This article is written by Vaishnavi, an intern under Legal Vidhiya
Before getting into assessing the effectiveness of commercial law in the UK universities, it is extremely important to be aware of what is commercial law in UK and how it functions there. Let’s quickly dive into step by step analysis of the importance and effectiveness of these laws in the UK.
What is commercial law in the UK?
In the United Kingdom, commercial law is that branch of law that covers the transactions between the business both at the national and international level. Be it sale of goods and services, insurance contract, formation of businesses etc., everything comes under the ambit of commercial law.
History of Commercial Law in UK
Trade has most notably, been an individual part of human history. In the UK, the trade flourished noticeably in medieval period when the traders or merchants started trading with each other more often. To regulate these commercial trade and transaction, there were certain laws made but these laws were not much organized. As soon as the trade become more globalized, there came a need for more unified and well-defined laws. The first commercial law called the Merchant Skipping Act was passed in the 19th century. This act governed the commercial contracts maritime trade. This law also inspired other countries in their law making on similar issue.
Ever since then, commercial laws in the UK have developed gradually today, UK is a major attraction for the business due to its poised commercial laws that safeguard the rights of both the consumer and the businesses. It has become an integral part of the UK legal system as well as in the academic curriculum in the UK universities and is being updated continuously to keep pace with the modern industrial needs and ensuring the smooth and efficient operations of the businesses and safeguarding the rights of it as well as the consumers.
Commercial Law and its importance for Businesses in the UK
Commercial law in the UK includes a wide range of legal principles under its dwelling. These are -:
- Personal Property Law – Personal property law in the UK governs the ownership, either joint or sale, use and disposal of personal property, both movable and immovable.
- Agency in English Law – It deals with the legal relationship between the agent and its principle. It is based on the Latin maxim “Qui Facit per alium facit se” that is “he who acts through another acts for himself”.
- Bills of Exchange – The bill of exchange provides a reliable and more organized pathway for the businesses to make payments. In other words, it is, a ‘draft’. These drafts are the legal documents that are employed to make payments between the businesses. If any business or company refuses to make a valid draft, the same can be sued in the court.
- English contract Act, 1833 – This governs the contractual relationship between England and Wales. This act is more or less similar to that of other countries but there are some major key differences. For example, this act does not recognizes the validity of “Freedom of Contract” that the parties to the contract do not have the right to decide their own terms and conditions for the contract. This act provides more protection to the consumers.
- Sale of Goods Act, 1979 – Deals with the sales of consumers goods and define the rights and liabilities of both the buyers and sellers. It also provides the remedy of damages in case for breach of contract.
- International Commercial Law – As the name suggests, it governs the international trade and commerce and investment. It works in 2 major ways -:
- It sets the rules for how businesses can trade internationally with each other. It covers everything from formation of contracts to the transfer of goods and services.
- It also protects the interest of UK businesses when operating usually by providing guidance on how to resolve disputes etc.
- The Insolvency Act,1986 – The Act gives the company some relaxation period so that the company can restructure its debt or find new investors in case it is at the verge of insolvency.
This act provides no of methods which enables companies to speedy recovery from financial debt easily rather than being trapped in formal insolvency proceedings
- Commercial Credit and Securities – Governed by Finance Act, 1995 and the security interest (Enforcement) Regulation, 2010. It provides strong legal protection to the businesses against non – payment of commercial borrowers.
The ambit of commercial law in the UK is very wide. It includes all the subjects that are of interest to the businesses and thus lacking the knowledge of the commercial law can cost heavy financial liabilities as well as legal liabilities to the business. This also makes it a subject of great importance to the lawyers, solicitors, and barristers as well as to the law schools of the UK universities.
Therefore, it also becomes an important part of the syllabus of the universities of UK that impart various professional courses in the field of commercial law because it is extremely important for the lawyers to be the well-informed and equipped with all the aspects of the commercial law.
Universities in the UK well realize the importance of the commercial law in their country. Thus, they design their syllabus and curriculum of commercial law programs accordingly.
Universities in the UK focus majority on equipping the student with necessary intellectual tools to practice various areas of commercial law, such as international commercial laws, insurance laws, contract laws, etc. enabling their students to work for relevant government department, regulators, and international organizations as well as businesses in policy making, research advisory etc. They also provide foundation for students who wish to carry research in the field of commercial law. The universities also focus on inter – connecting the technical legal instruments of commercial laws with the complex and sophisticated training in interdisciplinary framework to understand the functioning and regulation of global businesses. They also help enabling the reflective evaluations of the functioning and the effectiveness of the commercial laws in the business.
The courses on the commercial law in the UK are such designed to specialize in as aspects relevant in the law putting an emphasize law and applying problem solving skills.
The universities also focus on grasping the principles and foundations of commercial law. They keep the pace with the ever – developing industries by examining the key current developments and ever-growing areas of innovation.
There is in depth coverage of the corporate globalization, corporate governance, and commercial laws.
While providing an excellent outline course in commercial laws, the universities sometime fail to provide practical modules to the student and sometimes end up either over-burdening the student in terms of modules or no such modules at all. There is also no alternative for such courses and the teaching in the universities often lacks effectiveness and is sometime boring an uninspiring.
In the UK , courses less than 12 months have less or no credibility at all. The Universities provide a graduation oriented program instead of an industry oriented one . This contradicts the environment in UK that is entirely industrial based. Also , market in the UK more likely accepts experienced mass rather than freshers . The LL.M in commercial law as provided by the UK universities is a non- qualifying degree unless the student has an induced experience in the form of research associate or at any professional position.