Rights & Duties

 In this section of the site we look at some of the rights and duties of members.

For further information on this, please read the following document

Disputes and Disciplinaries

Clubs and Class Associations are communities of individuals and it is therefore not altogether surprising that from time to time committees find themselves having to address disagreements within their organisations. Failing to handle such issues in a timely and appropriate manner can result in simple disagreements escalating which may cause club rules to be contravened, resulting in the need to conduct disciplinary proceedings. 

Disputes and disciplinary procedures are thankfully, not a common occurrence; however, we know that conducting disciplinary proceedings is likely to be stressful for all involved and we have therefore produced Guidance to assist you.  We have updated our Conduct of Members Guidance (renamed Disputes and Disciplinary Procedure) to include a sample Disciplinary Procedure and Code of Conduct, all of which may be adapted to suit your club’s circumstances. 

Full information on this, can be found in the following document: 

Legal Liability of Members

When we talk about legal liability we mean to be held legally responsible for actions taken, or failure to take appropriate action.  This section of the site looks at the liability between ordinary and committee members, commercial associates and the public.

In general people are only responsible for their own acts, and those that they authorise, although employers may have vicarious liability for the wrongful acts of their employees, even if the employer did not specifically authorise it, and did not know about it, if the act was carried out in the course of the employee's employment.

However, ordinary members of an unincorporated association may only be held liable for the wrongful acts of other members of the association if:

  • they authorised or helped to carry out the activity;
  • if they were in overall control of the activity;
  • if they are specifically responsible for an activity, or the safety of premises, and they are found to be in breach of that duty.

The members of an unincorporated association do not have a general duty of care towards each other beyond that owed between strangers. Thus, in general, a member of an unincorporated association cannot claim against the other members unless it can be shown that an individual had a specific responsibility, for example for keeping the clubhouse in a safe condition, or that an individual knew of a danger and failed to warn the other members.

The constitution of a club may provide that the members are not liable for the organisation's debts or actions. This will not protect them if they are members of the committee, or have allowed their name to go on a contract, or have entered into an unauthorised contract, or are personally liable for criminal or negligent acts.

If a committee member (or ordinary member) is successfully sued, he is only entitled to be indemnified by the association if:

  • he was being sued as a representative of all the members, or
  • he was carrying out activities for, and with the approval of, the association and its members.

The right to indemnity only extends to the assets of the association, and to any additional sum which the rules provide (typically one year's subscription from each member / see RYA Model Rule 46). Without such a rule, individual members have no right to be indemnified by other members of the association.

If you require further assistance please do not hesitate to contact the Legal Team Tel:  023 8060 4223  Email: legal@rya.org.uk.