In the concluding part of this series, we look at duties placed upon directors of a limited company
Under the provisions of the Companies Act 2006 a company may, by ordinary resolution at a meeting, remove a director before the expiration of their period of office.
Section 81 provides that the office of a director shall be vacated if:
A court may make a disqualification order under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 (CDDA 1986).
Examples of conduct which may lead to disqualification include:
Disqualification proceedings are handled by the courts or the Insolvency Service. In some cases, the director could also face criminal charges, fines or be made personally liable for the company’s debts.
Unless the individual has permission from the courts it prevents them from:
If a person contravenes the order, they are committing a criminal offence that makes them liable to a fine or a prison sentence of up to two years.
The act applies not only to a person who has been formally appointed as a director but also to those people who have carried out the functions of a director and to shadow directors. A shadow director is a person in accordance with whose directions or instructions the directors of the company are accustomed to act. In order to be classified as a shadow director the person must effectively control the running of the company.
Setting up a company is now a cheap and easy process but there are governance laws that need to be understood. As the regulatory environment has become more and more onerous, a newly appointed director needs to understand the full extent of the legislation and how it impacts on their responsibilities.
It is important that any director, whether of a big or small company, is familiar and complies with their duties.
In particular, in small companies where family members are appointed just to make up numbers, they must ensure that they are aware that they cannot simply sit back and have no involvement in the company.
All directors are jointly responsible for the company and the duties towards it. Ignorance is no defence and the consequences can be severe both for the company and directors personally.