Key Changes to UK Company Law Coming in March 2024

As of October 2023, the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act has been enacted, bringing significant changes to UK company law. With the first set of changes scheduled to be implemented from 4th March 2024, it's crucial for businesses, intermediaries, and stakeholders to understand and prepare for these new requirements.

Key Changes

Greater Scrutiny and Power to Query Information:

Companies House will have increased powers to query information and request supporting evidence. This measure aims to enhance the accuracy and reliability of the information on the register.

Stricter Rules for Company Names and Registered Office Addresses:

New regulations will be introduced to ensure company names are appropriate and unique. Additionally, the definition of a 'registered office address' will be stricter, disallowing P.O. Box addresses and requiring a physical location where documents can be reliably delivered and acknowledged.

Mandatory Registered Email Address:

All companies will be required to provide a registered email address to Companies House, which will not be made public. This email will be the primary channel for communication from Companies House.

Lawful Purpose Statement:

New incorporations and annual confirmation statements must include a statement confirming the company's lawful purpose, emphasising the duty of companies to operate within legal boundaries.

Annotated Register for Confusing or Misleading Information:

Companies House will have the authority to annotate the register to clarify confusing or misleading information.

Data Sharing and Clean-up Initiatives: Enhanced data sharing with government departments and law enforcement, along with data matching initiatives, will be used to identify and remove inaccurate information from the register.

Implications for Businesses

Adherence to New Address Rules: Companies currently using P.O. Boxes must switch to a physical address by 4th March 2024. Failure to comply could lead to the company being struck off the register.

Email Communication: Businesses must ensure they provide a valid and regularly monitored email address for official communications.

Confirmation of Lawful Operations: This new requirement highlights the importance of legality in business operations, with potential actions against companies not complying.

These changes represent a significant shift in how Companies House will interact with and regulate companies in the UK. Businesses must take proactive steps to comply with these new regulations to avoid penalties and ensure smooth operations.