Lawyer chairing meeting

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  • #398565
    Miss
    Member

    Hi Amanda,

    At our upcoming AGM, the first order of business on the Agenda is the standard:

    CHAIRPERSON FOR THE MEETING

    It then says: That the meeting elects NAME OF LAWYER / FIRM as a chairperson.

    Q: I don’t think that is a valid motion – how can the MEETING elect if there is no motion to elect? How can a MEETING elect anything? Also, the explanatory note is not an explanation of why we have hired a lawyer, there’s never been a mention of it at any SCM.

    Also as I recall there’s something in the Act about the Chairperson at AGM’s can’t give an opinion – so if a MEETING elects a lawyer, he can’t opine on anything if I recall that correctly.

    It then goes on in the standard explanatory note: This ‘operational procedural motion’ is a preliminary matter that may need to be considered in certain circumstances. The Chairperson of the strata would ordinarily chair the meeting as S35(1)(d) of the Act provides than an office bearer holds office until they cease to be a member of the strata committee ie; at the conclusion of this meeting pursuant to clause 12 schedule 1 to the Act, the current chairperson is required to chair this general meeting.  In the event that the Chairperson is unable to chair the meeting, then, under the Act, the meeting will be obliged to elect a person (from those eligible to vote on motion) for the purpose of chairing the meeting. In the instance where no person who is eligible to vote on motions is elected to chair the meeting, pursuant to their delegations under S54 of the Act and with the consent of the meeting, that Strata Managing Agent could chair the meeting.

    It’s going to be a fairly contentious meeting, one motion is to elect a new strata manager and other motions refer to alleged breaches of the Act by the strata manager  – so any references to the relevant Acts would be much appreciated.

    Miss

    #398816
    Amanda Farmer
    Expert

    Hi Miss,

    See clause 12, Schedule 1 to the NSW SSMA. 

    It relevantly provides:

    12 CHAIRING OF MEETINGS

    (1)  The chairperson of the owners corporation is to preside at any meeting at which the chairperson is present. [This means the committee member who holds the position of chairperson]

    (2)  In the chairperson’s absence from a meeting, the persons present at that meeting and entitled to vote on motions submitted at that meeting (other than unfinancial owners) may elect one of their number to preside at that meeting and the person so elected is, while so presiding, taken to be the chairperson of the owners corporation. [So, the actual chairperson has to be absent. If that’s the case, then persons present and entitled to vote can ‘elect one of their number’ to be the chair. In my view, the lawyer can only be the chair if they are holding a proxy or are otherwise a person ‘entitled to vote’.] 

    (3) Chairperson does not have casting vote The chairperson does not have a casting vote in relation to any motion but may vote in his or her own right if otherwise entitled. [This may be what you’re thinking of re: the Chair cannot have an opinion. They can have an opinion, they just can’t have a casting vote if there is a deadlock] 

    You are correct that if the SM has been delegated the duties of the chairperson per their agency agreement, they could chair the meeting – even if the elected chairperson is present and the strata manager does not otherwise hold a proxy. Not so the lawyer.

    Amanda.

    #398982
    Ali
    Member

    Hi Miss,

    I have been in quite a few situations, where the Chairperson refers to the Lawyer for  Legal Advice before I can speak to my motion. The Lawyer simply rules the motion out of order, so the Chairman follows suit and rules the motion out of order. This has happened on at least 4 occasions and the rulings were incorrect, but any other motions I got up were defeated by a huge majority. In your case, if the lawyer declares a motion out of order, I would simply move to have the meeting adjourned and continue to use this tactic at future meetings if you have the numbers. In my case I was a lone voice, now I have 3% of the vote and will be happy to convince two more owners to get 5%.

    Kind Regards,

    #398990
    Miss
    Member

    Interesting point Ali – i’ll give that a shot, thank you much appreciated

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