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Centre for Business and Insolvency Law

Unit(s) of assessment: Law

Research theme: Safety and Security of Citizens and Society

School: Nottingham Law School


The Centre for Business and Insolvency Law (CBIL) was founded in 2012 and brings together expertise in legal and business practice, both nationally and internationally, addressing important challenges and contributing to debates.  Recent work has included analysis of the need for businesses to be sustainable and socially responsible; the challenges presented by new technologies, including artificial intelligence; ways in which struggling businesses can be supported; controls on abuses of the corporate format; and ways in which companies can harness the economic benefit of intellectual property.  The Centre is strongly international in outlook, with excellent links with India, China and Turkey.  Recent projects have been supported by research grants from the ESRC, the Global Challenges Research Fund, the Natural Science Foundation of China, the Ministry of Education of People’s Republic of China, and the Social Science Foundation of China.

The Centre enjoys strong links with practice and members have regularly organised conferences in collaboration with professional organisations and firms. Highlight events have included the annual conference of the Partnership, LLP and LLC Law Academic Forum, and the annual conference in the Intersection Between Corporate Law and Technology.  Other collaborations with practitioners have included an innovative webinar roundtable discussion in which Centre Professors discussed with practitioners the question “will Covid-19 change legal systems permanently?”. The Centre is also proud of the collaborative organisation with UCL/Norton Rose of a Secured Transactions Reform conference.  The Centre enjoys rewarding engagement with Honorary and Visiting Professors who have distinguished themselves in the field of insolvency law and business and human rights.

The Centre has a strong record of supporting early career researchers with several members having completed doctorates in the Centre.  Its taught Masters’ modules are research-led and inspiring and there is a thriving doctoral community, with regular successful completions.  It is notable that several Masters’ students have been inspired to study PhDs in the Centre, and there have been regular publications by PhD students and by Masters’ students.

The Centre publishes an open-access journal, Nottingham Insolvency and Business Law e-Journal, which has included special issue to support the partnership conference and to showcase the work of early career researchers, and invites submissions at any time.

News and events

Report on the Forward Thinking Conference

The Centre was pleased to host the Insolvency Service's Forward Thinking conference on 18 November 2022.  This conference showcased academic and practitioner research projects dealing with current issues in insolvency law.

We were also pleased that our LLM students Oluwaseun Oyekan, Moyinoluwa Adegoroye, Oreoluwa Sanmi-Lawal, Mary Martins and Opeoluwa Olowe, who are all currently studying corporate insolvency law, were able to attend and write a report.

Find out more and view the videos of the presentations on this year's papers on the Forward Thinking Conference website.

Professor Cillian Ryan, Pro Vice Chancellor for International matters at Nottingham Trent University, Opening Speech

Mark Austen, Chair of the Insolvency Service Board, Opening Speech

15 December 2022

Report on 5th Annual Conference of the Partnership, LLP and LLC Law Forum

The conference attracted 35 registered delegates, including academics, solicitors, barristers, and tax advisors. Speakers included representatives of BEIS and HMRC, partners from leading City and other firms, academics from other institutions and, in what is becoming a tradition for the conference, an investigative journalist. The diversity of speakers was explicitly praised in the post-Conference feedback and reflects an integral part of the Forum’s mission, which is to promote debate on partnership law and the law relating to other business vehicles which provide alternatives to the limited company, and to develop collaboration between academics and practitioners researching and teaching in these areas of law and connected areas. It was also pleasing that two PhD students attended (and a third registered but did not attend).

Read the full report

Elspeth Berry

15 September 2022

Report on the use of cryptoassets in Turkey

In Turkey the volatility of the domestic Lira coupled with the distrust to the government’s economic policies, have caused many consumers to embrace cryptocurrencies. A recent pilot study by researchers at Nottingham Law School, involving elite interviews with Turkish industry professionals, has revealed some interesting aspects of this trend.

Read the full report

Dr Hakan Sahin, Prof Rebecca Parry and Dr Alex Kastrinou.

March 2022

New publication by Associate Professor Denoncourt

Associate Professor Janice Denoncourt contributed a Chapter entitled 'IP, intangibles and banking capital adequacy ratios' to an important new publication in the field of sustainability, Intellectual Property and Sustainable Markets (13 July 2021) Edward Elgar Publishing.

The research in this volume studies the role intellectual property (IP) rights play in tackling the challenge of securing sustainable development.  Scholars consider how the core objective of IP rights to promote innovation and development of new knowledge aligns with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  Chapters analyse selected interrelations between IP law and other areas of law, including energy and financial law.

Associate Professor Denoncourt’s chapter builds an exploratory case analyzing treating registered IPRs such as granted patents more favourably from a banking capital adequacy ratio (CAR) weighting standpoint.  Doing so could improve access to debt finance and buttress sustainable finance initiatives.  She argues that if climate change increasingly adversely affects value certainty in the UK housing market due to flooding, this fact may provide further incentive for central banks to consider levelling the playing field for registered IPRs as loan security.

Jan consulted Professor Nigel Wright, NTU’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, renowned flood modelling expert.  Wright’s research spans the use of computers to predict the movement of fluids in the natural and built environment expanding into cross-disciplinary aspects of flood risk management and climate change adaptation. He agreed that here may be an adverse impact on land and property values due to climate change in the future.  Wright suggests that climate change will create risks other than flooding which may also impact on asset value in the housing market. He counsels that there is insufficient data available to assess the likely impact on lender’s security value at present and advocates that additional research on the subject of lender’s exposure to flood risk.

The book is edited by Ole-Andreas Rognstad, Professor of Law, Department of Private Law and Centre for European Law and Inger B. Ørstavik, Professor of Law, Department of Private Law and Centre for European Law, University of Oslo, Norway.  Fellow contributors include C. Banet, J.B. Eisen, D.J. Gervais, H.M. Haugen, K.J. Osenga, T. Pilhajarinne and P.K. Yu.

This is a timely and thought-provoking book that argues for sustainable markets as an overreaching and contextual approach to the role of IP rights in tackling the challenges o f sustainable development, a key NTU research priority.  It will be of value to students and scholars of intellectual property and environmental law, as well as policymakers, practitioners and NGOs concerned with corporate social and environmental responsibility.

July 2021

WIPO’s Assistant Director General Professor Edward Kwakwa Special Guest at our Geographical Indications webinar

The NLS Intellectual Property Research group organised the launch event of NTU’s Global Cultural Heritage Series, entitled “Protecting Africa's Cultural Heritage: The Case for Geographical Indication Protection.” held on 7 May 2021.

Convened and moderated by Associate Professor Dr Janice Denoncourt, we welcomed our keynote speaker Professor Edward Kwakwa, Assistant Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to start the proceedings.  Professor Kwakwa discussed his incredible work with the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC), the IGC process,  as well as WIPO's IP policy work.

The international webinar focussed on Geographical Indications (GIs), now a form of collective branding IP right that originated in the EU and now a burgeoning global phenomenon. The African Union and the EU desire to implement a continental strategy to protect Africa’s cultural heritage from misappropriation. We explored two potential new GI protection case studies: traditional Ghanaian Kente textiles; and Tanzania’s single source purple-hued Tanzanite gemstones. The event culminated with a Q&A panel discussion.

Associate Professor Dr Janice Denoncourt introduced the panel of law and university specialists.  Jan is a qualified Australian Trade Mark Attorney and her interest in gemstones began when she studied geology at McGill University, worked onsite in the largest open pit mine in the world, and as a lawyer in Herbert Smith Freehills Mining & Resources section where she advised the Argyle Diamond Mine in Western Australia. Jan was sole Inhouse Counsel for a publicly listed Mining Technology company with international operations in diamond, gold and platinum mining in South Africa. Jan spoke on the need to ‘Protect Tanzania’s culture heritage in Tanzanite gemstones: the role of IP rights’ on the basis that Tanzanite gemstones have an international reputation.

Michelle Okyere, LLM Nottingham Trent 2019 is a Ghanaian qualified lawyer with Bentsi-Enchill, Letsa and Ankomah.  She is a recipient of a Nottingham Law School Outstanding Achievement Award. Michelle and co-author Janice Denoncourt recently published their article ‘Protection of Intellectual Property Rights in Ghana’s Kente Textiles: the Case for Geographical Indications’ (12 February 2021) online in the Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice (JIPLP). The article forms part of a special issue celebrating the importance of GI research. The Kente case study provides a preliminary analysis of how Kente textiles, could potentially be registered as a non-food GI in Africa.

Peter Vaughan BA (Hons), LLM joined Nottingham Law School in 2020 and is a Chartered UK Trade Mark Attorney.  Peter discussed modern trends in GI protection for non-food products with a view to protecting cultural heritage globally.

We were delighted that over 50 registrants attended the live event.  Professor KwaKwa kindly emailed Dr Denoncourt after with the following comments:

“I thought the event on Protecting Africa's Cultural Heritage last Friday was a success, given  the areas covered by each of the Speakers, and the number of people who had tuned in.  Many thanks again for having invited me to be a part of it.  Thanks again for the great work  you are doing!”

Associate Professor Dr Janice Denoncourt, Director Intellectual Property Research Group

7 May 2021

Protecting Ghana’s Kente textiles against fakes: the case for geographical indication protection

Congratulations to former LLM student Michelle Okyere on the publication of her article with Janice Denoncourt on Protecting Ghana’s intellectual property rights in kente textiles: the case for Geographical Indications. Read the full article.

Thanks to our Visiting Professor Dominik Skauradszun on two excellent guest LLM seminars. Dominik is a Professor at Fulda University and he has been a guest lecturer at NTU in previous years.

We are looking forward to the Centre's inaugural conference on the Intersection of Corporate Law and Technology, which will be held online on 17 and 18 June 2021.

19 April 2021

    NLS LLM Student Visits the WIPO Library in Geneva to further her research

    Nottingham Law School, alumna, Michelle Nkansah Abena Okyere was awarded a High Distinction for her LLM thesis, “Protecting Intellectual Property Rights in Ghana’s Kente: The Case for Geographical Indications” supervised by Associate Professor Dr Janice Denoncourt.  Michelle is a qualified Ghanaian lawyer and was inspired by staff at her law firm, Bentsi-Enchill, Letsa and Ankomah, a leading firm in Ghana ( to carry out her research. At her supervisor’s suggestion, she arranged an independent visit to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Library in Geneva to review the specialised literature in connection with her geographical indication research.  She had the honour and pleasure of meeting Professor Edward Kwakwa, Senior Director for WIPO’s Department for Traditional Knowledge and Global Challenges.  Professor Kwaka, also a Ghanaian, provided Michelle with valuable guidance and support during her WIPO Library research visit.  Michelle’s work focuses on Kente, an expression of folklore because of its correlation with Ghana’s cultural heritage which dates back over 300 years. Kente refers to colourful, handwoven strips of fabric, combined by Ghanaian weavers among certain ethnic groups and communities. Its colours and unique designs have made it the best known of all Ghanaian, and perhaps even all West African textiles. Every design and colour has a distinct name and a meaning which is characteristic of the community in which it is produced. Michelle was able to access highly relevant materials which enriched her research.

    Michelle has since applied for a Commonwealth Scholarship to study for a PhD in the UK. Her experience visiting WIPO and other international institutions such as the UN and WTO whilst on the 2019 NLS Summer School in Geneva, underpins her desire "not to settle for the world as it is, but to work for the world as it should be".

    More recently on 29 November 2020, Michelle submitted a manuscript entitled ‘Protection of Intellectual Property Rights in Ghana's Kente Textile- A case for Geographical Indications’ co-authored with Dr Denoncourt to the Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice (JIPLP) for publication in their forthcoming special issue on geographical indications (GI).   The new article is timely, given that the African Union and European Union have recently developed and desire to implement a continental strategy for developing GIs in food and non-food products in Africa (AU-EU Continental Strategy).  The article provides a preliminary analysis of how kente, could potentially be registered as a GI. The manuscript presents the link between kente and the Ghanaian communities in which it is produced, which qualifies it to be registered as a Ghanaian GI. It also provides a critical analysis of the misappropriation of the kente cloth by third parties and other countries such as People Republic of China, as well as the need for a more comprehensive form of intellectual property right (IPR) protection for kente, due to the inadequacies of its current IPR protection system. The article is important as it presents the EU’s contribution to the development of GIs in Africa and advocates for the comprehensive IPR protection of kente through GIs and adds to the sparse literature on the GI protection of non-food products in Africa.

    Lectures on Corporate Liquidation and Cross Border Insolvency LLM modules

    In March guest lecturers Prof Dominik Skauradszun and Walter Nijnens (Fulda University) gave lectures on the Corporate Liquidation and Cross Border Insolvency LLM modules.  These were excellent sessions and they build upon the Centre’s previous associations with Dominik, who has been a visiting student and visiting scholar here in the past, and Walter, who is a graduate of the Dual LLM from NTU and Radboud University.

    Webinar: Covid-19 Implications for the Insolvency Regime

    Rebecca Parry gave a webinar Covid-19 Implications for the Insolvency Regime in the UK, Centre for Insolvency and Bankruptcy, Institute for Corporate Affairs, Government of India 24 April 2020

    Viva Success

    Emad Hosen had his PhD viva on 21 September and was awarded the degree with an outright pass.

    Sharing of IP Expertise

    In July 2020, Janice Denoncourt participated in CorporateLiveWire’s IP Round Table 2020 to share her IP expertise.  
    Janice Denoncourt, in her capacity as a Board member of the Intellectual Property Awareness Network (IPAN), co-convened an online IP teaching conference entitled, 'Online, on track: Designing IP teaching for online learning'' on 8 July 2020 with over 70 registrants.

    Partnership Conference

    The Third Annual Partnership LLP and LLC Law Conference was held online on 17 September 2020.  Congratulations to Elspeth Berry, the organiser on having attracted a range of eminent speakers and on a good level of attendance from different sectors, home and overseas.

    SLS Conference

    Martin Szarkiszjan presented a paper, "Historical Comparison of Legal Development in the United Kingdom and Japan ", based on his doctoral research, at the Society of Legal Scholars Conference on 2 September 2020.

Nottingham Insolvency and Business Law eJournal (NIBLeJ)

Nottingham Insolvency and Business Law eJournal (NIBLeJ) is a peer-reviewed academic journal published by the Centre for Business and Insolvency Law at the Nottingham Law School, Nottingham, the United Kingdom.

Nottingham Law Journal

Nottingham Law School publishes the Nottingham Law Journal. The journal was founded in 1977 (as the Trent Law Journal), changing to its current title in 1992. It is peer-reviewed and normally published annually.

Read our current edition and find out how to contribute

PhD Funding

Find out everything you need to know about funding your doctoral studies – from tuition fees and loans, to studentships and external funding.

Intellectual Property Research Group

Intellectual property rights are property rights in something intangible and they reward innovation and creative activity. The Intellectual Property Research Group is led by Janice Denoncourt and aims to lead research in this field within the East Midlands region. The focus of the group is on:

  • IP law and practice
  • IP law education
  • IP commercialisation
  • IP finance and corporate governance
  • Data protection

Located within Nottingham Law School, the IP Research Group comprises staff who engage in research and conference presentations as well as teaching on programmes including:

  • Undergraduate LLB
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Commercial Intellectual Property
  • LLM in Intellectual Property Law
  • LLM in Intellectual Property Litigation
  • Intellectual Property Litigation and Advocacy Professional Qualification
  • Professional Certificate in Trade Mark Practice.
  • Staff are also willing to supervise MPhil and PhD students in the IP law field


Collaborating with the University of Leeds and Wuhan University, Zhao is currently involved in a three-year project funded jointly by the ESRC Newton Fund and the Natural Science Foundation of China entitled ‘Boosting Growth through Strengthening Investor and Creditor Protection in China: How China can learn from the UK Experience’.

Parry has strong links with the work of Dr Risham Garg at the National Law University, Delhi, having collaborated on comparative research, a joint conference and collaborative teaching and with a project, supported by the Global Challenges Research Fund, on the legal framework needed to advance the transformative potential of digital economies in developing countries.


Selected Publications

Berry, E., ‘Limited partnership law and private equity: an instance of legislative capture?’ (2019) 19 Journal of Corporate Law Studies 105-135

Denoncourt, J., Intellectual property, finance and corporate governance. Routledge research in intellectual property (Abingdon: Routledge 2018)

Parry, R., ‘Legal Approaches to Management of the Risk of Cloud Computing Insolvencies’ (with R Bisson) (2020) 20 Journal of Corporate Law Studies 421-451

Sahin, H., Host Government Agreements and Law in the Energy Sector: The case of Azerbaijan and Turkey (Abingdon: Routledge, 2018)

Walters, A., ‘Modified Universalisms & the Role of Local Legal Culture in the Making of Cross-Border Insolvency Law’ (2019) 93 American Bankruptcy Law Journal 47

Zhao, J., ‘Promoting More Socially Responsible Corporations through a Corporate Law Regulatory Framework’ (2017) 37Legal Studies 103–136

Zhao, J., ‘The Commons, the Common Good and Extraterritoriality: Seeking Sustainable Global Justice through Corporate Responsibility’ (with Wen, S.)   (2020) 12 Sustainability 1-21

Partnerships and collaborations

Collaborating with the University of Leeds and Wuhan University, Zhao is currently involved in a three-year project funded jointly by the ESRC Newton Fund and the Natural Science Foundation of China entitled ‘Boosting Growth through Strengthening Investor and Creditor Protection in China: How China can learn from the UK Experience’.

The Centre enjoys excellent collaborations with its Visiting Professor Dominik Skauradszun and its Honorary Professors Neil Cooper, Hamish Anderson and Paul Bowden.

Related projects

Review and reform of business partnership law 

Elspeth Berry has researched and written widely on the theme of business partnership law (including general partnerships, limited partnerships and LLPs).  She is one of only a few academics with strong interests in these important forms of business medium.  She has engaged regularly with regulators and with practitioners, and organises the successful annual conferences of the Partnership, LLP and LLC Law Forum, a network of academics and practitioners from across the globe which she established.

Intangibles, intellectual property and corporate governance

This project, led by Janice Denoncourt, considers the lack of transparency and disclosure of company-owned intangible intellectual property rights such as patents, trade marks and copyright from a corporate governance stand point. The project offers realistic solutions and policy recommendations in this complex evolving interdisciplinary area of law with potential for significant real world impact.

Advancing supranational technologies through law, towards transformative development

This project, led by Rebecca Parry, aims to identify the legal infrastructure needed to support the digital economies which offer transformative potential for some developing countries.  It will develop recommendations regarding the corporate governance and insolvency legal frameworks required to develop digital economies in a sustainable way.

Regulating corporate social responsibility 

The project, led by Jingchen Zhao, explores the possibilities of using corporate law as an effective tool to structure economic activities, and it makes sense to discuss the quality and relevance of regulatory frameworks and the role of the government and supranational authorities in reconstructing economic and financial norms.

Sustainability in supply chains

The project, led by Jingchen Zhao, aims to utilise the corporate disclosure requirement enshrined in Section 54 of the U.K. Modern Slavery Act as an example of latest home states’ soft corporate responsibility law-making efforts to foster business self-regulation, and to explore its interactions with other progressively hard law means with extraterritorial impacts.

Zombie companies in China

This project, led by Jingchen Zhao and Rebecca Parry, aims to identify the complications brought by the emergence and existence of zombie companies in China, and to evaluate the changing institutional environment in an attempt to facilitate a more enabling insolvency law scheme to deal with these difficulties in the context of market economy with Chinese characteristics.