Last year the Government introduced new rules to make it easier for individuals to protect their residential address and remove historic addresses from public company records. This article provides a brief summary of the new rules.
The old rules
Under the old Companies Act, all companies were required to record the usual residential address of their directors and the company secretary on the relevant company’s records. When the Companies Act 2006 came into force the rules were changed to make public disclosure of residential addresses a matter of discretion for the Registrar of Companies. This was intended to make it easier for individuals to protect personal information from being a matter of public record; however, in practice, it still proved very difficult for individuals to get historic addresses removed from a company’s records. A Court application was normally required, incurring delay and costs, and the grounds on which an individual could request removal of their address from the company records were limited. In an increasingly digital world and with a growing number of reported cases of identity fraud, the Government faced pressure to update the rules and make it easier for individuals to protect their usual residential address from public company records.
The new rules
In April last year the Government introduced new regulations and amended the law. The new regulations are designed to make it easier for company directors and other individuals connected with a company to restrict the public availability of their residential address on public records.
The new rules apply to existing directors, members, PSCs (persons with significant control) and subscribers of a company who wish to suppress their residential address from public records. Instead of making a formal Court application, those individuals can now apply direct to the Registrar of Companies. They do not need to obtain a Court Order directing the Registrar to remove the information before the information can be removed. They can apply direct to the Registrar of Companies.
Individuals can apply under the new rules where their usual residential address has been used for a company appointment and they wish to remove it. A company can also apply to the Registrar on behalf of an individual connected with it (including its directors and subscribers) or on behalf of proposed directors of a proposed company (where the director is an individual).
To make an application under the new rules, the applying party needs to complete a standard form and send it to the Registrar of Companies. The new forms are not available online and can only be obtained on request at present.
The new rules remove the need for an application to Court in many cases; however, there are still a number of situations where an application to Court is still required. For example, the new rules do not enable the Registrar of Companies to suppress historically filed registered office addresses, or remove an address from the records where it has not been used for a company appointment (for example, the registered service address of an individual listed on a company’s incorporation documents). Further, the new rules do not allow the Registrar of Companies to remove other personal information (such as names, dates of birth, occupations) from the public records unless the Court directs it to do so and a Court application will still be required in these cases.
How can Druces LLP assist?
Since the new rules were introduced, we have been instructed to advise a number of clients on the scope of the new rules and assist individuals and companies with applications to protect personal information from public records where an application is still required. We are familiar with the new forms and have been successful in protecting individuals’ residential addresses since the new rules were introduced.
If you are an individual, or company, and require assistance navigating the new rules, or making an application to remove information from public company records, please contact Rachel Brown (Senior Associate) within our Litigation and Dispute Resolution Team by email at R.Brown@druces.com or by telephone on 020 7638 9271.