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Dr Ian Plummer

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Club Management
Establishing Trustees for a Croquet Club

Patricia Duke-Cox enquired:

"Can anyone offer any advice to a small English club wishing to be considered for a lease of some land held by the local district council? [The Club] has been told by the council's solicitor that it cannot grant a lease to an unincorporated association and that is a matter of fact.

The options seem to be either becoming a limited company or appointing Trustees. Do we change our constitution (based on a template provided by the CA [Croquet Association])? What are the dangers and liabilities?"

What have other clubs done in this situation please?"

Dave Kibble of Bristol Croquet Club responded:

Bristol is in a similar situation. The trustees are required by the council for the lease. The CA model constitution does not cover the situation but the wording we have is:

"The property of the club shall be vested in four trustees to be dealt with by them as the Committee shall from time to time direct by a resolution (of which an entry in the Minutes Book shall be conclusive evidence). The trustees shall hold office until death or resignation and shall be indemnified against risk and expense out of Club property. Where by reason of such death or resignation it is necessary that a new Trustee or Trustees be appointed, the committee shall nominate the person or persons to be appointed new Trustee or Trustees. For the purpose of giving effect to such nominations, the Secretary of the Club is hereby nominated as the person to appoint new Trustees within the meaning of The Trustee Act 1925, and he/she shall be deemed duly to appoint the person or persons so nominated by the Committee."

It is not known by the present committee what the responsibilities and liabilities are of the trustees.

Ric Bagnall noted:

The following link may be helpful, albeit it is targeted at setting up governance for charities

http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/publications/cc22.aspx

and it does reference a list of recommended contents for a deed of trust (although no example )

Sadly, I could not find anything relevant on the Sport England page (although there were a lot of references to Courses to assist in the development and running of clubs and I suspect that they would be happy to respond to enquiries on the subject of Trusts).

Please also note the following information relating to "Tax breaks for Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs)" on the Sport England website:

http://www.sportengland.org/tax_breaks.htm [note page now absent! ]

Stephen Mulliner added:

I suggest incorporating as a company limited by shares or by guarantee.

Ray Hall:

I cannot comment directly on the club situation, but I have recently taken over as secretary of a Trust formed by the residents association in similar circumstances where the property is a communal garden. The landlord (Southwark Council) could not offer a lease directly to the association for reasons which you outlined. A Declaration of Trust was organised, and the council granted the lease to the trustees on behalf of the trust.

In general principle this seems much more to the point than converting your club to a company, unless you had other reasons for so doing, since the latter would outlast the lease. One possible reason in favour of incorporation is that when we change trustees (as we are now doing) it becomes necessary to transfer the title to the new trustees (Land Registry form TR1) at a registration cost of £40 plus possible further legal fees. I believe but do not know, that this may not be necessary for a company. We have a 125 year lease so it becomes important but may be unimportant for 15.

Unfortunately in our case the solicitor handling the original deed did not really know much about this sort of situation and I have had to spend some more of the Trust's money in sorting it out. So be aware that most solicitors are general practitioners and look for someone with recent specific experience, recommended by satisfied clients.

The deficiencies related to appointment of successor trustees and to the arrangements for management; they may have relevance if you decide to establish a lease-holding trust in parallel to the club's normal constitution.

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Updated 28.i.16
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