Resign to Avoid a Society’s Disciplinary Processes? – CTV Building Collapse

Resign to Avoid a Society’s Disciplinary Processes? – CTV Building Collapse

Complaints were made to the Institution of Professional Engineers of New Zealand Inc (“IPENZ”) about Harding, an engineer involved in the design and construction of the former CTV building in Christchurch which collapsed during the 22 February 2011 earthquake.  After disciplinary proceedings were commenced he resigned from IPENZ, apparently hoping to avoid the disciplinary process, and, on the face of it, you might well have thought that if he was no longer a member then he could no longer be disciplined by that Institute.  The High Court concluded otherwise – Harding v Institution of Professional Engineers of New Zealand Inc [2014] NZHC 2251 (17 September 2014). Contract of membership While not referred to in the IPENZ decision: As stated in Te Runanga o Muriwhenua Inc Society v Neho (High Court, Whangarei CP 43/98, 2 December 1998, Fisher J, at 4), “It is fundamental to the structure of an incorporated society that by the voluntary act of joining such a society every member opts into a contract to be bound by the rules of that society,” and Further, on becoming the terms of the contract between a society and its members are set out in the rules of the society (see, for instance, Finnigan v New Zealand Rugby Football Union Inc [1985] 2 NZLR 159 at 177 (CA)), with a member by virtue of membership agreeing to be bound by the rules (Tucker v Auckland Racing Club [1956] NZLR 1). In fact, an IPENZ Rule referred to a mandatory undertaking entered into by a candidate for membership that he or she would abide by IPENZ’s Rules and Regulations; stating that “Each candidate for...