Company Law Reform Bill could be ‘half-baked’

Lawyers are warning that the Company Law Reform Bill could be “half-baked” if the Government does not allow enough time for Members of Parliament to scrutinise the bill.

The bill has made its way to the committee stage of review. However, the Government is only allowing eight days to review the bill, which has 925 clauses and received more than 1,600 amendments when it passed through the Lords.

Simon Davis, commercial litigation partner at Clifford Chance, said: “The proposed legislation has considerable impact on company directors, shareholders and the public, and the worst for everybody would be if the final product turned out to be half-baked.”

Contentious issues include directors’ duties with regard to their liability for the performance of the company and conflicts of interest.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partner Vanessa Knapp, who chaired the Law Society’s consultation committee for the bill until August 2005, said: “Companies that want to do the right thing may find they do not have a clear idea about how to implement the bill.”