29/06/2004

NI company law set for modernisation

Enterprise Minister, Barry Gardiner today announced first steps to modernise company law in Northern Ireland.

The Minister issued a paper entitled ‘Flexibility and Accessibility’, for consultation, saying company law was fundamental to the effective operation of the local economy.

"We need to cut out ‘red tape’," the Minister said. "We need to make the law more accessible to private companies which, after all, represent the vast majority of registered and trading bodies.

“We also need to maintain company law consistent with Great Britain and in harmony with Europe. It is more efficient for businesses, their representative bodies and professional advisers to operate within consistent codes.

“These proposals represent a major programme of consolidation and reform of company law. The end result will be a modern, simplified and more accessible framework, which will reduce the regulatory and administrative burden for the vast majority of companies.”

At present, company law is contained mainly in primary legislation. Changes to it usually require further primary legislation, which is time-consuming and more demanding in terms of parliamentary time. New powers are proposed to enable future changes by secondary or subordinate legislation.

The period for comments run until October 29, 2004.

(MB)

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