So far, we have touched on just a few of the many aspects of the law which relates to companies and other businesses. It will be useful at this point to consider how these areas fit into some wider issues raised by the study of law in general. For example:
- The law relating to businesses such as companies and partnerships regulates important areas of daily life, and allows you to see that there is a connection between the law and the way in which people think and behave when running a business.
- It allows you to consider the implications of creating a legal framework which regulates aspects of daily life, for example, questions may arise as to how far the law should regulate the way in which businesses operate, or whether the law in a particular area is adequate (e.g. does the present law on shareholders do enough to protect people who invest their money in companies in this way?).
- It allows a study of how and why law is made, and how and why it changes. It allows an appreciation of some of the pressures which bring about change in and development of law, and (in some areas) what roles individuals may play.
- It promotes an awareness of some of the values underpinning law, such as whether companies have a ‘social’ role to play.
- It allows you to consider the concept of rights and duties which lies beneath law generally. Duties and rights are usually regarded as inextricably linked; for every right enjoyed by an individual, there is a duty on others to respect that right. Equally, individuals must appreciate that other individuals also have rights. We will consider some of the issues which arise from this in a company law context.
- It allows you to understand the role of the law as a mechanism for solving problems and providing protection, and also to appreciate the law's limitations in these areas.
- It allows you to understand in general terms the need for a system of enforcement of law. Knowledge of the law is of limited use unless you understand how the system works to enforce it and the mechanisms for seeking help and advice.