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Companies are all around us. Most of us deal with companies each day. In fact, there are more than 2.5 million active companies in Australia.
When you travel to the University on Public Transport, that transport is run by a company. The contract you hold with your mobile phone provider, is a company. Some cafes, restaurants, and retail outlets are also companies. Your social media accounts are all connected to a company.
What’s most fascinating is that, just like you and I, companies are people. They are recognised in the eyes of the law as ‘artificial’ legal persons. They enjoy some of the same rights as us ‘natural’ people.
They can sue and be sued. They can enter into contracts. They have obligations under law and the people ‘behind’ the companies are required to behave a certain way.
In this subject, we look at the rules and regulations that govern the formation, composition, management, financing and winding up of Australian corporations.
Specifically, we look at:
- the incorporation process and its consequences;
- the regulation on company shareholders and directors and their effects on those who deal with companies;
- the internal composition of companies i.e., who are the people behind the corporate entity (such as shareholders, directors, secretaries);
- how companies can enter into contracts with outsiders and what the outsiders can assume when dealing with company participants;
- the duties and liabilities of company directors and other offers and what consequences they face under law if they do the wrong thing;
- The actions and remedies you can take against a company if you have been wronged or harmed by the company or its participants.
Intended learning outcomes
This subject is designed to assist and add valuable knowledge to students from all faculties.
Upon successful completion of this subject, you should:
- understand the incorporation process and the pros and cons of operating your business through a corporate structure;
- acquire a general knowledge of the regulation of companies and the legal environment in which they operate;
- understand the roles, functions and duties of the people who operate, participate in and control a company;
- be aware of relevant sections of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and the key case law relevant to its operation;
- be familiar with the risks and responsibilities of those who manage and control a company, including the criminal and civil consequences they face for breaching their obligations under law;
- acquire specialised knowledge in key areas of corporate law of relevance to the business community; and
- be aware of your rights and actions under law which you can take if you have been wronged by a company or its internal participants.
Last updated: 1 March 2024