The Companies Bill was signed into law by the President of Ireland on 23 December 2014, and has now become the Companies Act 2014.
The legislation will however only enter into force when it has been "commenced" by a commencement order, which will be made by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation by means of a Statutory Instrument. The commencement date of the legislation is expected to be 1 June 2015, and on that date it is anticipated that the vast majority of the Act's provisions will enter into force.
The Act condenses the current 17 Companies Acts and related company law provisions into a single comprehensive code of company legislation. Whilst many of the sections are merely a restatement of the current law, there are also a number of changes and some new provisions.
A significant portion of the Act is dedicated entirely to the company limited by shares, known as the "Ltd" or "CLS". It is intended that the CLS will become the company model of choice for the vast majority of private companies in Ireland. The remainder of the Act sets out the law applying to other company types, namely public limited companies, guarantee companies, unlimited companies, investment companies and Designated Activity Companies (or DACs).
The Act will simplify company legislation for practitioners. Significantly, the long-established fiduciary duties of directors are codified under the new legislation.
There are a number of corporate governance initiatives in the legislation which are designed to make carrying out business in Ireland easier.