• Diploma in Business Administration and Management (Level 5)

Principles of Business Law

Main aims of the Unit

The main aim of this unit is to provide learners with a clear understanding of the key elements of Business Law with particular emphasis on the legal requirements for managing a business organisation. Learners will also gain an appreciation of the law of contract, agency and tort as well as an overview of the operation of the English legal system.

Learning Outcomes for the Unit

Upon successful completion of the course students will be able to:

  • Explain the structure of the English legal system.
  • Describe the necessary legal rules for making a valid contract and the factors which could invalidate a contract.
  • Explain how companies are formed, the various types of companies, and the way they are financed, their legal responsibilities, the role of directors and shareholders and how companies are terminated.
  • Describe how partnerships operate in a legal context and the distinctions between partnerships and companies.
  • Understand the role of agents in a business.
  • Explain the basic legal requirements for the Sale of Goods and how consumer credit can be obtained as well as an understanding of the laws relating to consumer protection.
  • Describe the rules imposed on companies by law against anti-competitive practices.
  • Show a basic understanding of the torts of negligence, conversion, nuisance and defamation.

Learning and teaching methods/strategies used to enable the achievement of learning outcomes:

Learning takes place on a number of levels through lectures, class discussion including problem review and analysis. Formal lectures provide a foundation of information on which the student builds through directed learning and self managed learning outside of the class. The students are actively encouraged to form study groups to discuss course material which fosters a greater depth learning experience.

Entry Requirements

  • Certificate in Business Administration
  • An approved Certificate or Diploma in a relevant area of study

Relevant experience is taken into consideration for students 21 years of age and over who have not completed any formal qualifications.


Exemptions are on a subject-for-subject basis and may be awarded at the discretion of the awarding body provided applicants already possess a relevant qualification at an appropriate academic level.

Main Topics of Study

The sources of English Law. Structure and functions of the courts including the role of the legal profession. Difference between civil and criminal liability

The European Union. The Law making institutions of the EU. The Court of Justice. Types of EU Law.

Formation of a legally binding contract. Terms of a contract. Differences between a term and a representation. Exclusion clauses. Factors which invalidate a contract. Ways in which a contract is terminated. Remedies for breach of contract.

Types of company. Formation of a company. Memorandum and Articles of Association. The company as a legal entity Liquidations and other insolvency procedures. Formation of a partnership and the termination of partnerships.

Financing a company: shares and debentures. The role of company directors and their legal duties. Duties of a company secretary. Rights and responsibilities of shareholders. Rules regarding anti-competitive practices.

Role of an Agent in a business context Relationship between Principal and Agent. Power of an Agent to make a binding contract between a principal and third party. Duties and rights of an Agent. Circumstances in which an Agent can sue or be sued.

Implied terms of a contract in sales of goods. Passing of property and risk. Remedies. Consumer credit. Rules regarding the formation and termination of a regulated agreement. Consumer protection.

Nature of Tort. Liability in Tort. Defences to an action in Tort. Torts of negligence, conversion, nuisance and defamation. Remedies in Tort.

Indicative Reading for this Unit

Main Text

Introduction to Business Law L. Jones 4th edition (OUP Oxford)

Alternative Text and further reading

Business Law E. MacIntyre 8th edition (Pearson)

Guideline for Teaching and learning time
(10 hours per credit)

50 Hours - Lectures / Seminars / Tutorials / Workshops:

Tutorial support includes feedback on assignments and may vary by college according to local needs and wishes.

50 Hours - Directed learning:

Advance reading and preparation / Class preparation / Background reading / Group study / Portfolio / Diary etc

100 Hours - Self managed learning:

Working through the course text and completing assignments as required will take up the bulk of the learning time. In addition students are expected to engage with the tutor and other students and to undertake further reading using the web and/or libraries.

Assessment methods

Final Examination: 70%
Coursework: 30%