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A minute book is a binder or bound book that houses permanent and detailed accounts of deliberations and resolutions. Minute books are written in during a firm's official meetings or legal events. They also can be used in businesses to record the proceedings of meetings.
Traditionally, these books are handwritten and have sequentially numbered pages that have been bound securely. This process is meant to safeguard against fraudulent activity. Some legal practices still keep handwritten books, both as a nod to tradition and as a reliable means to deter tampering.
By law, incorporated and registered firms are charged with having to keep a current minute book. These books are to be kept at a firm's official, registered office or legal address. They must be made accessible to every member of a firm.
Courtroom deputies also can be charged with the maintenance of a minute book. Deputies can update the book as hearings and trials take place under a judge. The deputies are chosen as trusted keepers of these records.
The dawn of the technological age has changed the way some handle minute books. Businesses, for example, might rely on someone to type up minutes on a computer, print them out and then affix the printouts in the books with sequentially numbered pages. Business with a large number of official meetings might find this way of keeping books perfectly acceptable.
The minute books of corporations can contain corporate documents and records. These can include bylaws, corporate articles, annual reports and directors' and shareholders' resolutions. They also can contain information about the proceedings of meetings between shareholders and directors, including which actions were agreed upon and which resolutions were passed.
Deviation from the standard, traditional procedure of keeping minutes can make tampering with minute books relatively easy. For instance, keeping a loose-leaf binder as a minute book invites tampering because anyone can simply take out a page and put another page in the binder. If an organization prefers to keep a loose-leaf book, certain precautions need to be taken to ensure the book is kept secure and that tampering opportunities are minimized.
To protect the integrity of a loose-leaf book, recordkeepers should look into incorporating a system in which each page of minutes is numbered consecutively. Similarly, individual meetings should have sequential numbers associated with them. Even the minute items themselves should numbered. Finally, the signature of someone with authority who has read over the minutes and verified their authenticity should be required on each page.