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Photo of  Peter Underwood

Peter Underwood

Postgraduate Teaching Assistant

Amory B220

Peter Underwood joined the University of Exeter as a postgraduate teaching assistant in law in 2018.

He previously worked as a legal advisor for an international consulting company working with global financial, accountancy and legal institutions specialising in compliance of contracts.

Peter is currently undertaking his PhD. His research focuses on company law and particularly in the law regulating corporate groups and whether these groups demonstrate a coherent pattern. Prior to Exeter, Peter obtained his LL.B at Nottingham Law School and his LL.M and LPC at the University of Law in Bristol.

In 2019 he was recognised as an associate fellow of the higher education academy. 



Office Hours

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Research group links

Research interests

Peter’s research focuses on how the Companies Act regulates corporate groups and how this differs between industry sectors. The research will investigate the practical considerations that determine how corporations are constructed and show how this differs between industries.

The hypothesis is that different industries utilise different structures depending on the industry in which they operate. Limiting their potential liability for harm caused to third parties, for example, may be a motive for some corporate groups which operate in high-risk industries like mining, such was the case in Adams v Cape Industries.  Structuring a group with separate companies for each high-risk operation could reduce liability and boost corporate profits. Limiting liability may also be a primary motive for companies such companies as Pharmaceutical companies testing new drugs, the results of which could have a direct impact on society.  Yet other companies may structure their corporate group primarily to enable easy access to global capital markets, or to take advantage of reduced operational costs in other jurisdictions, in industries with less exposure to risk.

These examples show that the ‘one size fits all’ approach of the Companies Act may be one of the factors that limits its effectiveness in regulating corporate groups. The research will suggest how a tailored approach, appropriate to the challenges and priorities of different industries, would be a more effective way to resolve this problem.

Modules taught

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