Companies House - Company director's home addresses no longer in the public domain

Published: 15th December 2009
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The final changes to the Companies Act 2006, which came into force on 1 October 2009, means it will now be possible for a UK company director to limit the circumstances in which their residential address is made available in the public domain. Previously, company directors of UK companies had to file their residential address, along with their company accounts, at Companies House, a government agency, which provides information for public review. This had long been a concern to many company directors - particularly those operating in sensitive sectors, celebrities and other high-profile individuals.

Now the onus will no longer be on a company director to show that he or she is at serious risk of violence or intimidation if their residential address is disclosed, but on an applicant to apply to court to have a company director's residential address disclosed. A court may however, on the application of an interested person, such as a liquidator, creditor or shareholder, order the company or Companies House to disclose a company director's residential address if there is evidence that the service address is not effective, or it considers that it is necessary for the information to be provided in connection with the enforcement of an order or decree of the court.

Companies House will now hold two separate registers, the Register of Directors' Residential Addresses which will be kept private and the Register of Directors, containing directors' service addresses, which will be available to the public. If a company director chooses to supply their residential address as a service address the fact that the two are the same would not be apparent from the public record. Also, each company will keep a record of its directors' residential addresses, but will not make this available to the public.

However, these new provisions are not retrospective. Existing directors' residential addresses that already appear on the public register at Companies House will not automatically be removed and will be deemed to be service addresses for the purpose of the Companies Act 2006 and thus will still be available to the public. However, individuals whose home addresses were placed on the register on or after 1 January 2003 can apply to Companies House to have their home addresses made entirely unavailable for public inspection, as well as removed from the public register. To do so, they must follow a procedure similar to the previous confidentiality-order provisions.

Newly appointed company directors will be able to keep their residential addresses off the public register which will only make the service addresses available for public scrutiny. This could be achieved for example, by using the company's registered office address instead. If convenient, the Register of Directors can simply record that a director's service address is "the company's registered office" rather than each director giving the information separately.

Other final changes of the Companies Act 2006 coming into force on 1 October 2009, include changes in the registering of a new company which has been made easier. The deadline for filing of company accounts has been reduced by one month and there are various other changes to the forms submitted to Companies House.

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