Companies Act 2006 – PART 37

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COMPANIES: SUPPLEMENTARY PROVISIONS

Sections 1134 and 1135: Company records

1454. These sections replace sections 722(1) and 723(1) and (2) of the 1985 Act and enable
a company to use electronic storage or paper for its records provided that there can be paper
printouts of electronic records. Section 1135(1) also enables the contents to be arranged as
the directors see fit provided that it is adequately recorded. Section 1138 (duty to take
precautions against falsification) also applies if the records are not kept in bound books.

Section 1136: Regulations about where certain company records to be kept available for
inspection

1455. This section is a new provision. It provides power for the Secretary of State to make
regulations to provide an alternative to the company’s registered office as the location for
inspection of specified records. The regulations are subject to negative resolution procedure.

Section 1137: Regulations about inspection of records and provision of copies

1456. This section replaces section 723A of the 1985 Act. It allows the Secretary of State to
make regulations about the inspection and provision of copies of company records.

Section 1138: Duty to take precautions against falsification

1457. This section replaces section 722(2) and (3) of the 1985 Act. It makes it an offence
not to take measures that protect records from falsification or help trace any falsification.
This provision applies to records that are not kept in bound books, whether or not they are
kept electronically, but does not apply either to companies’ copies of the directors’ service
contracts or to copies of any qualifying third party indemnity provisions benefiting a director.

Section 1139: Service of documents on company

1458. This section replaces section 725 of the 1985 Act. It ensures that there is a place at
which a document may be served on companies registered under the Act. It also applies to
overseas companies registered in accordance with regulations made under section 1046.
Subsection (4) enables court service on a company registered in Scotland or Northern Ireland
at the company’s principal place of business in England and Wales. (Since this is a provision
about court service, the rules on companies registered in England and Wales carrying on
business elsewhere in the UK will be found in the relevant legislation in those parts of the
UK.) Subsection (5) makes clear that this section is supplemented by the “company
communications provisions” referenced by section 1143.

Section 1140: Service of documents on directors, secretaries and others

1459. This section is a new provision. It ensures that the address on the public record for
any director or secretary is effective for the service of documents on that person. Subsection
(3) provides that the address is effective even if the document has no bearing on the person’s
responsibilities as director or secretary. This provision also applies to the address on the
public record of various other persons for whom the Act requires an address on the public
record. Subsection (7) similarly makes clear that this section is supplemented by the
“company communications provisions” referenced by section 1143.

Section 1141: Service addresses

1460. This section defines “service address” for the purposes of the Companies Acts as an
address at which documents may be effectively served and provides a power for regulations
to specify conditions with which a service address must comply.

Section 1142: Requirement to give service address

1461. This section is a new provision. It qualifies requirements elsewhere to give an “address”. Unless the requirement is for a particular kind of address (say, the usual residential
address), the section makes clear that a service address (as defined in the previous Section) is
what is required.

Section 1143: The company communications provisions

1462. Section 1143 introduces sections 1144 to 1148 and Schedules 4 and 5. These make
new provision for communications with or from companies, typically with their members but
also with debenture-holders and others.

1463. The Companies Act 1985 (Electronic Communications) Order 2000 facilitated the use
of electronic and website communications in certain contexts, but there has been uncertainty
as to whether other provisions under the 1985 Act for information to be communicated ‘in
writing’ required the use of paper or could be satisfied by electronic communications. The
Act makes new general provision about communications, including electronic and website
communications for the Companies Acts as a whole.

1464. The general principle behind the company communications provisions is that
companies should be able to use hard copy or electronic communications in all cases.
However, these provisions are subject to anything in or under any other enactment, and, as
regards communications between companies and Companies House, they are also subject to
the provisions of Part 35 of the Act.

Section 1144: Sending or supplying documents or information

1465. This section introduces two Schedules, which apply irrespective of the company’s
articles:

• Schedule 4 deals with documents and information sent or supplied to a company;

• Schedule 5 deals with communications by a company and between companies

1466. Sections 1146 (requirement of authentication), 1148 (interpretation of company
communications provisions) and 1168 (hard copy and electronic form and related
expressions) contain provisions necessary for the interpretation of Schedules 4 and 5.

Schedule 4: Documents and information sent or supplied to a company

1467. This Schedule brings together the rules on communications to a company. In some
cases a company will have other companies as members, debenture holders etc, and
paragraph 1(2) of the Schedule makes clear that communications by such members etc is
governed by Schedule 5.

1468. Part 2 of the Schedule sets out the position for communications sent or supplied in
hard copy form. These are very similar to the present position. Part 3 sets out rules for
communications in electronic form. Part 4 is a more general provision and means that unless
the Companies Acts specify a means of communication, for example under section 291(3)(a)
(circulation of written resolutions proposed by directors), then a communication to the
company can be sent or supplied in any way agreed by the company.

Schedule 5: Communications by a company

1469. This Schedule sets out provisions on how companies are to communicate with their
members, debenture holders etc. These rules are subject to, for example, additional rules
which the FSA may require of companies traded on a regulated market.

1470. Part 2 of the Schedule sets out standard rules for communications in hard copy.
Paragraph 4 lists the addresses to which the company may send or supply documents or
information. Where the company has no address for the intended recipient, the company may
use the recipient’s last known address. By virtue of section 310(4), this provision does not
prevent a company making provision in its articles not to send notice of a general meeting to
members for whom the company no longer has a valid address. Section 423(2) makes similar
provision for the annual report and accounts.

1471. Part 3 of the Schedule relates to communications by e-mail or other electronic
methods. Paragraph 6 allows a company to send a document or information in electronic
form to a person who has agreed (either generally for all communications or specifically for a
particular document or piece of information) and where such person has not revoked that
agreement.

1472. Part 4 deals with publication of documents or information on a website. Paragraph 10
allows a company to pass a members’ resolution or make provision in its articles about
website communication. If it has done so, members (or their nominees) are taken to have
agreed to receiving information from the company via a website if they have also been asked
individually for their acceptance and have either agreed or not responded within 28 days of
the company’s request. Where a member has not agreed to communications in this way, the
company may not ask the member again within a period of twelve months. In addition,
section 1145 (right to hard copy version) gives a member the right to request a hard copy of
the communication. Paragraph 11 and section 1145 make equivalent provision for debenture
holders. Paragraph 13 requires companies to notify intended recipients each time material is
published on a website. Paragraph 15 enables the company and a member to agree
alternative methods of communication, for example other than website communication where
a company has defaulted to website communications.

Section 1145: Right to hard copy version

1473. This section provides individual members or debenture holders the right to require
information to be sent in paper copy form. A company is required to send a paper copy of the
document or information within 21 days of receiving a member’s request at no charge to the
member. Subsections (4) and (5) impose a penalty on every officer in default if the company
fails to comply.

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