When a Society can Find no Officers

A practical problem, and not uncommon We are quite frequently asked by members of incorporated societies for advice about a problem which is not uncommon – a society which is unable to find anyone willing to stand for office as chairperson, secretary or treasurer, and where the constitution does not outline what should be done in those circumstances (and few society constitution do so). Most society constitutions provide that these positions are to be filled by people elected from the membership and may provide for the co-option of people to fill vacancies. However, finding volunteers to stand for election or for co-opted appointment is often difficult, and few society constitutions provide any solution in the absence of volunteers willing to take office. In addition, of course, it is sometimes difficult even to find enough people to form the size of committee prescribed in a society constitution. If an incorporated society fails to comply with its constitution by failing to elect officers (or the number of people required to form its committee) as prescribed under the constitution then High Court proceedings could be commenced (at considerable expense) to try to find a remedy, and if the society is a charity the failure to comply with the constitution could be the subject of a complaint to Charities Services.   Is there a sensible answer to the problem? If a society is unable to elect or appoint enough officers or committee members as required by its constitution and the issue came before the High Court, the presiding judge is likely to look for a practical solution, particularly as ordering the society to...