Call for speed on business law reform.

William the Conqueror took just two years to compile the Domesday Book, but a modern company law system for the UK could take a total of six years to introduce, experts predict.

Despite welcoming the final report of the company law review, a three-year project aimed at dragging the UK’s arcane business law system into the 21st century, experts are warning against watering down its proposals.

And they say it could take another three years to actually introduce reform.

Published last week, the report suggests a raft of measures aimed at cutting red tape, improving transparency and clarifying the duties of companies and their directors.

It also proposes raising the audit threshold to #4.8m.

Senior accountants are calling for the proposed measures to be given a swift passage through parliament.

Roger Davis, a member of the review committee, said: ‘It is long overdue and there is still a lot to be done. I would be unhappy if at a political level it was unpicked.’

Gerry Acher, KPMG partner and chairman of the ICAEW audit faculty, said: ‘This is a major step forward. Now the skill is to preserve it in its entirety. It is not a shopping list.’

Proposals are not, however, expected to be tabled until the 2002-2003 parliamentary session. An updated company law cannot be expected before 2003, at the earliest – a full six years after the review began in 1998.

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