Earlier this year and in recognition of the unprecedented circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns, the Federal Government introduced temporary amendments to the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Act) to provide regulatory relief and flexibility for companies and other regulated entities in how they could conduct their business and meeting their legal obligations in a COVID world. In short, these changes:

  • allowed meetings (including Annual General Meetings) to be held electronically, rather than face-to-face
  • extended the application of section 127 to allow electronic and split (counterpart) execution of documents by company officers.

Relief extended to 2021

Originally scheduled to expire in November 2020, the changes will now be extended until 21 March 2021. In an announcement on 31 July 2020, the Treasurer noted the extension was intended to provide certainty to businesses, and to give them the flexibility to continue operating in circumstances where travel restrictions and social distancing would otherwise make it difficult.

A permanent solution?

While no decision has been made, the Government is said to be considering whether to make the measures permanent, a decision that would be welcomed by both the legal and corporate fraternities as a move to clarify the ambiguities that have long surrounding electronic execution and bring the Act into line with the realities of modern day business.

This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.