Rules, Byelaws and Policies of The Rucksack Club Ltd.
The Rucksack Club Ltd is registered with the Financial Services Authority as a Mutual Society under the provisions of the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965. Registration number: 31191R
The Club was established in 1902 as an unincorporated association – a group of like minded individuals pursuing a common interest. As such it was not a legal entity, its officers acted in their own names in financial transactions, its properties – the three huts – were held in trust, and its members each carried unlimited public liability for any and all Club activities whether or not they had direct personal involvement. None of that is as bad as it might sound. The Club functioned smoothly and the risk of being the subject of civil legal action was managed, and for the large part still is, by buying into the British Mountaineering Council’s insurance scheme which provides £10M third party public liability cover for Club affairs and for individual members whilst engaged in mountaineering both with the Club and more generally.
In 2010 the Committee took the view that, despite a hundred years successful avoidance of entanglement with the law in any form, in these more litigious times it was appropriate, using legislation designed purposely to protect members of small not for profit associations, to extend protection for officers and members of the Club. Through registration as a Mutual Society we have established limited liability for those not involved personally in an event which has become the focus of civil litigation. The 2011 AGM voted strongly in favour of the move and the Club was registered on 4 March 2011. It’s not a wholly magic cure. Individual members held to have been negligent would still be in difficulty if the insurance cap was exceeded, or the underwriters refuse support. In such circumstances the Club’s assets would also still be forfeit. Nevertheless securing limited liability for the majority of members is a sensible extension of the Club’s duty of care towards its members and particularly its officers. From that perspective the modest annual fee required to maintain registration is simply another insurance premium.
It is more than that, however, since through registration the Club has become a legal entity and its officers now act in the Club’s name when signing sometimes quite significant contracts for, say, repairs to the huts, instead of in their own names. The huts now pass from trusteeships, in two cases of the NatWest Bank, to the full proprietorship of the Club. A further effect is that the Club itself as an organisation can take action against defaulters or miscreants of whatever kind – a much clearer proposition than having to use intermediaries. The Rucksack Club was not the first British mountaineering club down this track – the fourth, in fact – and we happily acknowledge the assistance we received from those forerunners. Others are now following.
For many years the Rucksack Club had a developed constitution, rules and policies. Registration as a Mutual Society has meant that constitution and procedures have been replaced by Rules which impose a stricter but not a markedly different code on the Club, and Byelaws and policies more explicit than before so that we clearly conform to what is currently expected of a Mutual Society. What follows is a comprehensive formal statement of the way the Club is run and the standards it sets itself. What is not shown in such an necessarily legalistic exposition are the bonds of friendship between members that ensure what appears to be a formidable bureaucracy in fact holds to its purpose of promoting the skills of mountaineering, climbing and hill walking amongst a group of enthusiasts with surprising ease, and to the huge enjoyment of those involved.
The Rules of The Rucksack Club Ltd may not be changed without the approval of the Financial Services Authority. The Byelaws are approved by General Meetings of the Club. Policy statements are issued by the Committee.
Click on the link below in blue to download the Club Rules