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Register of Members 2023

The importance of understanding the rights of members relating to the Register of Members (‘Register’) was once again emphasised in the legal dispute between Mr Lawrence and Melbourne Football Club (‘the Club’) in 2022.

Mr Lawrence, a member of the Club, sought a copy of their register for the purposes of sending an email to all voting members of the Club. While providing Mr Lawrence with the register, they refused to provide the email addresses of members. The Club claimed that the addresses did not comprise part of the register and are not required to be maintained under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).

Several critical questions are commonly raised, and in light of this case, understandings of the relevant laws should be clarified. For example, must a company limited by guarantee (like the Club) be required to disclose all details contained on the Register? If so, does this breach any privacy concerns of members? Members often request a copy of the Register for the purposes of contacting other members, such as in the case of Mr Lawrence and the Club.

These issues and others will be discussed but some background is first needed.

 

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