A judge has overturned a decision by Bothwell Castle Golf Club to expel three members who made formal objections to the club’s planning application for a new clubhouse.
The members opposed the proposal for a number of reasons, including the destruction of woodland, and the club started disciplinary proceedings against them saying that their objections ‘endangered the interest of the club’ and were ‘discourteous’.
After a judicial review Lord Glennie said that the members had behaved within their rights under the planning system. They were protecting their interests and their actions did not merit disciplinary action.
The judge continued, “They objected to the proposal. They had a legitimate interest in doing so. There was nothing vindictive or irrational about their opposition. It was not done to spite the club. It was done with the aim not of impeding the club’s development but of protecting their own rights and interests.”
Michael Shaw of the National Golf Clubs’ Advisory Association said, “The NGCAA is aware of the legal proceedings involving the Bothwell Castle Golf Club. The Club is a member of the NGCAA but unfortunately they did not contact us for advice in this matter. If the committee had discussed their plans to take disciplinary action with us, we would have been able to advise them.
“It is particularly unfortunate because the judgment precisely reflects the advice given by the NGCAA to two other golf clubs in very similar cases – both in the last year. Each of those clubs avoided the expense of litigation.
“Suspension and expulsion of members is one of the most common areas of litigation and one with which the NGCAA has a wealth of experience. Throughout our existence we have published many articles on the subject explaining the dangers of taking this sort of action against members without consultation.