The use of technology has become commonplace in doing business and the Law Council supports measures that enable this take-up while protecting against misuse.
In its submission to the Treasury in response to the Exposure Draft – Treasury Laws Amendment (Measures for Consultation) Bill 2021: Use of technology for meetings and related amendments, the Law Council expresses its support for key amendments to the Corporations Act.
“During the pandemic, we have seen the benefits and opportunities offered by technology. People have been able to work remotely, share documents, and collaborate via videoconferencing,” Law Council of Australia President, Dr Jacoba Brasch QC said.
“It has enabled many sectors, including our courts, to continue operating when they may otherwise have been unable to.
“When it comes to corporate meetings and document distribution and execution, technology can potentially increase access for all Australians and reduce delays. But there are also risks and we must make sure legislation protects against any possible misconduct or disadvantage due to unequal access to new technologies.”
The Law Council supports amendments to the Corporations Act which facilitate the sending of documents to members by electronic means, holding hybrid meetings which are partly physical and partly virtual or holding virtual-only meetings where they are required or permitted by the company’s constitution.
“While the support indicated in our submission is to amendments to the Corporations Act and for business meetings and documentation only, the last 18 months has clearly highlighted the pressing need for document execution laws to be modernised and harmonised more broadly where possible,” Dr Brasch said.
The Law Council acknowledges the Australian Government’s ongoing commitment to consulting on engagement with digital technology and communications.
Today the Attorney-General and Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet have invited businesses and individuals to have their say on how technology can be used to streamline the way statutory declarations and deeds are executed. The Law Council welcomes this consultation process. It has already established a special purpose national expert working group on document execution and this group will take the lead on behalf of the Law Council in engaging with the Government on the consultation.
The Law Council’s submission on the use of technology for meetings and related amendments was developed with the assistance of the Business Law Section and the Law Council’s Modernising Document Execution Working Group. A full copy of the submission is available here.