Access to society and charity records – Revisited

Joys of Writing this Column I enjoy writing this column as issues arise where the answers are often uncertain or obscure.  Some articles provoke responses raising further questions or advancing other points of view, or draw attention to authority I either have not been aware of or have overlooked. I discussed a South Australian decision, McKay v Australian Alpaca Association (1997) 69 SASR 218, dealing with a member’s request to access to a society’s records in my last article “Access to society and charity records”.  That morning a reader emailed me, drawing attention to another Australian decision of which I was aware, but had overlooked.  This earlier New South Wales decision in Grogan v McKinnon [1973] 2 NSWLR 290 is cited three times in my text, Society Law, and one footnote expressly discusses the conclusion that a candidate for office in a society should be permitted access to the member’s register to advance his candidacy.  Because the judgment of Street C.J. in that case explains the rationale for that conclusion and further explains why a member should be allowed to access a society’s records, extracts from the judgment are set out below. Background facts in Grogan v McKinnon This case raises a short but novel point concerning the right of a member of an unincorporated club to have access to the membership records of that club. … The facts are not in dispute.  There is no challenge to the correctness of the Plaintiff’s assertion that it is in aid of his candidature for the position of president that he seeks to have access to the membership records.  Nor it...