By Hayes Knight – 7 March 2014

Further to our earlier article about the Law Commission review of the Incorporated Societies Act the Commerce Minister Craig Foss has now tabled in Parliament the Government’s response to the Law Commission’s report.

In his release after tabling the report to Parliament the Commerce Minister noted as follows:

“The Law Commission has produced a comprehensive report, outlining a number of recommendations to modernise the Incorporated Societies Act 1908. The recommendations seek to improve guidance for people who run incorporated societies, including how to manage disputes.  The Government has agreed to all but one of the 102 recommendations either in full or in principle.

A new Act based on the Commission’s recommendations will codify best practice for operating an incorporated society, as well as provide greater clarity and protection for members. While much of the detail in the Commission’s recommendations is yet to be fully tested, we will be seeking public comment on an exposure draft of the Bill and a model constitution in 2015.”

Hence this is likely to result in the 1908 Act being repealed and replaced by an updated Act in the next few years.

If an entity you are involved with is an incorporated society we suggest immediate action is not required but recommend that you remain cognisant of developments as it is likely that changes will occur and that your organisation may be affected by future legislative reform.   If your organisation is contemplating any changes to your constitution and rules in the near future before the legislation is modified then we would suggest reference to the findings of the Law Commission review and likely changes as it would make sense to make modifications only once.

The full 200 page Law Commission report or a 30 page summary as well as the Government’s response to the report can be found on