Register of Members
Article by Jonathan Casson, Partner, Holman Webb Lawyers.
Several recent events, including the current dispute at CPA Australia, have once again highlighted the importance of understanding members’ rights regarding access to the Register of Members (‘Register’). All companies, including those limited by guarantee, must maintain such a Register. Following an application, a company must give certain individuals access to the Register, but only in limited circumstances and for a proper purpose.
We are often asked whether a company limited by guarantee must disclose all details contained on the Register, and in what circumstances this information must be disclosed? People also tend to question whether there are limits to the use of member information once disclosed? Often members may request a copy of the Register for the purpose of contacting other members, for example, to get the numbers for a resolution being put forward at the AGM. In the past, other purposes (which are not permitted) have included wanting to commence a class action against the company, or to use the details to advertise the member's business.
So how exactly does the Register work? And when can member information be disclosed?