The role of the Registrar

What we can and can’t do

The Incorporated Societies Act 1908 sets out the Registrar’s roles and responsibilities. These do not include intervening or arbitrating in the internal matters of incorporated societies.

What we do…

The Registrar is responsible for maintaining a public register of incorporated societies, and for receiving and processing the documents that they are obliged to file. These include applications for incorporation, notification of a change to the registered office address, alterations to a society’s rules, annual financial statements and dissolutions.

What we don’t do…

While the Registrar has some limited powers of inspection to ascertain whether societies are complying with the Act – which relate largely to document-filing requirements – these do not extend to intervening in internal matters.

Should an incorporated society experience problems regarding how it is being run or the way its rules are being interpreted or applied, it must resolve them itself or seek legal advice, if appropriate. The Registrar does not provide a dispute resolution or legal advisory service for societies.

Resolving internal disputes

A new Incorporated Societies Act (the 2022 Act) comes fully into force in October 2023.

Once a society incorporates or reregisters under the 2022 Act it will need to comply with the new legislation. This includes having procedures for resolving disputes and other grievances between members as well as between members and the society. The 2022 Act defines what those procedures must look like, including a set of procedures that societies can choose to adopt . Each society must document their dispute resolution procedures in their constitution (rules).

Read more about law changes for societies

Our Constitution Builder tool can help you draft or review your society’s rules

If you would like to review your society’s rules now, you might want to use our Constitution Builder tool to help prepare a draft. The current version of this tool complies with the current 1908 Act and includes some optional clauses that will also comply with the new 2022 Act — including dispute resolution clauses.

Use our Constitution Builder tool