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Companies Act 2006

Status:

This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

Chapter 3Resolutions at meetings

General provisions about resolutions at meetings

301Resolutions at general meetings

A resolution of the members of a company is validly passed at a general meeting if—

(a)notice of the meeting and of the resolution is given, and

(b)the meeting is held and conducted,

in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter (and, where relevant, Chapter 4) and the company’s articles.

Calling meetings

302Directors' power to call general meetings

The directors of a company may call a general meeting of the company.

303Members' power to require directors to call general meeting

(1)The members of a company may require the directors to call a general meeting of the company.

(2)The directors are required to call a general meeting once the company has received requests to do so from—

(a)members representing at least the required percentage of such of the paid-up capital of the company as carries the right of voting at general meetings of the company (excluding any paid-up capital held as treasury shares); or

(b)in the case of a company not having a share capital, members who represent at least the required percentage of the total voting rights of all the members having a right to vote at general meetings.

(3)The required percentage is 10% unless, in the case of a private company, more than twelve months has elapsed since the end of the last general meeting—

(a)called in pursuance of a requirement under this section, or

(b)in relation to which any members of the company had (by virtue of an enactment, the company’s articles or otherwise) rights with respect to the circulation of a resolution no less extensive than they would have had if the meeting had been so called at their request,

in which case the required percentage is 5%.

(4)A request—

(a)must state the general nature of the business to be dealt with at the meeting, and

(b)may include the text of a resolution that may properly be moved and is intended to be moved at the meeting.

(5)A resolution may properly be moved at a meeting unless—

(a)it would, if passed, be ineffective (whether by reason of inconsistency with any enactment or the company’s constitution or otherwise),

(b)it is defamatory of any person, or

(c)it is frivolous or vexatious.

(6)A request—

(a)may be in hard copy form or in electronic form, and

(b)must be authenticated by the person or persons making it.

304Directors' duty to call meetings required by members

(1)Directors required under section 303 to call a general meeting of the company must call a meeting—

(a)within 21 days from the date on which they become subject to the requirement, and

(b)to be held on a date not more than 28 days after the date of the notice convening the meeting.

(2)If the requests received by the company identify a resolution intended to be moved at the meeting, the notice of the meeting must include notice of the resolution.

(3)The business that may be dealt with at the meeting includes a resolution of which notice is given in accordance with this section.

(4)If the resolution is to be proposed as a special resolution, the directors are treated as not having duly called the meeting if they do not give the required notice of the resolution in accordance with section 283.

305Power of members to call meeting at company’s expense

(1)If the directors—

(a)are required under section 303 to call a meeting, and

(b)do not do so in accordance with section 304,

the members who requested the meeting, or any of them representing more than one half of the total voting rights of all of them, may themselves call a general meeting.

(2)Where the requests received by the company included the text of a resolution intended to be moved at the meeting, the notice of the meeting must include notice of the resolution.

(3)The meeting must be called for a date not more than three months after the date on which the directors become subject to the requirement to call a meeting.

(4)The meeting must be called in the same manner, as nearly as possible, as that in which meetings are required to be called by directors of the company.

(5)The business which may be dealt with at the meeting includes a resolution of which notice is given in accordance with this section.

(6)Any reasonable expenses incurred by the members requesting the meeting by reason of the failure of the directors duly to call a meeting must be reimbursed by the company.

(7)Any sum so reimbursed shall be retained by the company out of any sums due or to become due from the company by way of fees or other remuneration in respect of the services of such of the directors as were in default.

306Power of court to order meeting

(1)This section applies if for any reason it is impracticable—

(a)to call a meeting of a company in any manner in which meetings of that company may be called, or

(b)to conduct the meeting in the manner prescribed by the company’s articles or this Act.

(2)The court may, either of its own motion or on the application—

(a)of a director of the company, or

(b)of a member of the company who would be entitled to vote at the meeting,

order a meeting to be called, held and conducted in any manner the court thinks fit.

(3)Where such an order is made, the court may give such ancillary or consequential directions as it thinks expedient.

(4)Such directions may include a direction that one member of the company present at the meeting be deemed to constitute a quorum.

(5)A meeting called, held and conducted in accordance with an order under this section is deemed for all purposes to be a meeting of the company duly called, held and conducted.

Notice of meetings

307Notice required of general meeting

(1)A general meeting of a private company (other than an adjourned meeting) must be called by notice of at least 14 days.

(2)A general meeting of a public company (other than an adjourned meeting) must be called by notice of—

(a)in the case of an annual general meeting, at least 21 days, and

(b)in any other case, at least 14 days.

(3)The company’s articles may require a longer period of notice than that specified in subsection (1) or (2).

(4)A general meeting may be called by shorter notice than that otherwise required if shorter notice is agreed by the members.

(5)The shorter notice must be agreed to by a majority in number of the members having a right to attend and vote at the meeting, being a majority who—

(a)together hold not less than the requisite percentage in nominal value of the shares giving a right to attend and vote at the meeting (excluding any shares in the company held as treasury shares), or

(b)in the case of a company not having a share capital, together represent not less than the requisite percentage of the total voting rights at that meeting of all the members.

(6)The requisite percentage is—

(a)in the case of a private company, 90% or such higher percentage (not exceeding 95%) as may be specified in the company’s articles;

(b)in the case of a public company, 95%.

(7)Subsections (5) and (6) do not apply to an annual general meeting of a public company (see instead section 337(2)).

308Manner in which notice to be given

Notice of a general meeting of a company must be given—

(a)in hard copy form,

(b)in electronic form, or

(c)by means of a website (see section 309),

or partly by one such means and partly by another.

309Publication of notice of meeting on website

(1)Notice of a meeting is not validly given by a company by means of a website unless it is given in accordance with this section.

(2)When the company notifies a member of the presence of the notice on the website the notification must—

(a)state that it concerns a notice of a company meeting,

(b)specify the place, date and time of the meeting, and

(c)in the case of a public company, state whether the meeting will be an annual general meeting.

(3)The notice must be available on the website throughout the period beginning with the date of that notification and ending with the conclusion of the meeting.

310Persons entitled to receive notice of meetings

(1)Notice of a general meeting of a company must be sent to—

(a)every member of the company, and

(b)every director.

(2)In subsection (1), the reference to members includes any person who is entitled to a share in consequence of the death or bankruptcy of a member, if the company has been notified of their entitlement.

(3)In subsection (2), the reference to the bankruptcy of a member includes—

(a)the sequestration of the estate of a member;

(b)a member’s estate being the subject of a protected trust deed (within the meaning of the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 1985 (c. 66)).

(4)This section has effect subject to—

(a)any enactment, and

(b)any provision of the company’s articles.

311Contents of notices of meetings

(1)Notice of a general meeting of a company must state—

(a)the time and date of the meeting, and

(b)the place of the meeting.

(2)Notice of a general meeting of a company must state the general nature of the business to be dealt with at the meeting.

This subsection has effect subject to any provision of the company’s articles.

312Resolution requiring special notice

(1)Where by any provision of the Companies Acts special notice is required of a resolution, the resolution is not effective unless notice of the intention to move it has been given to the company at least 28 days before the meeting at which it is moved.

(2)The company must, where practicable, give its members notice of any such resolution in the same manner and at the same time as it gives notice of the meeting.

(3)Where that is not practicable, the company must give its members notice at least 14 days before the meeting—

(a)by advertisement in a newspaper having an appropriate circulation, or

(b)in any other manner allowed by the company’s articles.

(4)If, after notice of the intention to move such a resolution has been given to the company, a meeting is called for a date 28 days or less after the notice has been given, the notice is deemed to have been properly given, though not given within the time required.

313Accidental failure to give notice of resolution or meeting

(1)Where a company gives notice of—

(a)a general meeting, or

(b)a resolution intended to be moved at a general meeting,

any accidental failure to give notice to one or more persons shall be disregarded for the purpose of determining whether notice of the meeting or resolution (as the case may be) is duly given.

(2)Except in relation to notice given under—

(a)section 304 (notice of meetings required by members),

(b)section 305 (notice of meetings called by members), or

(c)section 339 (notice of resolutions at AGMs proposed by members),

subsection (1) has effect subject to any provision of the company’s articles.

Members' statements

314Members' power to require circulation of statements

(1)The members of a company may require the company to circulate, to members of the company entitled to receive notice of a general meeting, a statement of not more than 1,000 words with respect to—

(a)a matter referred to in a proposed resolution to be dealt with at that meeting, or

(b)other business to be dealt with at that meeting.

(2)A company is required to circulate a statement once it has received requests to do so from—

(a)members representing at least 5% of the total voting rights of all the members who have a relevant right to vote (excluding any voting rights attached to any shares in the company held as treasury shares), or

(b)at least 100 members who have a relevant right to vote and hold shares in the company on which there has been paid up an average sum, per member, of at least £100.

See also section 153 (exercise of rights where shares held on behalf of others).

(3)In subsection (2), a “relevant right to vote” means—

(a)in relation to a statement with respect to a matter referred to in a proposed resolution, a right to vote on that resolution at the meeting to which the requests relate, and

(b)in relation to any other statement, a right to vote at the meeting to which the requests relate.

(4)A request—

(a)may be in hard copy form or in electronic form,

(b)must identify the statement to be circulated,

(c)must be authenticated by the person or persons making it, and

(d)must be received by the company at least one week before the meeting to which it relates.

315Company’s duty to circulate members' statement

(1)A company that is required under section 314, to circulate a statement must send a copy of it to each member of the company entitled to receive notice of the meeting—

(a)in the same manner as the notice of the meeting, and

(b)at the same time as, or as soon as reasonably practicable after, it gives notice of the meeting.

(2)Subsection (1) has effect subject to section 316(2) (deposit or tender of sum in respect of expenses of circulation) and section 317 (application not to circulate members' statement).

(3)In the event of default in complying with this section, an offence is committed by every officer of the company who is in default.

(4)A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—

(a)on conviction on indictment, to a fine;

(b)on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum.

316Expenses of circulating members' statement

(1)The expenses of the company in complying with section 315 need not be paid by the members who requested the circulation of the statement if—

(a)the meeting to which the requests relate is an annual general meeting of a public company, and

(b)requests sufficient to require the company to circulate the statement are received before the end of the financial year preceding the meeting.

(2)Otherwise—

(a)the expenses of the company in complying with that section must be paid by the members who requested the circulation of the statement unless the company resolves otherwise, and

(b)unless the company has previously so resolved, it is not bound to comply with that section unless there is deposited with or tendered to it, not later than one week before the meeting, a sum reasonably sufficient to meet its expenses in doing so.

317Application not to circulate members' statement

(1)A company is not required to circulate a members' statement under section 315 if, on an application by the company or another person who claims to be aggrieved, the court is satisfied that the rights conferred by section 314 and that section are being abused.

(2)The court may order the members who requested the circulation of the statement to pay the whole or part of the company’s costs (in Scotland, expenses) on such an application, even if they are not parties to the application.

Procedure at meetings

318Quorum at meetings

(1)In the case of a company limited by shares or guarantee and having only one member, one qualifying person present at a meeting is a quorum.

(2)In any other case, subject to the provisions of the company’s articles, two qualifying persons present at a meeting are a quorum, unless—

(a)each is a qualifying person only because he is authorised under section 323 to act as the representative of a corporation in relation to the meeting, and they are representatives of the same corporation; or

(b)each is a qualifying person only because he is appointed as proxy of a member in relation to the meeting, and they are proxies of the same member.

(3)For the purposes of this section a “qualifying person” means—

(a)an individual who is a member of the company,

(b)a person authorised under section 323 (representation of corporations at meetings) to act as the representative of a corporation in relation to the meeting, or

(c)a person appointed as proxy of a member in relation to the meeting.

319Chairman of meeting

(1)A member may be elected to be the chairman of a general meeting by a resolution of the company passed at the meeting.

(2)Subsection (1) is subject to any provision of the company’s articles that states who may or may not be chairman.

320Declaration by chairman on a show of hands

(1)On a vote on a resolution at a meeting on a show of hands, a declaration by the chairman that the resolution—

(a)has or has not been passed, or

(b)passed with a particular majority,

is conclusive evidence of that fact without proof of the number or proportion of the votes recorded in favour of or against the resolution.

(2)An entry in respect of such a declaration in minutes of the meeting recorded in accordance with section 355 is also conclusive evidence of that fact without such proof.

(3)This section does not have effect if a poll is demanded in respect of the resolution (and the demand is not subsequently withdrawn).

321Right to demand a poll

(1)A provision of a company’s articles is void in so far as it would have the effect of excluding the right to demand a poll at a general meeting on any question other than—

(a)the election of the chairman of the meeting, or

(b)the adjournment of the meeting.

(2)A provision of a company’s articles is void in so far as it would have the effect of making ineffective a demand for a poll on any such question which is made—

(a)by not less than 5 members having the right to vote on the resolution; or

(b)by a member or members representing not less than 10% of the total voting rights of all the members having the right to vote on the resolution (excluding any voting rights attached to any shares in the company held as treasury shares); or

(c)by a member or members holding shares in the company conferring a right to vote on the resolution, being shares on which an aggregate sum has been paid up equal to not less than 10% of the total sum paid up on all the shares conferring that right (excluding shares in the company conferring a right to vote on the resolution which are held as treasury shares).

322Voting on a poll

On a poll taken at a general meeting of a company, a member entitled to more than one vote need not, if he votes, use all his votes or cast all the votes he uses in the same way.

323Representation of corporations at meetings

(1)If a corporation (whether or not a company within the meaning of this Act) is a member of a company, it may by resolution of its directors or other governing body authorise a person or persons to act as its representative or representatives at any meeting of the company.

(2)Where the corporation authorises only one person, he is entitled to exercise the same powers on behalf of the corporation as the corporation could exercise if it were an individual member of the company.

(3)Where the corporation authorises more than one person, any one of them is entitled to exercise the same powers on behalf of the corporation as the corporation could exercise if it were an individual member of the company.

(4)Where the corporation authorises more than one person and more than one of them purport to exercise a power under subsection (3)—

(a)if they purport to exercise the power in the same way, the power is treated as exercised in that way,

(b)if they do not purport to exercise the power in the same way, the power is treated as not exercised.

Proxies

324Rights to appoint proxies

(1)A member of a company is entitled to appoint another person as his proxy to exercise all or any of his rights to attend and to speak and vote at a meeting of the company.

(2)In the case of a company having a share capital, a member may appoint more than one proxy in relation to a meeting, provided that each proxy is appointed to exercise the rights attached to a different share or shares held by him, or (as the case may be) to a different £10, or multiple of £10, of stock held by him.

325Notice of meeting to contain statement of rights

(1)In every notice calling a meeting of a company there must appear, with reasonable prominence, a statement informing the member of—

(a)his rights under section 324, and

(b)any more extensive rights conferred by the company’s articles to appoint more than one proxy.

(2)Failure to comply with this section does not affect the validity of the meeting or of anything done at the meeting.

(3)If this section is not complied with as respects any meeting, an offence is committed by every officer of the company who is in default.

(4)A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

326Company-sponsored invitations to appoint proxies

(1)If for the purposes of a meeting there are issued at the company’s expense invitations to members to appoint as proxy a specified person or a number of specified persons, the invitations must be issued to all members entitled to vote at the meeting.

(2)Subsection (1) is not contravened if—

(a)there is issued to a member at his request a form of appointment naming the proxy or a list of persons willing to act as proxy, and

(b)the form or list is available on request to all members entitled to vote at the meeting.

(3)If subsection (1) is contravened as respects a meeting, an offence is committed by every officer of the company who is in default.

(4)A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

327Notice required of appointment of proxy etc

(1)This section applies to—

(a)the appointment of a proxy, and

(b)any document necessary to show the validity of, or otherwise relating to, the appointment of a proxy.

(2)Any provision of the company’s articles is void in so far as it would have the effect of requiring any such appointment or document to be received by the company or another person earlier than the following time—

(a)in the case of a meeting or adjourned meeting, 48 hours before the time for holding the meeting or adjourned meeting;

(b)in the case of a poll taken more than 48 hours after it was demanded, 24 hours before the time appointed for the taking of the poll;

(c)in the case of a poll taken not more than 48 hours after it was demanded, the time at which it was demanded.

(3)In calculating the periods mentioned in subsection (2) no account shall be taken of any part of a day that is not a working day.

328Chairing meetings

(1)A proxy may be elected to be the chairman of a general meeting by a resolution of the company passed at the meeting.

(2)Subsection (1) is subject to any provision of the company’s articles that states who may or who may not be chairman.

329Right of proxy to demand a poll

(1)The appointment of a proxy to vote on a matter at a meeting of a company authorises the proxy to demand, or join in demanding, a poll on that matter.

(2)In applying the provisions of section 321(2) (requirements for effective demand), a demand by a proxy counts—

(a)for the purposes of paragraph (a), as a demand by the member;

(b)for the purposes of paragraph (b), as a demand by a member representing the voting rights that the proxy is authorised to exercise;

(c)for the purposes of paragraph (c), as a demand by a member holding the shares to which those rights are attached.

330Notice required of termination of proxy’s authority

(1)This section applies to notice that the authority of a person to act as proxy is terminated (“notice of termination”).

(2)The termination of the authority of a person to act as proxy does not affect—

(a)whether he counts in deciding whether there is a quorum at a meeting,

(b)the validity of anything he does as chairman of a meeting, or

(c)the validity of a poll demanded by him at a meeting,

unless the company receives notice of the termination before the commencement of the meeting.

(3)The termination of the authority of a person to act as proxy does not affect the validity of a vote given by that person unless the company receives notice of the termination—

(a)before the commencement of the meeting or adjourned meeting at which the vote is given, or

(b)in the case of a poll taken more than 48 hours after it is demanded, before the time appointed for taking the poll.

(4)If the company’s articles require or permit members to give notice of termination to a person other than the company, the references above to the company receiving notice have effect as if they were or (as the case may be) included a reference to that person.

(5)Subsections (2) and (3) have effect subject to any provision of the company’s articles which has the effect of requiring notice of termination to be received by the company or another person at a time earlier than that specified in those subsections.

This is subject to subsection (6).

(6)Any provision of the company’s articles is void in so far as it would have the effect of requiring notice of termination to be received by the company or another person earlier than the following time—

(a)in the case of a meeting or adjourned meeting, 48 hours before the time for holding the meeting or adjourned meeting;

(b)in the case of a poll taken more than 48 hours after it was demanded, 24 hours before the time appointed for the taking of the poll;

(c)in the case of a poll taken not more than 48 hours after it was demanded, the time at which it was demanded.

(7)In calculating the periods mentioned in subsections (3)(b) and (6) no account shall be taken of any part of a day that is not a working day.

331Saving for more extensive rights conferred by articles

Nothing in sections 324 to 330 (proxies) prevents a company’s articles from conferring more extensive rights on members or proxies than are conferred by those sections.

Adjourned meetings

332Resolution passed at adjourned meeting

Where a resolution is passed at an adjourned meeting of a company, the resolution is for all purposes to be treated as having been passed on the date on which it was in fact passed, and is not to be deemed passed on any earlier date.

Electronic communications

333Sending documents relating to meetings etc in electronic form

(1)Where a company has given an electronic address in a notice calling a meeting, it is deemed to have agreed that any document or information relating to proceedings at the meeting may be sent by electronic means to that address (subject to any conditions or limitations specified in the notice).

(2)Where a company has given an electronic address—

(a)in an instrument of proxy sent out by the company in relation to the meeting, or

(b)in an invitation to appoint a proxy issued by the company in relation to the meeting,

it is deemed to have agreed that any document or information relating to proxies for that meeting may be sent by electronic means to that address (subject to any conditions or limitations specified in the notice).

(3)In subsection (2), documents relating to proxies include—

(a)the appointment of a proxy in relation to a meeting,

(b)any document necessary to show the validity of, or otherwise relating to, the appointment of a proxy, and

(c)notice of the termination of the authority of a proxy.

(4)In this section “electronic address” means any address or number used for the purposes of sending or receiving documents or information by electronic means.

Application to class meetings

334Application to class meetings

(1)The provisions of this Chapter apply (with necessary modifications) in relation to a meeting of holders of a class of shares as they apply in relation to a general meeting.

This is subject to subsections (2) and (3).

(2)The following provisions of this Chapter do not apply in relation to a meeting of holders of a class of shares—

(a)sections 303 to 305 (members' power to require directors to call general meeting), and

(b)section 306 (power of court to order meeting).

(3)The following provisions (in addition to those mentioned in subsection (2)) do not apply in relation to a meeting in connection with the variation of rights attached to a class of shares (a “variation of class rights meeting”)—

(a)section 318 (quorum), and

(b)section 321 (right to demand a poll).

(4)The quorum for a variation of class rights meeting is—

(a)for a meeting other than an adjourned meeting, two persons present holding at least one-third in nominal value of the issued shares of the class in question (excluding any shares of that class held as treasury shares);

(b)for an adjourned meeting, one person present holding shares of the class in question.

(5)For the purposes of subsection (4), where a person is present by proxy or proxies, he is treated as holding only the shares in respect of which those proxies are authorised to exercise voting rights.

(6)At a variation of class rights meeting, any holder of shares of the class in question present may demand a poll.

(7)For the purposes of this section—

(a)any amendment of a provision contained in a company’s articles for the variation of the rights attached to a class of shares, or the insertion of any such provision into the articles, is itself to be treated as a variation of those rights, and

(b)references to the variation of rights attached to a class of shares include references to their abrogation.

335Application to class meetings: companies without a share capital

(1)The provisions of this Chapter apply (with necessary modifications) in relation to a meeting of a class of members of a company without a share capital as they apply in relation to a general meeting.

This is subject to subsections (2) and (3).

(2)The following provisions of this Chapter do not apply in relation to a meeting of a class of members—

(a)sections 303 to 305 (members' power to require directors to call general meeting), and

(b)section 306 (power of court to order meeting).

(3)The following provisions (in addition to those mentioned in subsection (2)) do not apply in relation to a meeting in connection with the variation of the rights of a class of members (a “variation of class rights meeting”)—

(a)section 318 (quorum), and

(b)section 321 (right to demand a poll).

(4)The quorum for a variation of class rights meeting is—

(a)for a meeting other than an adjourned meeting, two members of the class present (in person or by proxy) who together represent at least one-third of the voting rights of the class;

(b)for an adjourned meeting, one member of the class present (in person or by proxy).

(5)At a variation of class rights meeting, any member present (in person or by proxy) may demand a poll.

(6)For the purposes of this section—

(a)any amendment of a provision contained in a company’s articles for the variation of the rights of a class of members, or the insertion of any such provision into the articles, is itself to be treated as a variation of those rights, and

(b)references to the variation of rights of a class of members include references to their abrogation.

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