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Review Your SQE 1 Practice Records

Examination Timing: 00H00M10S

Jessica Carrow, a senior journalist for the respected financial news portal, The Market Scope, is investigating the shareholder structure and influence on corporate governance within Preston Technologies Ltd., a prominent private limited company in the UK. During her investigation, Jessica seeks to understand the alignments and discrepancies in ownership and control that could influence company decisions. She approaches the company to request a copy of their register of members to deepen her analysis. Richard Stanton, the managing director, however, is reluctant to disclose such sensitive information and denies her request without further explanation. Jessica consults with her legal advisor on whether she is entitled to receive this information. 


What should the legal advice be?

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Under sections 115-117 of the Companies Act 2006, any person, including the general public, has the statutory right to inspect or request a copy of a company’s register of members, provided they do so for a proper purpose. The company must either comply with the request within five working days or apply to the court to challenge the request if it believes the inspection or copy is not being sought for a proper purpose.


Key Points:

  1. General Public’s Rights: The law provides that access to the register of members is not limited to the company's shareholders; any member of the public, including journalists, can make such a request.

  2. Proper Purpose Requirement: The company can refuse a request if it believes the purpose is improper. However, it must apply to the court to obtain an order confirming that the request should be denied, ensuring that the refusal is justified legally.

  3. Legal Compliance: If the company does not comply with the request or challenge the request legally within the specified timeframe, it may be subject to legal penalties.

  4. Court’s  Role: If a company applies to the court, it must prove that the request was not for a proper purpose. The court also has the power to require the company to comply immediately upon making its decision.

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