A NEW FORMAT and an exceptional bill of speakers provided a successful combination for organisers of the Australian Corporate Lawyers Association’s (ACLA’s) national conference, held in Melbourne last week.
The conference was extended to a two-day event, allowing for a larger bill of speakers, and the conference dinner, held last Friday night, incorporated the presentation of the Australian In-house Lawyer of the Year Awards. A wide range of topics was covered, from legal professional privilege to workplace relations, and feedback from delegates was overwhelmingly positive.
Each of the three corporate regulators — the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Australian Stock Exchange and Australian Securities and Investment Commission — were represented on the panel of speakers, with ACCC chair Graeme Samuel telling delegates the ACCC was undergoing changes to its culture, attitude and processes.
“It is the view around the Commission table that certain cultural changes and cultural directions are necessary to adapt the Commission to the current processes and current corporate thinking and development,” he said. “There has never been more change than in the enforcement and compliance area.”
Samuel said if the ACCC investigated a matter and found the complaint was justified, with cooperation from the organisation concerned it would work to bring about compliance training and “understanding of what the law requires and prohibits”. If there was no cooperation, “we litigate”.
Proposed changes to the Trade Practices Act, managing contractual risk and personal liability issues were also covered. The conference was the last to be chaired by national president Pamela Hass, who passes on the reins to incoming president Bruce Brown.