My question is In regard to club membership I am the secretary of a gundog club and members join the club after paying a £10 joining fee plus a £12 annual subscription which is paid by bank standing order. The club raised the annual subscription from £5 to £12 in 2014 payable in the month of May It is fair to say that the information to the membership, totalling 600 persons, in regard to the rise in the annual subscription was sent buried in a letter from the chairman rather than in separate highlighted mail. The consequence of this was that some members did not amend their annual standing order for subscription and were unaware of the situation. Hence the club did accept their £5 payments but did not notify each that their standing order had a £7 shortfall. Question – is it legally appropriate for a club to continually accept payments from any individual who is unaware that their membership subscription is inadequate without informing them? Forward wind to the first field trial and, as secretary I receive 118 entries of which some entries are from members who have paid in full (£12), some from members who have only paid £5. There is a question here as to whether the members who have only paid £5 deserve an equal place in the draw for the trial as those who have paid in full. But, if the club has accepted even partial payment for membership does that then constitute a membership contract even with a shortfall in payment? As secretary I telephoned the members whose subs were short and asked them to adjust their standing order payments immediately - this they all did. Now this action has caused the members who paid in full to throw up their arms and state that the others should be classes as non-members as they have not paid in full and should therefore not receive any benefits of the club and hence, even with an adjustment in payment to their subs should not be treated on an equal basis. The club has a rule that states as follows -
A Member whose entrance fee or first or subsequent subscription is in arrears shall not be entitled to enjoy any of the rights or privileges of Membership of the Society and shall cease to be a member if such arrear is not remedied within 28 days of the due date for payment (1st May in respect of subscriptions) .
Question – is this truly enforceable? Can the club continually take reduced subscriptions without informing the member in arrears and let them continually pay reduced subscriptions blissfully unaware that they are potentially 'non' members?And just how legally enforceable are club rules?