A constitution is a basic set of rules for the daily running of your organisation.

It details for your members and others the name, objects, methods of management and other conditions under which your association, club or group operates, and generally the reasons for its existence.

A constitution:

  • Explains to members and non-members what your organisation is about
  • Provides guidelines for the daily running of your organisation
  • Helps to sort out internal problems
  • Is a legal necessity if your organisation wishes to become incorporated
  • Can help in seeking resources from other organisations, such as a government agency
  • Allows your organisation to apply for a liquor licence. If your organisation intends to apply for a  liquor licence under section 49 of the WA Liquor Licensing Act 1988, it will generally need to be incorporated. One of the pre-requisites for incorporation is a constitution complying with the Associations Incorporations Act 2015.

Developing a constitution

The Department of Commerce has produced a set of model rules (also known as a draft constitution) as a guide to assist organisations comply with their obligations under the Associations Incorporations Act 2015. An organisation may choose to create its own rules or follow the model rules.

What level of detail should be include?

A constitution can be extremely simple, containing only the basic outline to explain who you are, what you are set up for and important management matters. Many details relating to minor management matters are best included within by-laws, regulations or policies thus keeping your constitution flexible and easy to operate within.

If you would like to receive advice specific to your sport or activity, contact your state sporting association or national governing organisation. 

What to avoid

A constitution is made up of two parts:

  1. The rules which include the basic principles of the group and can be changed only by a general meeting.
  2. The regulations or by-laws which can be changed by the committee.

You can place almost anything within a constitution. However many aspects of your organisation’s operation are more easily handled outside the formality of the rules. For instance you wouldn’t include membership charges or club colours in the constitution. A clause in the rules empowering the committee to make, alter or delete regulations or by-laws should appear in the constitution.

Should our organisation become incorporated?

Sporting groups can incorporate under the Associations Incorporations Act 2015. The Act provides a cheap, simple way of establishing a legal entity that has the capacity to function in its own right.

The Department recommends eligible sport and recreation groups to become incorporated under the Associations Incorporations Act 2015 due to the following:

  • The organisation acquires the powers of a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal.
  • The organisation may sue or be sued.
  • The organisation may enter into contracts and acquire, hold and dispose of property.
  • Members of officers of the organisation are generally not liable to contribute towards the payment of debts or liabilities of the organisation.

Further information

For further information on constitutions and incorporation visit the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety website.

Page reviewed 24 November 2023