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Companies Act 2006


Chapter 1: General Provisions about Resolutions
Section 281: Resolutions

523.This section provides that members’ resolutions can only be passed in accordance with the provisions of this Part. There is no equivalent in the current legislation. Subsection (1) allows a private company to pass a resolution either as a written resolution or at a meeting of the members. Subsection (2) allows a public company to pass a resolution only at a meeting of the members. Subsection (3) ensures that where a resolution is required but the type of resolution is not specified, the default will be an ordinary resolution unless the articles require a higher majority. When a provision specifies that an ordinary resolution is required, the articles will not be able to specify a higher majority. Subsection (4) preserves the common law unanimous consent rule.

Section 282: Ordinary resolutions

524.This section provides a definition of an ordinary resolution, whether of the members generally or of a class of the members and whether as a written resolution or as a resolution passed at a meeting. A simple majority – that is, over 50% – is required.

Section 283: Special resolutions

525.This section provides a definition of a special resolution, whether of the members generally or of a class of the members and whether as a written resolution or as a resolution passed at a meeting. A 75% majority is required. If a resolution is proposed as a special resolution, there is a requirement to say so, either in the written resolution text or in the meeting notice. Where a resolution is proposed as a special resolution, it can only be passed as such. The main difference from the existing definition in section 378(2) of the 1985 Act is that there is no longer a requirement for 21 days’ notice where a special resolution is to be passed at a meeting. The subject matter of section 378(3) of the 1985 Act is now dealt with in section 307(4) to (6) (notice required of general meeting), while the subject matter of section 378(4) and (6) is dealt with in sections 320 and 301 respectively.

Section 284: Votes: general rules

526.This section sets out the general rules on votes of members taken by written resolution, on a show of hands at a meeting or on a poll taken at a meeting. These are adapted from section 370 of the 1985 Act and the default regulations in Table A. Subsection (4) allows these general rules to be varied by the company’s articles.

Section 285: Votes: specific requirements

527.This section sets out specific requirements on votes of members, which the company’s articles may not override.Subsections (1) and (2) provide for entitlement to vote where proxies have been appointed and ensure that the articles do not disadvantage a member voting by proxy or proxies. Subsection (3) makes new provision for voting rights on written resolutions, reflecting the fact that they will no longer need to be passed unanimously. A member will have the same number of votes whether passing a resolution on a poll in general meeting or on a written resolution.

Section 286: Votes of joint holders of shares

528.This section puts on a statutory footing what was a default regulation under article 55 of Table A on votes of joint holders of shares. The person whose vote counts is the “senior” holder, the joint holder whose name appears first in the register of members

Section 287: Saving for provisions of articles as to determination of entitlement to vote

529.This section makes new provision to preserve the right for a company to require objections to votes to be made in accordance with procedures in their articles. If an objection is overruled, the decision will be final except in cases of fraud and certain other kinds of misconduct detailed in case law where a court may intervene. This provision preserves the current law. The provision ensures, on the one hand, certainty for company by enabling the chairman to settle matters relating to the admissibility of votes in accordance with the articles and, on the other hand, sufficient remedies for members to challenge a decision if they have suffered unfair prejudice.

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