Chief Justice Spigelman has labelled the newly released Annotations to the Corporations Act as "an invaluable tool both for practising lawyers and for judges".
At its launch last week, Spigelman commended the authors - Ashley Black and Dr Bob Austin - for undertaking such an arduous task aimed at simplifying practitioners' access to the law.
"The co-authors bring to this task about seven decades of reading, teaching, advising, drafting, writing and adjudicating about corporations law," he said.
"This is a formidable combination of intellectual assets to be deployed for the distillation of the pith and substance of the case law. Only the profoundly learned, or the foolhardy, can have the confidence to undertake such a task."
In his launch address, Black said he hoped the Annotations would shift the preference amongst lawyers from paper-based to online commentaries.
"The demographics of those who use legal commentaries divide in two, between those who prefer their commentaries on paper and those who prefer them on computer screen," he said.
"It will be no surprise that I start with an inclination toward commentaries in paper form. However, I hope this work will challenge that preference."
Black believes the fact that references to cases and cross-references to Ford and Australian Corporations Law: Principles & Practice are hyperlinked - so users can move straight from the reference in the commentary to the text of the case or commentary in electronic form - is one of the work's "greatest virtues".
Black acknowledged the wide range of existing commentary on the Corporations Act which helped them complete the Annotations, although he mentioned that myriad pending reforms are likely to require frequent updates to the Annotations.
"We are once again in a period of very active legislative activity in Corporations legislation," he said.
"The list of pending law reform as of today is long."
According to Black, such potential reforms include the reversal of the result in Sons of Gwalia, amendments to the Personal Property Securities Reform legislation, amendments to the regulation of executive remuneration, changes to directors' liability for insolvent trading, changes to the procedure for schemes of arrangement, adjustments in the regulation of financial services and markets, and the introduction of new market integrity.
"This is, of course, a matter of great comfort to Dr Austin and myself since it will keep us both occupied in updating for some time to come," said Black.
Annotations to the Corporations Act is published by LexisNexis, also the publisher of Lawyers Weekly.
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