UTS Subject Review: 70417 Corporate Law

I’m doing Corporate Law (70417) this Autumn 2009 semester together with Family Law and Evidence and Criminal Procedure.

I will update the parts in green later.

Learning Structure: 3/5

2 hour lectures and 2 hour tutorials per week.

The 2 hour lectures are about the right length – you manage to fit in the content for each topic into the 2 hours (no breaks). There are PowerPoints for each lecture and these are available on UTS Online.

The 2 hour tutorials were too long (especially as I had them right after the 2 hour lecture!) and usually went to about 1.5 hours. The good thing is that each tutorial usually has 2 problem solving questions and an essay question. The problem solving really helps to practice for the Mid-Semester Exam and Final Exam, particularly because the problem solving questions are actually from past exam papers. We usually didn’t end up doing the essay questions.

The major problem with this subject was that in Week 10, the tutorial topics became misaligned. By this I mean that previously the topics for the tutorials were the topics covered by LAST week’s lecture. This was good, because it allowed for a week to absorb the lecture and do the readings, and prepare an answer for the tutorial. Then suddenly in Week 10, the topic for the tutorial went “ahead” – the topic was going to be on the lecture IN that week (which we had not gone to yet).

This is seriously disorganised – it meant that I had a 2 hour lecture, followed directly by a 2 hour tutorial on the same topic. Obviously my mind couldn’t comprehend. It was even worse for students who had the tutorial BEFORE the lecture – they would be asked to do problem solving questions on a topic that they had not even been lectured on yet! So basically, from Week 10 onwards, the tutorials become quite confusing/useless. Hopefully, they fix this up for students next semester.

Another problem is that the lectures went until Week 14, which was really unnecessary. The Week 14 lecture was on Corporate Groups, which we had already covered in bits and pieces throughout the other topics. So it was basically a “re-hash” of things we already knew. The only revision lecture they offered was 2 days before the final exam.

Staff: 3/5

This is the first subject I’ve had where there are 4 lecturers. All of them are knowledgeable and fairly good lecturers – they have PowerPoint slides, explain what the law is and explain the facts/issues of major cases in a succint way.

In particular, Colin Hawes is really good – he’s quite funny (in a weird way) and explains things in a very clear way. One of the lecturers (I don’t want to say their name) is however really confusing in both lectures and tutorials. What is also annoying is that their PowerPoints are all images (so you can’t convert the file to a Word document) and they aren’t put up on UTS Online until several days after the lecture. I found myself going home and just learning from the readings instead (thankfully you only have each lecturer for 4 weeks).

What is also well organised is that the lecturer and tutor is the same for each week. So in the first 4 weeks, you have the same lecturer and tutor for all the classes. Then the next  4 weeks is a new lecturer and tutor. This can help, because, in the tutorial, you can then ask the same lecturer/tutor about something that came up in the lecture.

Amount of Readings: 3/5

  • Set Textbook: Paul Redmond, COMPANIES AND SECURITIES LAW: COMMENTARY AND MATERIALS, Lawbook Co, 5th ed (2009).
  • Corporations Act 2001 (Cth)

It was recommended that you buy the printed Corporations Act, but I didn’t end up doing this – limited expenses etc.

The Redmond textbook is quite good, but I found that it covers things is far too much detail. I only read it when I needed further clarification of things I learnt in the lecture. Or in those weeks where I just couldn’t learn from the lecturer.

An extra textbook that I really recommend you reading is Corporations Law: Lexis Nexis Study Guide by Jason Harris. Jason is one of the 4 lecturers you get and what is really helpful is the breakdown of the case law. For each important case, it breaks it down into Facts, Issue, Decision, Significance – which is basically how I write my own notes anyway! And for non-business students who don’t always understand the facts of corporate law cases, this was really good.

Assessments: 4/5

  • Research and Writing Task (10%): this was a 5 mark problem solving question and 5 mark short research question. This is fairly easy to do – for the research questions, you pretty much only need good Google and Lexus Nexus skills. The problem solving question is good practice for the Mid-Semester Exam too.
  • Tutorial Participation (15%): This was marked fairly easy (considering how much I said and the mark I got) – if you say something you get a tick next to your name. You can just ask a question or say something, even if it is wrong.
  • Mid-Semester Exam OR Research Essay (25%): I did the Mid-Semester Exam for this and it was HARD – complex/multiple issues and not much time. It covers the content of the first 5 lectures and was 2 problem solving questions. Again, good practice for the Final Exam.
  • Exam (50%): Overall, this was a fair exam (much easier than the Mid-Semester). The format is 2 problem questions and 1 essay question – they are based mainly on topics covered after the Mid-Semester Exam. The 2nd problem solving question was very similar one of the past tutorial questions, so I strongly recommend you to practice on the tutorial questions.

Cons of this Subject:

  • One really bad lecturer.
  • Horrible lecture/tutorial structuring once you hit around Week 10 (read above…)

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