Companies House – new powers to tackle economic crime | Fieldfisher
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Companies House – new powers to tackle economic crime


United Kingdom

As of Monday 4th March, Companies House now has new and enhanced powers to improve the quality and reliability of data and to tackle the misuse of the Companies Register.

The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 [ECCT Act] has introduced 4 new statutory objectives for the Registrars of Companies to consider when performing their functions, namely:

  1. to ensure that anyone who is required to deliver a document to the registrar does so;
  2. to ensure information contained in the register is accurate and that the register contains everything it ought to contain;
  3. to ensure that records kept by the registrar do not create a false or misleading impression to members of the public; and
  4. to prevent companies and others from carrying out unlawful activities, or facilitating others to carry out unlawful activities.

A summary of the key changes to the powers of Companies House include:

  • greater powers to query information and request supporting evidence;
  • stronger checks on company names;
  • new rules for registered office addresses (all companies must have an appropriate address at all times - they will not be able to use a PO Box as their registered office address);
  • a requirement for all companies to supply a registered email address;
  • a requirement for subscribers to confirm they’re forming a company for a lawful purpose when they incorporate, and for a company to confirm its intended future activities will be lawful on its confirmation statement;
  • greater powers to tackle and remove factually inaccurate information; and
  • the ability to share data with other government departments and law enforcement agencies. 

Other measures such as identity verification and accounts reform, will be introduced over a longer period. Authorised persons who file information with Companies House will be notified of what they need to do to via Companies House communications channels and campaigns. We expect Companies House to crack down on erroneous filings, targeting companies with poor filing histories and holding both existing and new directors accountable.

As always, our dedicated team of corporate and white collar crime experts are on hand should you have any questions or challenges.

With thanks to Trainee Solicitor Jessica Solsberg, co-author of this article.

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