Most discussion relating to the referendum result has focussed on the effect that Brexit will have upon our constitutional arrangements or workers’ rights. This blog post will focus on the effect that Brexit will have upon the UK system of company law. Unfortunately, the current uncertainty regarding the terms on which the UK will leave the EU (if indeed it does) means that a definitive answer cannot be provided.
Discussion on company law and corporate governance tends to focus on the role of the board of directors, the shareholders, the creditors, and the auditor, but surprisingly little attention is paid to company secretaries. Indeed, outside of the corporate sector, it is likely that many people would never have heard of the office of company secretary.
In early 2015, confidential documents were leaked to Süddeutsche Zeitung, a German newspaper. The documents leaked came from the internal database of Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm. Working with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and media organizations from around the world, the documents (which became known as the ‘Panama Papers’) were analysed and, on the 3 April 2016, media organizations around the world published their findings.
Conducting business through a company provides tremendous benefits. The price to be paid for these benefits is disclosure – companies are required to disclose substantial amounts of information, with much of this information being disclosed to Companies House. Every day, suppliers, creditors, potential investors, credit agencies and other persons utilise information provided by Companies House to make informed commercial decisions.