Excerpt from course description

Law, Business and Society


Law, business This Bachelor's course aims to give the student an introduction to basic legal prerequisites for economic activity and social organisation, and how these prerequisites have developed over time. The course also emphasizes giving the students a broad understanding of the role of companies and businesses in the economy, how these have developed historically and the different types of businesses that operate in the economy today. The course also addresses key challenges facing businesses today, with particular emphasis on the importance of sustainability, ethics and social responsibility. and society.

Course content

The course will have a three-part structure.

Part 1: The principles of the rule of law and historical development

  • The idea and basic principles of the rule of law (including the principle of separation of powers, the principle of popular sovereignty as well as freedom of speech, religion and assembly, but also other central principles such as the principle of legality, legal certainty and conditions for preserving the legitimacy of the court).
  • The rise of the rule of law nationally and internationally.
  • What is the function of the court in the economy?
  • The relationship between public law and private law
  • Who enforces the rule of law (legislative power, courts, mediation schemes, public supervision, the EU system and Norway)
  • Dispute resolution within and outside the courts in Norway, i.e. the whole picture from negotiations via appeal boards to Norwegian courts and the human rights/EU/EFTA court. Must also include dispute resolution in international relations.

Part 2: The company and the market

  • What is a company and where does the company come from (the historical emergence of companies as distinctive institutions)
  • Development in organization and ownership in companies and the importance of companies for economic growth.
  • Overview of different types of ownership (individual, partnership, cooperatives, self-owned businesses, AS, ASA, foundations etc.)
  • More details about private limited liability companies and public limited liability companies today and legal regulation of the company forms, especially about similarities and differences between Norwegian (Nordic) company law and continental and UK/USA company law. Blue. illustrated with the BRT declaration (2019) and historically with Dodge vs. The Ford/Freia judgment.
  • The emergence and development of the market society (including the emergence of different types of markets)
  • What is a "free market"? The market as a legal, social and cultural system
  • Competition regulation and competition law today and in the past

Part 3: The company in society

  • Who is the company for? What are the company's basic goals? Different stakeholders in companies.
  • Changes in the view of the company's social role throughout history.
  • Sustainability and the emergence of ESG as a phenomenon today
    • Environmental challenges (global warming)
    • Social challenges (working conditions, inclusion etc)
    • Ethical challenges (money laundering, corruption, tax evasion)
  • How fossil energy use in companies has created environmental challenges and thus why there is talk of the need for a "green shift"
  • How social challenges are preserved in the Norwegian working life system (tripartite cooperation, regulation of working conditions)
  • How internal company management - compliance - should prevent ethical violations.
  • The history of sustainability regulation, i.e. Limits to Growth, the Brundtland Commission, the Paris Agreement, UNSDG w/prehistory etc. as well as current legal regulation of sustainability today – internationally, EU level, Norwegian level


This is an excerpt from the complete course description for the course. If you are an active student at BI, you can find the complete course descriptions with information on eg. learning goals, learning process, curriculum and exam at portal.bi.no. We reserve the right to make changes to this description.