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It’s official: Virtual meetings and e-signing are here to stay

09 March 2022

#Corporate & Commercial Law

Published by:

Janelle Moussa, Rhiannon McCorriston

It’s official: Virtual meetings and e-signing are here to stay

After a long wait, the Corporations Amendment (Meetings and Documents) Act 2022 (Cth) (Act) received royal assent on 22 February 2022. What began as a suite of temporary relief measures introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has now led to permanent changes to the Corporations Act 2001. Companies can now continue to use technology to validly execute documents, hold meetings and distribute meeting materials on a permanent basis. The changes come just in time, with the temporary measures due to expire on 31 March 2022.

You can read more on the recent history of these reforms in our series of articles starting from here.

What are the permanent changes?

A summary of some of the main changes are outlined below:


When do these changes commence?

The new laws will apply:

  • to signing and executing documents from 23 February 2022
  • to meetings and sending documents from 1 April 2022 (after the temporary measures have expired).

The Act includes a 12 month opt-in review of annual general meetings to enable a proper assessment of the benefits of using technology to engage with members. Additionally, the Act itself will be reviewed no later than the earliest practicable day after 23 February 2024.

Looking ahead

The government has flagged a number of other changes which will further encourage and facilitate the use of technology, including:

These changes should support the continued modernisation of our corporations law, allowing organisations greater flexibility in meeting their regulatory requirements and with estimated savings of $450 million in annual ‘red tape’ costs.

We encourage organisations and their members to familiarise themselves with the changes and consider their practical implications (for instance, some organisations may wish to seek approval from their members to amend their constitutions to allow for wholly virtual meetings).

The full text of the Act can be accessed here.

At Holding Redlich, we can assist you in updating your company’s documentation to bring it into line with and take advantage of the recent changes. If you have any questions, please contact us or send us your enquiry here.

Authors: William Khong, Georgia Milne, Janelle Moussa & Rhiannon McCorriston

Disclaimer
The information in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this article is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.

Published by:

Janelle Moussa, Rhiannon McCorriston

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