BCS Law Specialist Group Constitution

1. TITLE

The name shall be the BCS Law Specialist Group.

2. INTERPRETATION

In this constitution, except where otherwise required:

"Group" shall mean BCS Law Specialist Group.

"BCS" shall mean British Computer Society, Registered Charity No. 292786

“HQ” shall mean British Computer Society, First Floor, Block D, North Star House, North Star Avenue, Swindon, UK, SN2 1FA

"Member" or "Members" shall mean a person or persons qualified under article 4 of this constitution.

"Committee" shall mean that body of members elected, appointed or co-opted under article 5 of this constitution.

"Officer" or "Officers" shall mean the Chairperson, Treasurer, Membership Secretary, Secretary and such other appointments which the Group may make under article 5 of this constitution.

"Professional Member" or "Professional Members" shall mean a person or persons holding membership of the BCS in one of the following grades: Fellow (FBCS) or Member (MBCS)

“Chartered Member” or “Chartered Members” shall mean a person or persons holding membership of the BCS in one of the following grades: Fellow (FBCS CITP) or Member (MBCS CITP) and entitled to use the designation “Chartered Information Technology Professional.”

“In writing” applies equally to e-mail or paper copy

3. OBJECTIVES

The objectives of the Group are:

  1. Hub for information about legal information technology
  2. A forum for consideration of, discourse on, and promulgation of current awareness about developments in ICT and the Law, the impact of the Law on ICT technologies, businesses, professionals and practitioners, and the mutual interactions of the theory and practice of the disciplines of the Law and ICT. 
  3. To promote awareness and understanding of the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of IT practitioners; and of IT's impact on, and its use within, the legal profession, law firms, the courts, and the justice system, both nationally and internationally.
  4. Provide a lead in  provision of information about legal issues surrounding and impact on ICT
  5. Promulgate best practice within its area
  6. Provide subject matter definition and work towards a uniform taxonomy
  7. Organise and host Speaker and networking events
  8. Actively engage with Branches and other SGs to seek to facilitate joined up working including jointly hosting events.
  9. Outreach meetings (see 10.4 below) with other professional bodies interested in legal information technology.
  10. Be the BCS’s single point of contact both internally and externally dialogue on relevant issues (see (1) above)
  11. Actively facilitate interaction between BCS and other professions.
  12. Support BCS’s charitable objectives

4. MEMBERSHIP

4.1 Qualifications

Persons eligible for membership of the Group shall be any member of BCS (Affiliate grade or higher) interested in the objectives and activities of the Group.

4.2 Admission to SG membership

Applicants holding BCS membership at any level shall be admitted without charge.

4.3 Resignation

Any member of the Group may resign by giving notice in writing at any time.

4.4 Exclusions

Individual honorary SG memberships and corporate/company memberships shall not be created.

5. COMMITTEE

5.1 Members

The business activities of the Group shall be controlled by the Committee which shall consist of a Chairperson, Treasurer, Secretary, Membership Secretary, such other Officer posts as may be required and including up to 7 other members who shall be elected at each AGM.

The Chairperson, Secretary, Membership Secretary and Treasurer shall be professional or chartered members of BCS.

Although Affiliate is the minimum requirement for any member of the group, it shall be expected that the Committee members be professional or chartered members of BCS.

The Chairperson shall be responsible to BCS for the finance, policy and activities of the Group.

The Chairperson may not also hold the Treasurer post.  The posts of Secretary and Membership Secretary may be held by one person.

5.2 Terms of Office and Eligibility of Officers for Re-Election

All Officer and committee membership posts shall have nominal terms of one year, expiring at the following AGM.  Officers may stand for re-election annually, without limit.

5.3 Nominations

The name of any member accepting nomination for election or re-election as an Officer or as a Committee member should be submitted in writing to the Secretary, 14 clear days prior to the date of the AGM by two members of the Group and with the written consent of the nominee.

5.4 Election of the Committee

5.4.1 If there is more than one nomination for any of the Officer positions, an election will be held at the AGM.

5.4.2 If the nominations number the same or less than the remaining vacancies for the Committee members, all shall be deemed to be duly elected.

5.4.3 In the event of there being more nominations than vacancies, the elections shall be by ballot of those members physically present.  Each member present may vote for up to as many candidates as there are vacancies to be filled, and no more.

5.5 Resignation from the Committee

In the event of any elected officer resigning, the Committee shall have the power to fill the vacancy until the next AGM.

5.6 Co-option to the Committee

The Committee may co-opt to their number up to a maximum of four BCS members serving at any one time, with a maximum term of one year.  Co-opted members shall have the same voting rights as other members of the Committee.

5.7 Committee Meetings

The Committee shall meet at such times and in such places as the Committee may determine and in so far as is practicable they shall meet at least four times per year.

5.8 Quorum

Four Committee members, including at least one Officer, shall constitute a quorum.

5.9 Voting

At any Committee meeting each member of the Committee present, save the Chairperson, shall be entitled to one vote but, in the event of equality, the Chairperson will use his/her casting vote.

6. GENERAL MEETINGS

6.1 The AGM of the Group shall be held in September each year, at the direction of the Committee, for transacting the following business:

a. To receive the Annual Report of the Chairperson

b. To receive and approve the Annual Accounts.

c. To elect the Officers and Committee for the ensuing year.

d. To consider any other business relevant to the AGM.

6.2 Notice of General Meetings

6.2.1 The notice shall be conveyed in writing to every member of the Group.

6.2.2 The notice shall be issued at least 14 clear days before the date of the meeting and shall indicate the business to be transacted.

6.2.3 In the case of the AGM the notice shall include a request for nominations of Officers and Committee members.

6.2.4 The accidental omission to give notice of any meeting or non-receipt of such notice by any person entitled to receive notice shall not invalidate any resolution passed.

6.3 Chairperson

At all General Meetings and meetings of the Committee the Chairperson of the Group shall be Chairperson or, if absent, the members present shall appoint one of their number to be Chairperson.

6.4 Voting

At any General Meeting each member shall be entitled to one vote.  Voting at any meeting may be determined by a show of hands unless a secret ballot is demanded by at least one third of the members present (such demand determined by a show of hands alone).  The number of votes shall be recorded and stated in the report, which shall also be posted on the SG’s website.

6.5 Quorum

At any General Meeting of the Group, 10 members, including two Officers shall constitute a quorum.

6.6 Absence of Quorum

At the discretion of the Chairperson, any meeting may proceed with its business, but all resolutions passed must be confirmed at the first subsequent, quorate General Meeting.

6.7 Extraordinary General Meetings

Extraordinary General Meetings of the Group shall be convened by the Secretary by direction of the Committee or on the request of twenty members.

7. FINANCES

7.1 Accounts will be held centrally by HQ with monthly reports being made available to the Treasurer. Accounts completed up to the last day of August each year will be presented to the AGM following the end of the financial year to which the accounts relate.

7.2 The financial year of the Group shall commence on the first day of September each year.

7.3 The allocated funds of the Group shall be under the control of the Committee, in accordance with central accounting practices and subject to annual submission to the AGM of a detailed financial plan.

7.4 Any surplus funds arising from the activities of the Group shall be managed in accordance with the financial guidelines determined by BCS.

8. RECORDS

8.1 A correct record of the proceedings of all Committee and General Meetings of the Group shall be kept by the Secretary.

8.2 A record of members of the Group will be kept on the BCS central database. Membership Secretaries and Chairpersons will have access to standard data reports produced by HQ.

9. PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENTS

Public announcements concerning the Group shall be made only by, or with the consent of, the Chairperson.  Any press releases shall be cleared by the BCS Press Office before issue.

10. MEETINGS (other than committee meetings), EVENTS and JOURNALS

10.1 Meetings and events of the Group may only be held with the consent of the Committee and the organiser shall notify local BCS branches, any other relevant Specialist Groups, and place an entry in the BCS Events Diary.

10.2 ‘Meetings’ - free regular gatherings of members.

10.3 ‘Events’ - These include ‘schools’ and conferences and shall normally be chargeable, with preferential rates for BCS members, or members of other organisations with bi-lateral agreements.

10.4 Apart from identified and separately budgeted ‘Outreach’ meetings aimed at a specific non-BCS audience (e.g. the public), non-member visitors may attend 40% of a Group’s free meetings in a year, on a trial basis, after which they shall seek to become a BCS member.

10.5 Journals/publications produced by the Group shall be chargeable and brought in house wherever possible.

11. BCS

The Group is a part of BCS and thus shall be subject to the BCS Charter, Byelaws, Members’ Regulations, Trustee Board Regulations, Charity Commission requirements and any applicable legislation, such as the Disability Discrimination Act and Data Protection Act.

12. BCS SPECIALIST GROUPS ASSEMBLY & EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

12.1 The Group shall appoint two of its number (normally Chairperson and Treasurer) who shall hold professional or chartered membership of the BCS, to attend meetings of the BCS Specialist Groups Assembly as the Group's representatives.

12.2 The Group shall be required to submit an annual report to the BCS Specialist Groups’ Executive Committee describing the Group's activities, a financial statement and budget projections.

13. KNOWLEDGE COMMUNITIES

The Group will engage and work closely with relevant SGs and Forum Strategic Panels to become part of one or more flexible Knowledge Communities.

14. WINDING UP

If upon winding up or dissolution of the Group, there remain, after the satisfaction of all its liabilities, any assets, they shall be vested in the BCS.