Memorandum of association
The memorandum of association of a company, often simply called the memorandum (and then often capitalised as an abbreviation for the official name, which is a proper noun and usually includes other words), is the document that governs the relationship between the company and the outside. It is one of the documents required to incorporate a company in the United Kingdom, Ireland, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and is also used in many of the common law jurisdictions of the Commonwealth.
While it is still necessary to file a memorandum of association to incorporate a new company, it no longer forms part of the company’s constitution and it contains limited information compared to the memorandum that was required prior to 1 October 2009. The Companies (Registration) Regulation 2008 in fact included pro-forma Memoranda.
It is basically a statement that the subscribers wish to form a company under the 2006 Act, have agreed to become members and, in the case of a company that is to have a share capital, to take at least one share each. It is no longer required to state the name of the company, the type of company (such as public limited company or private company limited by shares), the location of its registered office, the objects of the company, and its authorised share capital. Companies incorporated prior to 1 October 2009 are not required to amend their memorandum. Those details which are now required to appear in the Articles, such as the objects clause and details of the share capital, are deemed to form part of the Articles.
The memorandum no longer restricts what a company is permitted to do. Since 1 October 2009, if a company's constitution contains any restrictions on the objects at all, those restrictions will form part of the articles of association.
Historically, a company's memorandum of association contained an objects clause, which limited its capacity to act. When the first limited companies were incorporated, the objects clause had to be widely drafted so as not to restrict the board of directors in their day to day trading. In the Companies Act 1989 the term "General Commercial Company" was introduced which meant that companies could undertake "any lawful or legal trade or business."
The memorandum of association records the agreement of the first subscribers to form a company under the 2006 Act, to become members and, in the case of a company that is to have a share capital, to take at least one share each.
- Articles of association (law)
- Company (law)
- Constitutional documents
- Table A
- Memorandum of agreement
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