R v Registrar of Companies, ex parte Bowen [1914]

R v Registrar of Companies, ex parte Bowen [1914] 3 KB 1161 is a case that exemplifies how the decision of the companies registrar to refuse incorporation may be subject to judicial review, provided the refusal is not unlawful. The case involves the refusal to register a company based on concerns about the qualifications of the subscribers.

A company sought to register with the name UNITED DENTAL SERVICE LTD, and all the subscribers to the memorandum were unregistered dental practitioners. The registrar refused registration unless the memorandum was altered or the name changed to clarify that the individuals behind the company were not registered practitioners. The central legal issue in this case was whether the registrar's refusal to register the company was lawful and within the registrar's powers.

The High Court, King's Bench, determined that neither the memorandum nor the proposed name breached the Dentist Act. Consequently, the registrar had wrongly refused to register the company. The court ordered a writ of mandamus to compel the registrar to register the company. The remedy sought was to require the registrar to perform the duty to register the company.

This case is significant as it illustrates the availability of judicial review when the registrar's decision to refuse incorporation is challenged. The court's decision emphasises the importance of ensuring that the registrar's actions are within the scope of the law and that refusals are based on legitimate legal grounds. The case also highlights the court's power to issue a writ of mandamus, a remedy that compels a public official to perform a duty that is part of their official role. Overall, the case underscores the principles of legality and fairness in the registrar's exercise of powers related to company incorporation.
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