Associate Professor David Brown, Co-Director of ROCIT, last month assisted the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA), which administers the Personal Property Securities Register, in knowledge-sharing about Australia’s experience of introducing a new system of secured transactions law with a senior delegation from the Kenyan government. Kenya, like many jurisdictions around the world, is considering reform along the lines of our Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (PPSA) which was introduced in Australia in 2012, the main plank of which is an online national register of security interests in personal property. Associate Professor Brown is a leading specialist in this field, and last year participated in a similar presentation with AFSA to a delegation from Kyrgyzstan/the World Bank.
Associate Professor Brown says, “ Kenya comes from a similar common law base in this field of law and like Australia five years ago, there is was a multitude of applicable statutes with some paper-based registers, mixed with other common law and equitable rules for some types of property, all of which meant complexity, uncertainty and cost in terms of discovering what security interests exist over goods and other personal property, and what rules of priority and outcomes apply. Unlike Australia, Kenya does not have the same Federal and constitutional issues to overcome in this area of law reform, and has relative technological advantages, as can be seen from its leading world position in use of mobile payments and banking. It is a privilege to have this opportunity to share our knowledge and experience, and fascinating to see how jurisdictions as legally diverse as Kyrgyzstan and Kenya, have had to overcome similar preconceptions and challenges as occurred in Australia’s path to reforming this area of law. Ultimately the goal is a simpler, uniform and thus cheaper system which will enable and extend access to cheaper credit, and for that reason provides local and international confidence in our credit and finance system, and that was a key driver in Australia as it is worldwide; this is very much in the sights of international bodies and regional bodies such as the World Bank and Asian Development bank when they encourage emerging economies to consider commercial law and financial reforms. It’s salutary to observe that the World Bank’s ultimate goals, to which even something as technical as secured transactions law are linked, include poverty elimination.”
Closer to home, Associate Professor Brown has been assisting AFSA with raising awareness and understanding of this important new area of Australian law here, particularly among the SME sector.