Boards need extra power, says Piper

Membership charities should give their boards the power to force intransigent members to enter mediation, according to Anne-Marie Piper, former chair of the Charity Law Association.

Piper, a partner at Farrer & Co, told the CLA conference last week about one highly committed member appointed to a charity's standing committee. This member had rendered the committee unable to function because he was constantly revisiting decisions he didn't agree with and writing long, aggressive letters to trustees and senior staff.

He refused to enter into arbitration and the trustees were forced to use lengthy and expensive legal means to expel him. "An independent third party might have broken the logjam," she said.

She also advised charities to consider legal expenses insurance.

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