New Incorporated Societies Act 2022: What Societies need to know

by Mar 29, 2023Commercial Law

Article 1 in a series of 3 articles on the changes to the Incorporated Societies regime

The new Incorporated Societies Act 2022 became law on 5 April 2022. 

Why do we have a new Act?

This area of reform was well overdue given the preceding Act has been in place since 1908.  The 1908 Act no longer meets the requirements of the present day and does not provide suitable guidance in a number of areas.  As incorporated societies have become more complex and some hold substantial assets the introduction of a new legislative framework providing greater operational and governance guidance has been welcomed by many.

What do Incorporated Societies need to do?

Your society will need to update its rules (constitution) to be compliant with the new Act. We recommend you commence a review and update of your rules as early as possible.

Societies will need to adhere to the procedural and voting requirements in their existing constitutions as well as the Incorporated Societies Act 1908 to comply with the new Act.

Once your society has updated its rules it will need to re-register under the new Act.  The re-registration process will be set out in regulations that are being made under the new Act.

How long do we have to re-register?

The re-registration period runs from October 2023 to April 2026.  This gives a 2 and a ½ year transition timeframe for Incorporated Societies to re-register. 

Your society will need to comply with notice periods in proposing a resolution to vary the society rules.  There will also be voting thresholds that will need to be met. 

Many Incorporated Societies are updating their rules now in anticipation of the re-registration period commencing.

Which Act applies before a Society re-registers?

Until your Incorporated Society has registered under the new Act, it will continue to be subject to the Incorporated Societies Act 1908.

What happens if a Society fails to re-register?

It will be struck off the register and cease to exist.

It is important that societies get the right advice at the beginning of the process.  Please contact Jimmy Ng, Kimberly Knox, or Michael Bright if you would like more information or would like to start the process to amend your rules for the new Incorporated Societies Act 2022. We are well-placed to guide you through this process.

Make sure you look out for our upcoming articles in this series of 3:

Article 2             Key Changes under the Incorporated Societies Act 2022

Article  3            Incorporated Societies: Is it time to think about moving to a charitable trust?



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