Section 173 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) is ‘Right to Inspect and Get Copies’ and is extracted below.
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Section 173 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) is Right to Inspect and Get Copies and reads as follows:
Right to Inspect and Get Copies
Right to inspect
(1) A company or registered scheme must allow anyone to inspect a register kept under this Chapter. If the register is not kept on a computer, the person inspects the register itself. If the register is kept on a computer, the person inspects the register by computer.
Note: Other provisions that are relevant to the inspection of registers are:
* section 1300 (place and times for inspection)
* section 1301 (the location of documents that are kept on computers)
* section 1306 (form and evidentiary value).
(2) A member of a company or a registered scheme, a registered option holder or a registered debenture holder may inspect a register kept under this Chapter without charge. Other people may inspect the register only on payment of any fee (up to the prescribed amount) required by the company or scheme.
Right to get copies
(3) The company or scheme must give a person a copy of the register (or a part of the register) within 7 days if the person:
(a) makes an application to the company or registered scheme in accordance with subsection (3A); and
(b) pays any fee (up to the prescribed amount) required by the company or scheme.
ASIC may allow a longer period to comply with the request. If the register is kept on a computer, the company or registered scheme must give the copy to the person in the prescribed form.
(3A) An application is in accordance with this subsection if:
(a) the application states each purpose for which the person is accessing the copy; and
(b) none of those purposes is a prescribed purpose; and
(c) the application is in the prescribed form.
Note: Sections 137.1 and 137.2 of the Criminal Code create offences for providing false or misleading information or documents.
(4) A person has the same rights to inspect, and obtain copies of, the documents kept under subsection 170(3) as the person has in respect of the register of option holders itself.
(5) The company is not required under subsection (1) or (3) to allow a person to see, or to give a person a copy that contains, share certificate numbers.
ASIC power in relation to register of debenture holders
(6) ASIC may exempt a company from complying with subsections (1) and (3) in relation to information in a register of debenture holders about debentures that are not convertible into shares or options over unissued shares.
(7) The exemption:
(a) must be in writing; and
(b) may be general or limited; and
(c) may be subject to conditions specified in the exemption.
(8) ASIC must publish a copy of the exemption in the Gazette .
(9) A person must not contravene a condition of the exemption.
(9A) An offence based on subsection (1), (3) or (9) is an offence of strict liability.
Note: For strict liability , see section 6.1 of the Criminal Code .
(10) On application by ASIC, the Court may order a person who contravenes a condition of the exemption to comply with the condition.
The maximum penalty for the offence of breaching the Right to Inspect and Get Copies is:
3 months imprisonment and/or 10 penalty units (a Commonwealth penalty unit is currently $210).
However, it should be kept in mind that maximum penalties are reserved for the most serious cases.
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