Large legislation needs lots of storage – which is good news for Admiral Document Storage – and I have written before about the longest trials and largest items of legislation in UK law.
But now it seems Ireland is anxious to keep up – and knowing that some of our clients are involved in matters in Ireland, and that no matter that you have a digital copy of an act, you also need a paper copy – just in case – I am expecting copies to be arriving in our storage facility very shortly.
In this matter the Irish are not doing things by halves – for they have come up with a 1,136 page documents. It contains 1,429 different legislative sections and if you fancy buying a copy it is going to cost you €109.
It is, in case you haven’t guessed, the Companies Bill 2013. It hasn’t made much of an impact during its debate, but it is going to dominate how companies do business in Ireland for the next 20 years, and as a result I think those expensive and heavy paper editions are going to be well-thumbed by lawyers each time an Irish business case comes up.
It took four years for the first volume of the law to be published once everyone had made their reports – an event which took four years in itself. It’s not law yet – but at some time in 2014 it will be once it has been fully debated in the Dáil. But that in itself is going to be quite a task. Can anyone really grasp a legal document this long and argue some abstruse point about the semi-colon on page 857? Probably.
One interesting point is that parts 1 to 15 of the bill deals with the law and they are in volume one – a hefty tome in its own right. The rest of the bill deals with how the law stated in volume one is applicable to other companies such as public limited companies (PLCs) or investment companies.
In case you are interested in setting up a company in Ireland and don’t want to plough through the whole 1000 plus pages the main changes of the law are that limited companies only need one director instead of two, the physical AGM is abolished (you can do it in writing), the long blurb about what the company is set up to do is abolished. It can do anything lawful, it can merge and demerge (something private companies can’t do at the moment), dormant companies won’t have to do audits to show they are doing nothing, and companies that are going bust can do so in lower courts than has previously been the case.
Perhaps not surprisingly, given its record-breaking size, the new companies act in Ireland is supported by all the main parties – probably because no one can quite understand what it is all about.
The only complaints come from to independent TDs (MPs) – one complaining about workers’ rights and the other that it is too long.
The bill will become law in 2014, and we expect to see our first copy in storage not long after that.
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