The ‘disordered share house’ of the Corps Act: ALRC

ALRC corporations act law legal

28 November 2022
| By Laura Dew |
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The Corporations Act 2001 has been likened to a “disordered share house” by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC), one that requires re-design and a deep clean to make it simpler.

William Isdale and Christopher Ash, senior legal officers at the ALRC, were currently reviewing corporation and financial services law.

In a post for legal education provider Legalwise, the pair wrote: “If the law regulating corporations and financial services were a house, it would be a large and disordered one. It would be a share house in which renovations had been made with no thought to overall design, and in which the junk of former tenants linger in every room. A house in need of re-design, and a deep clean,” they said.

The ALRC was now working out how the legislative hierarchy should be used, tidying up existing legislation, repealing provisions which were spent and redundant and fixing provisions which were unclear.

This would help lawmakers determine what belonged where and how powers to create delegated legislation should be expressed.

It recommended integrating ‘notional amendments’ into legislation and removing the need for them in the future as they made the law deeply inaccessible and introduced significant complexity.

“Our current stock of corporations and financial services legislation needs a deep clean. Countless errors have crept in over time, while spent or redundant laws have accumulated like peeling coats of paint.

“The ALRC’s proposed model gives effect to a simple principle: it is easier to find things if they are put where you expect them to be. In a tidy house, frequently-used appliances are best located on a bench, with crockery and utensils stored in drawers organised by theme or function. It is time to bring the same logic to our legislation.”

Submissions to the ALRC Interim Report B would close on 30 November.

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