5. Common seal
A common seal is the official stamp or "signature" of an association. As a body corporate, an association is entitled to a common seal, and the Act requires an association’s rules to provide for the "custody and use of a common seal". This means that an association must have a common seal and should maintain a list of those office bearers who are authorised to use the common seal. Common seals are not expensive to purchase and can be obtained from most stationery shops or rubber stamp suppliers.
The Act also provides that a common seal is only required for contracts which, if made between natural persons, would be required to be made in writing and under seal. In Western Australia, it is not necessary to seal any contract made between natural persons. On this basis, it is not necessary for an incorporated association to use a common seal to execute contracts in this State.
However, even though an incorporated association does not have to use a common seal to execute contracts, your association may decide to use the seal on contracts and other formal documents as the official signature of the association. It is good practice to limit the use of the common seal through the association’s rules by requiring that the stamp only be used if the committee formally resolves to “affix” it to a document. Whatever your association decides, the rules should clearly indicate whether or not the association must use the common seal when executing contracts.
If the seal is used on a contract or other document, the fixing of the seal should be witnessed only by those who are authorised in the rules to witness the sealing of the document. Usually association rules require the sealing of a document to be witnessed by more than one officer bearer.