Unit 03: Capitalisation

Unit 03: Capitalisation

Lawyers rely a great deal on accuracy of language and often require a precise, well-structured description of a legal term or concept in their communications, pleadings, negotiating positions, etc. The Internet can be helpful when seeking accurate definitions.
Search engines can be used to find definitions of words, but the results generated may require careful comparison. A good online dictionary, specific to your needs, can be a very useful tool.

Learning Synopsis

This exercise addresses the availability, use and reliability of dictionaries and language tools to research legal English terms and concepts.


You represent a client who manages pension funds for global airline companies. She is facing financial difficulties due to the changing economic climate and ill-advised investments. Your client's portfolio consists, among other things, of a number of domestic and foreign debt instruments issued by corporations and governments.

A portfolio manager working for your client has called you with the unfortunate news that one of the corporate issuers of debentures in his portfolio is facing imminent financial collapse. He further explains that the corporate issuer is an international supplier of solid state electronics, and has been financially restructured several times in recent years due to the financial pressures brought on by competition from integrated electronics technologies.

The fund portfolio contains debentures issued on both sides of the Atlantic; the issuer operates in the United States as a corporation, and in the United Kingdom as a limited liability company.

Your client is worried because the statutory capital adequacy of the fund is already close to breaking point. In preparing an emergency meeting of the board of directors of the pension fund, the portfolio manager wants a brief, informative memo regarding the collateral status of debentures.

In order to prepare the memo, you will need to find out whether your client will be protected as a secured creditor. To answer the question, find out:

  • Is a debenture in the UK the same as in the US?
  • Will the client be protected as a secured creditor in both countries?

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