Glossary

Companies House Prefix RC (Royal Charter)

Clifford McDowell

The Companies House Prefix RC refers to Royal Charters as granted by the sovereign based on the advice of the Privy Council, some of these charters have a history dating as far back as the 13th century. Originally their purpose was to create public or private corporations with a definition of their privileges and purpose. Many older universities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are also defined as Chartered Bodies. However most analysts will come across them when they see the Companies House Prefix of RC.

Definition of a Royal Charter

A Royal Charter is an instrument of incorporation, granted by the head of state (currently the Queen), which gives independent legal personality to an organisation and defines its objectives, constitution and powers to govern its own affairs. As such each charter will operate under slightly different rules, e.g. a University will have different rules to a commercial organisation.

History of incorporation by Charter

Before the 19th century, the grant of a Charter of Incorporation was the only method of creating a separate legal personality. By this means, universities, colleges, schools, municipalities and guilds were established. With the introduction of the first Company Acts the need for Charters was greatly reduced as individuals were able to register their own companies.

Chartered bodies and Companies House

Yes. Organisations incorporated by Charter need to be registered with Companies House, they will allocate a company number with the prefix ‘RC’. This prefix distinguishes them from the other bodies registered at Companies House which are incorporated under the various Companies Acts. Companies House require verification from the Privy Council Office before registering a Chartered body, and before altering an existing registration.

Under the terms of their charter, they do not need to file accounts with Companies House. Any company listed in the Company register with an RC prefix will therefore not have any associated account filings.

You can view a full list of Charters Granted here

For more information on Company House prefixes take a look at the Doorda article Company Number Prefixes Defined

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