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The Enterprise Act 2002 furthered the reforms by introducing Schedule B1 of the Insolvency Act 1986 to provide the current legislative framework for administration making it quicker, cheaper and less bureaucratic than the previous legislation. Under paragraph 3(1) of Schedule B1 of the Insolvency Act 1986, the administrator of a company must perform his functions with the objective of rescuing the company as a going concern. If this isn’t possible then achieving a better result for the company’s creditors than if forced to wind up the company is one of the main reasons for reform in the first place. It is not the ultimate wish that creditors should be completely out done by administration and respectively, the administrator should try and gain the best return for the creditors of the company. Part of doing so would be to realise some of the property of the company to make a distribution to one or more secured or preferential creditors meaning that there may be more funds available for distribution. Through this hierarchy we see a fairer and more reasoned approach when looking at companies in trouble, rather than individual lenders all appointing their own AR and there being a scramble of for assets.
By bringing in an administrator it means that the 2002 act has directed itself in a way, which is in line with what the Cork Committee originally envisaged. The fact that the administrator must rescue the company as a going concern, satisfies the Committees goals of preserving viable commercial enterprises.
Moving on it is necessary to establish how effective said reform has actually been. Before the 2002 Act it was not as simple as implementing a moratorium to stop the process of appointing an AR, nor could a petition stop the meeting of creditors or stop creditors petitioning for the company to be wound up. Whilst Goode argues that “administration has been less efficacious as a rescue device than expected”, there has been some definite improvement in the help provided for those companies in financial difficulty. In the first two years of the enactment of the Enterprise Act there was a significant increase in annual administrations, from 649 to 2,661. Moreover the number of administrations was 858 for January to April 2008, some 54% higher than the 557 of the previous three months, according to Insolvency Service statistics. Conversely the 1,085 companies going into compulsory liquidation were down 6.6% on the previous quarter and a 22% fall on the same period in 2007. Such comparisons clearly highlight the uptake in administration procedures over liquidation, and allow us to infer that as a result of the reforms of the Enterprise Act 2002 companies are choosing administrative procedures more and more as they realise this will provide the best avenue for rescue.