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    Ex-Members of Defunct Tennis Club Share £260,000 Payout

    PLEASE NOTE: Information in this article is correct at the time of publication, please contact DFA Law for current advice on older articles.

    Tennis Court 3A great many people give generously of their time to the management of social and sporting clubs and such dedication is very often not rewarded, at least financially. In one uplifting case, however, the High Court opened the way for former members of a defunct tennis club to share in £260,000 generated from the sale of its premises.

    The once thriving private members’ club was founded in the 1920s but its membership had dwindled over the years, largely due to a lack of car parking spaces. It eventually closed and the freehold of the site devolved on the club’s former secretary and treasurer, who subsequently sold it. An issue thus arose as to how the proceeds should be distributed.

    In ruling on the matter, the Court noted that the club had never formally been dissolved. That was due to the membership having gradually drifted away to the point where it became impossible to achieve the quorum required to hold a general meeting of members. However, the Court was prepared to take a commonsense approach and treat the club as dissolved.

    On a true interpretation of the club’s rules, the Court found that the money should be divided amongst those who had been identified as having been playing members of the club for at last three years. The division would be in proportion to the length of each individual’s membership. The ruling meant that substantial shares of the money would go to the former secretary and treasurer, who had selflessly served the club for many years and who had, between them, been members for over 80 years.

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