Queensland moves to the forefront of directors’ liability reform

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By Bruce Cowley, Bob Austin and Steven Grant

The Queensland Parliament passed the Directors’ Liability Reform Amendment Bill 2012 on 16 October 2013 to reform Queensland’s laws imposing personal liability on directors for corporate fault.

The amended bill as passed includes more than 360 amendments to the original bill, which was first introduced into the Legislative Assembly in November last year. The amendments follow a further whole-of-government review and receipt of submissions from Minter Ellison, the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Queensland Law Society. The amended bill adopts nearly all of the recommendations contained in those submissions and introduces important changes that reduce the regulatory burden on directors.

Directors should be reassured by the fact that the number of directors’ liability offences in Queensland will be substantially reduced. Significantly, the amended bill removes all provisions that were to be introduced under the original bill that reversed the onus of proof. The amended bill also removes nearly all provisions in existing Queensland legislation that contain a reversed onus of proof. These changes are to be applauded and place Queensland at the forefront of directors’ liability reform…

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