The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill has reached the committee stage in the House of Commons. The main areas of reform in the Bill include changes to competition policy and law, employment law and reducing regulation. The Bill also makes smaller changes to a number of policy areas, such as procedures concerning the approval of company directors’ remuneration; copyright law and aspects of planning law as it affects heritage properties. The Bill also includes provisions about the Green Investment Bank.
And in Schedule 17 of the Bill which has the title “Unnecessary Regulation; Miscellaneous” there is a provision to repeal s279(2) of the Insolvency Act 1986, which is the part of the Act that enables the official receiver to grant early discharge to bankrupts.
The stated intention behind the early discharge provisions was to benefit those bankrupts who fully co-operated with the official receiver and who posed no risk to the public or the commercial community. It was thought appropriate that these bankrupts should be given the early opportunity of a ‘fresh start’ sooner than one year.
In 2007, an evaluation of the early discharge from bankruptcy provisions was published as part of the Insolvency Service’s ‘Enterprise Act 2002 – the Personal Insolvency Provisions: Final Evaluation Report’. It concluded that discharge from bankruptcy earlier than the automatic one year did not have the desired impact of encouraging early rehabilitation, hence the proposed repeal of this provision.