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Equality Act 2010

Section 107: Interpretation and exceptions

345.This section explains what is meant by terms used in Part 7 of the Act. It defines an association as a body with 25 or more members where access to membership is controlled by rules and involves a genuine selection process based on personal criteria. It gives a Minister of the Crown power to amend this definition so as to change the number of members required by the definition.

346.It also provides that people who have any kind of membership of a particular association are protected by this Part, as are associates who are not members of an association but have many of the rights of members as a consequence of being a member of another association.

347.The exceptions which apply to this Part of the Act are contained in Schedule 16.


348.The substance of the definition of an association remains unchanged from that which was used in the Race Relations Act 1976.

  • Associations include: private members’ golf clubs and gentlemen’s clubs where applicants for membership are required to make a personal application, be sponsored by other members and go through some kind of selection process.

  • Membership would cover full membership, associate membership, temporary membership and day membership.

  • Casinos, nightclubs and gyms, where payment of the requisite “membership” fee is all that is required to secure admittance are not associations for the purposes of this Part. These are covered instead by the provisions in Part 3 concerning services provided to the public.

  • A book club run by a group of friends which has no formal rules governing admittance or whose membership is less than 25 is not an association for the purposes of this Part.

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