REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2230.1981.tb01625.x
Publication Date01 Jan 1981
AuthorIan Fletcher
REPORTS
OF
COMMITTEES
BANKRUPTCY
LAW
REFORM:
THE
INTERIM
REPORT
OF
THE
CORR COMMITTEE, AND
THE
DEPARTMENT OF
TRADE
GREEN
PAPER
THE
creation of the Insolvency Law Review Committee under
Mr.
K. R. (now Sir Kenneth) Cork in January 1977 was widely welcomed
as the beginning of a much needed, and long overdue, overhaul of
the entire insolvency law and practice of England and Wales.
In
view of the widely-drawn terms of reference of the Committee it
was always probable that it would require several years in which
to complete its task, and hence the appearance of their Interim
Report offers a useful opportunity to gain an insight into the trends
in
the Committee’s thinking, and the likely shape of its concluded
recommendations. Although it was submitted to the Minister in
October 1979, the Report’s official publication was delayed until
July 1980, when
it
was presented to Parliament (Cmnd. 7968) sim-
ultaneously with the Green Paper (Cmnd. 7967) setting out reactions
on behalf of the Department of Trade to the interim conclusions
contained therein. In view of the remarkable, and ominous,
divergence which is immediately apparent between the views and
priorities of the Department under the current Administration and
those of the Committee set up under the previous one, it will be
convenient to review and compare the contents of these two publica-
tions.
The Interim Report
The warning note is sounded in the introductory paragraphs of the
Report itself: it is evident that the incoming Administration, as
part of its widely-publicised, general policy of instituting an adminis-
trative
cuisine minceur,
made an approach to the Committee in
August 1979 indicating its desire to receive an early indication of
the Committee’s likely recommendations on the future shape of the
bankruptcy legislation, and particularly their implications with regard
to prospects for reducing the amount of time devoted by civil
servants belonging to the Insolvency Service in performing their
duties currently imposed by this branch of the law. It also seems
apparent that while the Committee had hitherto been by no means
oblivious to such questions as the manpower and cost implications
of its eventual recommendations, these had not constituted a first
priority in its scheme of approach: quite properly, the Committee
saw its first duties to be the maintenance-indeed the raising-of
the quality of our bankruptcy machinery,
so
as to ensure that it
properly accomplishes the objectives which, traditionally, it has been
intended to fulfil, namely a balancing of the respective interests of
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