Digital Opportunities for – and Legal Impediments to – Participation in a General Meeting of Shareholders
Keywords:shareholder rights in a general meeting, general meeting of shareholders, Estonian Commercial Code, Estonian company law, company law, corporate law
In conditions of a globalising economy, the practice of holding a meeting by electronic means of communication to arrange a company’s day-to-day economic activities is increasingly widespread. Physical participation in a general meeting may be impeded by various natural circumstances, such as the risk of spread of diseases or weather conditions adverse to travel. The same impediments and inconveniences can affect public limited companies, whose shareholders often are in different countries, such that physically attending a general meeting may prove to be excessively burdensome. Therefore, the question of holding general meetings in digital form has become one of the more prominent issues in company law.
The article examines whether and to what extent Estonia and other countries (Germany first and foremost, as a country with a legal system similar to Estonia’s, but also the Netherlands and the United Kingdom) regulate holding of public limited companies’ general meetings by electronic means. The article also addresses the main legal problems connected with participation in a general meeting held in digital form.