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Impact of the Enterprise Act 2002

Aims & objectives

The corporate insolvency provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002 (‘the Act’) were intended to enhance efficiency and increase accountability in corporate rescue proceedings. To this end, the Act abolished administrative receivership and replaced it with a new, ‘streamlined’ administration proceeding. Unlike an administrative receiver, who owes duties only to a secured creditor, an administrator owes legal duties to all creditors. On the one hand, increased accountability may be expected to result in a greater impetus towards efficiency, with the result that better outcomes are achieved for the businesses of distressed companies. However the very mechanisms of accountability — increased legal liability — may themselves generate increased costs through legal bills and actions taken to avoid liability.

The project sought to investigate the following questions:

  1. Whether the Act has resulted in lower costs for corporate rescue proceedings; and
  2. Whether administrations under the new regime result in greater overall realisations (because of the increased accountability) than under the old administrative receivership procedure.

To investigate these issues, a new dataset of 348 cases of corporate insolvency commencing between 2001 and 2004 (153 receiverships under the old law and 195 administrations under the new law) was constructed using data from reports filed by practitioners at Companies House. Work began in February 2006 and was completed by the end of July 2006. These quantitative results were supplemented by qualitative research, consisting of interviews with practitioners and regulators.

Results & dissemination

The results of the empirical work were detailed in a report prepared for the Insolvency Service in December 2006. This was then followed by user dissemination at a research seminar organised by the Insolvency Service in Spring 2007.

Books

Journal articles

Armour, J., Hsu, A. and A.J. Walters (2007) ‘The Impact of the Enterprise Act 2002 on Realisations and Costs in Corporate Rescue Proceedings’ Recovery, Summer 2007 (2pp.).

Conference/Workshop papers

Armour, J. seminar presentation on impact of Enterprise Act at University of Texas Law School, January 2007.

Armour, J. seminar presentation on impact of Enterprise Act at Washington University, St Louis, Law School, February 2007.

Armour, J. conference presentation on impact of Enterprise Act at INSOL International Annual Conference (Academic Advisory Group), Cape Town, March 2007.

Armour, J. conference presentation on impact of Enterprise Act at American Law and Economics Association Annual Meeting, Harvard Law School, May 2007.

Hsu, A. conference presentation at Asian Law and Economics Association Annual Meeting, Taipei, August 2007.

Principal investigators

John Armour
Adrian Walters (University of Nottingham)

Research fellow

Audrey Hsu

Project status

Completed

Project dates

2006-2007

Funding

DTI