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Press Release - Company Law Review

For immediate release: 25th January 2016

ALDERNEY TO EMBARK ON COMPANY LAW REFORM - PUBLIC CONSULTATION DRAWS ON UCL LEGAL ANALYSIS

The States of Alderney will shortly embark on a public consultation for the reform of its company law framework. This is likely to be the most comprehensive set of reforms for Alderney company law since 1994. The reform initiative has been kick-started by a 210-page report produced by a team of legal experts from the Faculty of Laws at University College London (UCL).  This reports covers all relevant aspects of company law and was specifically commissioned by the States of Alderney to aide in the public consultation.

Between May-November 2015, the States of Alderney funded a Gap Analysis comparing the Alderney company law framework with that of the UK. The Gap Analysis was undertaken by a team of company law experts from the UCL Laws Faculty Centre for Ethics and Law, led by Dr Iris H-Y Chiu, Dr Martin Petrin and Ms Anna Donovan.

The objective of the Gap Analysis was to identify under-developed and obsolete provisions in Alderney's Companies Act, as well as to provoke thinking about trends and developments in company law that are consistent with the needs of a modern corporate economy. Alderney attracts domestic and international incorporations, and its company law framework is highly relevant to its global attractiveness as a place to incorporate and do business. The Alderney Companies Act has been largely based on previous UK legislation**, but it has seen little revision in the last decade while UK company law has undergone major revision, most recently in 2006.

The entirety of the UK Companies Act 2006 is certainly not applicable to Alderney's business context, and the Gap Analysis has focused on particular points of interest for Alderney.

The Analysis highlighted the following areas of particular significance for the upcoming public consultation in Alderney:

  1. The development of a company registry that provides an attractive suite of incorporation and register services to local and international business;

  2. Modernising company law meetings and communications by incorporating the use of technology;

  3. Reforming provisions on companies' capital structures to provide for flexibility and cater to modern business needs;

  4. Instituting a practical and accredited insolvency service; and

  5. Modernising standards in relation to corporate governance and transparency.

 

Robert McDowall, Chair of the Policy & Finance Policy Committee, States of Alderney, said "The Alderney economic development plan approved by the States of Alderney ("SoA") mandated delivery legislation fit for purpose. Alderney Company Law was last consolidated in 1994. A gap analysis between UK Company Law and Alderney Company Law conducted by University College London Laws Faculty through its Centre of Ethics & Law(CEL)  produced a detailed analysis of the current differences between UK Company Law and Alderney Company. The gap analysis remains a very valuable reference document for any subsequent reviews of Alderney Company Law.  

At this stage the consultation document for immediate reform of Alderney Company Law will have the objectives:

  •  supporting economic development in Alderney

  • increasing the economic attractions for the jurisdiction and for businesses establishing corporate presences in Alderney and financial institutions, which may provide funding for enterprises within the jurisdiction

  • reducing the reputational risk of the jurisdiction through weak and outdated company legislation

The public consultation which Alderney is undertaking will be led by Peter Castle, Barrister, a member of the sub-committee charged with the law reform project by the Policy & Finance Committee.

Dr Iris H-Y Chiu, who led the team of experts from the UCL Faculty of Laws, said, "The UCL Laws Faculty was very pleased to have been asked by the States of Alderney to carry out this Gap Analysis. A systematic study of UK and Alderney legal frameworks provides the expert basis for policy-making and reform. We were particularly pleased to be able to contribute our expertise in the company law area and to be involved from the early stages of regulatory and institutional changes that Alderney wishes to make."

Peter Castle, Barrister and author of the public consultation paper, said, "This is an opportunity for the island to create a commercial environment that fosters investment and growth and the protection of businesses on the island.  A modernised legal framework is crucial to building a sound economy and sustaining job opportunities."

End.

Notes for Editors

* The States of Alderney is the governing body of the Channel Island of Alderney, part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey.

** such as the UK Companies Act 1948 and Companies Act 1985 which have been repealed after the UK introduced its Companies Act 2006.

More information about the UCL Laws Faculty can be found at http://www.laws.ucl.ac.uk/.

The research mission and initiatives of the Centre for Ethics and the Law, UCL Laws Faculty can be found at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/laws/law-ethics/.

The profiles of the team of experts who produced the Gap Analysis can be found as follows:

Dr Iris H-Y Chiu at http://www.laws.ucl.ac.uk/people/hse-yu-chiu/;

Dr Martin Petrin at http://www.laws.ucl.ac.uk/people/martin-petrin/;

Ms Anna Donovan at http://www.laws.ucl.ac.uk/people/anna-donovan/.