Definition of Societies and Acquisition of Legal Personality
Society is defined by The Societies and Institutions and other related Matters Law of 2017 (104(I)/2017), as amended (the "Law"), as an organised association of at least twenty (20) persons that is established for the accomplishment of a common objective (section 2 of the Law).
Societies acquire legal personality as of the date of their registration in the Register of Societies, Clubs and Institutions (the "Register") by the competent District Officer of the relevant district who is responsible in relation to any matters in connection with the registration and operation of Societies, Clubs and Institutions, and the issuance of the relevant registration certificate (the "Registrar") (sections 2 and 5 of the Law).
Registration of Societies
For the purposes of registration of a Society, a written application must be filed with the Registrar by the board of directors of the society or the founding members thereof. The aforesaid application shall be accompanied by the Articles of Association of the society which must be executed by its founding members and bear an execution date, and the relevant forms including information as the names, addresses and contact details of the founding members and the members of the society's board of directors, copy of the emblem of the society (if any) and a description of the immovable and movable property belonging and/or possessed by the society at the time of registration thereof and/or any immovable and movable property that is to be transferred to the Society after its registration in the Register (section 7(2) of the Law).
The Registrar shall proceed with the examination of the relevant application for the society's registration, without any delay, and in any event within three (3) months as of the date of submission of the relevant application and all the necessary, duly filled in forms and documentation (section 7(4) of the Law). Provided that the requirements under the applicable Law and regulations are met, the Registrar will proceed with the registration of the society in the Register and the issuance of the relevant registration certificate upon payment of the prescribed fee (section 7(4) of the Law). The registration certificate shall be published in the Official Gazette of the Republic and will constitute conclusive evidence of the date of registration of the society and of compliance with all legal requirements.
Articles of Association of Societies
The Articles of Association of a society shall be deemed as acceptable for registration purposes, provided that this includes and/or addresses the following matters:
- The Society's name, object(s) and registered office, which shall be located in the areas controlled by the Republic of Cyprus;
- The society's resources;
- The terms of admission, resignation, expulsion of members, and the rights and duties of the society's members;
- The manner and the body of representation of the society in Court and out-of-Court cases;
- The terms of alteration and/or modification of the Articles of Association of the society;
- The manner of auditing of the society's accounts, in accordance with the principle of transparency;
- The terms relating to the convocation and holding of the meetings of the society's members, the manner the decisions are taken, as well as the term that a members' meeting is held at least once, on an annual basis;
- The administrative body of the society, the process of election of its board members, the term for which the members of the board will remain in office, the terms of formation and operation of the administrative body, the dismissal of its members and the frequency of their meetings;
- The terms relating to the society's dissolution and/or merger with another society, as well as terms in relation to the utilisation and/or exploitation of the society's property in case of dissolution thereof, as such property cannot be distributed to the society's members.
Administration of Societies
Societies must be administered by a board of directors consisting of at least five (5) members, who, unless otherwise provided in the Articles of Association of the society, shall also be members of the society. Decisions are taken by absolute majority of the members that are present in the meetings, unless otherwise provided in the society's Articles of Association (section 16(1) of the Law).
Provision of services without the payment of remuneration
No remuneration shall be payable to the members and/or administration members of the society in relation to any services they may provide to the society, unless otherwise provided in the society's Articles of Association (section 18A of the Law).
Membership is non-assignable
Membership in societies is not eligible of representation, and cannot be assigned and/or inherited (section 15 of the Law).
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.