controlled groups of affiliates based around a parent company to groups which operate as looser heterarchical organisations of associated affiliates to co-operating firms in strategic alliances. The course is not based on a single model of the MNE but rather examines the organisational diversity of MNEs in relation to the principal policy and regulatory questions involved in their operations.

This module focuses primarily on commercial legal issues and is compulsory for all LLM in International Commercial and Economic Law students as well as for those who wish to continue to Multinational Enterprises and the Law II in the second term. MNEs II supplements this module by focussing primarily on the social aspects of the cross-border operations of MNEs and the way these are translated into legal rules.


  • Weekly 2-hour seminar

Scope and syllabus

  1. Introduction: Getting to Know multinational enterprises (MNEs)
  2. The Business and Legal Organisation of MNEs: Major Trends in Business
  3. Organisation and Legal Structures
  4. Regulating MNEs I: Sources, Sites, the Role of Ideology
  5. Protecting MNEs: The Vanishing Veil
  6. Jurisdictional Limits of National Law and the Regulation of MNEs
  7. Control over Entry and Establishment of MNEs
  8. Liberalisation of Entry and Establishment
  9. International Investment Law I: Substantive Principles
  10. International Investment Law II: Investor-State Dispute Settlement.

Method of assessment

  • Essay: 80% (4000 words)
  • Video presentation: 20%

Suggested reading

  • Textbook: Peter T Muchlinski, Multinational Enterprises and the Law (3rd ed Oxford University Press 2021)
  • Paul L Davies and Sarah Worthington Chris Hare, Gower Principles of Modern Company Law (11th ed Sweet & Maxwell Thomson Reuter 2021)
  • Eva Micheler, Company Law: A Real Entity Theory (OUP 2021)
  • Philip I Blumberg, Blumberg on Corporate Groups (2nd ed Aspen Publishers 2005)
  • John Braithwaite and Peter Drahos, Global Business Regulation (CUP 2000) 
  • Stephen Allen et al (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Jurisdiction in International Law (OUP 2019)
  • M. Sornarajah, The International Law on Foreign Investment (5th ed CUP 2021)
  • Kate Miles, The Origins of International Investment Law: Empire, Environment and the Safeguarding of Capital (Cambridge University Press 2013)
  • Joel Bakan, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power (Free Press 2019)
  • Grietje Baars and Andre Spicer (eds), The Corporation: A Critical Multi-Disciplinary Handbook (CUP 2017)
  • Grietje Baars and Andre Spicer (eds), The Corporation: A Critical Multi-Disciplinary Handbook (CUP 2017)


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.