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Nicola-mod, Moderator
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 9
Experience:  Moderator
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can I take action against a club committee for conducting an

Customer Question

can I take action against a club committee for conducting an investigation that shows preference for a complainant, when they are meant to be impartial? Also, their duty is to mediate on the merits of the complaint. They are not an investigative body, nor are they qualified to be such. Is it a fact that they should confine themselves to examining the complaint and any independent evidence that might accompany it. But not to search for corroborative evidence themselves. Members of the committee might be friends or relations of the complainant! Can the committee rely on CCTV footage as evidence, which might or might not be welcome, when,(a) it was not mentioned by the complainant, and (b) when it was shot illegally because the footage contravened the Data Protection Act by intruding on other neighbouring premises.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Stuart J replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question here on Just answer. It is my pleasure to try and assist you with this today. Please bear with me if I need to ask for any further information from you in order for me to be able to advise you fully. My name isXXXXX and I am a practising solicitor. I have been an expert on this website in UK law since 2008. During that time, as you appreciate, I have answered thousands of questions from satisfied users on a variety of subjects.
Because we are all in practice with clients and court and other users, I might not always respond in minutes, particularly evenings and weekends. Please bear with me in that case. I will be online and off-line all day most weekdays and weekends.
What action do you want to take?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for your reply. The committee at my club wrote to me saying they had received a complaint about me. They asked me to attend a special meeting. I replied that I could not do so because I could not leave my disabled wife at such short notice. The minimum notice in the club rules is three days. The letter asking me to attend arrived by post at about mid-day on the Monday telling me the meeting was on the following Thursday. Three clear days would take us to Friday. Their reply accepted my apology but also suspended me for 12 months. They had not sent me any charge. The decision was made on an unsubstantiated complaint. I had to threaten legal action to see the letter of complaint which was sent to me about two weeks later.

The committee has been conducting an enquiry into this complaint in a manner to support it. Their duty is to decide on the complaint only. They should ask for evidence to support it. They are there to mediate, not to conduct an enquiry. They are not qualified to investigate and might well be friendly or even related to the complainant. Am I correct in these suppositions? Members of the committee have been canvassing other members of the club to make statements in support of the complainant. This cannot be right

Expert:  Stuart J replied 3 years ago.

It is very
difficult to take action against the committee of a private club even if they
drive a coach and horses through the rules. About the best you could hope for
would be your membership fee, for the current year, back.

Even if the complaint
is unsubstantiated, there is no legal mechanism to make them reinstate you.
There is a possible breach of contract but the cost of bringing the action is
likely to be totally disproportionate to the result.

Of course, you can
threaten the legal action but even if they have driven a coach and horses
through the rules, this is not one that I would be taking to court because the
costs risk could be terrific. The other thing you have to ask yourself, on a practical
note, is whether you wish to be in a club where clearly, other members and/or
the committee do not want you.

If you let me know
the substance of the complaint, I can probably expand my answer more.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.


I do not understand. On the one hand you say I can take action through the County Court and ask for costs and damages, then you say you would not advise it and that I have no means to have the decision rescinded and you imply that the rules are there to be ignored. I don't get it.

Expert:  Stuart J replied 3 years ago.

What I actually
said was "you can

threaten the legal action but even if they have driven a coach and horses

through the rules, this is not one that I would be taking to court because the

costs risk could be terrific".

You can threaten legal action and you can take
them to court but in all honesty I think you have very little chance of
actually being successful.

There is simply no mechanism for an individual
to enforce the rules of a club in a court of law and the only way of enforcing
the rules is by doing whatever it says in the constitution which may include
voting the committee members off.


I am going to opt out because I simply cannot give you the answer that you want. Another expert might have a different opinion

Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.
Hello my name is XXXXX XXXXX I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply as this is not an ‘on demand’ live service, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return.

Have we not spoken about this before? Do you still need help?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I need more help. The committee used CCTV footage which is inconclusive The complainant did not ask for this. The CCTV footage was not made available to me before my suspension. The CCTV footage is illegal anyway because it does not comply with the Data Protection Act, in that it intrudes onto neighbouring premises and onto public rights of way when it should be confined to the business premises that commissioned it. Subsequent to my arbitrary suspension I have asked to see the CCTV footage but it has not been made available to me yet. An advisor from your organisation hinted that I might not want to stay as a member of this Club. I have already considered this. But I shall deal with this after I get to a conclusion in this case. It is felt by other members at the club that the Committee is out of control and is acting more like a Board Of Directors of a Ltd Co than an elected body. I have been involved in legal actions for more than 30 years in the financial services, with all the major Banks and dozens of Credit Companies. I have yet to lose an action with these worthies. I believe that the issue under scrutiny, although in a different discipline, does not have a single example of following correct observance of the rules that govern its actions in this case by the committee, and I mean to get satisfaction.

Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.
Have they acted in accordance with their own constitution?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.
And this is a private club, is that right?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes, but registered under the Friendly Societies rules and conditions, whatever they may be!

Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.
Thank you. What is it you want to achieve?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have replied and await your response.

Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.
I can't see the reply. Might I trouble you to post again?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I hope you have received my second attempt

Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.
No. Not yet.......
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Let's try again! What I want to achieve is to receive an admission that the committee acted wrongly when dealing with the complaint against me and an unreserved apology.I should have been given a copy of the complaint when I was first told about it. This is in the rule book so there is no credible excuse for not doing it. The committee then unanimously decided to suspend me without asking for any evidence from the complainant to support his complaint. It is not in the remit of the committee to look for anything to support the complaint. They are meant to be impartial and their role is purely to mediate on what has been presented by the complainant. The burden of proof rests entirely on the complainant and not on the accused or anybody else including the committee. It took me about three weeks after to secure a copy of the complaint. I have been deprived of my human right to attend my club on an unproved allegation and an unconstitutional decision that contravened the rules of the club. In addition, the committee acted outside its authority in an attempt to justify its decision. This evasion of the rules has happened before and some members say that the committee is out of control.

Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.
I see. Do you have a right of appeal and if so have you done that please?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I could opt for a Tribunal but I do not trust this. The membership is too small and insular and members of a tribunal could be "got at". I would accept a totally independent review.

Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.
The difficulty you have is that this is a private members club. If it was a public organisation there would be rights of appeal and Judicial Reviews by the Court. Because they are private this means they can pretty do what they want. Even if they have breached their own rules a Court is very unlikely to interfere with any decision because they are just not a public body. The Judge would only be able to declare that a particular decision was invalid but then you would have no way of enforcing it.

There is no Tribunal that you can go to because this is not a public body and as such a committee within a private club has no right to opt for this and you have no challenge there. I am sorry to say there is very little you can do and I realise that this is grossly unfair. But the law as it exists does not offer you any protection.

I know this is not the answer you want and certainly not the one I want to give but I have a duty to be honest.

Can I clarify anything about this for you today please? Alex

Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 2 years ago.

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