§ 9 After Clause 29, insert the following clause:
§ Documents relating to Welsh companies185
§ (2) Section 21 (registered documentation of Welsh companies) shall cease to have effect.
§ (3) In section 228(2) (f) (under which the conditions for exemption from the requirement to provide group accounts include the provision of translations of certain documents), at the beginning there shall be inserted the words "(subject to section 710B(6) (delivery of certain Welsh documents without a translation))".
§ (4) The words "then, subject to section 710B(6) (delivery of certain Welsh documents without a translation)," shall be inserted—
- (a) after the words "other than English" in sections 242(1) and 243(4) and paragraph 7(3) of Part II of Schedule 9, and
- (b) after the words "does not apply" in sections 272(5) and 273(7),
§ (5) Section 255E (accounting documents of Welsh private companies) shall cease to have effect.
§ (6) After section 710A there shall be inserted—
§ "Documents relating to Welsh companies.
§ 710B.—(1) This section applies to any document which—
- (a) is delivered to the registrar under this Act or the Insolvency Act 1986, and
- (b) relates to a company (whether already registered or to be registered) whose memorandum states that its registered office is to be situated in Wales.
§ (2) A document to which this section applies may be in Welsh but, subject to subsection (3), shall on delivery to the registrar be accompanied by a certified translation into English.
§ (3) The requirement for a translation imposed by subsection (2) shall not apply—
- (a) to documents of such descriptions as may be prescribed for the purposes of this paragraph, or
- (b) to documents in a form prescribed in Welsh (or partly in Welsh and partly in English) by virtue of section 26 of the Welsh Language Act 1993.
§ (4) Where by virtue of subsection (3) the registrar receives a document in Welsh without a certified translation into English, he shall, if that document is to be available for inspection, himself obtain such a translation; and that translation shall be treated as delivered to him in accordance with the same provision as the original.
§ (5) A company whose memorandum states that its registered office is to be situated in Wales may deliver to the registrar a certified translation into Welsh of any document in English which relates to the company and which is or has been delivered to the registrar.
§ (6) The provisions within subsection (7) (which require certified translations into English of certain documents delivered to the registrar) shall not apply where a translation is required by subsection (2) or would be required but for subsection (3).
§ (7) The provisions within this subsection are section 228(2) (f), the second sentence of section 242(1), sections 243(4), 272(5) and 273(7) and paragraph 7(3) of Part II of Schedule 9.
§ (8) In this section "certified translation" means a translation certified in the prescribed manner to be a correct translation." '.
§ 10 After Clause 29, insert the following clause:
§ Publicity for limited liability status of Welsh companies
§ '. In section 351 of the Companies Act 1985, subsections (3) and (4) (which require the status of a company whose name ends in "cwmni cyfyngedig cyhoeddus" or "cyfyngedig" to appear in English on certain documents) shall cease to have effect.'.
§ Registered charities
My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their 186 Amendments Nos. 9 and 10 en bloc. In moving that Motion I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 13, 15, 16, and 19.
The purpose of these amendments is to facilitate the use of the Welsh language by companies. They do so in a way which furthers the underlying principle of the Bill—that of English and Welsh being treated on a basis of equality.
The first effect of the amendments will be to extend the range of documents which companies can submit to the Registrar of Companies in Welsh without the need of a translation. That extension will, I am sure, be welcomed by companies which normally conduct their business affairs through the medium of Welsh.
Secondly, Amendments Nos. 10, 15 and 16 repeal the provisions in company law which at present require companies to declare their status; for example "Public Limited Company" or "Company Limited" in English irrespective of the fact that the rest of the letter or the document might have been written in Welsh. Now the heading of the document declaring the status of the company can be in either English or Welsh. Company law will continue to require companies to declare their company status but that will no longer require that this declaration must be in English.
§ Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 9 and 10.—(Earl Ferrers.)
§ Lord Prys-Davies
My Lords, I should like to express my appreciation of this lengthy amendment. I believe it affects around seven sections in the Companies Act 1985. But the 1985 Act is a long Act—it consists of 750 sections and 25 schedules—and it is extremely complicated. I may have missed the possibility that there is a requirement for other documents to be filed in English. When this Bill is passed, will there remain other sections in the Companies Act 1985 which will prevent a Welsh company from filing its documents in Welsh without a translation, or is the Minister fairly confident that there is no such section?
Perhaps I may put another question which arises out of the duty which is placed upon the company registrar under subsections (3) and (4) of Section 710B—that is, subsection (4) in subsection (6) of the amendment on the Marshalled List—namely, a duty to obtain a certified translation of a Welsh document. I wonder whether the registrar should be under a statutory duty to produce such a translation within a prescribed time limit of, say, seven or 14 days. When a person makes a search at Companies House the reply must be up-to-date, accurate and speedily processed. That is an important point. For that reason I ask whether there should be a statutory obligation to obtain a translation within a certain time limit.
I might mention that the attention of the Secretary of State was drawn to that possible difficulty when Statutory Instrument 1992 No. 1083 was passed. I wonder whether that ought to be reflected in the legislation or whether it will be covered by a practice rule.
My Lords, so far as we are aware all the obstacles in the Companies Act 1985 which would 187 prevent a company from filing its documents in Welsh have been removed. The noble Lord was also concerned as to whether the registrar should be under a duty to obtain a certified translation within a prescribed time limit. That will be a matter to be considered when the registrar comes to prepare a Welsh language scheme and it will be up to him to consider it.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.