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Chief Justice to open forthcoming annual company law conference

The new Chief Justice Joseph Azzopardi will be delivering the opening address of the forthcoming Annual Company Law Conference.

The new Chief Justice Joseph Azzopardi will be delivering the opening address of the forthcoming Annual Company Law Conference.

The new Chief Justice Joseph Azzopardi will be addressing his first conference following his recent appointment. He shall be delivering the opening address of the forthcoming Annual Company Law Conference organised jointly by the Department of Commercial Law at the University of Malta and the Malta Law Academy.

George Hyzler, outgoing president of the Chamber of Advocates who recently took up the post of Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, will be delivering the welcome address.

This annual conference will be held at the Valletta University Campus on Friday, November 2 between 1pm and 5.30pm and will be addressing issues in company law and recent corporate and regulatory developments.

“In the Maltese economic experience, the company has by far been the most popular and the most important form of business organisation with 90,000 companies registered,” David Fabri, head of the Department of Commercial Law at the University of Malta and a member of the Chamber of Advocates’ Malta Law Academy, said.

“A company can be used for simple as well as complex transactions and has served business growth well. Unfortunately, it has also protected fraudsters, speculators, tax evaders and sundry wrongdoers, as well as dodgy directors. It is our business as lawyers and accountants to understand it well.

“The company was an extraordinary invention. It is a flexible, relatively simple and very resilient device. The original company was typically a big, hugely expensive and risky enterprise created to buy and fit out vessels for cross-oceanic expeditions or for the building of canals and railroads. Today, it is used as a vehicle for less ambitious objectives and can undertake any business whatsoever, even for single transactions or to hold an asset. Nonetheless, it has proved a force for good a motor of the economy. But it has also proved, like the unfortunate Riley, to be a master of disguise without the heroic motives,” Dr Fabri added. 

“Within this context, Company Law strives to fulfil two objectives: to allow business to be carried on within predictable and sensible parameters, while controlling and trying to prevent excessive behaviour and abuse of the corporate form. Indeed, ironically, many recent legal reforms have been the beneficial consequence of major corporate failures and wrongdoing.”

Top speakers have accepted to participate at this annual event. Dr Fabri will deliver the first talk of the first session on the subject of ‘More truths about companies: developments since last year’, followed by Prof Andrew Muscat on the subject of ‘Directors – mitigating the risk of liability’. Key speaker Judge Joseph Zammit McKeon will address the topic ‘The D.A. Holdings Limited saga: an analysis of the court proceedings with a view to possible amendments to the Companies Act’. The first talk of the second session, after the coffee break, will feature Manfred Galdes who will discuss ‘Corporate criminal responsibility and asset forfeiture laws’. He will be followed by Christopher Buttigieg who shall address the subject of ‘Regulation of Initial Coin Offerings in Malta: Addressing Investor Protection and Market Integrity Risks’.

The last speaker of the afternoon will be Reuben Balzan who will talk on the topical subject: ‘Future trends in corporate structures: bravery or folly?’.

To register for the conference, e-mail the Chamber of Advocates on victoria@avukati.org.  

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