Don’t worry, I’m not going to start talking about Lord Sugar and his latest gaggle of wannabes (although maybe that’s a subject for another Blog!).
Instead, I want to spend some time over the next few weeks looking at boardrooms and shareholders, and some of the legal framework that governs how those things operate.
And first up, I want to talk about Derivative Claims.
What is a Derivative Claim?
In law, only the person with a claim can enforce it.
So, if Mr. Blogs owes YOU a debt, YOU are the only person who can bring an action in the Courts against Mr. Blogs to recover that debt (although you can assign it but let’s not worry about that here!).
But if Mr. Blogs owes the debt to Comp Limited then the law allows another person to enforce the claim.
(This also applies to other situations, such as beneficiaries of a trust; if you’d like to know more about that please contact me).
For example, if the Directors of Comp Ltd are not prepared to take action, a shareholder can bring a “Derivative Claim.”
Such claims are now regulated by Part 2, Chapter 1 Companies Act 2006 where Section 260(1) defines a Derivative Claim as being proceedings by member of the company in respect of a cause of action invested in the company and seeking relief on behalf of the company.
Say Mr. Blogs owes the debt to Comp Ltd but he is “best friends” with the Directors and they do not want to bring a claim against him – what can the shareholders do? Bring a Derivative Claim.
Once the claim is issued it has to go before a Judge for permission to continue.
The shareholder will then have to file enough evidence to establish a case and convince the Court that the Derivative Claim is appropriate and brought in good faith and it’s the type of claim that company would have brought if it was being properly directed.
If you’d like to know anymore, please contact me and I’ll gladly talk you through how it all works.