The Cambridge Law Journal

Articles

Unincorporated Associations and Their Dissolution

C. E. F. Rickett

The Bucks. Constabulary Widows' and Orphans' Fund Friendly Society was set up primarily to provide for the relief of the widows and orphans of deceased members of the Bucks. Constabulary. It was financed by voluntary contributions from the members. There was nothing in the rules about the destination of the society's property on its dissolution. In April 1968 the Thames Valley Constabulary came into being, an amalgamation of the Bucks. Constabulary and other forces. An effective instrument of dissolution of the society was signed on 14 October 1969; and Walton J. found himself facing in Re Bucks. Constabulary (No. 2) the question of “the destination of the assets of the friendly society …” Walton J. took the view that most past decisions “in relation to the destination of the funds of unincorporated associations” had “lost sight of” the “quite elementary … question of the property of unincorporated associations in the round.” He therefore proceeded to outline the general law on the holding of property by unincorporated associations as a necessary prelude to his decision on the destination of the funds. This was unquestionably the correct course to follow. It is suggested, however, that Walton J.'s view “in the round” on the holding of property by unincorporated associations is too simple, and that circumstances will arise in which a more complex problem on the destination of funds might arise, and which will surely call for a more complex answer. It must also be noted that Walton J. did not have to deal with the question of funds accruing to a society from outside sources, i.e., other than from the members themselves.