Execution formalities—unincorporated associations

The following Commercial practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Execution formalities—unincorporated associations
  • Capacity
  • Simple contracts
  • Deeds
  • Companies Act companies
  • Non-Companies Act companies
  • Execution of deeds by local authorities
  • Unregistered companies
  • Who can act as a witness
  • HM Land Registry requirements

Execution formalities—unincorporated associations

This Practice Note provides practical guidance on proper execution of simple contracts and deeds for unincorporated associations.


An unincorporated association has no legal identity, which means it cannot enter into contracts in its own name. As such, an unincorporated association has no rights and cannot perform duties or own property. Property ‘belonging’ to an unincorporated association will be vested in the leading members of the organisation who act as trustees and hold property on trust for the remaining members of the organisation.

When acting for an unincorporated association, check the rules of the association, which should set out the terms of the trust. Alternatively, seek out extraneous evidence to clarify how the members are empowered to act on behalf of the association.

The property of an unincorporated association is the property of its members. The members are contractually precluded from severing their share except in accordance with the association's rules. On dissolution of an unincorporated association, those members who were members at the time of dissolution are entitled to the assets free from restrictions. Alternatively, where all but one of the members die, the last surviving member of an unincorporated association is entitled to its assets.

Execution formalities applying to unincorporated associations will be the same as those applying to private trusts. See Practice Note: Execution formalities—private trusts.

Simple contracts

Simple contracts must be executed by all the

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