According to the current legislation under Corporations Act 2001, a public listed company is to hold an AGM at least once in a calendar year and once in 5 months after declaring its annual financial results. A public company must also hold an AGM after 18 months of registration. Non-adherence to these legislations may follow a strict criminal action towards the company and its directors. The legislation also offers an extension of time for holding the AGM if the company applies to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC). This provision is good for companies requiring more time to hold AGM, but it may raise a question for various reasons among shareholders. The AGM must be held permanently every year in addition to any other meeting held during the year. However, if a public listed company has only one member, it is not required to hold an AGM.
The South British Insurance Company Ltd sought a serious and immediate intervention from the court to advice on the conduct of the business of AGM, due to misconduct of certain minority shareholders which eventually deprived the majority shareholders of their right to vote. The court admitted that the conduct of the AGM is an important event, in which once a year all shareholders have the right to meet the Directors and question the companies conduct or future investment decisions, Directors nomination and all related matters of the company’s activity. The court accepted the plea and admitted that it was a serious matter and urgency was apparent, following which it ordered the company to hold the AGM two days later in a properly and orderly manner. The court also held the importance of the AGM by stating the importance of shareholders meeting with the Directors over and above the statutory requirements of the company to hold the AGM. However, it is also important that the evidence to support intervention from the court must be strong enough.