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Company Law

Company Law (6th edn)

Brenda Hannigan
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date: 25 September 2022

p. 53122. The doctrine of capital maintenancelocked

p. 53122. The doctrine of capital maintenancelocked

  • Brenda HanniganBrenda HanniganProfessor of Corporate Law, Law School University of Southampton


This chapter discusses the doctrine of capital maintenance which precludes the return of capital, directly or indirectly, to the shareholders ahead of a winding up of the company. The discussion covers the purchase and redemption of a company’s own shares, reduction of capital, distributions to the members, and financial assistance by a company for the acquisition of its own shares. Purchase and redemption schemes (buy-backs) are common transactions and are discussed in detail as is the procedure for a reduction of capital. The key issue for creditors, however, is the risk posed by distributions to members and much of the chapter is devoted to discussing the distribution rules laid down in CA 2006, Part 23 and the common law. The chapter discusses the rules as to distributable profits and the liability of directors in the case of improper distributions and, in particular, their liability for dividends improperly declared.

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