||Companies are an integral part of our business environment. All participants in the world of business have dealings with companies - whether as employees, clients, customers, directors, shareholders, creditors, debtors, suppliers, vendors, consultants or professional advisers. This makes it essential to have an understanding of the legal nature and characteristics of companies and the manner in which their activities and management are regulated. In this unit, the legal \"life cycle\" of a company is examined along with a comparison of companies to other business entities. The ways in which important activities undertaken by companies are regulated are explored including: entering contracts, raising funds, issuing shares, paying dividends. Consideration is given to the duties and obligations the law places upon those who manage companies, and the consequences which may result from any breach of those duties and obligations. The position of companies in financial difficulty and the final stages in the life cycle of an insolvent company are also addressed.