Thursday, 24 March 2011

Is English insolvency law still viewed with, "disrespect and contempt"?

One learned commentator has observed that "Cork was convinced that the prevailing leniency towards directors of insolvent companies was a predominant cause for the disrespect and contempt in which the law was held and that an 'entirely new approach' was required." (Finch, V. Directors' Duties: Insolvency and the Unsecured Creditor, in: Clarke, A (Ed). Current Issues in Insolvency Law, Current Legal Problems, Stevens & Sons, London, 1991, at page 91). Has the approach engendered in the Insolvency Act 1986 ( IA86 i.e. s,213, s.214, s.216) and the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 (CDDA86) changed our perception of insolvency law and its use? Have these measures worked or is the English insolvency law still held in disrepute. 

The recent File on Four programme would support the pre-Corkian view, i.e. that English insolvency law is still held in disrepute, but for other reasons. R3's recent call for more to be done in terms of disqualification would also support the contention that much remains to be done, as would the OFT report and the plight of the unsecured creditor. Will insolvency law always be viewed with an air of discredit and negativity - not unlike John Wilmot, the 2nd Earl of Rochester (pictured) - or is there some public confidence in the system?

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