On 10 February 2022, the Corporations Amendment (Meetings and Documents) Bill 2021 (the Bill) was passed with bipartisan support, providing permanent amendments to the Corporations Act 2011 (Cth) (the Act) in relation to:
- signing and execution of documents;
- sending documents electronically; and
- holding virtual, physical and hybrid meetings.
GRT has previously published an article in relation to certain temporary measures through Treasury Laws Amendment (2021 Measures No.1) Bill that can be accessed here.
Execution of Documents
The Bill introduces a new Part 1.2AA, providing that certain documents may be electronically signed. This change applies to:
- signing of a document (including a deed) by a person as an agent of a company;
- signing of a document by a company;
- signing of a document that relates to a meeting of directors or members of a company;
- signing of a resolution by directors or members without a meeting.
This technology neutral signing is considered valid even if different officers sign different copies of a document.
Section 126 of the Act is also amended to extend the ability of an agent to execute, make, vary, ratify or discharge a document on behalf of a company without the need to be appointed by a deed.
Technology Neutral Sending Documents
The Bill introduces a new regime of sending documents electronically by all companies, registered schemes and disclosing entities. This regime covers documents that are:
- related to a meeting of the members of a company or registered scheme;
- related to a resolution to be considered by members of a company;
- annual financial reports; and
- notice of members\’ right.
A document can be given electronically if it is reasonable to expect that the document would be readily accessible so as to be useable for subsequent reference.
Holding Virtual Meetings
From 1 April 2022, companies will be able to hold both physical and hybrid members’ meetings. A wholly virtual meeting will be permitted if it is expressly required or permitted by the constitution of a company.
Regardless of the format of the meetings, companies must give the members reasonable opportunities to participate in the meeting.
Glenn Vassallo (Managing Director), Scott Standen (Director) and Ashley Hill (Director) can assist you with any queries in relation to your corporate legal requirements.
This alert was written by GRT Lawyers, Rebecca Wei (solicitor).