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The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) is the world's largest organization serving the professional and business interests of attorneys who practice in the legal departments of corporations, associations, nonprofits and other private-sector organizations around the globe.

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Electronic Signature

In 2020, at the height of the COVID -19 pandemic the Australian Government took  steps to relax certain laws to facilitate electronic execution and witnessing of documents. ACC Australia via the ACC Australia GC100 advocated for those interim laws to be made permanent. The ACC Australia GC100 gave its support to technology neutral corporations law, which would give business the flexibility to operate in the way that works best for it and its stakeholders and would  inevitably give rise to greater efficiencies and innovations, from executing agreements, minutes and other corporate documents, through storing records including statutory registers, and calling and holding company meetings. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has now announced the Treasury Laws Amendment (2021 Measures No. 1) Bill 2021 (Cth) (Bill) which seeks to extend this relief for a further six months to 16 September 2021, but with some changes.  If passed, the Bill will extend and expand upon the relief currently provided under the Corporations (Coronavirus Economic Response Determination (No 3) 2020 (Cth). This time around, the amendments provide greater detail about electronic execution and virtual meetings and make clear that these new rules will apply as mandatory rules rather than replaceable rules, meaning they cannot be displaced by a company’s constitution.

The Australian Government has also confirmed that the electronic execution reforms (and the ability to send meeting-related materials electronically) will be made permanent before the temporary arrangements expire on 16 September 2021. This is a change that will be warmly welcomed by corporate counsel across Australia.

Click here to read more on the topic.