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Recent developments in directors’ duties in Asia: Perspectives from India and Hong Kong

Contemporary duties for directors in Asia.

Deakin Law School and its Centre for Comparative Corporate Governance (CCCG) are pleased to invite you to a seminar on the recent developments of Directors' Duties. 

Drawing on the collective expertise of the speakers, this seminar provides pragmatic insights into recent developments in the vexed area of directors’ duties in two key Asian jurisdictions, namely Hong Kong and India, which share common law roots with Australia. The seminar will host 2 distinguished speakers: Professor Umakanth Varottil and Professor Chee Keong Low ('CK').


Professor Umakanth Varottil will examine recent reforms in Indian company law, which not only codify directors’ duties but also require directors to act in the interests of shareholders as well as other stakeholders (such as employees, the community and the environment). Although at first glance the provision appears to cast a duty on directors to treat non-shareholder interests as an end in itself, Professor Varottil suggests that in effect it is not substantially different from the Enlightened Shareholder Value model adopted in the United Kingdom. Professor Varottil posits that several difficulties in its implementation may substantially restrict the rights of stakeholders in Indian companies.


Professor Chee Keong Low (‘CK’) will examine the issue of ‘golden handshakes’ in Hong Kong by reference to the case of the MTR Corporation. Professor Keong enquires whether members of the board of directors should be held accountable for agreeing to a contractual settlement of some US$2 million with its erstwhile CEO – an amount which was subsequently acknowledged as being ‘in lieu of the 12-month notice period’ – despite the fact that Professor Keong had been criticized by an independent board committee of ‘poor judgment’ as well as lacking the exercise of ‘critical judgment’