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The Companies (Northern Ireland) Order 1986

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CHAPTER IN.I.COMPANY FORMATION

Memorandum of associationN.I.

Mode of forming incorporated companyN.I.

12.  (1)  Any two or more persons associated for a lawful purpose may, by subscribing their names to a memorandum of association and otherwise complying with the requirements of this Order in respect of registration, form an incorporated company, with or without limited liability.

(2) A company so formed may be either—

(a)a company having the liability of its members limited by the memorandum to the amount, if any, unpaid on the shares respectively held by them ( “a company limited by shares”);

(b)a company having the liability of its members limited by the memorandum to such amount as the members may respectively thereby undertake to contribute to the assets of the company in the event of its being wound up ( “a company limited by guarantee”); or

(c)a company not having any limit on the liability of its members ( “an unlimited company”).

(3) A “public company” is a company limited by shares or limited by guarantee and having a share capital, being a company—

(a)the memorandum of which states that it is to be a public company, and

(b)in relation to which the provisions of this Order or the former Companies Acts as to the registration or re-registration of a company as a public company have been complied with on or after 1st July 1983;

and a “private company” is a company that is not a public company.

[F1(3A)  Notwithstanding paragraph (1), one person may, for a lawful purpose, by subscribing his name to a memorandum of association and otherwise complying with the requirements of this Order in respect of registration, form an incorporated company being a private company limited by shares or by guarantee.]

(4) With effect from 1st July 1983, a company cannot be formed as, or become, a company limited by guarantee with a share capital.

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F1SR 1992/405

Requirements with respect to memorandumN.I.

13.  (1)  The memorandum of every company must state—

(a)the name of the company;

(b)that the registered office of the company is to be situated in Northern Ireland;

(c)the objects of the company.

(2) The memorandum of a company limited by shares or by guarantee must also state that the liability of its members is limited.

(3) The memorandum of a company limited by guarantee must also state that each member undertakes to contribute to the assets of the company in the event of its being wound up while he is a member, or within one year after he ceases to be a member, for payment of the debts and liabilities of the company contracted before he ceases to be a member, and of the costs, charges and expenses of winding up, and for adjustment of the rights of the contributories among themselves, such amount as may be required, not exceeding a specified amount.

(4) In the case of a company having a share capital—

(a)the memorandum must also (unless the company is an unlimited company) state the amount of the share capital with which the company proposes to be registered and the division of the share capital into shares of a fixed amount;

(b)no subscriber of the memorandum may take less than one share; and

(c)there must be shown in the memorandum against the name of each subscriber the number of shares he takes.

(5) [F2Subject to paragraph (5A), the memorandum] must be signed by each subscriber in the presence of at least one witness, who must attest the signature.

[F2(5A) Where the memorandum is delivered to the registrar otherwise than in legible form and is authenticated by each subscriber in such manner as is directed by the registrar, the requirements in paragraph (5) for signature in the presence of at least one witness and for attestation of the signature do not apply.]

(6) A company may not alter the conditions contained in its memorandum except in the cases, in the mode and to the extent, for which express provision is made by this Order.

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F2SR 2003/3

Forms of memorandumN.I.

14.  Subject to the provisions of Articles 12 and 13, the form of the memorandum of association of—

(a)a public company, being a company limited by shares,

(b)a public company, being a company limited by guarantee and having a share capital,

(c)a private company limited by shares,

(d)a private company limited by guarantee and not having a share capital,

(e)a private company limited by guarantee and having a share capital, and

(f)an unlimited company having a share capital,

shall be as prescribed respectively for such companies by regulations, made by the Department, or as near to that form as circumstances admit.

[F3Statement of company's objects: general commercial companyN.I.

14A.  Where the company's memorandum states that the object of the company is to carry on business as a general commercial company—

(a)the object of the company is to carry on any trade or business whatsoever, and

(b)the company has power to do all such things as are incidental or conducive to the carrying on of any trade or business by it.]

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[F4Resolution to alter objectsN.I.

15.  (1)  A company may by special resolution alter its memorandum with respect to the statement of the company's objects.

(2) If an application is made under Article 16, an alteration does not have effect except in so far as it is confirmed by the court.]

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Procedure for objecting to alterationN.I.

16.  (1)  Where a company's memorandum has been altered by special resolution under Article 15, application may be made to the court for the alteration to be cancelled.

(2) Such an application may be made—

(a)by the holders of not less in the aggregate than 15 per cent. in nominal value of the company's issued share capital or any class of it or, if the company is not limited by shares, not less than 15 per cent. of the company's members; or

(b)by the holders of not less than 15 per cent. of the company's debentures entitling the holders to object to an alteration of its objects;

but an application shall not be made by any person who has consented to or voted in favour of the alteration.

(3) The application must be made within 21 days after the date on which the resolution altering the company's objects was passed, and may be made on behalf of the persons entitled to make the application by such one or more of their number as they may appoint in writing for the purpose.

(4) The court may on such an application make an order confirming the alteration either wholly or in part and on such terms and conditions as it thinks fit, and may—

(a)if it thinks fit, adjourn the proceedings in order that an arrangement may be made to its satisfaction for the purchase of the interests of dissentient members, and

(b)give such directions and make such orders as it thinks expedient for facilitating or carrying into effect any such arrangement.

(5) The court's order may (if the court thinks fit) provide for the purchase by the company of the shares of any members of the company, and for the reduction accordingly of its capital, and may make such alterations in the company's memorandum and articles as may be required in consequence of that provision.

(6) If the court's order requires the company not to make any, or any specified, alteration in its memorandum or articles, the company does not then have power without the leave of the court to make any such alteration in breach of that requirement.

(7) An alteration in the memorandum or articles of a company made by virtue of an order under this Article, other than one made by resolution of the company, is of the same effect as if duly made by resolution; and this Order applies accordingly to the memorandum or articles as so altered.

[F5(7A) For the purposes of paragraph (2)(a), any of the company's issued share capital held as treasury shares must be disregarded.]

(8) The debentures entitling the holders to object to an alteration of a company's objects are any debentures secured by a floating charge which were issued or first issued before 1st April 1961 or form part of the same series as any debentures so issued; and a special resolution altering a company's objects requires the same notice to the holders of any such debentures as to members of the company.

In the absence of provisions regulating the giving of notice to any such debenture holders, the provisions of the company's articles regulating the giving of notice to members apply.

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F5SR 2004/275

Provisions supplementing Articles 15 and 16N.I.

17.  (1)  Where a company passes a resolution altering its objects, then—

(a)if with respect to the resolution no application is made under Article 16, the company shall within 15 days from the end of the period for making such an application deliver to the registrar a printed copy of its memorandum as altered; and

(b)if such an application is made, the company shall—

(i)forthwith give notice (in the prescribed form) of that fact to the registrar, and

(ii)within 15 days from the date of any order cancelling or confirming the alteration, deliver to the registrar an office copy of the order and, in the case of an order confirming the alteration, a printed copy of the memorandum as altered.

(2) The court may by order at any time extend the time for the delivery of documents to the registrar under paragraph (1)(b) for such period as the court may think proper.

(3) If a company makes default in giving notice or delivering any document to the registrar as required by paragraph (1), the company and every officer of it who is in default is liable to a fine and, for continued contravention, to a daily default fine.

(4) The validity of an alteration of a company's memorandum with respect to the objects of the company shall not be questioned on the ground that it was not authorised by Article 15, except in proceedings taken for the purpose (whether under Article 16 or otherwise) before the expiration of 21 days after the date of the resolution in that behalf.

(5) Where such proceedings are taken otherwise than under Article 16, paragraphs (1) to (3) apply in relation to the proceedings as if they had been taken under that Article and as if an order declaring the alteration invalid were an order cancelling it, and as if an order dismissing the proceedings were an order confirming the alteration.

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Modifications etc. (not altering text)

Articles of associationN.I.

Regulation of companies by articles of associationN.I.

18.  (1)  There may in the case of a company limited by shares, and there shall in the case of a company limited by guarantee or unlimited, be registered with the memorandum articles of association signed by the subscribers to the memorandum and making regulations for the company.

(2) In the case of an unlimited company having a share capital, its articles must state the amount of share capital with which the company proposes to be registered.

(3) Articles of association must—

(a)be printed,

(b)be divided into paragraphs numbered consecutively, and

(c)[F6subject to paragraph (4),] be signed by each subscriber of the memorandum in the presence of at least one witness who must attest the signature.

[F6(4) Where the articles are delivered to the registrar otherwise than in legible form and are authenticated by each subscriber to the memorandum in such manner as is directed by the registrar, the requirements in paragraph (3)(c) for signature in the presence of at least one witness and for attestation of the signature do not apply.]

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F6SR 2003/3

Tables A, C, D and EN.I.

19.  (1)  Table A is as prescribed by regulations made by the Department; and a company may for its articles adopt the whole or any part of that Table.

(2) In the case of a company limited by shares, if articles are not registered or, if articles are registered, in so far as they do not exclude or modify Table A, that Table (so far as applicable, and as in force at the date of the company's registration) constitutes the company's articles in the same manner and to the same extent as if articles in the form of that Table had been duly registered.

(3) If in consequence of regulations under this Article Table A is altered, the alteration does not affect a company registered before the alteration takes effect, or revoke as respects that company any portion of the Table.

(4) The form of the articles of association of—

(a)a company limited by guarantee and not having a share capital,

(b)a company limited by guarantee and having a share capital, and

(c)an unlimited company having a share capital,

shall be respectively in accordance with Table C, D or E prescribed by regulations made by the Department or as near to that form as circumstances admit.

Prospective

{prosp. insertion of art. 19A by 1990 NI10} N.I.
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F7Art. 19A inserted (prosp.) by 1990 NI 10

Alteration of articles by special resolutionN.I.

20.  (1)  Subject to the provisions of this Order and to the conditions contained in its memorandum, a company may by special resolution alter its articles.

(2) Alterations so made in the articles are (subject to this Order) as valid as if originally contained in them and are subject in like manner to alteration by special resolution.

Registration and its consequencesN.I.

Documents to be sent to registrarN.I.

21.  (1)  A company's memorandum and articles (if any) shall be delivered to the registrar.

(2) With the memorandum there shall be delivered a statement in the prescribed form containing the names and requisite particulars of—

(a)the person who is, or the persons who are, to be the first director or directors of the company; and

[F8(ba)in the case of a company that is to be a private company, any person who is (or any persons who are) to be the first secretary (or joint secretaries) of the company;

(bb)in the case of a company that is to be a public company, the person who is (or the persons who are) to be the first secretary (or joint secretaries) of the company.]

and the requisite particulars in each case are those set out in Schedule 1.

(3) The statement shall be signed by or on behalf of the subscribers of the memorandum and shall contain a consent signed by each of the persons named in it as a director, as secretary or as one of joint secretaries, to act in the relevant capacity.

(4) Where a memorandum is delivered by a person as agent for the subscribers, the statement shall specify that fact and the person's name and address.

(5) An appointment by a company's articles delivered with the memorandum of a person as director or secretary of the company is void unless he is named as a director or secretary in the statement.

(6) There shall in the statement be specified the intended situation of the company's registered office on incorporation.

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Minimum authorised capital (public companies)N.I.

22.  When a memorandum delivered to the registrar under Article 21 states that the association to be registered is to be a public company,[F9 the share capital stated in the memorandum to be that with which the company proposes to be registered—

(a)must have a nominal value of not less than the authorised minimum (as defined in section 763 of the Companies Act 2006); and

(b)to the extent necessary to comply with that requirement, must be denominated in accordance with section 765 of that Act (allotted share capital of public company to be denominated either in sterling or in euros but not partly in one and partly in the other).]

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Duty of registrarN.I.

23.  (1)  The registrar shall not register a company's memorandum delivered under Article 21 unless he is satisfied that all the requirements of this Order in respect of registration and of matters precedent and incidental to it have been complied with.

(2) Subject to this, the registrar shall retain and register the memorandum and articles (if any) delivered to him under that Article.

(3) [F10Subject to paragraph (4), a statutory declaration] in the prescribed form by—

(a)a solicitor engaged in the formation of a company, or

(b)a person named as a director or secretary of the company in the statement delivered under Article 21(2),

that those requirements have been complied with shall be delivered to the registrar and the registrar may accept such a declaration as sufficient evidence of compliance.

[F10(4) In place of the statutory declaration referred to in paragraph (3), there may be delivered to the registrar using electronic communications a statement made by a person mentioned in sub-paragraph (a) or (b) of paragraph (3) that the requirements mentioned in paragraph (1) have been complied with; and the registrar may accept such a statement as sufficient evidence of compliance.

(5) Any person who makes a false statement under paragraph (4) which he knows to be false or does not believe to be true is liable to imprisonment or a fine, or both.]

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F10SR 2003/3

Effect of registrationN.I.

24.  (1)  On the registration of a company's memorandum, the registrar shall give a certificate that the company is incorporated and, in the case of a limited company, that it is limited.

(2) The certificate shall be given under the registrar's hand.

(3) From the date of incorporation mentioned in the certificate, the subscribers of the memorandum, together with such other persons as may from time to time become members of the company, shall be a body corporate by the name contained in the memorandum.

(4) That body corporate is then capable forthwith of exercising all the functions of an incorporated company, but with such liability on the part of its members to contribute to its assets in the event of its being wound up as is provided by this Order[F11 and the Insolvency Order].

This is subject, in the case of a public company, to [F12section 761 of the Companies Act 2006 (public company not to do business without trading certificate)].

(5) The persons named in the statement under Article 21 as directors, secretary or joint secretaries are, on the company's incorporation, deemed to have been respectively appointed as its first directors, secretary or joint secretaries.

(6) Where the registrar registers an association's memorandum which states that the association is to be a public company, the certificate of incorporation shall contain a statement that the company is a public company.

(7) A certificate of incorporation given in respect of an association is conclusive evidence—

(a)that the requirements of this Order in respect of registration and of matters precedent and incidental to it have been complied with, and that the association is a company authorised to be registered, and is duly registered, under this Order; and

(b)if the certificate contains a statement that the company is a public company, that the company is such a company.

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Effect of memorandum and articlesN.I.

25.  (1)  Subject to the provisions of this Order, the memorandum and articles, when registered, bind the company and its members to the same extent as if they respectively had been signed and sealed by each member, and contained covenants on the part of each member to observe all the provisions of the memorandum and of the articles.

(2) Money payable by a member to the company under the memorandum or articles is a debt due from him to the company.

Memorandum and articles of company limited by guaranteeN.I.

26.  (1)  In the case of a company limited by guarantee and not having a share capital, every provision in the memorandum or articles, or in any resolution of the company purporting to give any person a right to participate in the divisible profits of the company otherwise than as a member, is void.

(2) For the purposes of provisions of this Order relating to the memorandum of a company limited by guarantee, and for those of Article 12(4) and this Article, every provision in the memorandum or articles, or in any resolution, of a company so limited purporting to divide the company's undertaking into shares or interests is to be treated as a provision for a share capital, notwithstanding that the nominal amount or number of the shares or interests is not specified by the provision.

Effect of alteration on company's membersN.I.

27.  (1)  A member of a company is not bound by an alteration made in its memorandum or articles after the date on which he became a member, if and so far as the alteration—

(a)requires him to take or subscribe for more shares than the number held by him at the date on which the alteration is made; or

(b)in any way increases his liability as at that date to contribute to the company's share capital or otherwise to pay money to the company.

(2) Paragraph (1) operates notwithstanding anything in the memorandum or articles; but it does not apply in a case where the member agrees in writing, either before or after the alteration is made, to be bound by the alteration.

Conditions in memorandum which could have been in articlesN.I.

28.  (1)  A condition contained in a company's memorandum which could lawfully have been contained in articles of association instead of in the memorandum may be altered by the company by special resolution; but if an application is made to the court for the alteration to be cancelled, the alteration does not have effect except in so far as it is confirmed by the court.

(2) This Article—

(a)is subject to Article 27, and also to [F13section 996 of the Companies Act 2006] (court order protecting minority), and

(b)does not apply where the memorandum itself provides for or prohibits the alteration of all or any of the conditions referred to in paragraph (1), and does not authorise any variation or abrogation of the special rights of any class of members.

(3) Article 16 (except paragraphs (2)(b) and (8)) and Article 17(1) to (3) apply in relation to any alteration and to any application made under this Article as they apply in relation to alterations and applications under Articles 15 to 17.

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Amendments of memorandum or articles to be recordedN.I.

29.  F14(1)  Where an alteration is made in a company's memorandum or articles by any statutory provision, a printed copy of the statutory provision shall, not later than 15 days after that provision comes into operation, be forwarded to the registrar and recorded by him.

(2) Where a company is required (by this Article or otherwise) to send to the registrar any document making or evidencing an alteration in the company's memorandum or articles (other than a special resolution under Article 15) the company shall send with it a printed copy of the memorandum or articles as altered.

(3) If a company fails to comply with this Article, the company and any officer of it who is in default is liable to a fine and, for continued contravention, to a daily default fine.

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F14mod. by SR 1986/305

Copies of memorandum and articles to be given to membersN.I.

30.  (1)  A company shall, on being so required by any member, send to him a copy of its memorandum and of its articles (if any), and a copy of any statutory provision which alters the memorandum, subject to payment—

(a)in the case of a copy of the memorandum and of the articles, of 5 pence or such less sum as the company may determine, and

(b)in the case of a copy of a statutory provision, of such sum not exceeding its published price as the company may require.

(2) If a company makes default in complying with this Article, the company and every officer of it who is in default is liable for each offence to a fine.

Issued copy of memorandum to embody alterationsN.I.

31.  (1)  Where an alteration is made in a company's memorandum, every copy of the memorandum issued after the date of the alteration shall be in accordance with the alteration.

(2) If, where any such alteration has been made, the company at any time after the date of the alteration issues any copies of the memorandum which are not in accordance with the alteration, it is liable to a fine, and so too is every officer of the company who is in default.

A company's membershipN.I.

Definition of “member”N.I.

32.  (1)  The subscribers of a company's memorandum are deemed to have agreed to become members of the company, and on its registration shall be entered as such in its register of members.

(2) Every other person who agrees to become a member of a company, and whose name is entered in its register of members, is a member of the company.

[F15Membership of holding companyN.I.

33.  (1)  Except as mentioned in this Article, a body corporate cannot be a member of a company which is its holding company and any allotment or transfer of shares in a company to its subsidiary is void.

(2) The prohibition does not apply where the subsidiary is concerned only as personal representative or trustee unless, in the latter case, the holding company or a subsidiary of it is beneficially interested under the trust.

For the purpose of ascertaining whether the holding company or a subsidiary is so interested, there shall be disregarded—

(a)any interest held only by way of security for the purposes of a transaction entered into by the holding company or subsidiary in the ordinary course of a business which includes the lending of money;

(b)any such interest as is mentioned in Part I of Schedule 2.

[F16(3) The prohibition does not apply where shares in the holding company are held by the subsidiary in the ordinary course of its business as an intermediary.

For this purpose a person is an intermediary if that person—

(a)carries on a bona fide business of dealing in securities;

(b)is a member of an EEA exchange (and satisfies any requirements for recognition as a dealer in securities laid down by that exchange) or is otherwise approved or supervised as a dealer in securities under the laws of an EEA State; and

(c)does not carry on an excluded business.

(3A) The excluded businesses are the following—

(a)any business which consists wholly or mainly in the making or managing of investments;

(b)any business which consists wholly or mainly in, or is carried on wholly or mainly for the purpose of, providing services to persons who are connected with the person carrying on the business;

(c)any business which consists in insurance business;

(d)any business which consists in managing or acting as trustee in relation to a pension scheme or which is carried on by the manager or trustee of such a scheme in connection with or for the purposes of the scheme;

(e)any business which consists in operating or acting as trustee in relation to a collective investment scheme or is carried on by the operator or trustee of such a scheme in connection with or for the purposes of the scheme.

(3B) For the purposes of paragraphs (3) and (3A)—

(a)the question whether a person is connected with another shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of section 839 of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988;

(b)“collective investment scheme” has the meaning given in section 235 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000;

(c)“EEA exchange” means a market which appears on the list drawn up by an EEA State pursuant to Article 16 of Council Directive 93/22/EEC on investment services in the securities field;

(d)“insurance business” means business which consists of the effecting or carrying out of contracts of insurance;

(e)“securities” includes—

(i)options,

(ii)futures, and

(iii)contracts for differences,

and rights or interests in those investments;

(f)“trustee” and “the operator” shall, in relation to a collective investment scheme, be construed in accordance with section 237(2) of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

(3C) Paragraph (3B) must be read with—

(a)section 22 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000;

(b)any relevant order under that section; and

(c)Schedule 2 to that Act.

(3D) Where—

(a)a subsidiary which is a dealer in securities has purportedly acquired shares in its holding company in contravention of the prohibition in paragraph (1); and

(b)a person acting in good faith has agreed, for value and without notice of that contravention, to acquire shares in the holding company from the subsidiary or from someone who has purportedly acquired the shares after their disposal by the subsidiary,

any transfer to that person of the shares mentioned in sub-paragraph (a) shall have the same effect as it would have had if their original acquisition by the subsidiary had not been in contravention of the prohibition.]

(4) Where a body corporate became a holder of shares in a company—

(a)before 1st April 1961, or

(b)on or after that date and before[F16 2nd August 2004], in circumstances in which this Article as it then had effect did not apply,

but at any time[F16 on or after 2nd August 2004] falls within the prohibition in paragraph (1) in respect of those shares, it may continue to be a member of that company; but for so long as that prohibition would apply, apart from this paragraph, it has no right to vote in respect of those shares at meetings of the company or of any class of its members.

(5) Where a body corporate becomes a holder of shares in a company[F16 on or after 2nd August 2004.] in circumstances in which the prohibition in paragraph (1) does not apply, but subsequently falls within that prohibition in respect of those shares, it may continue to be a member of that company; but for so long as that prohibition would apply, apart from this paragraph, it has no right to vote in respect of those shares at meetings of the company or of any class of its members.

(6) Where a body corporate is permitted to continue as a member of a company by virtue of paragraph (4) or (5), an allotment to it of fully paid shares in the company may be validly made by way of capitalisation of reserves of the company; but for so long as the prohibition in paragraph (1) would apply, apart from paragraph (4) or (5), it has no right to vote in respect of those shares at meetings of the company or of any class of its members.

(7) The provisions of this Article apply to a nominee acting on behalf of a subsidiary as to the subsidiary itself.

(8) In relation to a company other than a company limited by shares, the references in this Article to shares shall be construed as references to the interest of its members as such, whatever the form of that interest.

Annotations: Help about Annotation
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F16SR 2004/263

Minimum membership for carrying on businessN.I.

34 .F17  [F18(1)]  If a company[F19, other than a private company limited by shares or by guarantee,] carries on business without having at least two members and does so for more than 6 months, a person who, for the whole or any part of the period that it so carries on business after those 6 months—

(a)is a member of the company, and

(b)knows that it is carrying on business with only one member,

is liable (jointly and severally with the company) for the payment of the company's debts contracted during the period or, as the case may be, that part of it.

[F18(2) For the purposes of this Article references to a member of a company do not include the company itself where it is such a member only by virtue of its holding shares as treasury shares.]]

Annotations: Help about Annotation
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Annotations are used to give authority for changes and other effects on the legislation you are viewing and to convey editorial information. They appear at the foot of the relevant provision or under the associated heading. Annotations are categorised by annotation type, such as F-notes for textual amendments and I-notes for commencement information (a full list can be found in the Editorial Practice Guide). Each annotation is identified by a sequential reference number. For F-notes, M-notes and X-notes, the number also appears in bold superscript at the relevant location in the text. All annotations contain links to the affecting legislation.

F17mod. by SR 2004/307

F18SR 2004/275

F19SR 1992/405

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