Responsibilities of those in Governance

Judging from email correspondence I received after my article “Liability of Charitable Trustees”LINK was first published, it appeared to have hit some raw nerves, as I received illustrations of (allegedly) inappropriate behaviour by those governing community organisations.  Without considering whether the allegations are justified, it is worth recording some of the issues raised.  This I […]

Strategic Planning for Societies and Charities

Why plan strategically? Strategic planning is required of councils under the Local Government Act 2002, and Parliament presumably believed that this would improve the performance of local authorities – this principle may have wider applicability.   The rules of societies and the deeds of charitable trusts set out the purposes (objects) and powers of those entities, […]

They Made a Mistake

What societies and charitable trusts should do when mistakes are alleged or identified was discussed in We Made a Mistake LINK.  This article looks at the reverse side of that discussion.  Despite the best of intentions (but sometimes with malice aforethought) entity governance or management often falls short of what is legally required, and the […]

Trusts Act 2019 and Not-for-Profits

Updated statute applying to Trusts The Trusts Act 2019 was enacted in July 2019, and it came into force on 30 January 2021.  The delay gave many trusts time to amend the documents that control how they operate and to alter their procedures.  However, many trusts will still be caught by surprise by this updated […]

Why Incorporate?

The issue In the first of this series of articles (originally published in 2010) I outlined the disadvantages of unincorporated societies, noting that a 2007 Statistics New Zealand report stated that there were then some 97,000 Not-For-Profit entities in New Zealand.  Given that statistic I suggested that less than half were incorporated, which I believed […]

Winding up a Society or Charitabl Trust

“Big brother” is interested It should come as no surprise that the State has an interest in the winding up of societies and charitable trusts, as noted two decades ago in Hunt v Border Fancy Canary Club of NZ (Inc) (2000) 8 NZCLC 262,140, para [30]: The Incorporated Societies Act 1908 [and the Charitable Trusts […]

Adequate Notice of Meetings

Who cares?  Those governing societies and charities are, generally, not too worried about what’s in the organisation’s constitution (and some of those in governance may never have read the Constitution!).  However, they should be concerned, as the proceedings of meetings called without adequate notice to members can be declared to be invalid (as occurred in […]

Chairing a Difficult Meeting

As noted in another article (Whose meeting is it anyway?LINK) it is basic to the concept of any formal meeting that democratic processes should and will be followed.  If the meeting is to be democratic, formal and well-run: It should not be dominated by an authoritarian chairperson or by any aggressive participant(s),  Those taking part […]

Holding (or not holding) General Meetings of Members in extraordinary circumstances

Lessons from the COVID-19 Epidemic The issues relating to the COVID-19 epidemic gave rise to some difficult problems for many organisations that are required to hold regular meetings of members (including companies and not-for-profit organisations such as societies and charities).  This is particularly pertinent after mid-March 2020 when many organisations faced the need to hold […]

Introduction to Chairing a Difficult Meeting

What to know in advance of a potentially difficult meeting In my experience (having chaired a number of “difficult” meetings), the chairperson of a potentially difficult meeting needs to know the type of meeting to be chaired, the subject matter, why it is expected to be “difficult,” and the attitudes of those likely to attend.  […]