Most handbell ringers probably do not realise when they start a handbell team, or join one, that they are entering into a legal relationship with the other members of the team. For the majority of people this fact will have little practical significance. In fact it will generally only come to the fore when there is a dispute, and then the terms of that relationship will be very important.
Fewer disputes would arise if the terms of the relationship were to be spelt out beforehand, if ringers were aware in advance what their rights and obligations are. It is much more difficult to settle a dispute amicably if nothing has been put in writing and you are left trying to reconcile people’s differing understandings of what has been ‘agreed’.
So it would be better if every handbell team had a ‘Constitution’, a set of Rules spelling out the rights and privileges of membership and the obligations and duties that go with that membership.
There is now an added inducement. ‘Making Music’ (the National Federation of Music Societies) offers public liability insurance at very reasonable rates to its members. Handbell teams can join and get the advantage of this, but they must have a written constitution. HRGB has produced this leaflet to make the process as simple as possible and to help you avoid the worst pitfalls.