Published in Issue 1, September 2017

The law generally puts few obstacles in the way of becoming a director of a company. Thus, inappropriate people might come to hold this position and harm the public in a variety of ways. The origins of the disqualification regime can be traced back as far as the Companies Act 1928. The most significant piece of legislation in this regard, extending the grounds, has been the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986, which aims to protect the public against breaches of commercial morality and conduct showing an inability to comply with the duties related to conducting business. This article will outline major changes to this regime, especially those recently introduced by the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015. In doing so, it will primarily focus on the international context of the new disqualification ground of convictions abroad as well as draw a comparison with similar jurisdictions, such as Ireland and Singapore. The article concludes that the changes are likely to lead to a significant improvement in the accountability of directors.