Club rules and constitution

This is a comprehensive template for forming an unincorporated association such as a club or society. Using it, you can set out your organisation constitution or rules, including those around membership, management and decision making.
Suitable for use in: England & Wales and Scotland
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About this club rules and constitution template

Form your own society, association or club using this template. With the included explanatory notes to guide you, you will be able to set out the rules of your association, amongst them:

  • the purpose and the goals
  • how decisions are made and by whom
  • who will control finances
  • how members will be admitted and ejected

This template is suitable for a wide range of clubs, including sports clubs, collectors’ clubs, enthusiast clubs (like a bird-watching society), amateur dramatic or music societies, or intellectual pursuits.

It is also suitable for not-for-profit organisations, social enterprises and organisations that may wish to register as charities at a later date.

If you are considering registering as a charity, you may be interested in forming a company limited by guarantee instead.

The law relating to the operation and management of clubs

A club or society is usually formed as an unincorporated association.

Being “unincorporated”, simply means that the organisation is not a company. This has advantages, in that it is easy to set-up and to administer, and disadvantages, in that it has no legal identity of its own beyond the identity of the individual members. The implication of the latter is that the members are personally responsible for any liabilities (debts or obligations) that arise.

The personal liability of members is therefore one of the strongest reasons to have a formal constitution. If you, as a member, are liable for decisions made by another member, you’ll want to make sure that decisions are made in your interest.

Although in law you are not required to have a constitution, in practice, having one safeguard's the interests of members against each other, and provides clear guidelines as to how the club, society or association will work. It is likely to reduce the number of disagreements between members, ensuring the on-going success of the organisation.

When to use this template

It is usual to form a constitution when a club or association is first set up. However, this document can also be used by established associations that either want to expand or formalise their original agreement.

The agreement is suitable for a wide range of organisations. The members may share a common interest (such as learning a language, business networking, or appreciation of wine), a common activity (such as playing a sport) or a common motive (such as a lobbying group). It can be used to form community groups and voluntary groups that might wish to register as charities in the future.

This document contains no provisions for ownership of property and no provisions for an alcohol license. These are possible, and are covered in other Net Lawman constitutions for clubs and associations.

Template features and contents

  • Sets out a clear and logical structure by which to manage your organisation, association, club or group
  • Variations suitable for many types of club, group or association
  • Suitable for organisations wishing to register charitable status

The document includes the following sections:

  • Main objective
  • Subscriptions, resignation, suspension and expulsion
  • Management of the association
  • Powers of the committee – what are they and who decides
  • Annual general meetings
  • Extraordinary General Meetings
  • Quorum at meetings
  • Voting at meetings
  • How and when the rules can and will be amended
  • Provisions for dissolution
  • Other usual legal paragraphs
  • Schedule of annual subscription charges
  • Explanatory notes and guidance

This document was written by a solicitor for Net Lawman. It complies with current English law.

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