The Secured Transaction Law Reform project website contains detailed information about the work which is being conducted under the auspices of the project, as well as associated events. Professor Louise Gullifer explains the work of the Secured Transaction Law Reform project in an interview which is available here.
Professor Louise Gullifer is the Director of this project, which was set up in 2010 to examine the English law relating to secured transactions and to consider the need and shape of future reform. The project engages with legal practitioners and other interested parties, such as the Asset Based Finance Association. It has hosted several conferences and set up four working groups to discuss in detail current problems in the law. Taking as a starting point the proposals for reform put forward by the Law Commission in 2005, the conferences and working groups examine whether the scheme proposed therein would improve the current position and whether it would be workable in practice. The four groups are looking at registration, priorities, insolvency and financial collateral. The project is running a series of smaller seminars for particular interest groups, including receivables financiers and those interested in taking security over intellectual property. It is also engaging with those involved in secured transaction reform around the world, and information on many reform initiatives is available on the project’s website.
The project is run by an executive committee made up of three academics, one judge and four solicitors. Given the status of London as one of the world’s leading financial centres, and of English law as one of the leading systems of transactional law, it is particularly important that we should have a modern personal property security law which is responsive to the needs of the commercial and financial community. The current law of secured transactions has clear strengths but, in comparison to that in many leading economies around the world, it is out of date and cumbersome. Radical reform has been proposed several times but never carried out, although there has recently been some limited reform to the registration system. It is true that practitioners and financiers have developed ways of working around the most egregious problems, and of limiting uncertainty by the use of contractual devices. However, this has the effect of increasing the cost and availability of credit and means that we do not have the most efficient system we could have. The project therefore exists to examine how the current position could be improved, and to bring proposals to the Government for law reform.
The work of the project is being monitored closely by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and, ideally, proposals would be put to Government by 2018.