For anyone unfamiliar with the law, it can be tempting to use ‘corporate’ and ‘commercial’ law interchangeably. If you’re one of those people, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Corporate and commercial law are closely related, but they do in fact govern different aspects of a company’s operations. This article takes a close look at these two areas of the law. By breaking down the key differences between corporate and commercial law we’ll give you a clearer picture of why they’re not quite the same thing.
Key Differences Between Corporate and Commercial Law
What is Corporate law?
Corporate law, also commonly referred to as business, enterprise or company law, governs high-level corporate governance, regulation, structuring, financing and management. Broadly speaking, Corporate Law is concerned with corporate governance and corporate finance.
Corporate law affects companies and corporations of all sizes and is relevant at every point of a company’s lifecycle:
- Incorporation and formation
- Restructuring / Reorganisation
- Raising capital
- Mergers, Demergers & Acquisitions
- Corporate governance
- Shareholders rights
- Dissolution or liquidation
In England and Wales, the Companies Act 2006 forms the foundation of Company Law. Other relevant pieces of law include The Insolvency Act 1986 and The UK Corporate Governance Code.
Corporate law is often transnational because of the international nature of most business these days. For this reason, corporate lawyers need good cross-jurisdictional legal knowledge and an awareness of commercial law in relevant jurisdictions. In addition, the ability to keep track of applicable current or upcoming compliance and regulatory developments is a must.
Corporate lawyers play a pivotal role in large-scale transactions, executing key processes such as due diligence, negotiating agreements, and checking all relevant finances.
What is Commercial Law?
Commercial law is relevant to the day-to-day aspects of running a business and is concerned with trade, commercial transactions, and business deals. Commercial lawyers help to support their client in the smooth running of all aspects of their business. Thus, in comparison to corporate law, commercial law is far broader, covering a number of different areas of law, such as:
- Consumer law
- Contract law
- Intellectual Property Law
- International transactions and trade
- Employment and Labour law
One of the most important areas of Commercial Law is that which relates to contract law Contracts are a vital part of trade laws in England and Wales. Commercial lawyers will advise on negotiating contracts, deals and agreements, drafting key documents, protecting their clients from liability, securing brand trademarks and more.
Are commercial and corporate law the same?
As we’ve seen, though both commercial and corporate law are related to business, they don’t cover or govern the same areas of a corporation’s activities. That’s why it’s key to instruct expert lawyers who are specialists in their respective areas of law. Here at 360 Business Law, we only work with lawyers who have 5+ years of post-qualification experience. Many of our team bring in-depth industry experience with them too, meaning you never have to worry about securing the best outcome for you and your business.
If your business is in need of legal advice or guidance, get in touch today to find out about working with our first-class lawyers.