Professor Andrew Keay

Professor Andrew Keay


I trained as a lawyer in Australia and I eventually became a partner in an Australian law firm, specialising in corporate and commercial law, and appearing in superior courts in company, insolvency and probate actions. Subsequently I acted as a Deputy Registrar of the Australian Federal Court and Deputy Registrar in Bankruptcy where I taxed costs, ruled on bankruptcy petitions, presided at the examination of insolvents and their associates, heard varrious applications in bankruptcy and advised practitioners on practice matters.

I taught at several Australian universities, where I specialised in commercial law, and primarily teaching into company and insolvency law modules, before coming to work in the UK. I have been at Leeds since 2002 where I have acted at various times as the Director of the Centre for Business Law and Practice.

I hold a doctorate in law from the University of Queensland; the thesis focused on transactional avoidance in corporate insolvency in Australia. Besides being admitted to practice in Australia I am a barrister for England and Wales (Lincoln's Inn) and have practised in the Chancery field. I have : provided opinions on company and insolvency law issues, given reports to overseas courts on what is the position of English law in relation to areas of company and insolvency law and I have acted as an expert witness on English law.

I have published a large number of books (for Sweet and Maxwell, LexisNexis, Routledge, Edward Elgar, Jordans, Law Book Company and Pearsons) and journal articles (including articles in the Modern Law Review, Law Quarterly Review, Cambridge Law Journal, Legal Studies, International and Comparative Law Quarterly, Journal of Business Law, Journal of Corporate Law Studies, Melbourne University Law Review and the Sydney Law Review)  in my fields of interest (please see the link on this page for a list of my publications). My work has been cited by many superior courts including the UK Supreme Court, the Privy Council, the High Court of Australia, the New Zealand Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal for England and Wales, the Scottish Court of Session (Inner House), the Singapore Court of Appeal, the Hong Kong Court of Appeal and the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

Research interests

My main research interests are in corporate governance, company law and insolvency law. I specialise in corporate governance theory, corporate and board accountability, directors' duties, shareholder rights and remedies and sustainability. In relation to insolvency law, I specialise in liquidations, corporate rescue, bankruptcy, investigations by insolvency office-holders, and insolvency litigation involving the avoidance of pre-insolvency transactions and recoveries from company directors and other officers.

I am currently a co-investigator for two grants. One that was granted by the Arts and Humanities Research Council to enable my co-investigators (Professors Joan Loughrey of Leeds and Terry McNulty of Liverpool) and I to explore the way English courts address the business judgments of directors and why they tend to defer to such judgments. Besides doctrinal and theoretical work, this has entailed some empirical research which has consisted of interviewing directors and secretaries of public companies and judges who have exercised jurisdiction in the corporate field as well as conducting focus groups. The second grant was given by the Economics and Social Research Council to investigate how China might benefit from the experience of the UK in building its legal infrastructure and creating a more competitive financial and legal system and with a focus on analysing the protection of minority investors, the getting of credit and resolving insolvency. Again this has involved doctrinal, theoretical and empirical work.

Besides being engaged in the research connected with the abovementioned grants, I am undertaking research on the sustainability of UK companies and the position of directors of financially distressed companies who are seeking to restructure their companies' affairs. My previous most recent research has focused on the ultimate objective of companies, a study of enlightened shareholder value, board accountability in corporate governance, breaches of directors’ duties especially when companies are in financial distress, derivative actions, transactional avoidance in insolvencies in the UK and the EU and corporate governance issues affecting large Chinese companies.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • Bachelor of Laws
  • Master of Divinity
  • Master of Laws
  • Doctor of Philosophy

Professional memberships

  • Society of Legal Scholars
  • The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn
  • Insolvency Lawyers’ Association
  • The Bar Council for England and Wales
  • INSOL International (International Association of Insolvency Practitioners).
  • Chancery Bar Association (Academic Member)
  • Australian Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association

Student education

I have taught a broad range of commercial law subjects during my academic career at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. I have supervised and examined a large number of doctoral candidates.

I now teach Insolvency Law and International Corporate Governance at postgraduate level and I supervise students undertaking undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations. I also supervise a significant number of PhD candidates in my areas of expertise.

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Business Law and Practice

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>The school welcomes enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>