Companies House: directors have new duties

Companies that fail to disclose their place of registration, registered number and registered office address on their website(s) and all their e-mails/business letters face fines of £1000.

Speaking yesterday, Companies House confirmed that The Companies Act 2006 gained Royal Assent on 8th November 2006.

A commencement order has been made which has brought in a range of Provisions from January 1, and another is in the process of being made for further provisions to be brought in shortly.

The majority of the Act is due for implementation in October 2008. Further information on implementation will be available on the DTI web site as soon as it becomes available.

CUK: How are the new regulations being enforced?

COMPANIES HOUSE: Currently very few parts of the Act are in force. Further details on sections implemented can be found on the above web site.

The Companies (Registrar, Languages and Trading Disclosures)

Regulations 2006 make changes to the Companies Act 1985 in relation to business stationery requirements.

Companies House deals with complaints about breaches of the stationery rules and will continue to do so under these Regulations.

CUK: Why have the regulations been updated?

COMPANIES HOUSE: Following the Company Law Review and subsequent White Papers in 2002 and 2005 the Company Law Reform Bill was published on 3rd November 2005.

The Bill represented a major overhaul of company law including a wide range of measures, developed in consultation with stakeholders, designed to modernise and simplify company law. This Bill became the Companies Act 2006 during its passage through Parliament last year.

The Regulations extend the requirements for paper business stationery to electronic media and company websites.

CUK: If a company fails to disclose its place of registration, registered

Number and its registered office address on e-mail/business letter what penalty could the company potentially incur?

COMPANIES HOUSE: There is a fine of £1000 for failing to comply with the new rules. This however is not automatic, if a complaint was received by Companies House about a breach of the rules by a particular company time would be given for the company to comply with the rules before consideration is given to taking the matter further and the possibility of the ultimate sanction of imposing a fine.

CUK: How did the DTI publicise these new changes, and is Companies House satisfied enough was done to alert the business community?

COMPANIES HOUSE: Draft regulations were available on the DTI website from early December 2006, but the Regulations were not actually laid in Parliament until late December.

The Companies House website had information on how to comply

With the new rules from 2nd January 2007, our guidance has been updated and information on the changes will be included in the next edition of "The Register" the Companies House customer magazine.

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