Law firm Barlow Lyde & Gilbert has slammed amendments to the combined code as set out in the Higgs report.

Barlows has warned that the new combined code could expand the potential liability of non-executive directors, rather than reduce them as Higgs intended.

The amendments, which offer guidance on the liability of non-executive directors, have been dismissed by Barlows partner Francis Kean as not "fully thought out" and "unsatisfactory".

Kean said the new combined code was irrelevant when assessing the extent of non-executive directors' duties to third parties.

"As a matter of general principle, it seems unsatisfactory to leave what are matters of substantive law to the interpretation of the meaning and effect of the combined code.

"It seems that there is an appreciable risk that, contrary to the result that Higgs appears to seek, the potential liability of non-executive directors might, in fact, be expanded as a result of his recommendations, rather than reduced."