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Chapter

Cover Company Law

10. Directors’ duties I: duties of performance  

This chapter studies the codification of the director’s duties, how breach of duty can be avoided, and the duties in ss 171–74 of the Companies Act 2006 (CA 2006). Sections 171–74 of the CA 2006 provide that a director is under a duty to act in accordance with the company’s constitution; a duty to act in a way that would promote the success of the company; a duty to exercise independent judgement; and a duty to exercise reasonable skill, care, and diligence. Ultimately, the standard expected under s 174 is that of a reasonably diligent person with the general knowledge, skill, and experience that the director has. Meanwhile, a breach of duty may be avoided if the breach is approved or authorized, ratified under s 239, or if the court relieves the director of liability under s 1157.

Chapter

Cover Mayson, French & Ryan on Company Law

16. Directors’ duties  

This chapter deals with the seven general duties of directors as spelled out in the Companies Act 2006: duty to act within powers; duty to promote the success of the company; duty to exercise independent judgement; duty to exercise reasonable care, skill and diligence; duty to avoid conflicts of interest; duty not to accept benefits from third parties; and duty to declare interest in proposed transaction or arrangement. After providing a background on the codification of directors’ general duties, the chapter turns to the fiduciary duty of directors, including shadow and de facto directors. It also examines statutory requirements involving property transactions; loans, quasi-loans and credit transactions; associated companies and persons ‘connected’ with a director; equitable remedies for breach of duty; the ways in which directors can be relieved of liability; and secondary liability with regard to property.

Chapter

Cover Mayson, French, and Ryan on Company Law

16. Directors’ duties  

This chapter deals with the seven general duties of directors as spelled out in the Companies Act 2006: duty to act within powers; duty to promote the success of the company; duty to exercise independent judgement; duty to exercise reasonable care, skill and diligence; duty to avoid conflicts of interest; duty not to accept benefits from third parties; and duty to declare interest in proposed transaction or arrangement. After providing a background on the codification of directors’ general duties, the chapter turns to the fiduciary duty of directors, including shadow and de facto directors. It also examines statutory requirements involving property transactions; loans, quasi-loans and credit transactions; associated companies and persons ‘connected’ with a director; equitable remedies for breach of duty; the ways in which directors can be relieved of liability; and secondary liability with regard to property.

Chapter

Cover Company Law

14. Directors’ duties  

Titles in the Core Text series take the reader straight to the heart of the subject, providing focused, concise, and reliable guides for students at all levels. This chapter is concerned with the duties which a director owes to the company, including duty to act within powers, duty to promote the company’s success, duty to exercise independent judgement, duty not to accept benefits from third parties, and duty to avoid conflicts of interest. After reviewing the general duties of directors under Part 10 of the Companies Act 2006, the chapter discusses the fiduciary position of directors, the remedies for breach of directors’ duties, and the liability of those who assist a director in the course of a breach of fiduciary duty. Finally, it considers three ways in which a director who is in breach of duty may be relieved from liability.

Chapter

Cover Company Law

14. Directors’ liabilities for breach of duty  

This chapter focuses on the extent of a director’s civil liability for breach of fiduciary duty and the liability of third parties involved in some way in that breach of duty. One of the most important issues is the extent of a director’s liability to account. Liability can range from accounting for secret profits to claims for equitable compensation and from personal to proprietary claims. Often, a claim will be affected by limitation issues. It may be complicated by the involvement of third party accessories. Mitigation through reliance on indemnity provisions, insurance and by applying to the court for relief is also considered. The discussion covers: breach of fiduciary duty, liability of third parties, claims for negligence, and managing potential liabilities.

Chapter

Cover Company Law

20. The derivative claim and the rule in Foss v Harbottle  

This chapter discusses further aspects of shareholder remedies, namely the common law multiple derivative claim; derivative claims under Companies Act 2006 (CA 2006), Part 11; the reflective loss principle; personal actions at common law; and specific statutory rights under the CA 2006. At common law, a shareholder aggrieved by a breach of duty by a director could bring a derivative claim on behalf of the company, as an exception to the rule in Foss v Harbottle. That common law claim now remains as a common law multiple derivative claim whereas the ‘ordinary’ derivative claim now is a statutory claim under CA 2006, Part 11. This chapter explores both types of derivative claim and assesses their value to shareholders. An important constraint on shareholder recovery is the principle governing reflective loss which has recently been restated by the Supreme Court. This chapter considers the current position in the light of that development.