Paul J. Omar


[extract] With the defects in the ultra vires doctrine evident, it is no surprise that there were calls from an early stage for its abolition. It is instructive that in almost all other jurisdictions, predominantly Commonwealth ones, that inherited the ultra vires rule, it has been amended, restricted or avoided in some form. In many of these jurisdictions, the legislatures have gone as far as enacting provisions granting full capacity to corporations. Nevertheless, the reforms that did occur in the United Kingdom did not seem to be effective and frequently raised more questions than they resolved. This was particularly true of the 1972 reforms, which were defective. Although there is a view that the United Kingdom’s treaty obligations prevented it from pursuing reforms to the same extent as other jurisdictions, a matter that the Government was conscious of in its review, it now seems that United Kingdom law will at last fall into line with developments outside Europe and seek to abolish the restrictions inherent in the ultra vires rule by granting full capacity to both private and public companies.