Incorporated associations

Resolving disputes

Disagreements may arise between members about changes or proposed changes to your association's name, constitution, membership or financial management.

Handling disputes internally

If you have a dispute with your association or a member, put your concerns in writing to the association or the management committee.

If necessary, refer to your association's constitution for your rights to do any of the following:

  • raise a formal grievance or dispute
  • call a special general meeting
  • vote at general meetings
  • vote collectively with other members to remove committee members
  • vote collectively with other members to amend the association’s constitution.

Getting external help for a dispute

If it can't be resolved within your association, your dispute may be resolved with external help from any of the following:

  • mediation from a Community Justice Centre - read more about mediation
  • legal, financial or other professional advice
  • a formal application to court.

You can go to court if you believe there have been unlawful actions, especially an 'oppressive or unreasonable act', based on the Associations Act 2003.

If you are expelled from an association and want to make an application to the court to be reinstated as a member, you must do so within six months of your expulsion.

Investigation by Licensing NT

Licensing NT may investigate breaches or contraventions of the Associations Act 2003.

Licensing NT has all of the following powers and responsibilities:

  • must give written notice of an investigation
  • the power of entry, and the power to investigate extending to any trust operated by the association
  • the power to require the production of books and records
  • the power to require people to answer questions relating to the investigation
  • the power to enter an association’s premises, examine and take possession of books kept at the premises.

When Licensing NT receives a formal complaint it may conduct a preliminary inquiry. This may involve an officer examining your association's books, accounts and other material required to be kept by the Associations Act 2003.

If preliminary inquiries show that your association's activities do not meet the requirements of the Associations Act 2003, Licensing NT may carry out a full or formal investigation.

What Licensing NT does not investigate

Licensing NT does not investigate fraud matters or breaches in an association’s constitution unless it is also a breach of the law.

It does not automatically investigate matters based on a single complaint.

It does not address frivolous or vexatious complaints, particularly concerning an association where the complainant does not have any interest or connection.

Outcomes following investigation

Depending on the seriousness of the breach or contravention, Licensing NT may do any of the following:

  • appoint a statutory manager
  • declare an organisation defunct - permitting the Supreme Court to wind up the association
  • dissolve the association
  • refer the matter to the police where breaches of the Criminal Code are concerned.

Investigation reports containing confidential commercial information are not public documents. Report summaries may be released however, if they are in the public’s interest.

Print all pages in this section

Last updated: 30 November 2021

Give feedback about this page.

Share this page:

URL copied!