Corporate Membership

Constitution
Name

1. The Association shall be known as the Human Rights Lawyers Association.

Objects

2. The objects of the Association are:

(a) to promote the effective legal protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the peoples of the United Kingdom;

(b) to further research, education and training in the areas of human rights law and practice, and the effective implementation of human rights law within the United Kingdom;

(c) to co-operate with other organisations whose objects are similar to those of the Association.

Membership

3. Persons shall be eligible to be members of the Association if they support its objects and fall within one or more of the following categories:

(a) members of the Bar or admitted solicitors in England and Wales or Northern Ireland or members of the Faculty of Advocates, Writers to the Signet or solicitors in Scotland;

(b) pupil barristers, trainee solicitors or students of law or human rights;

(c) persons who are or have been teachers of law;

(d) Fellows, Members or Associates of the Institute of Legal Executives;

(e) persons resident in the United Kingdom who have acquired professional status as lawyers in other Member States of the Council of Europe or the Commonwealth;

(f) current or retired members of the United Kingdom judiciary or the judiciary of other Member States of the Council of Europe or the Commonwealth;
(g) other persons having connections with the teaching, practice or administration of the law who, in the opinion of the Committee, would be likely to make a valuable contribution to the work of the Association.

4. An eligible person who wishes to become a member of the Association shall submit to the Secretary a signed application in writing, together with payment in the form and amount specified by the Committee from time to time and shall notify the Secretary of his or her postal and e-mail addresses. The Committee may also consider applications for membership from organizations rather than individuals.  The Committee may in its discretion refuse to admit any applicant to membership.

5. Membership shall terminate:

(a) upon the member ceasing to be eligible for membership;

(b) upon receipt by the Secretary of the member’s written notice of resignation;

(c) if the member’s subscription shall be six months in arrears;

(d) if the member shall be expelled by a vote of two thirds of the members present and voting at a general meeting on a resolution for that purpose.

6. The Association in General Meeting may on the recommendation of the Committee elect any person an Honorary Vice-President or Honorary Member of the Association.

Officers and Committee

7.The Officers of the Association shall be a President, a Chair, a Vice-Chair, a Treasurer, a Secretary and a Bursary Officer.

8.The Committee shall consist of the Officers, twelve elected members, two members co-opted from the Young Lawyers’ Committee and up to five additional co-opted members

9. The co-opted members shall be selected by the Committee and co-option decisions shall be made with a view to ensuring that the constitution of the Committee reflects the membership of the Association from time to time.

10. Subject to Rule 13, the Officers and Committee shall be as approved by show of hands at the Association’s first meeting and thereafter shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting.

11. Nominations for election of any person as an Officer or a member of the Committee may be made by the Committee or by written notice given by two members of the Association and signed by the candidate. Nominations (other than those made by the Committee) shall be delivered to the Secretary not less than twenty-one days before the Annual General Meeting. Retiring Officers and members of the Committee shall be eligible for re-election.

12. All contested elections for office or membership of the Committee shall be conducted by ballot of the members of the Association present at the Annual General Meeting. For contested elections for office, the candidate who receives the most votes shall be declared elected. For contested elections for membership of the Committee, the twelve candidates who receive the most votes shall be declared elected.

13. If there shall be a vacancy in any office the Committee shall appoint one of the other Officers or an elected member of the Committee to fill the vacancy until the close of the next Annual General Meeting.

14. Co-opted members of the Committee shall hold office until the close of the Annual General Meeting following their co-option.

15.The tenure of all members of the Committee shall be subject to the terms of this Rule. Any Committee members who fail to attend three consecutive Committee meetings without reasonable excuse may be deemed by the Committee to have resigned. The remaining members of the Committee shall have power to co-opt any member of the Association to fill the resulting vacancy, subject to the limit in Rule 8.

Young Lawyers’ Committee

16. The Young Lawyers’ Committee shall consist of up to eight co-opted members of the Association who are students of law or human rights, trainee solicitors or pupil barristers. Two members of the Young Lawyers’ Committee shall be co-opted to the Committee and as full members of the Committee may vote at Committee meetings. The Young Lawyers’ Committee reports to the Committee and members of the Young Lawyers’ Committee may attend Committee meetings but only the co-opted members may vote. Non co-opted members of the Young Lawyers’ Committee cannot vote at Committee meetings.

General Meetings

17. An Annual General Meeting shall be held at least once in every year. It shall be held on such day as may be appointed by the Committee, being not more than fifteen months after the previous Annual General Meeting.

18. The business to be conducted at the Annual General Meeting shall be such as may required by the Rules or directed by the Committee together with any resolution of which notice in writing to the Secretary signed by two members of the Association has been given not less than twenty-one days before the meeting. Any other matters may in the discretion of the Chair of the Meeting be raised without notice for purposes of discussion only.

19. The Secretary shall give to each member of the Association not less than thirty days’ written notice of the date, time and place of the Annual General Meeting. The Secretary shall, not less than ten days before the date of the Meeting, send to each member of the Association an agenda specifying the business to be conducted at the meeting and the names of candidates for election.

20. A Special General Meeting shall be held:

(a) if requisitioned by the Committee; or

(b) on the requisition of not less than ten members of the Association. Such requisition shall be made in writing to the Secretary and shall specify the business for which the Special General Meeting is to be requisitioned, and no other business shall be transacted at the Meeting.

21. The Secretary shall give to each member of the Association not less than fourteen days’ written notice of any Special General Meeting, specifying the date, time and place of the Meeting and the business to be transacted.

22. Accidental failure to give notice of a General Meeting or send an agenda to any member in due time or at all shall not invalidate the proceedings at the General Meeting.

23. Subject to Rule 12, voting at a General Meeting shall be by show of hands. In the event of equality of votes the Chair of the Meeting shall have a casting vote.

24. The Chair of the Association (or in his or her absence the Vice-Chair) shall take the chair at any General Meeting. In the absence of both the Chair and the Vice-Chair, the members present at the Meeting shall elect a chair. In the absence of the Secretary, the chair of the Meeting shall appoint some member to take the minutes of the meeting.

25. The quorum of any General Meeting shall be ten members of the Association.

26. If the business of a General Meeting is not concluded within the time available,
the Meeting shall be adjourned to such time and place as the chair of the Meeting shall direct.

Committee Powers and Meetings

27. So far as not otherwise provided in these Rules and subject to any directions which may be given by a resolution of the Association in General Meeting, the affairs of the Association shall be controlled and directed by the Committee.
28. The Chair of the Association (or in his or her absence the Vice-Chair) shall take the chair at any meeting of the Committee. In the absence of both the Chair and the Vice-Chair, the members present at the meeting shall elect a chair.

29. The quorum at any meeting of the Committee shall be five.

30. Any member of the Committee may send an alternate who is a member of the Association to act and vote in his or her place at any meeting of the Committee which he or she is unable to attend.

31. The chair of the meeting shall have a casting vote in the event of equality of votes.

32. Meetings of the Committee shall be convened at such times and places as shall agreed by the Committee and may also be convened on the requisition of any of the Officers or any three members of the Committee. The Secretary shall give to each member of the Committee not less than seven days’ notice of any meeting, but the period of notice may be abridged in case of urgency. Accidental failure to give notice to any members in due time or at all shall not invalidate the proceedings.

33. The Committee may appoint sub-committees for specific purposes and may co-opt any persons (whether or not members of the Association) to such sub-committees.

34. The Committee shall at each Annual General Meeting report to the members of the Association on its conduct of the affairs of the Association since the previous Annual General Meeting.

Subscriptions and Finance

35. (a) The subscriptions for the year shall be such sum or sums as may be determined by the Committee from time to time in accordance with rule 35 (or paragraph (d) below), but there shall be no charge for those who are students (or pupil barristers or trainee solicitors) on the date when their subscription falls due.

(b) Subject to paragraph (c) below, subscriptions shall be paid on joining the Association and thereafter on 1 February of each year (“the renewal date”). Members joining the Association on or after 1 September in any year shall pay one year’s subscription from the date of joining to  the last day of February of the following year.
(c) Members of the Association who are students and who wish to renew their membership shall inform the Secretary (or one of the Secretaries) in writing not less than 21 days before the renewal date of whether they remain students on the renewal date. If they do not remain students their membership must be renewed by signature of an appropriate standing order mandate.
(d) At the discretion of the Committee, group membership may be granted to organisations on payment of a subscription in such amount as the Committee decides is appropriate in each case for each year, having regard to the number of individuals within that organisation who are expected to make use of the membership.

36. The amount of the annual subscription may (with effect from the beginning of the next year) be altered by a resolution at a meeting of the Committee.

37. The Association shall open and maintain an account at a bank (to be selected from time to time by the Committee) into which the subscriptions and other receipts of the Association shall be paid. Money not for the time being required for the purposes of the Association may be placed on deposit account or invested in any other manner approved by the Committee.

38. The Treasurer shall be responsible (under the supervision of the Committee) for the management of the finances of the Association. The Treasurer shall cause accounts to be prepared in respect of each year and such accounts shall be laid before the Annual General Meeting in the following year.

Amendments to the Rules

39. Subject to Rule 35 these Rules may be altered only by a resolution at a General Meeting supported by at least two thirds of the members present and voting thereon.

Branches

40. Members of the Association may form branches in any of the countries, regions or localities of the United Kingdom and members of any such branch may make such regulations as they think fit for the conduct of its activities: provided that any such branch shall have the same objects as the Association and that its regulations shall not be inconsistent with the Rules of the Association.

41. The Committee of the Association may provide assistance for branches out of the funds of the Association. The Committee shall consult with any relevant branch on matters of particular concern to the country, region or locality in question.

Notice

42. Any written notice shall be deemed to be given to a member if it has been sent by post or delivered or sent by electronic mail to a member’s address last notified in writing by such member to the Secretary.

Adopted February 2003
Amended 10 December 2009, 10 December 2009 and November 2011