Increasing burdens on Public Company Directors and Non-Executive Directors

By Thought Leadership Lecture: Professor Bob Baxt  Tuesday, July 26, 2011  Features

Have changes to company law imposing liability on Directors of public companies gone too far? Will corporations fail to get the best people because of risk of personal liability under these rules? Is it time for these laws to be reformed? These questions will be discussed at the next Thought Leadership Lecture presented by the School of Taxation and Business Law.

The lecture to be given by Professor Baxt AO is part of a Thought Leadership Series aimed at engaging corporate regulators and corporate law practitioners, as well as tax regulators and tax practitioners.

Associate Professor Anil Hargovan, explains the relevance of the lecture, "Currently ASIC (and private litigants) have pursued a number of cases against directors alleging that they have breached their duty of care. Three cases in particular, Hardie, Fortescue and Centro, are good examples, but there are many more in the pipeline, some including private litigants. As a result of these cases a number of experts, including the former Chairman of ASIC, Mr Tony D'Aloisio, have suggested that reform should be made to the law dealing with this issue."

"The Thought Leadership Series is more than a 'tech update' or 'tech review' of what is going on. It deals with the 'Big issues' in these areas and present new and visionary ideas," he said.

In his lecture Professor Baxt will explore a number of proposals for reforms in broader areas of corporate law, as well as changes to statutes relying on the use of strict liability and the reversal of onus of proof regimes. These proposals will include the possible implementation of a wider statutory business judgment rule.

Despite the Commonwealth and certain State governments beginning to consider law reforms, Professor Baxt believes that these have not gone far enough to limit the use of strict liability and the reversal of onus of proof regimes as recommended by the Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee (CAMAC) and the Council of Australian Governments (CoAG).

The Thought Leadership Lecture will be held on the 28 July 2011 at the Sydney Harbour Marriott, Pitt St Sydney. Please visit the Atax website to register.

For more information on the Thought Leadership Series please contact Christine Brooks