Morris v Kanssen: HL 1946

The House considered the effect of provisions relating to the acts of directors in the 1929 Act. Lord Simonds said: ‘There is, as it appears to me, a vital distinction between (a) an appointment in which there is a defect or, in other words, a defective appointment, and (b) no appointment at all. In the first case it is implied that some act is done which purports to be an appointment but is by reason of some defect inadequate for the purpose; in the second case there is not a defect, there is no act at all. The section does not say that the acts of a person acting as director shall be valid notwithstanding that it is afterwards discovered that he was not appointed a director. Even if it did, it might well be contended that at least a purported appointment was postulated. But it does not do so, and it would, I think, be doing violence to plain language to construe the section as covering a case in which there has been no genuine attempt to appoint at all. These observations apply equally where the term of office of a director has expired, but he nevertheless continues to act as a director, and where the office has been from the outset usurped without the colour of authority.’


Lord Simonds


[1946] AC 459, [1946] 1 All ER 586, 115 LJ Chancery 177


Companies Act 1929 143


England and Wales


ExplainedRoyal British Bank v Turquand CEC 1856
The plaintiff sought payment from the defendants, a joint stock Company, on a bond, signed by two directors, under the seal of the Company whereby the Company acknowledged themselves to be bound to the plaintiff in pounds 2,000. The company said . .

Cited by:

CitedDouglas and others v Hello! Ltd and others; similar HL 2-May-2007
In Douglas, the claimants said that the defendants had interfered with their contract to provide exclusive photographs of their wedding to a competing magazine, by arranging for a third party to infiltrate and take and sell unauthorised photographs. . .
CitedIn re Care Matters Partnership Ltd ChD 7-Oct-2011
An application was made for the appointment of administrators with retrospective effect.
Held: ‘there are two separate questions. The first question is whether an administration order should be made at all. This requires both the satisfaction . .
CitedRe Richborough Furniture Ltd ChD 21-Aug-1995
The court was faced with the question whether one of the three respondents, who was not a director of the company de jure, was nevertheless a director of the company de facto and as such liable to disqualification.
Held: A de facto director . .
AppliedRe New Cedos Engineering Company Ltd 1994
The company had two directors. On a death the inheritor of a members shares were entitled to have their shares registered. The majority shareholder died. The remaining board refused to register his widow as owner of the shares. She remarried, and . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Torts – Other, Company

Updated: 12 April 2022; Ref: scu.251747