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Pranav has asked this question and it’s a common one. What is the difference between an ordinary meeting and a special meeting?

An ordinary meeting is one which is usually held regularly and has no special requirements dictated by either legislation (like the  Associations Incorporation Act) or rules or constitutions of organisations or by-laws etc. For instance, a regular monthly meeting of an organisation is an ordinary meeting. At an ordinary meeting, you can deal with virtually any business except things which require special notice, or matters which the law or the Constitution dictates can only be dealt with at a special meeting.

A “special” meeting is usually called a Special General Meeting (SGM) or an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM). The key here is the word “general”. A general meeting is one which has specific requirements laid down by law or by the Constitution. A general meeting means it is open to all members and all members have the right to a) be given notice that the meeting is happening, and, b)  attend the meeting. The most common general meeting is the Annual General Meeting AGM).

Pranav has asked a second question also: Can you have multiple items on the agenda for a special general meeting?

The answer is yes. You can theoretically have any number of items on the agenda but at a Special General Meeting, there will usually only be a small number and often only one. The issue is that notice must have been given for every item on the agenda. You cannot raise other issues at an SGM unless they are on the agenda.

So at an SGM, it is possible for instance that the meeting may consider a new budget, or new membership categories, or changes to the constitution. It is possible but unusual for more than two or three issues to be dealt with at an SGM.


Please Note: The author is not a lawyer and accepts no responsibility for anything which occurs directly or indirectly as a result of using any of the suggestions, procedures or information detailed in this article. All suggestions and procedures are provided in good faith as general guidelines only and should be used in conjunction with appropriate advice, relevant legislation, constitutions, rules, laws, by-laws, and with reasonable judgement.

1 thought on “What is the difference between an ordinary meeting and a special meeting?

  1. Thank you – you have clarified for me which of the two forums our Trust will follow to transact a specific admin business we were unable to complete at our recent AGM. We agreed to meet again at an SGM to complete just this one item however, three [3] other matters have been included on the agenda to be dealt with. All x3 items are important too, however, we agreed that the outcome of the SGm for that particular admin matter was to be
    attached as an annexe to the AGM minutes which is to accompany an application to the Maori Land Court to register a newly elected Trustee.

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