The abstract void in practice: has the statutory business judgement rule changed the 'acoustic separation' between conduct and decision rules for directors' duty of care?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

A recent outpouring of director sentiment claims that the stringency of directors’ duty of care is stifling entrepreneurial growth. This article explores whether the statutory business judgment rule has enhanced directors’ protection for legitimate commercial decisions, or clarified their liability for due care — the two express justifications behind its enactment. Directors’ protection for entrepreneurial decision-making cannot be amplified without broadening the existing abstract void or ‘acoustic separation’ between the duty of care — as a conduct rule — and the general law ‘business judgment principle’ — as a decision rule. But parliament’s desire to clarify and confirm the existing general law business judgment principle, and not lower it, has neutered the statutory rule’s potential to safeguard directors’ entrepreneurial discretion in practice. This article explores the inherent tension underlying the rule, investigates its practical ramifications, and cautions that any future legislative proposals must address this tension to overcome the current rule’s shortcomings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-131
Number of pages25
JournalAustralian Journal of Corporate Law
Volume31
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

Cite this