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Company

Business Debt Hibernation - or Buying Time to Calm the Wolves at the Door

Introduction - This article highlights an important but little-noticed piece of New Zealand legislation hurriedly prepared and enacted in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Business Debt Hibernation scheme was created to help companies, partnerships, trusts, or incorporated societies established before 3 April 2020 to cope with and manage certain existing debts where those entities are unable to immediately pay those debts due to the impact of Covid-19, but where their prospects of payment in the future are much better.
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Obtaining an Enforceable Guarantee

There are many circumstances where businesses might give credit – even without formally doing so. Providing goods or performing services in advance of full payment is extremely common, but if a company or sole trader you are dealing with has financial problems or a poor credit history, then you may not get paid.
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Electronic Signing of Contracts

Part 4 of the Contracts and Commercial Law Act 2017 ("CCLA") provides that, with some few exceptions, where a signature is required by law (including to conclude a contract) you can sign that document electronically provided certain conditions are met. An electronic signature is defined in the CCLA as a method used to identify a person and to indicate that person's approval of that information.
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Enactment of Partnership Law Act 2019

The Partnership Law Bill was introduced to Parliament in May 2019 as a revision bill, subject to the revision powers set out in s 31 of the Legislation Act 2012. Therefore the 2019 Act does not make any substantive policy changes. Nevertheless, re-enactment of the 111 years old Partnership Act 1908 in contemporary language, style and format is intended to make the law more accessible, clarify Parliament's intent, and reconcile inconsistencies within the old Act.
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Mainzeal: Reckless Trading

In Mainzeal1 the former directors were held liable for a breach of section 135 of the Act. Richard Yan, (who was the founder and main shareholder of Mainzeal's parent company, Richina Pacific) was ordered to pay compensation of $36M. Each of the other directors (Shipley, Tilby and Gomm) were held liable to contribute $6M each towards that $36M.
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If Technology is Your Business, Protect It

Many modern businesses consist primarily of technology in the form of intellectual property. Although they may own physical assets and employ staff (though they are more likely to be engaged as contractors) the real value in the business sits almost wholly in the intellectual property developed.
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Companies Act 1993 - ''Indoor Management''

A recent Court of Appeal decision (Autumn Tree(1)) makes it clear that where a company enters a contract and only one director signs it:
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Section 131: Duty of Directors to Act in Good Faith and in Best Interests of Company

In accordance with Section 131 of the Companies Act 1993 ("Act"), directors have a duty to act in good faith and in what they genuinely believe to be the best interests of the company. While it may be expected that directors should always behave in such a manner, and not place their personal interests ahead of the company's, various judgments have explored the extent of this duty and provided more information about the considerations director should take account of when exercising their powers.
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Company Law Case Summary: Mike Pero Mortgages Limited v Mike Pero [2016] NZHC 3185 per Katz J

Mike Pero was the sole director of MPRE Limited and its wholly owned subsidiary MP Real Estate Limited (the MPRE Companies), companies described in the decision as a joint venture between a company ultimately owned by Mike Pero that held a 50% stake and MP Mortgages Limited which held the other 50% stake.
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Directors' Duties - What Directors Need to Know

In New Zealand, there are few prohibitions on who can become a director of a company, and no real qualification requirements. This means that some people become directors without actually understanding what their role requires. This can result in a company not being managed and governed as required by the Companies Act 1993 ("Act"), which in turn can lead to a breach of duty, which can have very serious consequences, up to and including personal liability for company debts or even criminal sanctions in the worst of cases.
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