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Unit information: Insolvency Law in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Insolvency Law
Unit code LAWD30104
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Mr. Furey
Open unit status Not open

LAWD10008 Law of Contract or LAWD10007 Foundations of Business Law



School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


When debtors are unable to pay their debts in full, the law provides a means by which the insolvent estate is dealt with (bankruptcy in the case of individuals, liquidation in the case of companies) and rules which determine how the estate is distributed among competing creditors. Creditors' claims may arise, for example, under contracts of loan, sale, lease, employment, etc., as a result of liability in tort, or, under statute, to tax authorities or environmental agencies etc. This unit examines how these competing claims are balanced and how contracts are often drafted with the aim of improving the protection of a creditor in the event of the other party to the contract becoming insolvent. Also involved in the balancing exercise, in the case of individual debtors, are the claims of the debtor and the debtor's family.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this unit a successful student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of how insolvency law is based on certain fundamental principles
  • Compare the solutions to problems in bankruptcy and liquidation
  • Demonstrate an appreciation of how the threat of insolvency plays a part in drafting contracts
  • Relate different areas of law together
  • Evaluate a set of legal rules
  • Tackle legal problems

Teaching details

Ten one-hour lectures and ten two-hour seminars.

Assessment Details

1 x formative assessment (submitted for marking), plus additional informal formative feedback opportunities as indicated by the unit coordinator.

Formative assessments do not count towards final mark and can be optional.

1 x summative assessment: 1 x 3 hour exam in the Summer Exam Period. Summative assessments do count towards final mark.

The assessments will assess all of the intended learning outcomes for this unit.

Reading and References

  • Roy Goode “Principles of Corporate Insolvency Law” (Sweet & Maxwell, 4th edn., 2011) (KN 312 GOO)
  • Thomas H Jackson “The Logic and Limits of Bankruptcy Law” (Harvard University Press, 1986) (KN 310 JAC)