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 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.

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. Getting to know MNES: economic and legal perspectives
  2. The business and legal organisation of MNES: major trends in business organisation
  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. Control over entry and establishment of MNES
  7. Liberalisation of entry and establishment of MNES
  8. International investment law: substantive principles
  9. International investment law: investor-state dispute settlement


Method of assessment


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


Suggested reading

Text book: Peter T. Muchlinski, Multinational Enterprises and the Law (OUP 3rd edition 2021)

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