RECORDING Reducing Complexity: Why? Where? How?

On Thursday 10 February 2022, the Australian Law Reform Commission hosted a webinar to delve deeper into key proposals and questions from Interim Report A of the ALRC’s ongoing Financial Services Legislation Inquiry. 

The webinar offered perspectives on three key questions:

  • Why should we seek to reduce the complexity of corporations and financial services legislation?
  • Where could complexity be reduced?
  • How has the ALRC proposed to reduce complexity and manage it over time?

The panel discussion was chaired by Dr Andrew Godwin, ALRC Special Counsel and Team Leader for the Financial Services Legislation Inquiry. The panel was comprised of four ALRC Senior Legal Officers who were involved in the development of reform proposals for Interim Report A: Christopher Ash, William Isdale, Nicholas Simoes da Silva, and Phoebe Tapley.

Nicholas Simoes da Silva offered insights into the question of ‘why’ we should reduce the complexity of corporations and financial services legislation, outlining what the ALRC’s quantitative analysis has revealed about the relative complexity of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).

Christopher Ash, Phoebe Tapley, and William Isdale addressed the questions of ‘where’ and ‘how’ complexity could be reduced. Their comments provided insights into the ALRC’s proposals in relation to:

  • the definitions of ‘financial product’ and ‘financial service’;
  • financial product disclosure; and
  • the conduct obligations of financial services providers.

The panel also highlighted questions that will be explored further in subsequent interim reports, including issues in relation to legislative hierarchy, and the structure of Chapter 7 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).

The panel discussion concluded with questions from the audience, including on the interaction of the ALRC’s Inquiry with the Quality of Advice Review, and the prospect of using XML to enhance legislative drafting and textual analytics.

The ALRC invites submissions on the proposals and questions in Interim Report A until 25 February 2022. Submissions can be made on the ALRC website. Feedback received through submissions and consultations over the course of this Inquiry will inform the development of final recommendations to Government at the conclusion of this Inquiry in 2023.