Wednesday 3 December 2008

UK: Scotland: separate legal personality for unincorporated associations?

The Scottish Law Commission has published a discussion paper in which it seeks views on the desirability of introducing a new legal status for unincorporated associations. In the discussion paper's introduction it is noted (paras. 1.1 and 1.6):

Scotland shares with the other parts of the United Kingdom a law of unincorporated associations which rests upon common law and has been little developed by statute. Its most striking feature is the absence of legal personality accorded to associations and clubs which do not choose to establish themselves as companies or as some other form of incorporated body. Put shortly, the current law does not recognise the existence of such organisations as separate legal entities. In the case of associations of sufficient size to wish to enter into contracts, own property, engage employees and so forth, this absence of legal personality has given rise to a variety of problems, highlighted in a substantial body of case law over many years, only some of which have been pragmatically resolved.

The principal purpose of this Discussion Paper is to seek comment on the desirability of legislative reform which would accord separate legal personality to unincorporated associations which do not wish to incorporate as companies or as some other form of incorporated body but which meet specified minimum criteria".

The discussion paper is available here. A press release is available here; a letter to consultees is available here and a response form is available here.

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