It is sometimes thought by those running voluntary groups , such as sporting bodies or licensed Clubs that they are not required to comply with the general laws in relation to the rights of individual members. There seems to be a mistaken view that because members voluntarily join such groups that the members therefore agree to be treated however the Committee or office holders think is appropriate.
The committee, or the individual office holders of such bodies are not only bound to comply with their own Constitution when dealing with members of the group, they also have to obey the general laws, including what are known as the Rules of Natural Justice or the Rules of Procedural Fairness.
We have represented many people in situations where a voluntary association wrongly thinks it is some sort of law unto itself and that it can do whatever it likes. In several cases our clients have successfully taken action in the Supreme Court against high handed bodies, ranging from local bodies to state associations and it often seems to come as a surprise to those running these bodies that the courts can, and will, interfere and take action.
Like all court cases you always need to keep things in perspective so that the issues involved in the dispute need to be significant enough to justify taking such action. If a member successfully takes court action then the Association will in almost all cases also be ordered to pay the members legal costs. If you are having problems of this sort then we can advise you about your rights.