Lord Nolan is to head an inquiry into the personal liabilities of board members, trustees and directors, including governors of further education colleges.
The absence of clear legislation to cover college governors was key to an earlier call by Lord Nolan, chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, for a government inquiry and action to sort out the law.
The committee is charged with commissioning the study to establish what personal liability falls to board members, trustees and directors of public bodies with different kinds of status.
John Hall, head of education law at Eversheds, chief advisers to the sector, said: "This is excellent news and a feather in the cap of further education. "
Mr Hall was a prominent critic of ministers for failing in the 1992 Further and Higher Education Act to protect college governors against prosecution against actions "taken in good faith".
College governors lost virtually all the protection they had when under local education authority control.