What Are The Implications of The Small Business, Enterprise, and Employment Act 2015, (SBEEA 2015) for Solicitors and Restructuring & Insolvency Practicioners?

What is The Small Business, Enterprise, and Employment Act 2015?

SBEEA is intended to ensure that the UK continues to be recognised as a trusted and fair place to do business and to open up new opportunities for small businesses to innovate and compete. SBEEA includes provisions to give small businesses greater access to finance sources, increase transparency around who owns and controls UK companies, require the payment practices of the UK’s largest companies to be reported, and introduce new insolvency measures to prohibit and limit certain aspects of pre-pack sales if deemed necessary.

What changes have been introduced by The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act, 2015?

SBEEA now regulates a number of aspects of business, including:

  • the appointment and disqualification of directors.
  • insolvency.
  • company filing requirements.
  • aspects of employment law.

The broad changes also amend existing legislation such as the Companies Act 2006 and insolvency legislation.

What will SBEEA mean for solicitors and insolvency practitioners?

The legislative changes will affect companies of differing size and require people with different roles, such as company directors and shareholders, to be proactive in implementing the new law as it is applicable to their particular circumstances. Solicitors and insolvency practitioners have been urged by the Law Society to read and familiarise themselves with the legislative changes in order to understand how the new provisions affect their practice and to provide up-to-date advice to their clients.

A particularly significant change is the new provision into the Companies Act 2006 which requires companies to maintain a register of people with ‘significant control’ over the company. This register will be open to public inspection. Anyone requesting sight of the register will have to state the purpose for which the information will be used, and the company may apply to the court to refuse access if the purpose is an improper one.

There is now a requirement for beneficial owners to disclose their beneficial ownership of the company to the company. The use of bearer shares will be prohibited.

The act introduces a new insolvency procedure, including the regulation of new professional bodies which authorise the practice of insolvency practitioners. There are a number of changes to communications between the office holder and creditors by removing the requirement to hold physical meetings in every instance, and a new deemed consent procedure which can be utilised by office holders in a situation where the company’s creditors are asked to make a decision.

Administrators, receivers, and liquidators have new reporting responsibilities; including the requirement to prepare conduct reports about directors when the company becomes insolvent. 

For further information about the changes introduced by The Small Business, Enterprise, and Employment Act, or for help and advice on any other employment-related matter, contact Harold Stock & Co Solicitors on 01457 835597 or email info@haroldstock.com.

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