“The devil’s in the detail” (wise old idiom)
The “new” Companies Act (the Act) has some requirements which can easily be overlooked. They may seem to be minor and technical, but not complying with them could expose you to major risks. In our increasingly litigious society, it is important to be thorough.
For example – resolutions must be sequentially numbered
In addition to being dated, resolutions are required to be sequentially numbered. Remember the law now (subject to the Memorandum of Incorporation) allows resolutions to be passed by electronic media which can make it more difficult to keep track of resolutions.
Ensure that your company has put in place such a numbering system. If you outsource your company secretarial function, check that your outsource partner has implemented this requirement.
The danger for directors
The Companies Act includes a general provision that: “Any person who contravenes any provision of this Act is liable to any other person for any loss or damage suffered by that person as a result of that contravention”. You are accordingly exposed to substantial liability and should take cognisance of these and similar provisions, no matter how technical they may seem.
Record how directors vote at meetings or when passing resolutions
Another ancillary point is that it makes sense to record how each director voted on any matter, since directors risk liability for losses to the company arising from any breach of their fiduciary duties or required standards of conduct.
One of the defences available to directors when certain unlawful decisions are taken by the board of directors is to be able to show you voted against the matter. Thus, tabulating how each director voted can quickly establish who was against the decision made. Also remember, some years can pass before directors are sued.
Directors are tasked with overseeing and controlling of companies, so don’t overlook what seem to be small matters – they can come back to haunt you.