The Constitution of The Law Society, University College Cork

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Below is the Constitution of The Law Society, University College Cork as adopted in the House at some meeting shortly before the AGM of the 78th Session

THE CONSTITUTION OF THE LAW SOCIETY, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CORK


Preamble

We, the members of the Law Society, University College Cork, hereby give ourselves this Constitution to ensure our interests are effectively represented and that fair and democratic governance is achieved.


General Provisions

Article 1

1. The Society’s official title shall be “The Law Society, University College Cork,” (hereinafter referred to as “the Society.”)

2. The society recognizes the supremacy of the UCC Societies Guild Constitution over this document.

Article 2

The Society shall consist of a President, a Patron, Fellows, an Auditor, An Executive Committee, Sub Committees, Honorary Life Members and Ordinary Members.

Article 3

The Dean of the Law Faculty shall be the Ex Officio Patron of the Society. If, for whatever reason, the Dean of the Law Faculty is unwilling or unable to be the Ex Officio Patron of the Society, the Head of the Law Department shall be the Ex Officio Patron of the Society.

Article 4

The Executive Committee shall invite such a person as they consider appropriate to be the President of the Law Society whose tenure will last as long as that of the executive committee which appointed him.

Article 5

1. Nothing in this Constitution shall be interpreted to give it a meaning that would discriminate on the grounds of political, racial, religious, sexual or social disposition.

2. Wherever the word “he” appears, the word “she” is deemed to be interchangeable.


Membership

Article 6

Membership of the Society shall be open to all registered students at University College Cork, membership of the society is automatic for all law faculty students in UCC.

Article 7

Non-Law Students who wish to become members shall make themselves known to the Recording Secretary at an Ordinary Meeting. Such students must sign a roll at two ordinary Meetings. Such students will then enjoy full membership rights.



Voting Rights

Article 8 All members of the Law Society are entitled to one vote on any issue, referendum or election put before the Society. Non-Law Students who attain membership by virtue of Article 8 may not cast a vote in a meeting in which they must sign a roll in order to qualify for such membership.


Elections

Article 9

1. The election of the Executive Committee of the Society shall take place in the month of March. The Executive Committee shall determine the exact date of the election.

2. Such a date shall be communicated to the electorate no later than four weeks before voting takes place.

3. All candidates shall be afforded an opportunity to address the Law Society at the Extra General Meeting.


Annual Election

Article 10

The following Officers shall be elected by secret ballot in an election on UCC Property between 10am and 4 pm for a period no less than 4 hours. This shall be known as “The Annual Election”. There will be evening voting for evening students. The following officers will be elected: Auditor Finance Officer Education Officer Social Secretary Public Relations Officer Internal Convenor Editor in Chief of the Cork Online Law Review Conference Director Moot Convener


Extra General Meeting

Article 11

1. There shall be on the night preceding the Annual Election, an Ordinary Meeting known as the “Extra-ordinary General Meeting”. The following Officers shall be elected by secret ballot at the Extra General Meeting: Vice Auditor Recording Secretary .

Results

Article 12

Results shall be announced at the Annual General Meeting

Electoral Procedure

Article 13

1. All candidates shall hand a Formal Nomination to the Vice Auditor or in any other acceptable designated form, no later than one week before the election. Such a Nomination shall contain the Name of the Candidate, the Office for which he is running and shall be signed by two other members of the Society. 2. In the event of no nominations being received for a particular Office the Auditor shall have the discretion to re-open nominations for a further two days, for that Office.

3. At the conclusion of this period, if there are still no nominations for a particular position, the Auditor shall convene a meeting of the outgoing Executive Committee and the incoming Executive Committee, as soon as is possible after the Annual General Meeting. At such a meeting, the Auditor-elect shall suggest candidates to fill the vacant position. 4. The Committee members present shall cast a secret ballot to elect the relevant officer. These provisions shall not apply to the positions of Auditor, Editor and Chief of the Cork Online Law Review or Conference Director.


Elections in the event of a vacancy

Article 14

1. Any subsequent vacancy that occurs in these offices shall be filled by an election at an “Emergency General Meeting” which shall occur at a date determined by the Executive Committee no earlier than fourteen days and no later than twenty days after the announcement of such a vacancy. Announcements as to the vacancy will be made in core modules as well as being advertised to all law society members

2. Candidates to fill the vacancy must provide the Vice Auditor with a Formal Nomination no later than 10pm four days before the Emergency General Meeting. Such a Nomination shall contain the Name of the Candidate, the office for which he is running and shall be signed by two other members of the Law Society.

3. The Auditor may appoint a member to fill the vacancy until the election occurs.

In the event of no nominations being received, the auditor shall put forward a candidate which will then be decided upon in an election at the next house meeting and the suggested candidate may only be elected by a majority vote.

4. If someone wishes to resign from a position they may hand in their resignation to the auditor, and if it is the auditor to the highest ranking officer.


Elections of Class Representatives

Article 15

1. Class Representatives shall be elected as soon as is practicable in the first term. The Executive Committee shall announce to the individual classes, the date of their class election, no later than one week before the election.

2. Candidates shall present their nominations to the Executive Committee, no later than noon on the day preceding the class election. Such a nomination shall include the Name of the Candidate and his class.

3. In the event of a vacancy occurring in a class representative position, a new class rep will be elected in the same manner as in Article 14


Length of Tenure

Article 16

1. All elected Officers, save for the Education Officer and the Class Representatives shall serve a one year term, beginning on the first day of July, in the year of his election, and ending on the last day of June, the following year.

2. The Education Officer shall serve a one year term, beginning on the first day of August in the year of his election, and ending on the last day of July, the following year.

3. Class Representatives shall serve a term beginning on the day of their election and ending on the last day of June the following year.


Eligibility for the Auditorship

Article 17

1. A person shall not be elected Auditor unless:

a. he has attended one third of the House Meetings of the Society or he has taken an otherwise active part in the affairs of the Society.

b. he serves on the Executive Committee in the Session of his election.

In the event of section (b) not being complied with, a prospective candidate may submit a proposal to the executive committee outlining why they want to be considered for election along with the signatures of fifty members of the society as well as two signatures of the executive committee.

2. In the event that the Auditor ceases to be a student in the Faculty of Law, he shall be deemed to have vacated his office. In the event that there are no eligible candidates, the Auditor shall, with their consent, put a list of five alternative candidates before the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee, acting unanimously, shall confirm a minimum of two candidates to go forward for election under Article 13.


Electoral Criteria

Article 18

1. A person shall not be elected either Auditor, Education Officer, Social Secretary, Editor in Chief of the Cork Online Law Review or Conference Director, unless he is a student in the Faculty of Law. In the event that either of these officers ceases to be a student in the Faculty of Law, he shall be deemed to have vacated his office.

2. A person shall only be elected Education Officer if he will be an under graduate for the duration of his term.

3. a. A person shall not be elected Editor in Chief of the Cork Online Law Review, or Conference Director unless he has served on the Cork Online Law Review Sub-Committee, or the Conference Sub-Committee in the year of his election.

b. Any ordinary member who wishes to contest an election for the position of Editor in Chief of the Cork Online Law Review, or that of Conference Director may make an application to the Executive Committee, notwithstanding that he is not eligible for election in accordance with the terms of this Article. If such application is approved by a majority of the Executive Committee, and a majority of the Cork Online Law Review Sub-Committee, or the Conference Sub Committee, the member shall be permitted to contest the election.

c. In the event that there is no eligible candidate and no candidate has been approved in accordance with 3.b, the Editor in Chief, or Conference Director, with their consent, shall put a list of five possible candidates before the Sub-Committee of the Cork Online Law Review, or the Conference Sub-Committee. The Sub-Committee, acting unanimously shall confirm a minimum of two candidates to go forward for election under Article 13.


The Administration of the Society

Article 19

1. The administration of the Society shall be vested exclusively within the Auditor and the Executive Committee

2. In the interests of good governance and efficiency, the Executive Committee retains the right not to release minutes of its meetings or classified committee reports.


The Committee Executive Composition

Article 20

The Committee shall consist of an Auditor, Vice Auditor, a Finance Officer, an Education Officer, a Social Secretary, a Public Relations Officer, a Recording Secretary, an Internal Convener, an Editor in Chief of the Cork Online Law Review, a Conference Director, a Moot Convener, a Post Graduate Class Representative, A Third Year Class Representative, a Second Year Class Representative, a First Year Class Representative, Evening Class Representative and Co-Opted Members.


Precedence of Officers

Article 21

1. The Order of Precedence of Officers shall be as in Article 20. 2. This shall have no reflection on the weighting of votes.


Auditor vacating office: the Interim Period

Article 22

1. In the event of the Auditor vacating office, the most senior available officer shall execute the functions of Auditor until a successor is elected.

2. In the event that no officer remains, the last officer to vacate Office shall execute the functions of Auditor, until a successor is elected.

3. For the purposes of this Article, such a member may exercise the functions of the Auditor for the purposes of organising such an election. No Society funds may dispensed for any purpose during this period.


The Auditorship

Article 23

1. The Auditor shall preside at all meetings of the Society and of the Executive Committee. In his absence the most senior officer present shall chair the meeting.

2. The Auditor shall interpret the Constitution. Such rulings as he may make may be challenged at an ordinary meeting of the Society. In order to be sustained the challenge must be supported by a two thirds majority of those present and voting.

3. The Auditor may not cast a vote in such a challenge.

4. The Auditor shall deliver an address at the Inaugural Meeting of the Society and at the Annual General Meeting, in each session.

5. The Auditor shall be the representative of the Society or the leader of representatives, at all functions in which the Society may be represented.

6. The Auditor shall be ultimately responsible for all activity that occurs in the name of the Society and is accountable as such.

7. The Auditor shall co-ordinate the Session and ensure each particular area fulfils its role within the general context of the Society.


Executive Committee Portfolios

Article 24

1. The Vice-Auditor shall be responsible for the organisation of the debating functions of the Society. He shall convene all elections unless he himself is running in the election, in which case the most senior officer available shall convene such an election. The vice-auditor shall also be responsible for the moot convening area of the society in conjunction with the moot convener

2. The Finance Officer shall be responsible for all financial matters pertaining to the Society. He shall be responsible for the maintenance of the accounts and the procurement of sponsorship. At the Annual General Meeting he shall present a report of the accounts for the Session.

3. The Education Officer shall at all times represent the educational interests of the students of the Faculty of Law.

4. The Social Secretary shall be responsible for all social activities involving the Society.

5. The Public Relations Officer shall be responsible for the public relations of the Society and shall ensure the maintenance of a high profile of the Society and its activities.

6a. The Recording Secretary shall be responsible for all Society records. He shall take minutes at meetings of the Society and at Executive Committee Meetings.

6b. He shall at the Annual General Meeting present a report of the progress of the Society during the Session.

7. The Internal Convener shall be responsible for the organisation of Ordinary Meetings.

8. The Editor in Chief of the Cork Online Law Review shall be responsible for the effective functioning of the Cork Online Law Review as well as the selection of that sub-committee.

9. The Conference Director shall be responsible for the organisation of the Annual Law Conference as well as the selection of that sub-committee.

10. The Moot Convener shall be responsible for the organisation of the Mooting Competition.

11. The Class Representatives shall represent the interests of their individual classes to the Executive Committee and shall assist the Executive Committee in the execution of its functions including that of setting up an alumni facility.


Executive Committee Meetings

Article 25

1. A quorum for meetings of the Executive Committee shall be one-third plus one of the membership of the Executive Committee. Any member of the Executive Committee can at any time request the Auditor to call a meeting of the Executive Committee.

2. Any member of the Executive Committee who absents himself from an Executive Committee meeting three times during a Session shall be deemed to have resigned his office unless proper reason for such absence is justified to the Auditor.


Fellowships

Article 26 The Executive Committee may confer fellowships of the Society on individuals who are deemed to be appropriate for such an award. A fellowship can also be referred to as an Honorary Life Membership.


Co-Options

Article 27

1. The Auditor may exercise his discretion to nominate suitable candidates to the committee. Such a candidate shall have the title as decided on by the committee.

2. A candidate is suitable if his nomination is supported by a majority of the Executive Committee, not including the Auditor.

3. The Auditor may exercise this discretion only on four occasions in one session.

4. It shall be the duty of the Auditor to ensure that it is announced to a meeting of the Law Society within the next two meetings of the co-option, that such a co-option has taken place.

5. Such a co-option may be overturned by way of a motion in Private Members Time, supported by a two thirds majority of the House within two meetings of the co-option.

6. If a motion to overturn the co-option is defeated by the House no such motion shall be raised again and the officer shall only be removed in accordance with Article 33.


Sub Committees

Article 28

1. The Executive Committee may appoint sub-committees as it feels appropriate to ensure efficient management of the Society. Such sub-committees shall have operational independence, but shall also be answerable to the Executive Committee.

2. The Executive Committee may interfere with the operational independence of a sub-committee where the sub-committee is taking, has taken or will take a decision which affects the overall policy of the Society.

3. Sub Committees shall not bind the Law Society either financially or contractually to any party without securing the permission of the Executive Committee in advance.

4. The Auditor shall be an ex-officio member of all Sub Committees of the Law Society and may attend any meetings of such a sub committee or nominate person from the executive committee to do so.


Removal of an Officer

Article 29

1. The Auditor may request the resignation of any member of the Executive Committee who has failed to fulfil his constitutional role or who has brought the Session into disrepute. Such a resignation shall become operative when ratified by the Executive Committee in the absence of the Auditor and the member concerned, at a meeting 3 days after the Auditor has served notice upon the member concerned.

2. The Executive Committee member whose resignation was requested by the Auditor shall be given the opportunity to address and present evidence in his defence to the standing committee and to the Ordinary Meeting of the Society where a motion to overturn the ratification is presented.

3. Any member of the Society may put forward a motion of impeachment for any officer before an ordinary meeting of the Society for which 3 days written notice, outlining the charges, has been served on the Executive Committee and the officer concerned.

4. Such a motion must be supported by a two thirds majority to become operative.

5. Both the Auditor, on behalf of the Executive Committee, and the officer concerned shall have an opportunity to address and present evidence in their defence at such a meeting.


Impeachment of the Auditor

Article 30

1. The Auditor may be impeached in accordance with this constitution

2. The Vice-Auditor may also instigate impeachment proceedings against the Auditor upon his failure to perform his constitutional role, or his bringing the Society into disrepute.

3. In such an instance the Finance Officer, or in his absence, the most senior available officer, shall appoint and chair a standing committee consisting of 6 Executive Committee Members to investigate the reasons for this impeachment, a motion shall then be put before the next house meeting where a two thirds majority will have to vote in favour of the impeachment for it to take place.

The Vice-Auditor will then act in the place of the Auditor until a new Auditor has been elected.


Restriction of Executive Powers

Article 31

1. The Auditor and the Executive Committee shall not enter contractual or financial arrangements which bind future sessions unless a motion is passed by a two thirds majority at a house meeting or EGM.

2. The Auditor and the Executive Committee shall not commission any project that may potentially last longer than one single session.

3. An Auditor-elect shall be entitled to either cancel or disregard any obligations which a former Committee has committed the Society to.


Ordinary Meetings

Article 32

1. Ordinary Meetings of the Society shall be held once a week if practicable.

2. A Quorum at an ordinary meeting shall consist of twelve members. A meeting shall be declared void by the Auditor for want of quorum.

3. The Executive Committee shall enact regulations to provide for the order of business at ordinary meetings.

4. The Auditor, or Chairperson for the time being, shall at his discretion be entitled to refuse to allow discussion on any topic which feels to be detrimental to the conduct of the meeting, to the general good running of the Society or for which he feels notice should have been given.

5. At each Ordinary Meeting the Recording Secretary shall pass around a roll book for members who are present to sign. He shall be responsible for the keeping of these records for the duration of the Session.

6. The Auditor and the Recording Secretary shall wear evening dress at each ordinary meeting.

7. The Executive Committee may call an Emergency General Meeting at any time it sees fit to address important issues.


The Annual General Meeting

Article 33

1. The Annual General Meeting shall occur on the night of the Annual Election.

2. The Order of Business for the Annual General Meeting shall be as follows:

a. The Reading of the last minutes of the Session. b. Private Members Time, where members may put forward motions appropriate for the occasion. c. The reading of the Auditor’s Revenge Minutes. d. The Presentation of the Accounts for the Session. e. The Recording Secretary’s Report f. The Auditor’s closing speech g. The Announcement of the Election Results. h. The Handing over of the Auditor’s Chain to the Auditor-elect.


Voting at Meetings

Article 34

1. At a meeting of the Society and of the Executive Committee, questions shall be decided by a majority of those present and voting unless otherwise provided for by the Constitution.

2. In the case of equality of votes, the Auditor shall have a casting vote.

3. Only members deemed eligible by virtue of this constitution shall have a vote.


Suspension

Article 35

1. The Auditor or the Chairperson for the time being shall be entitled to suspend a member of the Society from any or all of his rights and privileges for a period decided upon by the executive committee.

2. The Auditor in consultation with the Executive Committee may ask the House to pass a sentence of suspension on a member of the Society for one college term as a penalty for grave misconduct, bringing the Society into disrepute or failing to fulfil obligations owed to the Society.

3. The Auditor in consultation with the Executive Committee may ask the House to pass a life expulsion on a member in penalty for grave offences against the Society and repeated misbehaviour.

4. In both instances, the person on whom the sentence is to be served, shall be afforded an opportunity to defend himself and must be given three days written notice of the charges against him.

5. Any member on whom such a sentence of suspension or life expulsion is served shall lose all his rights and privileges as a member.

6. A member who has received a suspension or life expulsion may not represent the Society in any capacity in future sessions.


Amendment of the Constitution

Article 36

1. Any provision of this Constitution may be amended, repealed or altered in accordance with this Article.

2. a. A proposal for amendment, alteration or repeal may be initiated in an Executive Committee Meeting and shall, upon being passed by the Executive Committee, be submitted by referendum to a decision of members of the Society. b. An ordinary member of the Society may put forward a proposal to amend, repeal or alter this Constitution at an Ordinary Meeting for which fourteen days notice has been communicated to the Executive Committee and shall, upon being passed by the House, be submitted by referendum to a decision of members of the Society.

3. Such a referendum shall only occur after fourteen days notice has been served and reasonable effort has been made by the Executive Committee to communicate such notice.

4. A referendum shall occur on Campus between 10am and 4 pm for a period not less than two hours.

5. An amendment shall become operative immediately upon it being passed by a majority of those present and voting.

6. The Auditor shall have a discretion to limit proposals for amendment of the Constitution to one proposal per term, in the interests of efficient running of the Society.

Article 37

This Constitution repeals all former constitutions of the Society.

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