Special resolution

A special resolution is a formal decision passed by a higher-than-usual majority of shareholders or members in a company or organization, typically requiring at least a 75% approval vote.
Updated: Jun 6, 2024

3 key takeaways

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  • Special resolutions require a higher voting threshold, usually 75% or more, to pass.
  • They are used for significant corporate actions, such as amendments to the company’s articles of association or approval of mergers and acquisitions.
  • Special resolutions ensure that major decisions have substantial support from shareholders or members.

What is a special resolution?

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A special resolution is a type of decision made by shareholders or members of a company or organization that requires a higher level of approval than an ordinary resolution. Typically, special resolutions necessitate the approval of at least 75% of the votes cast at a meeting, though the exact percentage can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the company’s governing documents.

When is a special resolution required?

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Special resolutions are used for significant and often more serious corporate actions that can fundamentally impact the organization. Examples of actions that usually require a special resolution include:

  • Amending the articles of association: Any changes to the company’s foundational documents, such as the articles of association or bylaws, typically require a special resolution.
  • Approval of mergers or acquisitions: Major structural changes, like merging with another company or acquiring a new business, often necessitate a special resolution.
  • Changing the company’s name: Altering the registered name of the company usually requires shareholder approval via a special resolution.
  • Voluntary winding up: Decisions to voluntarily wind up or dissolve the company generally need to be passed by a special resolution.
  • Capital restructuring: Significant changes to the company’s share capital, such as issuing new shares or altering the rights of existing shares, often require a special resolution.

How is a special resolution passed?

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To pass a special resolution, the following steps are typically involved:

  1. Notice of meeting: Proper notice must be given to all shareholders or members, specifying that a special resolution will be considered. The notice period and content requirements can vary by jurisdiction.
  2. Quorum: A quorum, or the minimum number of members required to conduct business, must be present at the meeting. The quorum requirements are usually outlined in the company’s governing documents.
  3. Voting: The resolution is put to a vote. To pass, it generally requires at least a 75% majority of the votes cast. Voting can be done in person at the meeting or via proxy, depending on the company’s rules.
  4. Documentation: Once passed, the special resolution must be documented and filed with the relevant authorities, such as the company registry, to ensure it is legally binding and enforceable.

Importance of special resolutions

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Special resolutions play a crucial role in corporate governance for several reasons:

  • Ensuring significant support: By requiring a higher threshold of approval, special resolutions ensure that major decisions have broad support among shareholders or members, reflecting a more substantial consensus.
  • Protecting minority interests: The higher voting requirement helps protect the interests of minority shareholders by preventing major changes from being made without their input.
  • Formalizing major decisions: Special resolutions provide a formal mechanism for making and documenting significant corporate decisions, enhancing transparency and accountability within the organization.

Examples of special resolution scenarios

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  • Amendment of articles: A technology company wants to amend its articles of association to allow for a new class of shares with different voting rights. This change requires a special resolution to be approved by at least 75% of the shareholders.
  • Merger approval: A manufacturing firm proposes a merger with a competitor to expand its market reach. The merger plan is presented at the annual general meeting, where it must receive at least 75% of the votes cast to proceed.
  • Voluntary liquidation: A small business decides to voluntarily liquidate its assets and close the company. The decision is put to a vote at a general meeting and needs a special resolution to pass, requiring the support of at least 75% of the members.

Special resolutions are essential for making significant changes within a company or organization, ensuring that such decisions are made with considerable support and formal approval from the members.

Understanding the process and requirements for passing special resolutions is crucial for effective corporate governance and legal compliance. For further exploration, you might look into related topics such as corporate governance, shareholder rights, and the different types of resolutions used in corporate decision-making.

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AI Financial Assistant
Arti is a specialized AI Financial Assistant at Invezz, created to support the editorial team. He leverages both AI and the Invezz.com knowledge base, understands over 100,000... read more.