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Business Law Section

2021 Corporations Law Workshop

After a year of virtual events in 2020, the 2021 Corporations Workshop was on the 15th & 16th of May marking the BLS’ first ‘Hybrid’ event. The event brought together senior representatives of the corporate regulators, the judiciary, academics and leading corporate lawyers and counsel from around the country in person at the Hyatt in Canberra with additional delegates joining the workshop virtually online.

Saturday’s sessions started with a discussion regarding the key issues raised by SPACs and how the Australian regulatory environment responds, with speakers Joel May from Jones Day US and Janine Ryan from ASX able to virtually join the panel along with committee members Sarah Dulhunty & Adam Andreti. After morning tea was a lively discussion with regulator past chairs, Tony D’Aloisio AM, Alan Cameron AO, Dr John Laker AO & Ms Helen Bird, sharing with the workshop their reflections on Australia’s regulatory architecture and the roles of ASIC and APRA. Lunch was followed by an interactive discussion with Committee members regarding a framework to guide submissions, with Takeover Panel Director Allan Bulman, ASIC Commissioner Cathie Armour and AICD’s Head of Policy Christian Gergis steering the conversation. The day concluded with a discussion of directors’ duties and regulatory actions in light of the decision in Cassimatis v ASIC [2020] FCAFC 52 presented by BLS Executive Member Prof. Pamela Hanrahan & Committee member Mr Tim Bednall.

This year’s conference dinner was held at the National Portrait Gallery on Saturday evening which also included a private viewing of the gallery’s latest exhibition, Australian Love Stories, introduced by the exhibition’s curator and followed by an entertaining view of the uniqueness of Australia’s legal system by Professor Ian Ramsay.

Sunday morning started with a presentation from the ALRC, with ALRC President Justice Derrington, Special Counsel Prof. Andrew Godwin & Principal Legal Officer Micheil Paton discussing the themes and challenges of simplification through an interactive discussion with the audience. The workshop wrapped up with an open mic session to discuss the Committee’s focus areas for the year ahead.

This year’s workshop saw the changeover of the Committee’s Chair with Shannon Finch handing over the reins to Robert Sultan after 4 years in the role. The BLS & Corporations Committee thank Shannon for her strong leadership, especially through the challenges of 2020 and look forward her continued contributions to the Committee.

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