Legal Structure of Associations
There is no general legal structure for associations because they can be established under different types of legal forms.
Types of association
Generally speaking, the law regulating an association depends on the legal form the association has chosen. The various types of legal form come with different responsibilities for both the members and executives of the association.
The most common form chosen for smaller and voluntary associations, such as sports clubs, is the unincorporated association. Unincorporated associations can be easily established by founding members with almost no legal restrictions.
Alternatively, associations can be founded as charities, cooperatives, mutual organizations or incorporated companies, where different laws apply for each form.Start now >
Establishing, membership and dissolution of associations
Certain criteria need to be fulfilled when establishing an association.
- A first meeting held by the founding members
- Creating and approving bylaws for the association
- Appointing or electing a board of directors
- Writing down the results of the first meeting
Generally, all associations, despite their different legal structures, have a general meeting open to all members and a board of directors who run the association on behalf of the members. Additional committees can then be constituted in the bylaws.
Learn more about board of directors elections in associations!
The membership base includes both the founding members and those which have subsequently joinded the association. Members have voting rights at the Annual General Meeting which are outlined in the bylaws.
Dissolution of the association
The various legal forms suggest that an association can be dissolved at a general meeting if a quorum is reached and a majority of members vote in favour of dissolving the association. The association’s assets are distributed to persons or organizations as set out in the bylaws.
POLYAS-Tip: If the bylaws allow it you can hold your annual general meeting online. Let your members vote directly online and increase voter turnout in your association. Learn how you can include online voting in your bylaws now!
Online voting in associations
Give your members the option to vote online on resolutions and their board of directors. This allows members who are unable to attend the general meeting to exercise their voting rights.
Lead your association into the digital future. Our online voting experts are happy to help you in conducting online elections in your association. Contact us now!