Board Meetings | Financial Services | imac legal & compliance


1st Floor.

financial espionage

Board meetings – to record or not to record

September 4, 2015 imaclegal 2 Comments

Discussion: should Board meetings be recorded. If you have been following the business news in any of the Fairfax publications, you couldn’t have failed to notice that collapsed Australian satellite company, Newsat, has been in the news quite a bit recently (see this link to The Age’s website for example). A couple of the latest articles also contain leaked videos of boardroom meetings. Which started imac legal thinking: is recording board meetings a good idea or not?

On the one hand, as a champion of good compliance and governance principles, recording Board meetings (either audio or video) has a certain appeal. After all, if a company has nothing to hide why would they be concerned about having their Board meetings taped? Recordings would be prima facie evidence of what was discussed and what transpired at Board meetings. He said, she said would be a thing of the past. And it could be argued that the mere knowledge that a meeting is being recorded would be a catalyst for all Board members to bring their ‘A’ game to the table. Surely that would result in conscientious consideration of issues, focused debate and discussion. In other words, a cultural fillip, right?

But on the other hand, there are a number of risks and potential unintended consequences. First out of the blocks, there is the risk of recordings falling into the wrong hands. Valuable and secret information is discussed at Board meetings. Industrial espionage is not unheard of and disgruntled employees, directors or other insiders are in every office block. There is also the risk that Boards would end up a reality TV version of themselves – directors with points to prove could well play up to the cameras. Knowing that meetings are recorded however could have the unintended consequence of discouraging open, honest, robust discussion, especially around sensitive issues. And perhaps even worse, it could result in important conversations taking place ‘off-piste’ instead of in the Boardroom where they belong. Undoubtedly, it would only be a matter of time where such recordings would be the subject of legal discovery in disputes, taking a company’s eye off the ball fighting rear-guard actions instead of focusing on the corporate objectives. And of course, it could be argued that the onus on directors is already great enough; they don’t need another albatross around the neck.

To our mind, the risks and pitfalls clearly outweigh any potential benefits of recording Board meetings. Succinct, accurate minute-taking should suffice. But what about you? Would you ever seriously consider overt recording of Board meetings as a governance tool? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

To get the latest financial services and commercial law developments straight to your inbox, signup to imac legal’s blog here  today.


    Avatar for imaclegal
    January 27, 2016 REPLY

    Is Audio recording the legal right of a Secretary?

      Avatar for imaclegal
      February 3, 2016 REPLY

      Company secretaries do not have any special legal rights regarding recording. They, like anyone else, are entitled to record meetings (so long as the relevant laws are complied with which usually require informing the recordees and obtaining their consent). Similarly, people have a right to decline to be recorded. The issue here is really around a company’s policy settings and whether recording is in fact a good governance measure or not.

leave a comment


Any advice on this website is general only and should not be relied on as a substitute for legal advice tailored to your situation. imac legal & compliance pty ltd trades as imac legal and as imac compliance. We will always let you know beforehand whether we are acting as a law firm or as a compliance consultancy (and not as a law firm) for a particular matter. You have several rights and protections under the law when we act as a law firm.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation when providing legal services.