The role of the Registrar

What we can and can’t do

Both the Incorporated Societies Act 1908 and Incorporated Societies Act 2022 set 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, change in officers and contact person details, alterations to a society’s rules or constitution, annual financial statements, and annual returns (for societies registered under the 2022 Act).

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

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