Distinguished Speakers Program: Dr Robert Austin

1 September 2011
Dr Robert Austin
Dr Robert Austin

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What should we expect our company directors to do?

In the famous Bell Group case, 2009, Justice Owen agreed that over the entrance to boardrooms the Statute has rightly painted the declaration: "the buck stops here". But how can boards of directors of large companies, meeting approximately once a month, be expected to accept responsibility for the whole management of the corporate enterprise? Does the law really allocate responsibility to the directors for everything that goes wrong in the management of the business? What should the proper balance of responsibilities be between directors and executive officers? To what extent should non-executive directors be permitted to rely on the advice of executive officers and expert advisers (an issue considered by the trial judge and on appeal in the James Hardie case, and by the trial judge in the Centro case)? Should the law leave directors free to exercise their business judgment? Do we need law reform to ensure that directors are fully responsible for what they can and should do, but not for what is beyond their reach?

Dr Robert Austin taught company law and equity at the University of Sydney full-time from 1969 to 1990, and subsequently he has continued to teach part-time until the present day. He was a partner with Minter Ellison (1990-1998) and was a Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales (1998-2010). He has recently returned to legal practice with Minter Ellison.

This lecture is presented as part of the Sydney Law School Distinguished Speakers Program 2011. Please click here for program details.

Lawyers/barristers: attendance at this seminar is equal to 1 MCLE/CPD units.
For a full program of current MCLE/CPD eligible events, please
click here.

Time: Register from 5.30pm for 6-7pm lecture, followed by cocktail reception

Location: Sydney Law School, Building F10, Eastern Avenue, University of Sydney

Cost: Full fee: $25; SLS alumni: $20; University of Sydney students: $10 (incl cocktail reception and GST)

Contact: Events Coordinator

Phone: (02) 9351 0238

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