Corporate Governance and the Management of Labour: Australian Perspectives

(7 and 8 December 2006)

Speakers: Richard Mitchell, Jim Kitay, Russell Lansbury, Nick Wailes, Meredith Jones, Kirsten Anderson, Shelley Marshall, Ian Ramsay, Mark Westcott, John Burgess, John Lewer, Peter Waring, John Howe, Jarrod Lenne, Richard Gough, Max Odgen, Anthony O'Donnell.

Guests at the Table? Independent Directors in Family Controlled Public Companies

(6 December 2006)

Speaker: Professor Deborah Demott, David F Cavers Professor of Law, Duke University, USA.

Description: The roles and duties of directors in public companies are under greater scrutiny than ever before. In Australia and the United States, public company boards must include directors who are independent. When a public company is controlled by a family or in some way identified by an association with its founder’s family, the meaning of independence becomes more complex, as does the position of directors. This is especially so when questions arise concerning management succession, a major shift in the company’s business activities, or a potential change in control. Explore and discuss these issues with Deborah DeMott, acknowledged expert in corporate law and governance.

The Impact of Stock-Market Listing on Employment Practices?  A Comparison of Listed and Privately-Owned Workplaces in the UK

(29 September 2006)

Speaker: Andrew Pendleton, Professor of Human Resource Management, Department of Management Studies at the University of York, United Kingdom.

Description: The paper investigates whether there are systematic differences between labour and employment practices in workplaces belonging to stock-market listed firms and those belonging to privately owned and non-traded PLCs. It is proposed that dispersed ownership, market-based forms of governance, and the structure of institutional investment are likely to frame and sometimes directly determine management practices and decisions in the stock-market listed sector, and that this will lead to differences with the privately-owned and non-listed PLC sector (where either ownership or governance arrangements tend to differ).

Legal Professional Privilege: Recent Developments and the Implications for Companies and Advisors

(24 August 2006 Sydney, 30 August 2006 Melbourne)

Speakers: Kirsten Grey, Legal Manager, BHP Billiton (Sydney and Melbourne); Emilios Kyrou, Senior Partner, Mallesons Stephen Jaques (Sydney and Melbourne); Stephanie Martin, Deputy Commissioner, Australian Taxation Office (Sydney and Melbourne).

Description: Legal professional privilege is a major issue for in-house lawyers, regulators and professional advisers to companies. There have been many important recent developments in the area of legal professional privilege which have implications for companies and their advisers. The scope and reach of legal professional privilege has been under attack through legislative changes and recent court judgments, posing challenges to the legal profession and in-house counsel in particular when advising on complex issues. This seminar brings together key speakers (from the ATO and a major company and law firm) to address:

  • the essential requirements of legal professional privilege as they apply to in-house lawyers
  • key trends and likely future developments
  • how to manage legal professional privilege from an in-house counsel’s perspective
  • tax office practices and policies relating to legal professional privilege

Shareholder Litigation

(13 June 2006 Sydney, 14 June 2006 Melbourne)

Speakers: Ashley Black, Partner, Mallesons Stephen Jaques (Sydney and Melbourne); Kathleen Harris, Special Counsel, Mallesons Stephen Jaques (Sydney and Melbourne); Professor Ian Ramsay, Director, Centre for Corporate Law and Securities Regulation, the University of Melbourne (Sydney and Melbourne); John Walker, Managing Director, IMF (Australia) Ltd (Sydney and Melbourne).

Description: Shareholder litigation is in the headlines: “Class action culture spreads across Australia” (The Financial Times, 8 March 2006); “Investors revolt – more and more shareholders are fighting back with class actions” (Business Review Weekly, 9 February 2006). This important seminar brings together leading speakers to discuss key developments in shareholder litigation. Topics discussed include:

  • Shareholder class actions in Australia and comparisons with the US including developments and  emerging issues
  • The role of litigation funders in shareholder litigation
  • The statutory derivative action – to what extent has it been used by shareholders?

Australian Auditing Standards - Imminent Changes

(6 June 2006 Sydney, 7 June 2006 Melbourne)

Speakers: Richard Mifsud, Principal Executive, Auditing and Assurance Standards Board; Lee White, Chief Accountant, Australian Securities and Investments Commission; Professor Ian Ramsay, Director, Centre for Corporate Law and Securities Regulation, the University of Melbourne.

Description: At this joint AUASB/CCLSR/BDW seminar Richard Mifsud the Principal Executive of the AUASB will provide an overview of the new Auditing Standards. Professor Ian Ramsay, Director of the Centre for Corporate Law and Securities Regulation at Melbourne University and Lee White, Chief Accountant ASIC will comment on various issues associated with the implementation and enforcement of the Auditing Standards. The session will be chaired by Elizabeth Johnstone BDW Partner and Practice Head Company Law and Member of the AUASB.

2006 Corporate Governance Conference

(24 February 2006)

Speakers included: Professor Ronald J Gilson, Professor of Law and Business, Stanford Law School and Professor of Law and Business, Columbia Law School; Peter Doherty, Principal, Capital Partners; Nicholas Moore, Macquarie Bank; Professor Kevin Keasey, Leeds University, UK.

Description: Companies and investors are increasingly utilising governance to reduce risk and enhance shareholder value. Gone are the days of a purely compliance-driven approach, as are the days of ‘activist’ grandstanding. A more mature and analytical approach to governance issues is fast emerging in Australia.

We all know that one size cannot fit all. Just how relevant are international trends to the Australian marketplace? Is there a case for markets and market sectors to find their own equilibrium on governance issues?

This conference provides much needed context to the governance debate in Australia. We have brought together leading governance scholars from the US and the UK, who will highlight key developments from the world’s largest capital markets. At the same time the event will examine the governance issues that are of most pressing concern in Australia.