When is a member no longer financial?
This is a common question.
I have seen legal advice which gives the following answer but you must not take this as advice for your situation – the following answer is general only, and gives a general guideline.
If your constitution specifically says that membership fees are due by a specific date AND they say that if membership fees are not received by that date, membership lapses, then a person who has not paid by the due date is no longer a member and ceases to have any of the privileges of membership.
If your constitution simply says that fees are due on particular date or that the membership year is from (say) January to December, and a member has not paid by that date, it can be (and has been) argued that their membership does not lapse as they may be able to pay in arrears. Such a member may simply pay the fees backdated and still be a member.
I have heard of a case where a member paid their fees for three years back dated in order to attend and present an argument at a meeting even though they had not attended for years.
What’s the smart thing to do? The smart thing is to change the constitution to have a clause that specifically says when a person is no longer a member. For instance, “If membership fees are not received by March 31st, the person’s membership will lapse.”
If you inclusde that clause along with when the membership year is, then it is much clearer.
Please Note: The author accepts no responsibility for anything which occurs directly or indirectly as a result of using any of the suggestions or procedures detailed in this blog. This is not, and should be taken as legal advice. All suggestions and procedures are provided in good faith as general guidelines only and should be used in conjunction with relevant legislation, constitutions, rules, laws, by-laws, and with reasonable judgement. If you are in any doubt, seek appropriate advice.