Constitution & By Laws

Club Rules (Constitution)

A constitution is a basic set of rules for the daily running of your club or group. It details for your members and others the name, objects, methods of management and other conditions under which your club or group operates, and generally the reasons for its existence. It also regulates the relationship between members by setting out the basis for working with other co-members.


  1. Explain to members and non-members what your group is about.
  2. Provide guidelines for the daily running of your group.
  3. Help to sort out internal problems.
  4. Are a legal necessity if your group wishes to become incorporated.
  5. Can help in seeking resources from other organisations, such as a government agency.
  6. Allows you to apply for a liquor licence. If your group intends to apply for a liquor licence under section 49 of the WA Liquor Licensing Act 1988, it will generally need to be incorporated. One of the pre-requisites for incorporation is a constitution complying with the Associations Incorporation Act 2015.

A constitution can be extremely simple, containing only the basic outline to explain who you are, what you are set up for and important management matters. The extent to which you add detail in the rules depends on the needs or formality at the time of setting up the club, and how big the club intends to grow.

You can place almost anything within a constitution. However, many aspects of your club’s operation are more easily handled outside the formality of the rules. For instance, you would not include the membership charges or club colours in the rules. The rules in your constitution should relate to the administration of the club. They should not relate to the conduct of the activities of the club. Additional non-administrative rules should appear in by-laws or policies. A clause in the rules empowering the committee to make, alter or delete by-laws or policies should appear in the constitution.

This approach allows your constitution to be flexible and easy to operate within. It also means that if you do need to make changes to the way you operate, these changes can be more easily accommodated.

Remember, your Constitution is your overarching statement which says why and how you operate. It should work in conjunction with your by-laws and policies to ensure the smooth and successful running or your club.

Quick Links

Clubs who are members of Clubs WA also have access to Model Rules which requirements around Liquor Licensing.

Here is an example from the Sorrento Bowling Club Constitution 


By-laws are secondary rules that expand on the rules of association and cover non-administrative matters that do not need to be included in the rules of association.

Typically, by-laws might deal with matters:

  • club colours
  • uniforms and dress codes
  • subcommittee descriptions and procedures
  • competition rules
  • sporting fixtures
  • player eligibility
  • selection of players
  • coaching regulations
  • awards
  • supply of liquor
  • a code of conduct
  • tribunals

In order for by-laws to be lawfully effective the rules of association should include a simple clause, referring to the addition and amendment of by-laws.

Here is an example from the Sorrento Bowling Club By Laws .