NEWS: Accountants seek lobbyist to change negligence laws

The ‘Big Six’ accountancy firms are poised to recruit a PR or lobbying agency in a bid to change the rules governing law suits for negligence

The ‘Big Six’ accountancy firms are poised to recruit a PR or lobbying

agency in a bid to change the rules governing law suits for negligence



The firms, which include Price Waterhouse and Touche Ross, recently saw

four agencies, thought to include Shandwick, GJW, Hill and Knowlton and

Lowe Bell Political.



The Big Six, who used Ian Greer Associates in 1994 for a related

campaign, are thought to have favoured GJW but have put the recruitment

process temporarily on hold.



The profession wants to limit ‘joint and several liability’ which

currently makes all of a firm’s partners personally responsible for

losses in cases of negligence. It also wants to be able to include

clauses limiting auditors’ liability in client contracts.



The search for an agency is the latest step in the accountants’

campaign. In May, leading firms, and such bodies as the National

Association of Pension Funds and the Building Employers Confederation,

wrote to Ian Lang, President of the Board of Trade, demanding a change

in the law.



Earlier, several of the ‘Big Six’ threatened to relocate to Jersey over

the issue. This reputedly galvanised Deputy Prime Minister Michael

Heseltine, to ask the Department of Trade and Industry to speed up legal

change.



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