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Powers of incorporated associations

Under the Associations Incorporation Act 1985 (SA), an incorporated association has power to acquire, hold, deal with, and dispose of any real or personal property; administer any property on trust; open and operate bank accounts; invest money in any form of investment; borrow money; give security for the discharge of liabilities incurred by the association; appoint agents; and enter into any other contract it considers necessary or desirable.

The association's rules may limit these powers or extend them. An example of a power not mentioned in the Act that an association may want to include in its rules is the power to solicit or accept donations.

The rules of the association must refer to the powers of the association. If the association wishes to have all the powers listed in the Act, it is not necessary to mention them all. It is sufficient for the rules to say that the association has all the powers conferred by Associations Incorporation Act 1985 (SA) s 25


When individual people make contracts, they may be oral, in writing or in writing under seal, depending on the type of contract. For more information about contracts, see Contracts. Similarly, associations can make oral or written contracts, depending on the type of contract. If the contract must be 'under seal' the association's common seal must be used - Associations Incorporation Act 1985 s 26. The same method that is used to make a contract must be used to vary or rescind a contract.

Whichever method is used, the person making the agreement must have been given authority to do so by the association. The person making the contract must make it clear that she or he is making the contract on behalf of the association.

Common Seal

Under the Associations Incorporation Act 1985 (SA), an incorporated association must have a common seal (that is, a rubber stamp with the full name of the association on it) which can be ordered from a stamp maker or stationer. The common seal serves as the signature of the association. It is only needed for documents that must be under seal if executed by an individual, such as land transfers or leases. The rules of associations generally provide that the common seal is to be used only by resolution of the committee and in the presence of at least two officers as witnesses.

Powers of incorporated associations  :  Last Revised: Tue Apr 16th 2019
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