The Australian Law Reform Commission has confirmed the government has implemented 13 of the recommendations tabled in its final report into the corporations and financial services legislation.

In the report, the ALRC concedes there are a number of steps required to simplify Australia’s financial services legislation that it dubbed as “porridge” when it unveiled the recommendations in January, which is widely accepted as being no longer fit for purpose after more than 20 years of development.

Legislative changes to some of the more technical aspects of the legislation began in earnest, with the recommendations implemented so far relating to the more technical aspects of the legislation, including the creation of a single glossary for the Corporations Act to ensure definitions easier to find. Some of the headings for defined terms have been made consistent to make those definitions easier to find.

The webinar, held on Wednesday, heard that Chapter 7 of the Corporations Act, which deals with financial services and markets, is bogged down with the extensive use of notional amendments, which create uncertainty and invisibility within the act because the provision may not be relied upon to reflect the actual law, presenting an incoherent legislative hierarchy.

In a webinar hosted by Wolters Kluwer, a panel of senior ALRC spokespeople explained that the final report, which includes 58 recommendations, follows an exhaustive investigative process over the past three years to understand a better way forward.

There will be a gradual restructuring of the provisions recommended, and 10-yearly reviews will follow to ensure that the reforms continue to meet the needs of the financial services system.

While technology will form one part of the solution, the ALRC has recommended tackling the overarching issues in the legislation and then supplementing the new legislation with technology to make it easier to access.

The biggest problem with the existing act is the sheer volume of notional amendments, ALRC’s senior legal officer Nicholas Simoes da Silva said.

“If there’s one thing you have to tackle it would be that there are more than 1200 distinct notional amendments changing the legal effect of the provisions in Chapter 7 or elsewhere within the Corporations Act without changing the text,” Simoes da Silva said.

“It’s almost nightmarish to look at the face of the Corporations Act and to not know whether it’s a legal effect as it says because there may be some notional amendment buried in a legislative instrument among the hundreds that omits a provision or adds in a new provision or offence.”