I beg to move amendment No. 116, in page 140, line 30, leave out '15' and insert '5'.
When we discussed amendment No. 115, I explained how, to my mind, the reasons behind disqualifications for civil prohibitions and criminal-related disqualifications differed. The law currently provides for a maximum of 15 years for disqualifications, and it is good and correct that that period is available to the courts. In the context of disqualifications for civil-type prohibitions, however, it is felt that 15 years is excessive in the extreme. That is particularly true of section 9B of the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986, which relates to disqualifications agreed under deals with the OFT. The length of the disqualification period is unsuitable, and, once again, the Government's proposals are out of kilter with provisions in other European countries. I would be grateful if the Under-Secretary explained whether any other countries have such provisions.
As with criminalisation and personal liability for directors, there is concern that foreign investors will be unhappy if they believe that they can be disqualified in this country in circumstances that would not apply in other European countries. We therefore suggest that the 15-year period be reduced to five years.