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Companies Act 1948

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43Civil liability for mis-statements in prospectus

(1)Subject to the provisions of this section, where a prospectus invites persons to subscribe for shares in or debentures of a company, the following persons shall be liable to pay compensation to all persons who subscribe for any shares or debentures on the faith of the prospectus for the loss or damage they may have sustained by reason of any untrue statement included therein, that is to say:—

(a)every person who is a director of the company at the time of the issue of the prospectus;

(b)every person who has authorised himself to be named and is named on the prospectus as a director or as having agreed to become a director either immediately or after an interval of time;

(c)every person being a promoter of the company; and

(d)every person who has authorised the issue of the prospectus:

Provided that where, under section forty of this Act, the consent of a person is required to the issue of a prospectus and he has given that consent, he shall not by reason of his having given it be liable under this subsection as a person who has authorised the issue of the prospectus except in respect of an untrue statement purporting to be made by him as an expert.

(2)No person shall be liable under subsection (1) of this section if he proves—

(a)that, having consented to become a director of the company, he withdrew his consent before the issue of the prospectus, and that it was issued without his authority or consent; or

(b)that the prospectus was issued without his knowledge or consent, and that on becoming aware of its issue he forthwith gave reasonable public notice that it was issued without his knowledge or consent; or

(c)that, after -the issue of the prospectus and before allotment thereunder, he, on becoming aware of any untrue statement therein, withdrew his consent thereto and gave reasonable public notice of the withdrawal and of the reason therefor; or

(d)that—

(i)as regards every untrue statement not purporting to be made on the authority of an expert or of a public official document or statement, he had reasonable ground to believe, and did up to the time of the allotment of the shares or debentures, as the case may be, believe, that the statement was true; and

(ii)as regards every untrue statement purporting to be a statement by an expert or contained in what purports to be a copy of or extract from a report or valuation of an expert, it fairly represented the statement, or was a correct and fair copy of or extract from the report or valuation, and he had reasonable ground to believe and did up to the time of the issue of the prospectus believe that the person making the statement was competent to make it and that person had given the consent required by section forty of this Act to the issue of the prospectus and had not withdrawn that consent before delivery of a copy of the prospectus for registration or, to the defendant's knowledge, before allotment thereunder; and

(iii)as regards every untrue statement purporting to be a statement made by an official person or contained in what purports to be a copy of or extract from a public official document, it was a correct and fair representation of the statement or copy of or extract from the document: Provided that this subsection shall not apply in the case of a person liable, by reason of his having given a consent required of him by the said section forty, as a person who has authorised the issue of the prospectus in respect of an untrue statement purporting to be made by him as an expert.

(3)A person who, apart from this subsection would under subsection (1) of this section be liable, by reason of his having given a consent required of him by section forty of this Act, as a person who has authorised the issue of a prospectus in respect of an untrue statement purporting to be made by him as an expert shall not be so liable if he proves—

(a)that, having given his consent under the said section forty to the issue of the prospectus, he withdrew it in writing before delivery of a copy of the prospectus for registration; or

(b)that, after delivery of a copy of the prospectus for registration and before allotment thereunder, he, on becoming aware of the untrue statement, withdrew his consent in writing and gave reasonable public notice of the withdrawal, and of the reason therefor; or

(c)that he was competent to make the statement and that he had reasonable ground to believe and did up to the time of the allotment of the shares or debentures, as the case may be, believe that the statement was true.

(4)Where—

(a)the prospectus contains the name of a person as a director of the company, or as having agreed to become a director thereof, and he has not consented to become a director, or has withdrawn his consent before the issue of the prospectus, and has not authorised or consented to the issue thereof; or

(b)the consent of a person is required under section forty of this Act to the issue of the prospectus and he either has not given that consent or has withdrawn it before the issue of the prospectus;

the directors of the company, except any without whose knowledge or consent the prospectus was issued, and any other person who authorised the issue thereof shall be liable to indemnify the person named as aforesaid or whose consent was required as aforesaid, as the case may be, against all damages, costs and expenses to which he may be made liable by reason of his name having been inserted in the prospectus or of the inclusion therein of a statement purporting to be made by him as an expert, as the case may be, or in defending himself against any action or legal proceeding brought against him in respect thereof:

Provided that a person shall not be deemed for the purposes of this subsection to have authorised the issue of a prospectus by reason only of his having given the consent required by section forty of this Act to the inclusion therein of a statement purporting to be made by him as an expert.

(5)For the purposes of this section—

(a)the expression " promoter " means a promoter who was a party to the preparation of the prospectus, or of the portion thereof containing the untrue statement, but does not include any person by reason of his acting in a professional capacity for persons engaged in procuring the formation of the company; and

(b)the expression " expert " has the same meaning as in section forty of this Act.

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