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New Clause 16 — Names and addresses of members of companies: company application

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 2:45 pm on 18th October 2006.

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Photo of Sylvia Heal Sylvia Heal Deputy Speaker 2:45 pm, 18th October 2006

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

New clause 17— Names and addresses of members of companies: individual application—

'(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, an individual may make an application under this section to the Secretary of State where the condition in subsection (2) is satisfied.

(2) The condition referred to in subsection (1) above is that the individual—

(a) is or proposes to become a member of a relevant company; and

(b) considers that the availability for inspection by members of the public of particulars of his name and usual residential or business address creates, or (if an order is not made under this section) is likely to create, a serious risk that he or a person who lives with him or an employee of his will be subjected to violence, intimidation or criminal activity ("a serious risk").

(3) Where, on an application made by an individual under this section, the Secretary of State is satisfied that the availability for inspection by members of the public of the particulars of the individual's usual residential address creates or (if an order is not made under this section) is likely to create a serious risk that the individual, or a person who lives with him, or an employee of his will be subjected to violence, intimidation or criminal activity, he shall make an order under this section ("an individual member's confidentiality order") in relation to him.

(4) Where the Secretary of State is not satisfied under subsection (3) he shall dismiss the application.

(5) At any time when an individual member's confidentiality order is in force in relation to an individual the name and address of the individual in the register of members of the company which is the subject of the confidentiality order shall not be disclosed to any person who may request either company or Companies House disclosure of such name and address save in prescribed circumstances.

(6) The Secretary of State shall give the applicant notice of his decision under subsection (3) or (4); and a notice under this subsection shall be given within such period and shall contain such information as may be prescribed.

(7) At any time when an individual member's confidentiality order is in force in relation to a company, the company must pass on to all of its members any lawful message or documentation that a member of the company or a member of the public wishes to send to the company's members.

(8) The company may charge a reasonable fee for sending a message or documentation under subsection (7).

(9) Where the company has become bound to act under subsection (7) and has failed to so act, an offence is committed by—

(a) the company, and

(b) every officer of the company who is in default.

(10) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale and, for continued contravention, a daily default fine not exceeding one-tenth of level 3 on the standard scale.

(11) In the case of any such refusal or default as set out in subsection (9) the court may by order compel an immediate inspection of the register or, as the case may be, direct that a copy of the register be sent to the person to whom the undertaking was made.

(12) The Secretary of State may at any time revoke an individual member's confidentiality order if he is satisfied that such conditions as may be prescribed are satisfied.'.

Amendment No. 758, in clause 113, page 51, line 22 , at end insert

'to whom the beneficial rights and obligations of membership belong'.

Amendment No. 383, in clause 116, page 53, line 35 , at end insert—

'(5) Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, a shareholder in a quoted or publicly traded company who is an individual shall have the right to require that his home address is not set out in the register of members available for inspection or in the copy of the register supplied by the company pursuant to a request, nor in any record of the register of members supplied to the Registrar of Companies for the public file maintained by the Registrar.'.

Amendment No. 384, in clause 117, page 53, line 38, leave out 'five' and insert 'fifteen'.

Government amendment No. 222

Amendment No. 683, in clause 9, page 4, line 28, at end insert—

'(d) a statement setting out and verifying the identity of the initial shareholders.'.