Federal Court judge to head Corps Act inquiry

A Federal Court judge has been appointed to oversee the Australian Law Reform Commission’s (ALRC) inquiry into the suitability of current financial services laws, as the government seeks to simplify what it terms an “overly prescriptive approach to regulation”.

In a statement, the ALRC announced that Perth-based Federal Court judge Craig Colvin would oversee the review of the legislative framework for corporations and financial services regulation, which formed part of the government’s response to the Hayne royal commission.

ALRC president Justice SC Derrington said the appointment would bring additional expertise to the inquiry and help ensure “improved clarity and transparency” in financial services legislation.

“The review of financial services legislation provides a timely opportunity to ensure Australian laws are fit for purpose – effectively balancing consumer protection with support for a vibrant and innovative financial services sector,” Justice Derrington said.

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The inquiry is to focus on the provisions of the Corporations Act and Corporations Regulations, with the goal of “[facilitating] a more adaptive, efficient and navigable framework of legislation within the context of existing policy settings”, according to the ALRC website.

The review will occur in three parts, with a first report focusing on the appropriate use of definitions in corporations and financial services legislation due at the end of November.

A subsequent report into the design and hierarchy of primary law provisions, regulations, class orders, and standards is due in September 2022, with a third report into potential restructuring of Chapter 7 of the Corporations Act due in August 2023.

The ALRC said its initial analysis of the legal framework in financial services found an “overly prescriptive approach to regulation; complex and unwieldy regulation contained in various instruments; complexity of definitions and inconsistent use of definitions”.

Federal Court judge to head Corps Act inquiry
Federal Court judge to head Corps Act inquiry
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