Voluntary association

From Academic Kids

A voluntary association (also sometimes called just an association) is a group of individuals who voluntarily enter into an agreement to form a body (or organization) to accomplish a purpose.

Strictly speaking in many jurisdictions no formalities are necessary to start an association, although it is difficult to imagine how a one person association would operate. Some jurisdictions require that the association register with the police or other official body to inform the public of the association's existence. Associations that are organized for profit or financial gain are usually called partnerships. Associations may take the form of a non-profit organization or they may be not-for-profit corporations; this does not mean that the association cannot make benefits from its activity, but all the benefits must be reinvested. Most associations have some kind of document or documents that regulate the way in which the body meets and operates. Such an instrument is often called the organization's bylaws, regulations, or agreement of association.

In some civil law systems, an association is considered a special form of contract. In the Civil Code of Quebec this is a type of nominate contract. The association can be a body corporate, and can thus open a bank account, make contracts (rent premises, hire employees, take out an insurance policy), lodge a complaint etc. In France, conventional associations are regulated by the Waldeck-Rousseau law of July 1 1901 and are thus called Association loi 1901, except in Alsace and Moselle where the law of April 19 1908 applies (these countries were German in 1901). In Texas, state law has statutes concerning unincorporated nonprofit associations that allow unincorporated associations that meet certain criteria to operate as an entity independent of its members, with the right to own property, make contracts, sue and be sued, as well as limited liability to it officers and members.

The freedom of association stands in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

"Article 20
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association."

See also

ca:Associació voluntŕria da:Forening de:Verein fa:انجمن fr:Association ŕ but non lucratif lb:Veräiner an Organismen

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