Professor Charlotte Villiers

Charlotte Villiers, Professor of Company Law and Corporate Governance  

Tell us about your journey into academia… 

Having trained and qualified as a lawyer in a City law firm I took up practice, specialising in employment law in the City. It did not take long for me to learn that the legal system was not at all perfect and the inequalities built into the system were plain to see. I wanted to have the opportunity to write critically about the law and the limitations within the system and so I took a master’s degree whilst in practice. After completing my master’s, I began life in my first post as a Lecturer in Law (a PhD was not required all those years ago!).  

I have stayed in academia and am now Professor of Company Law and Corporate Governance. It is such a rich subject that involves not just legal technicalities but includes discourse on how to organise production and delivery of services, how to manage people, how to balance different interests, how to ensure accountability and how to conduct business sustainably. Whilst many companies do great things, providing useful products and services for society, there are also many harms arising from corporate activities including exploitation of workers, environmental damage and human rights violations. Company law and corporate governance regulation have a role to play in reducing these harmful impacts and my research explores how law and regulation might be developed to help companies to be operated sustainably within planetary boundaries. My postgraduate courses are designed with a central focus on this key concern.  

have had a wonderful, interesting career filled with variety and opportunities to work with people in many different roles and across the world. I still write critically about the law, a system still filled with limitations but also great promise. The best part of my career has been all the students I have met and taught throughout my career. As I have taught them, they have taught me, to be humble and ever open to new ideas and new ways of looking at the world. As the Law School’s current Postgraduate Director of Studies, I lead all our taught programmes and I am the main contact for our postgraduate students.


Why should prospective students choose Bristol for studying law at postgraduate level 

Our postgraduate programmes have something to offer everyone. We have a fantastic range of different LLM streams covering all areas of law, including international law, commercial law, employment law, corporate governance, health law and banking and finance law to name just a few. Within all of the programmes, there is a large variety of options to choose from. These reflect the wide and diverse interests of all the lecturers and professors in this big Law School. As research-led courses, they are designed to provide our students with information and discussions that are at the forefront of cuttingedge research. We share our research with our students and encourage them to engage with it and to be involved in the key debates within the fields in which they are studying. Our students are then supported in developing their own research ideas in their dissertation which forms a compulsory part of all our LLM programmes.

Many of our students go on to publish their dissertation research and to pursue it further in PhD research either in Bristol or elsewhere. They gain confidence as a result of the small class sizes, which provide a genuine opportunity to be known personally by all their tutors, as well as by their personal academic tutor who supports their study and development whilst they are members of the Law School.  This is a Law School with a culture built on interesting and original ideas, as well as kindness and collegiality. It is a place in which staff and students can thrive intellectually and socially. It helps that the University of Bristol is located in a beautiful, lively, open-minded city that blends history and modernity in a way that makes it vibrant and unique.  


What advice would you give to a student applying for a postgraduate law course? 

Have a clear idea of what you want to study and what you want to achieve. Be prepared to immerse yourself fully in our Law School community, academically and socially. Explore Bristol and make lots of new friends. 


What can prospective students get out of attending the virtual events? 

The virtual events will be an opportunity to meet some of the academic staff and students and you can ask any questions about the University, the Law School, the courses and the city. These events enable you to make sure that the programme is the right one to suit your studying, research and career aspirationsthat the approach to learning suits the way you work best, and that Bristol is the city that suits your social and cultural interests.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *