Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
The law relating to the formation and management of companies is notorious for its complexity and for the often bewildering pace of change. Currently, the field is subject to fundamental revision in the form of the Companies Act 2006 and the recently announced postponement of full implementation of the Act until October 2009 has done little to simplify matters. As a consequence, managers, directors and company secretaries will continue to work in a climate of some uncertainty, wasting a great deal of valuable time wading through an ever increasing body of legislation and regulation in search of the correct provisions.
Against this background, Gore‐Browne has maintained a well deserved reputation as the leading looseleaf title on the subject and has proved itself invaluable to many practitioners and professionals. Now, in addition to the two volume text, the entire work is also available in a CD‐Rom version, which is a welcome addition, allowing the impressive but bulky volumes to be accessed and searched more easily.
As a single desktop reference, Gore‐Browner is certainly comprehensive and addresses all of the key aspects of company law and regulation. Volume 1 covers companies and other associations, constitution and personality, members, directors and management, enforcement of duties and share capital. Volume 2 covers loans, general disclosure requirements, quoted companies, takeovers and mergers, taxation, financial difficulties, liquidation, conflict of laws and the operation of the Companies Court. A number of these topics are rarely covered in depth by standard academic texts and the result is a real resource for the researcher or practitioner, particularly when considering the more obscure points of company law.
As might be expected, the writing style is exemplary. The tone is clear and crisp and areas are addressed in small but well referenced sections. This is clearly a text designed to be consulted by the busy professional who is interested in the provisions themselves, rather than their historical and theoretical background. This emphasis does, however, undermine its effectiveness somewhat as a tool for purely academic research but, as this is not really the target audience for this title, this should not be seen as too much of a criticism. Similarly, although Gore‐Browne would be a valuable addition to any university law library, the average undergraduate is unlikely to use it for day‐to‐day reference. It would be more useful for postgraduate students or those undertaking the vocational courses.
Turning to the CD‐Rom version, this reproduces the paper version but with the added benefits of links to many (although not all) of the statutory references within the text and an easy to navigate search facility. Subject to the standard caveats regarding the phrasing of search terms, this is as good an electronic version as any and saves a considerable amount of thumbing through the volumes and accompanying statutes. For this reason alone, this means that the electronic version is likely to become the favoured option for all but the traditionalist.
That leaves only the cost to be considered. £595 plus £150 for each of the six annual updates is a not insubstantial sum. That said, the cost is far outweighed by the time saved and both the currency of the text and the accumulated expertise of the authors will be of considerable value to the busy professional.