Beginning Business Law
eBook - ePub

Beginning Business Law

Chris Monaghan

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  1. 190 pages
  2. English
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eBook - ePub

Beginning Business Law

Chris Monaghan

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About This Book

Whether you're new to higher education, coming to legal study for the first time or just wondering what Business Law is all about, Beginning Business Law is the ideal introduction to help you hit the ground running. Starting with the basics and an overview of each topic, it will help you come to terms with the structure, themes and issues of the subject so that you can begin your Business Law module with confidence.

Adopting a clear and simple approach with legal vocabulary explained in a detailed glossary, Chris Monaghan breaks the subject of Business Law down using practical everyday examples to make it understandable for anyone, whatever their background. Diagrams and flowcharts simplify complex issues, important cases are identified and explained and on-the- spot questions help you recognise potential issues or debates within the law so that you can contribute in classes with confidence.

Beginning Business Law is an ideal first introduction to the subject for LLB, GDL or ILEX and especially international students, those enrolled on distance learning courses or on other degree programmes.

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Chapter 1

Introduction to business law

Figure 1.1 Overview of Beginning Business Law
Beginning Business Law serves two purposes. The first is to introduce students who are studying on non-law courses to how the law of England and Wales relates to business. The second is to serve as an introduction to business law for law students who are studying this as a distinct module. This book is not intended to be the final word on the different areas of law explored in each chapter. Rather it is intended to introduce you to the key principles and concepts. Each chapter contains an annotated further reading list and each of the textbooks and articles listed there are intended to help you build upon your understanding of the material covered in this book.
Throughout the book there are realistic scenarios and on-the-spot questions that are designed to help you appreciate how the law relates to business transactions. In reality, it is not easy to divide the different areas of law into distinct topics that can be addressed in isolation, as in practice you may encounter an issue that involves the consideration of a number of different areas of law. Imagine that Muneeba, Kingsford and Sonya have set up a business. They manufacture and sell bespoke furniture and employ Rhonson to deliver the furniture to their clients. Rhonson is supplied with a van and while delivering furniture to their clients he crashes into a cyclist, thereby causing the cyclist to break both her legs. Within this scenario there are a number of important issues to consider:
What type of business did Muneeba, Kingsford and Sonya establish? This is important as, if the business is unincorporated (i.e. a partnership), then they would be personally liable if the business is sued and could end up losing their own personal assets (Chapters 8–10).
There may be an issue of liability for late delivery of the furniture and other issues arising under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (Chapters 3 and 4).
The court may hold that Rhonson has been negligent and therefore he may be liable in tort (Chapter 5).
The business, or Muneeba, Kingsford and Sonya personally, may be vicariously liable for Rhonson’s negligence if the court holds that he is an employee (Chapters 4 and 6).
Rhonson could be dismissed for gross misconduct and other breaches of his employment contract (Chapter 6).


Throughout your study of the law you will be asked by your lecturer to answer both problem questions and essay questions. It is an important skill to be able to look at a set of facts and to provide accurate legal advice that will enable you to write a legal opinion based upon a given scenario. In each chapter of Beginning Business Law there are a number of ‘on-the-spot questions’ and these are designed to test and consolidate your understanding of the law. To assist your comprehension of the material, it is useful to attempt these questions in order to ensure that you have understood the law to which the question relates.
When faced with a problem question you need to be able to first identify the issues, second state the relevant law, third apply the law to the facts and finally provide a conclusion in order to advise the fictional client. It is important that when you are advising a client that your answer is based on the law and not just your own opinion.


In Chapter 2 we will look at the different sources of law that you will encounter in your studies. The two that you will use most frequently are case law (or common law) and statute law (Acts of Parliament). It is important that you make reference to the original material rather than just relying on a brief summary from a textbook. We will look at how to access these below.


There are a number of online resources that can be used for free. These include which contains all relevant Acts of Parliament and the British and Irish Legal Information Institute ( which is a database of important legal cases. You should start to regularly use these resources as this will assist you with your studies.
Your university will subscribe to online legal databases such as Westlaw or Lexis Library. These will give you access to cases, legislation and a number of different academic and practitioner journals. If you are unsure of whether your university subscribes to these databases you should contact your librarian who can advise you as to this. There are a number of academic and practitioner journals that focus on business law. These journals include the Journal of Business Law, the Company Lawyer and the Business Law Review. You will also find it useful to refer to more general journals such as the Cambridge Law Journal, the Law Quarterly Review and the Modern Law Review. You can access these electronically, although older articles may sometimes only be available in hardcopy.
Chapter 2

The English legal system


After reading this chapter, you should be able to:
appreciate that there are a number of different legal systems in the United Kingdom;
define the sources of law in the English legal system;
understand the operation of the court structure and the role served by each court or tribunal;
comprehend the different rules of statutory interpretation; and
appreciate the meaning of key terms that will be encountered throughout the rest of this book.


This chapter will provide you with an introduction to the English and Welsh legal system. Although commonly referred to as the English legal system, it does in fact also include Wales.
This chapter is intended to help you navigate the different areas of law featured in this book and to provide you with some context as to how the legal system operates. If you are new to law, you will no doubt be experiencing some of the terminology for the first time and, consequently, it is useful to understand what exactly a particular term means. It is also extremely important to appreciate the court structure and to understand how the courts interpret Acts of Parliament. We will briefly consider some important issues as to whether judges make law, could a court declare an Act of Parliament to be invalid if the Act is discriminatory, and what is the domestic courts’ relationship with the European Union and the Council of Europe.


The United Kingdom contains a number of different nations which have their own legal systems. The Acts of Union 1707 which joined the Kingdoms of England and Scotland to create Great Britain expressly preserved the two different legal systems. This means that England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland have their own courts and law. We shall see that they share the Supreme Court as the highest appellate court for all civil appeals and, with the exception of Scotland, all criminal appeals.
The United Kingdom’s Parliament is based in Westminster and it enacts law in the form of an Act of Parliament. It is important to note that an Act of Parliament may apply across the entire United Kingdom in full or part, i.e. certain provisions may only apply in England and Wales and not in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Two parliaments and two national assemblies

The previous Labour government which came to power in 1997 devolved power from Westminster and held referendums in Scotland and Wales to ask the people living there whether they wished for power to be devolved. The electorate supported devolving powers and Parliament enacted legislation to achieve this. As a result of the Scotland Act 1998 there is now a Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, which has the power to enact legislation under the powers devolved to it by the United Kingdom’s Parliament. The Government of Wales Acts 1998 and 2006 have created the National Assembly of Wales and have given the assembly law making powers. It is important to note that neither legislative body...

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