Constitution

Constitution

for

The Child Abduction Lawyers Association

 

  1. Name

The name of the group shall be The Child Abduction Lawyers Association (“CALA”)

 

  1. Aims

The aims of CALA will be:

 

  1. To formalise the informal network of child abduction lawyers practising in England and Wales that already exists.

 

  1. To improve and maintain high standards of service and practice in matters involving child abduction.

 

  1. To be the collective voice of child abduction lawyers with government and the media in relation to proposed legislation (domestic and international) or changes to court practice and procedure.

 

  1. To improve the links and communication between child abduction lawyers in England and Wales and similar specialists throughout the world.

 

  1. Members

3.1.      There shall be the following classes of membership:

 

3.1.1    Full; and

3.1.2    Associate.

3.1.3    Honorary Life Members

 

3.2       Full Members shall comprise:

 

3.2.1    those founding members of CALA who were invited and attended or expressed an interest in attending the inaugural meeting of CALA at Woburn House on 11 September 2014; and

 

3.2.2    such other persons as are admitted as Full Members.

 

3.3       The following shall be eligible to apply to become Full Members:

 

3.3.1    A specialist accredited by either Resolution or the Law Society with a particular specialism in Child Abduction and International Children’s Issues; or

 

3.3.2    An individual (solicitor, barrister, academic or other non-qualified lawyer) practicing in England and Wales who is a recognised expert within the field of child abduction law and is nominated by two Full Members

 

3.4.      Any person who has an interest in the field of child abduction law, including lawyers or academics practicing in other jurisdictions, but who does not satisfy the criteria for Full membership may apply to become an Associate Member. It shall be a condition that an Associate Member shall not hold themselves out as being a Full Member of CALA.

 

3.5         The Membership Secretary shall maintain separate registers of Full and Associate Members. Both shall be entitled to have their names listed on the CALA website, which shall distinguish Associate members appropriately.

 

3.6       Honorary Life Members may be appointed by the Committee from time to time entirely at the Committee’s discretion. An Honorary Life Member may cease to be such at their request or at the request of the Committee. Save that Honorary Life Members will not be required to pay a joining or annual fee, they shall otherwise be treated as full members.

 

4          Application for Membership

4.1       Applications for Full or Associate membership shall be in the form prescribed by the Committee from time to time.

 

4.2       An applicant whose application for membership is refused shall be given brief reasons for the refusal.

 

  1. 5. Termination of Membership

5.1       Members (Full or Associate) may resign at any time in writing to the Membership Secretary.

 

5.2       Members (Full or Associate) who have not paid their joining and/or annual subscription fee for a period of 6 months after the due date for payment will be    deemed to have resigned and shall have their names removed from the CALA website.

 

5.3       Offensive behaviour, including racist, sexist or inflammatory remarks, will not be permitted. Anyone behaving in an offensive way or breaking the equal opportunities policy may be asked not to attend further meetings or to resign from CALA if an apology is not offered or the behaviour is repeated. The individual concerned shall have the right to be heard by the committee, accompanied by a third person, before a final decision is made.

 

  1. 6. Fees

6.1       Each applicant for admission to membership shall pay such joining fee (if any) as the Committee determines from time to time.

 

6.2       Each member (Full and Associate) shall pay such annual subscription (if any) as the Committee determines from time to time.

 

  1. Equal Opportunities

CALA will not discriminate on the grounds of gender, race, colour, ethnic or national origin, sexuality, disability, religious or political belief, marital status or age.

 

  1. Officers and committee

8.1       The business of CALA will be carried out by a Committee elected at the Annual General Meeting who shall be full members of CALA.

 

8.2       The Committee will meet as is necessary and not less than four times a year.

 

8.3       The Committee will consist of 8 officers and additional Committee members who may be co-opted onto the Committee at the discretion of the Committee provided always that the total number of officers and additional Committee members shall not exceed 10.

 

8.4       The officers’ and additional Committee members’ roles are as follows:

8.4.1    Chair, who shall chair all meetings;

8.4.2    Vice-Chair

8.4.3    Secretary, who shall be responsible for the taking of minutes of all meetings and the distribution of all papers;

8.4.4    Membership secretary, who shall be responsible for keeping records of members;

8.4.5    Treasurer, who shall be responsible for maintaining accounts;

8.4.6    Events Co-Ordinator, who shall be responsible for organising and arranging events; and

8.4.7    Policy Development Officer, who will be responsible for coordinating CALA’s written response to developments.

8.4.8    Marketing Officer who shall be responsible for the general marketing and social media relating to CALA.

8.4.9    Liaison Officer who shall be responsible for liaison with the FLBA, Resolution, Reunite and other organisations who have a common interest with CALA as may be appropriate.

8.4.10  Date Protection Officer who will be responsible ensuring CALA complies with its date protection and privacy obligations under the GDPR and any subsequent amending legislation

 

 

8.5       With the exception of the first officers who were elected by a simple majority vote of the founding members, all officers shall henceforth be elected at the AGM.

 

8.6       All officers shall remain in post until the next AGM.

 

8.6.1    The roles to be allocated to each of the officers and additional members of the Committee shall be determined by the Committee from time to time. The Committee may allocate more than one role to one officer.

 

8.6.2    Additional or different roles may be allocated to the officers and additional members by the Committee as necessary.

 

8.7       Officers may stand for re-election save that no officer shall remain in the same post for more than 3 consecutive years and no person shall be a member of the committee for more than 5 consecutive years

 

8.8       In the event of an officer standing down during the year a replacement will be elected by the next General Meeting of members. As an interim measure the Committee may co-opt a member to fill any vacant role if it is necessary to do so and such person shall be an acting officer only until the next General Meeting but shall be eligible for election at such meeting.

 

8.9       Any Committee member not attending a meeting without apology for two consecutive meetings or three meetings in any year will be contacted by the Committee and asked if they wish to resign.

 

8.10     The Committee meetings will be open to any member of CALA wishing to attend, who may speak but not vote provided they have given at least 48 hours’ notice to the Secretary of the issue about wish they wish to speak

 

  1. Meetings

 

Annual General Meetings

 

9.1.      An Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held within fifteen months of the previous AGM.

 

9.2       All members will be notified by the Secretary in writing at least 3 weeks before the date of the meeting, giving the venue, date & time.

 

9.3       Nominations for the Committee may be made by 2 or more Full Members in writing to the Secretary at least 7 days before the meeting.

 

9.4       The quorum for the AGM will be 10% of the membership of CALA or 10 members, whichever is the greater number.

 

9.5       The following will take place at the AGM:

  • The Committee will present a report of the work of CALA over the year.
  • The Committee will present the accounts of CALA for the previous year.
  • The officers for the next year will be elected by ordinary majority of those Full Members attending and voting; and
  • Any proposals given to the Secretary at least 7 days in advance of the meeting will be discussed

 

Special General Meetings

 

9.6       The Secretary will call a Special General Meeting at the request of the majority of the Committee or at least eight other members of CALA giving a written request to the Chair or Secretary stating the reason for their request.

 

9.7       A Special General Meeting will take place within twenty-one days of the request.

 

9.8       All members will be given at least two weeks’ notice of a Special General Meeting. The notice will include the venue, date, time and agenda and full details of the reason for the calling of the meeting. Notice may be given by email or post.

 

9.9       The quorum for the Special General Meeting will be 10% of the membership or 10 members, whichever is the greater number.

 

General meetings

 

9.10     General Meetings are open to all members and will be held when necessary.

 

9.11     All members will be given two weeks’ notice of a General Meeting. The notice will include the venue, date, time and agenda and full details of the reason for the calling of the meeting. Notice may be given by email or post. Such notice giving the venue,

 

9.12     The quorum for a General Meeting shall be 10% of the membership or 5 members, whichever is the greater number.

 

  1. Rules of Procedure for Meetings

10.1     All questions that arise at any meeting will be discussed openly and the meeting will seek to find a consensus.

 

10.2     If a consensus cannot be reached a vote will be taken and a decision will be made by a simple majority of Full Members present and voting.

 

10.3     If the number of votes cast on each side is equal the Chair shall have an additional casting vote.

 

10.4     Any Full Member present who does not believe a consensus has been reached may call for a vote.

 

  1. Finances

11.1     An account will be maintained on behalf of CALA at a bank agreed by the

Committee.

 

11.2     Not less than two cheque signatories will be nominated by the Committee (one to be the Treasurer). The Treasurer and one other signatory will sign all cheques, of whatever value. Both signatories must not be related nor members of the same household, same firm or chambers.

 

11.3     Records of income and expenditure will be maintained by the Treasurer and a financial statement given to each AGM.

 

11.4     All money raised by or on behalf of CALA is only to be used to further the aims of CALA, as specified in item 2 of this constitution.

 

  1. Amendments to the Constitution

12.1     Amendments to the constitution may only be made at the Annual General Meeting or a Special General Meeting.

 

12.2     Any proposal to amend the constitution must be given to the Secretary in writing and signed by at least four Full Members not less than 28 days prior to such meeting. The proposal must then be circulated with the notice of meeting.

 

12.3     Any proposal to amend the constitution will require a two thirds majority of those present and entitled to vote.

 

  1. Dissolution

13.1     If a meeting, by simple majority, decides that it is necessary to close down CALA it may call a Special General Meeting to do so. The sole business of this meeting will be to dissolve CALA.

 

13.2     If it is agreed to dissolve CALA all remaining money and other assets, once outstanding debts have been paid, will be donated to a charitable organisation. The charitable organisation to be agreed at the meeting which agrees the dissolution or in default of agreement nominated by the Chair

 

 

This constitution was adopted by the Committee in attendance at the Committee meeting on 11 December 2014

It was amended at the 2015 AGM on the 1st October 2015

It was further amended with the addition of clauses 3.1.3 and 3.6 at the AGM on the 16th December 2016

It was further amended with amendments/additions to clauses 8.3, 8.4, 8.6 8.7 at an SGM on 26th September 2018