Every registered limited company in the UK needs to have at least 1 company director (2 for PLCs). In small businesses the company director(s) can be the same people as the shareholders. However while there are very few restrictions on who can be a company shareholder there are some rules about who can be a company director.
As with most aspects of Company Law in the UK the 2006 Companies Act changed the rules on Company Directors. One of its stipulations is that at least one of the company directors must be a real or ‘natural’ person. This is because of a trend towards companies being founded by other companies, which in turn would be founded by other companies making it virtually impossible to track the people behind them.
As well as one of them being a ‘natural’ person company directors must be over the age of 16. However for practical reasons it is often best not to have directors under the age of 18 as this is the legal majority in the UK and having someone under this age signing contracts on behalf of the company could cause problems.
As long as you are a real person and over the age of 16 the assumption is that anyone (including non-British Citizens) can be a company director in the UK. However there are two major exceptions to this.
The first, and probably best known, is that you cannot be a company director if you are an ‘undischarged bankrupt’. (In other words if bankruptcy proceedings are ongoing against you). It is possible to apply for an exemption from the courts to allow undischarged bankrupts to be a company director but this is fairly rare.
The second reason why you cannot be a company director is if you have been disqualified from being a company director by the courts (again exemptions are possible but rare). People can be disqualified from being a company director for a variety of reasons including fraud, failure to keep proper records and persistently breaching company laws. Disqualifications normally last from 2 to 15 years.
As with the bankruptcy clause, disqualification from being a company director requires specific court action to have been taken against you. So assuming that you are over the age of 16 and no court proceedings have been made against you then you can be a company director in the UK. No other qualifications are required.