Friendly Societies Act


Published: 1835-05-11

Subscribe to a Global-Regulation Premium Membership Today!

Key Benefits:

Subscribe Now for only USD$20 per month, or Get a Day Pass for only USD$4.99.
Friendly Societies Act
FRIENDLY SOCIETIES [CH.313 – 1


–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

FRIENDLY SOCIETIES
CHAPTER 313

FRIENDLY SOCIETIES

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

SECTION

1. Short title.
2. Interpretation.
3. Friendly societies authorised.
4. Requisites to form rules.
5. Rules to be submitted to the Registrar General.
6. Regulations relative to entry of rules.
7. How confirmed rules can alone be altered.
8. What shall be specified in rules.
9. Appointment of officers.
10. Election of committees and powers delegated to them.
11. Funds may be invested at interest.
12. Persons entrusted with funds to render accounts when required.
13. Power of the Supreme Court in certain cases.
14. Executors, etc., to deliver up all monies, etc., of any such society.
15. Actions, how brought and defended.
16. Payment of sums due to deceased members.
17. Payment of sums due to members dying intestate.
18. Proceeding in the case of persons fraudulently obtaining monies belonging to a society.
19. Societies, how dissolved.
20. Disputes, how to be settled.
21. Power of justices of the peace.
22. Their order to be final.
23. Funds may be invested.
24. Minors may be members.
25. Annual statement of funds to be made.
26. Interpretation.
27. Purposes of friendly societies defined.
28. Rules to be submitted for approval to the Minister.
29. Provision as to members desirous of withdrawing.
30. Periodical returns of assets and disbursements to be made to the Registrar General by all

friendly societies.
31. President and treasurer to be the officers to transmit returns of assets, etc.
32. Official auditor.
33. Additional powers given to official auditor.

CH.313 – 2] FRIENDLY SOCIETIES





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

34. Penalty on refusal or neglect to obey order.
35. Unauthorised expenditure to be refunded.
36. Penalty.
37. Funds of friendly societies to be deposited in post office savings bank.

SCHEDULE — Certificate of Enrolment.



FRIENDLY SOCIETIES [CH.313 – 3


–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

CHAPTER 313

FRIENDLY SOCIETIES
An Act for the protection and encouragement of

friendly societies, and for preventing fraud and abuses
therein.

[Commencement 11th May, 1835]

1. This Act may be cited as the Friendly Societies Act.
2. In this Act, “Minister” means the Minister

responsible for the Registry of Records.
3. It shall and may be lawful for any number of

persons to form themselves into a society for their mutual
relief; to raise funds for that purpose; to make, alter and
amend rules for the government and guidance of the same;
and to inflict fines and penalties upon members of such
society, who shall or may offend against such rules.

4. All such societies in their rules, and before they
be confirmed, as hereinafter directed and required, shall
declare all and every the intents and purposes for which
such society is intended to be established; and direct all the
uses and purposes to which the money subscribed shall be
applied; and in what proportions and under what
circumstances any member or other person shall become
entitled thereto; and that the money so subscribed shall not
be diverted or misapplied by the treasurer or other person
entrusted therewith, under such penalty as the society shall,
by any rule, impose.

5. (1) A transcript of all such rules, signed by three
members and countersigned by the secretary of the society
concerned, shall be submitted as soon as possible after any
meeting at which such rules are made, altered or amended,
to the Registrar General.

(2) A certificate of enrolment shall be prepared by
such society in duplicate in the form appearing in the
Schedule to this Act and delivered to the Registrar General
together with such transcript.

40 of 1835
29 of 1847
19 of 1899
2 of 1948
27 of 1954
27 of 1964
G.N. 172/1964
E.L.A.O., 1974
5 of 1987

Short title.

Interpretation.
E.L.A.O., 1974.

Friendly societies
authorised.

Requisites to
form rules.

Rules to be
submitted to the
Registrar
General.
27 of 1954, s. 2.

Schedule.

CH.313 – 4] FRIENDLY SOCIETIES





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

(3) The Registrar General shall ascertain that the said
rules are in conformity to law and the provisions of this
Act and shall sign both copies of such certificate and shall
thereupon enrol such transcript, together with one signed
copy of such certificate, and shall return the other signed
copy of such certificate to the society concerned or to one
of its duly appointed officers.

6. No society shall have the benefit of this Act
unless their rules are entered in a book kept by an officer
appointed for that purpose, and a transcript thereof
deposited with the Registrar General; and all rules when
entered and confirmed as aforesaid shall be binding on
members and contributors and their representatives; and
the entry of such rules in such book, or the transcript
deposited with the Registrar General, or a true copy of such
transcript certified as aforesaid, shall be received as
evidence of such rules in all cases.

7. No confirmed rules shall be altered or rescinded
but at a general meeting of the society, convened in
pursuance of a requisition for that purpose by seven or
more members; and such alteration or rescission shall be
made only with the approbation of three-fourths of the
members present at such general meeting.

8. The rules to be adopted by any such society, shall
specify the place of meeting, and the duty of the officers
and members at large.

9. Any such society, at their usual meetings, or by
their committee, may appoint a president, treasurer, or
trustee or such other officers as may be necessary to carry
into execution the purposes of such society, for such
periods and purposes as shall be established by the rules;
and every officer in any way connected with the receipt,
management or expenditure of the society’s funds, shall
give security, by a bond, in a sum prescribed by such
committee, for the faithful execution of such trust, to be
given to the Registrar General without any fee; and in the
case of forfeiture, it shall and may be lawful for the
Attorney General to sue upon such bond, for the use of
such society.

Regulations
relative to entry
of rules.

How confirmed
rules can alone
be altered.

What shall be
specified in rules.

Appointment of
officers.

FRIENDLY SOCIETIES [CH.313 – 5


–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

10. It shall and may be lawful for such societies to
elect a committee of any number of members, and may
delegate to such committee any powers given by this Act,
being first declared in and by the rules confirmed by the
Registrar General, and filed in the manner before directed;
and when a committee shall be appointed for any
particular purpose, the power delegated to be entered into
a book by the secretary; and the transactions of such
committee shall also be entered in a book; and be at all
times subject to the review and control of the society, in
such manner as their rules shall direct.

11. The treasurer or trustee shall lay out such sums
of money as are not needed for immediate expenditure
either in real or heritable securities, or heritable property,
or invest the same in the public funds of The Bahamas, or
in government securities; and all interest and proceeds
arising therefrom shall be brought to account by such
treasurer or trustee and applied to the use of the society.

12. All persons entrusted with the disposal, manage-
ment or custody of the funds of any such society, shall
render an account and pay over all movies remaining in his
or their hands, and transfer and deliver over all securities,
books and papers in their custody, on demand being made,
or notice in writing given at his or their usual place of
abode, to such person as the society shall appoint; and in
case of neglect or refusal, application may be made to the
Supreme Court, which shall proceed thereupon, in a
summary way, and make such order as may seem just,
which order shall he final and conclusive; and all transfers,
sales or dispositions made in pursuance of such order shall
be good and effectual.

13. When any trustee or treasurer is out of the
jurisdiction of the courts, becomes idiot, lunatic or
imbecile or it be uncertain whether he is alive, or he be
absent, or refuses to convey, transfer or delivery any such
securities, the Supreme Court is hereby empowered to
appoint a person to make such conveyance, transfer or
disposition.

14. The executors, administrators, assigns or the
representatives of any person, in whose custody were any
movies, effects or securities of such society, shall within
forty days after demand made, deliver over all such


Election of
committees and
powers delegated
to them.

Funds may be
invested at
interest.

Persons entrusted
with Funds to
render accounts
when required.

Power of the
Supreme Court
in certain cases.

Executors, etc.,
to deliver up all
monies, etc., of
any such society.

CH.313 – 6] FRIENDLY SOCIETIES





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

monies, effects or securities, and pay all sums of money
due to the said society, before any other debts are paid or
satisfied.

15. The effects of any such society shall be vested in
the treasurer or trustees, for the time being, who may bring
and defend actions in any court; and no action shall be
discontinued or abated by the death or removal of such
treasurer or trustee, in the proper name of the person
commencing the same.

16. Whenever the trustee of any such society have
paid, after the decease of a member, any sum of money, to
any person who appears to be entitled to the same, such
payment shall be valid and effectual, with respect to any
demand of any other person, as next of kin, or lawful
representative of such deceased member, as against the
society; but such next of kin or representative shall have
their remedy for such money against the person who may
have received the same.

17. Where any member of any such society dies
intestate, entitled to any sum not exceeding one hundred
dollars, the treasurer or trustees of such society are hereby
authorised to pay the same according to the rules of the
society; and if there are no rules in that behalf, to pay and
divide the same to and among the person or persons
entitled to the effects of the deceased intestate without
letters of administration being taken out.

18. If any person by false representations, fraudu-
lently obtains possession of any monies belonging to any
such society, or fraudulently withholds the same, such
offence, not being provided for by the rules of such
society, such person shall and may be summoned, upon
complaint on oath by an officer of such society, before
any two justices of the peace; who are hereby authorised
to hear and determine upon the same, and upon any due
proof of such fraud, to convict the party and award double
the amount of the money so obtained, or withheld, to the
treasurer, together with costs; and in case of non-payment
so awarded the justices shall cause the same to be levied
by distress and sale, together with the costs attending such
distress; and, in default of such distress being found, it
shall and may be lawful to commit such person to prison,
to be kept to hard labour for six months, at the discretion
of such justices:

Actions, how
brought and
defended.

Payment of sums
due to deceased
members.

Payment of sums
due to members
dying intestate.
5 of 1987, Sch.

Proceeding in the
case of persons
fraudulently
obtaining monies
belonging to the
society.

FRIENDLY SOCIETIES [CH.313 – 7


–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

Provided that nothing herein contained shall be
construed to prevent any such society from proceeding
against such offender, by way of indictment, instead
thereof.

19. Any such society shall not be dissolved by any
general meeting or otherwise without the consent of five-
sixths in value of the members belonging thereto, to be
ascertained as hereinafter mentioned; and of all persons
then receiving or entitled to receive relief from such
society, to be testified under their hands; and for the
purpose of ascertaining the votes of such five-sixths, every
member shall be entitled to one vote, and an additional
vote for every five years he has been a member, but not to
have more than five votes; and that in all cases of
dissolution the intended appropriation of the stock of such
society shall be distinctly stated in the proposed plan of
dissolution prior to such consent being given, and that no
such society shall direct by any rule the division or
distribution of such fund, otherwise than to carry into
effect the general purposes of such society; and all the
rules for the dissolution of any such society, without such
consent as aforesaid, shall be void; and that in the event of
such division or misappropriation the trustee, or other
officer aiding or abetting therein, shall be liable to the
penalty before provided in cases of fraud.

20. All such societies shall make rules, specifying
whether matters in dispute between the society and a
member are to be referred to a justice of the peace, or to
arbitrators; and if to the latter, they shall be elected at the
first meeting of the society after the enrolment of its rules,
none of them being interested in the funds of the society;
and a certain number, not less than three, shall be chosen
by ballot in each case of dispute; and any justice of the
peace is hereby empowered to enforce compliance with the
decision of such arbitrators by the usual method.

21. If the rules of any such society shall direct such
disputes to be decided by justices of the peace, any justice
is hereby empowered to summon the person against whom
complaint is made, and hear and determine the said
complaint according to such rules; and in case of any sum
of money be awarded the payment thereof shall and may
be enforced, as before directed.

Societies how
dissolved.

Disputes how to
be settled.

Power of justices
of the peace.

CH.313 – 8] FRIENDLY SOCIETIES





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

22. Any sentence, order or decree of any justice or
justices, under this Act, shall be final and conclusive.

23. The whole or any part of the funds of any such
society may be subscribed into any savings bank, now or to
be hereafter established, or invested in the public securities
of The Bahamas.

24. It shall and may be lawful for minors to become
members of such societies, and have authority to act and
become legally responsible:

Provided that such minor be admitted into such
society with the consent of his parents or guardians, or of
some justice of the peace.

25. The rules of every such society shall provide for
the making of an annual statement of the funds to the
members, to be attested by two auditors and countersigned
by the secretary; and every member of such society shall
receive a copy of such statement on the payment of a sum
not exceeding twenty-five cents.

26. In this Act “society” shall be understood to
include all societies or associations of persons who may
conform strictly to the provisions of the same.

27. Societies may be established under this Act, for
any of the following purposes (that is to say) —

(a) for the relief, maintenance or endowment of the
members, their husbands, wives, children, kin-
dred or nominees, in infancy, old age, sickness
or widowhood;

(b) toward making good any loss sustained by the
members by fire, flood, or shipwreck, or by any
contingency, whereby they shall have sustained
any loss of or damage to their live or dead stock,
or goods, or stock-in-trade, or the tools or
implements of their trade or calling;

(c) for the frugal investment of the savings of the
members, for better enabling them to purchase
food, clothes or other necessaries, or the tools or
implements of their trade or calling, or to
provide for the education of their children or
kindred:

Provided that the shares in any such invest-
ment society shall not be transferable, and that


Their order to be
final.

Funds may be
invested.

Minors may be
members.

Annual
statement of
funds to be
made.

5 of 1987, Sch.

Interpretation.

Purposes of
friendly societies
defined.
29 of 1847, s. 1.

FRIENDLY SOCIETIES [CH.313 – 9


–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

the investment of each member shall accumulate
or be employed for the sole benefit of the
member investing, or the husband, wife, children
or kindred of such member, and that no part
thereof shall be appropriated to the relief,
maintenance or endowment of any other member
or person whomsoever, and that the full amount of
the balance due, according to the rules of such
society, to such member shall be paid to him or
her on withdrawing from the society;

(d) for any other purpose which shall be certified to
be legal by the Attorney-General, and which
shall be allowed by the Minister, as a purpose to
which the powers and facilities of this Act ought
to be extended.

28. All new, altered or amended rules of any society
established, or hereinafter to be established under this Act,
shall be submitted for approval to the Minister, and such
rules shall have no force or effect whatever until the
Minister’s approval thereof shall be signified, in writing, to
such society, anything contained in this Act to the contrary
notwithstanding.

29. Any member of a friendly society, the rules of
which do not prescribe the time when, or the conditions on
which, members shall be allowed to withdraw themselves,
shall be allowed to withdraw himself or herself at any time
from such society, on giving written notice to the secretary,
or other proper officer of the society, of his or her intention
to do so, and on payment of all arrears due by such
member; but, after giving such notice as aforesaid, no
member shall be entitled to have any benefit from the
funds of the society or be liable to any further subscription
or payment other than the amount of the arrears due from
him or her at the time of giving such notice.

30. Every society established under this Act shall
transmit, or cause to be transmitted, quarterly to the
Registrar General a return in detail of the assets,
disbursements, receipts and liabilities of such society; all
which returns shall be made up to the thirty-first day of
March, the thirtieth day of June, the thirtieth day of
September, and the thirty-first day of December in each
year, and shall be transmitted by every society in New


E.L.A.O., 1974.

Rules to be
submitted for
approval to the
Minister.
29 of 1847, s. 3.;
E.L.A.O., 1974.

Provision as to
members
desirous of
withdrawing.
29 of 1847, s. 4.

Periodical
returns of assets
and
disbursements to
be made to the
Registrar
General by all
friendly societies.
29 of 1847, s. 5.;
G.N. 172/1964.

CH.313 – 10] FRIENDLY SOCIETIES





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

Providence direct to the Registrar General within thirty
days after the close of the quarter for which such return is
made up, and by every society established at an Out Island
to the commissioner of the district within the like period, to
be by such commissioner forwarded to the Registrar
General with all convenient despatch.

31. The president and treasurer, or other principal
officer entrusted with the management of the funds of such
society, shall be the persons who shall be respectively
bound to make, or cause to be made, and to transmit to the
Registrar General or the commissioner, as the case may be,
the said return of assets, disbursements, receipts, and
liabilities; and every such person who refuses or wilfully
neglects to make, or cause to be made, or to send the said
returns at the time and in the manner prescribed by this
Act, shall be liable to a penalty of twenty dollars, to be
recovered, with costs, before any two justices of the peace
having jurisdiction where such society has its place of
meeting; and on non-payment thereof, the same, with the
reasonable costs of conviction, shall be levied by distress,
and sale of the goods and chattels of the offender or
offenders, by warrant under the hand and seal of such
justices.

32. The Auditor shall be the official auditor of the
accounts of all societies established under the authority of
this Act, and shall audit all such accounts at least once in
every three months, and for such purpose shall have the
full power and authority to require the officers of such
society to produce before him the books of such society
and all necessary vouchers and other papers; and every
officer of such society who refuses or wilfully neglects to
produce any book, voucher or paper required for the
purposes aforesaid shall be liable to a penalty of twenty
dollars, to be recovered, with costs, before any two justices
of the peace having jurisdiction where such society has its
place of meeting; and on non-payment thereof the same,
with the reasonable costs of conviction, shall be levied, by
distress and sale of the goods and chattels of the offender
or offenders, by warrant under the hand and seal of such
justices.

33. In addition to the powers conferred on the official
auditor by section 32 of this Act, he shall have full power
and authority to order and require any officer or officers of


President and
treasurer to be
the officers to
transmit returns
of assets, etc.

5 of 1987, s. 2.

29 of 1847, s. 6.

Official auditor.
2 of 1948, s. 2.;
27 of 1964, s. 3.

5 of 1987, s. 2.

Additional
powers given to
official auditor.
19 of 1899, s. 2.;
2 of 1948, s. 3.

FRIENDLY SOCIETIES [CH.313 – 11


–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

any friendly society established under this Act whose
accounts have been submitted for audit under such section
further to adjust such accounts according to the directions
of such official auditor, such order to be in writing signed
by such official auditor.

34. Any officer or officers of any society served with
such order who shall refuse or wilfully neglect to adjust
and produce the accounts of such society within fourteen
days after the receipt of the said order shall be liable to a
penalty of twenty dollars to be recovered summarily.

35. If it shall appear upon an audit of the accounts of
any society that expenditure has been incurred which was
not authorised by the rules of such society it shall be lawful
for the official auditor by notice in writing to order and
require the treasurer or other principal officer entrusted
with the funds of such society to refund and make good the
same, and such treasurer or other principal officer shall
within fourteen days from the receipt of such notice pay
the amount of such unauthorised expenditure into the post
office savings bank to the credit of such society, under a
penalty of twenty dollars, to be recovered summarily:

Provided that the Minister may remit or mitigate the
penalty imposed under this section upon its appearing that
there were reasonable or sufficient grounds for the failure
of such treasurer or other principal officer to comply with
such order as aforesaid.

36. All monies received by the treasurer or other
principal officer entrusted with the funds of any such
friendly society, shall be paid into the post office savings
bank, as the same are received; and such monies shall only
be drawn out of the said bank by cheques signed by the
president and treasurer, or other officer as aforesaid, of
such society, and countersigned by the official auditor; and
any treasurer or other officer as aforesaid, who refuses or
wilfully neglects to pay the monies received or remaining
in his possession into the said bank, in conformity with the
provisions of this clause, shall forfeit and pay double the
amount of the sum or sums of money which such treasurer
or other officer should by right have paid into the said
bank, to be recovered, with costs, before any two justices
of the peace having jurisdiction where such society shall
have its place of meeting; and on non-payment thereof, the


Penalty on
refusal or neglect
to obey order.

19 of 1899, s. 3.;
5 of 1987, s. 2.

Unauthorised
expenditure to be
refunded.

5 of 1987, s. 2.

19 of 1899, s. 4.

Penalty.
E.L.A.O., 1974.

Funds of friendly
societies to be
deposited in post
office savings
bank.

29 of 1847, s. 8.

CH.313 – 12] FRIENDLY SOCIETIES





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

same, with the reasonable costs of conviction, shall be
levied by distress and sale of goods and chattels of the
offender or offenders, by warrant under the hand and seal
of such justices, the amount of which forfeiture shall be
paid into the said bank aforesaid for the benefit of the
society of which such person is an officer.

SCHEDULE (Section 5)

CERTIFICATE OF ENROLMENT

In the matter of section 5 of the Friendly Societies Act.
Pursuant to the provisions of section 5 of the Friendly Societies Act,
I ................................. the Registrar General do hereby certify —

That a transcript of the rules of a Friendly Society known as
the ...............................................................................................
made at a meeting of the said Society held on the ........ day
of ............................... 19 ..... at ......................................
has this day been deposited with me;

that I have read the said transcript and do hereby certify in
accordance with section 5 of the said Act that the said rules are
in my opinion in conformity to law and the provisions of the
said Act;
that the said transcript has been enrolled in my office as a
record;
that the original of this present certificate has been returned to
said society and a duplicate affixed to the said transcript.

Dated this ................ day of ...................................... 19 .....

Signed .....................................
Registrar General.



27 of 1954, s. 2.

Related Laws