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Economic conditions are improving for many employers, with confidence rising amid signs of recovery in the energy industry – that could in turn lead to an increase in the use of employee share schemes and other forms of employee incentivisation.

As part of the Government’s initiative to encourage transparency and accountability for those controlling a company, the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 (2015 Act) will introduce restrictions on the appointment and continued use of corporate directors.

The current position under UK company law is that at least one director on the board of a company must be a natural person. Subject to this requirement, any legal person, including a company or a limited liability partnership, may be a director of the company.

Operators are increasingly revisiting long standing contracts with the supply chain, to identify instances where financial provisions in the arrangement designed to save them money have not been properly enforced in the past. 

During better times, it appears these rebates and arrangements were sometimes ignored by the operators and contractors alike.

With effect from today’s date, there is a fundamental change for all UK companies in terms of the legal requirement to maintain their company books (or to give them their more official title “statutory registers”) which will allow all companies the option to keep their books on a brand new electronic central register maintained at Companies House.   

The aim of the new legislation is to allow greater transparency and ease the administrative burden particularly on smaller private companies. However, there is some doubt as to the real benefit in signing up to the new central public register and for many companies doing so could lead to greater issues. The new register comes into existence with effect from 30th June 2016 and all UK companies, whether you are a one man band or a large corporate, will need to make a decision whether to sign up or not.

LAWS making it easier to enforce the protection of trade secrets will be rolled out across Europe, bringing the EU as a whole more in line with the law in the UK and bringing with it greater protection in some EU countries.

The Trade Secrets Directive was finally adopted by The Council of the European Union at the end of May. It will harmonise the law on trade secrets and the rules on the unlawful acquisition, disclosure and use of trade secrets throughout the EU.

From 6 April 2016, with a few exceptions, all UK companies will require to keep a register of persons of significant control (PSC Register). 

The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 came into force in March, amending the Companies Act 2006, to create this requirement which aims to increase the transparency of UK corporate structures.  The requirement extends to companies with charitable status and unlimited companies, but most publically traded companies will be exempt.  LLPs will be subject to substantially similar requirements under separate regulations.

Chambers UK 2018

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