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We are updating a previous item with updated dates – see the dates in bold below.

As expected companies, registered societies (such as many housing associations), and credit unions can hold their AGM online in the early part of 2021. This applies regardless of what the governing document says. The relaxations for holding company meetings brought in by the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 (CIGA) and Regulations made under it, have been extended until 30 March 2021 for companies and until 29 March 2021 for community benefit societies, credit unions and co-operatives.

For those companies which are scheduled to file accounts at Companies House between 27 June 2020 and 5 April 2021 at Companies House, CIGA allows a 3 month extension. Companies House has been updated to show the revised filing date.

This comes as a welcome and practical measure to enable many bodies to continue with the normal business of governance. Many governing documents have provision to allow the board members to meet virtually but those provisions do not apply to the meetings of members of the organisation.

This period of time provides a window of opportunity for those bodies to review their governing document whether it be articles of association or Rules to seek an amendment during this window to make specific provision for holding virtual and/or hybrid (partly in person and partly virtual) meetings of their company members or Shareholders. We recommend that boards review their governing document now to see if there is provision for virtual meetings and take steps to amend them to include these provisions. This will enable the body to engage with its members in a legal way and demonstrate good governance.

For those bodies with charitable status the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland has added a note into its Covid-19 pandemic guidance to explain the steps for charities to take when holding meetings during the pandemic and what records to keep of decisions taken in these circumstances. You can find the detail here. If you require advice on making changes to your governing document please contact Jenny Ebbage or Sarah Burrows.

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