Law Commission Report – Why we have an Incorporated Societies Act

Legislative Origins The Law Commission’s recent report on the Incorporated Societies Act 1908 reason behind the 1908 records that the then Chief Law Drafter, John Salmond, explained the 1908 Bill: The object of the Bill, as of the repealed Act, is to provide a simple method by which societies established for any purpose other than pecuniary gain may become incorporated. In recent years the Unclassified Societies Registration Act, 1895, has been extensively made use of by societies of a much more complex and important character than those for which the Act seems to have been primarily designed, and numerous deficiencies in the law have consequently come to light. The present Bill is an attempt to make a more adequate provision for the incorporation, management, control, and dissolution of societies to which it relates. The Commission’s Report then goes on to note “John Salmond referred to the need to essentially modernise the 1895 Act because of the range and nature of organisations seeking incorporation under it. We now believe that the 1908 Act should again be updated to take account of changed times, as well as a different appreciation of what is needed from an incorporation statute. … John Salmond produced a modern corporation statute in 1908 terms, but he did not deal with issues that have since become important in relation to incorporations, for example, the abolition of the ultra vires doctrine. Nor did he make explicit, in a way we believe a modern law drafter would, the duties that lie on those who run incorporated societies. He did not attempt to deal with how disputes were to be...