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1.    The name of the group shall be The Child Abduction Lawyers Association (“CALA”)
2.    The aims of CALA will be:
2.1.    To formalise the informal network of child abduction lawyers practising in England and Wales that already exists.

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

2.3.    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.

2.4.    To seek to assist the court and public at large by seeking intervenor status in high profile cases, or cases of wider importance, involving important points of law in relation to international children law and where it appears to the Committee that this is an appropriate and proportionate measure to promote the objectives of the Association.

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

2.6.    To provide a Duty Scheme to assist unrepresented respondents, including at court hearings.

3.    Membership shall be held on the following basis:
3.1.    There shall be the following classes of membership:
3.1.1.    Full; 
3.1.2.    Associate; and
3.1.3.    Honorary Life Members
Full Membership
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.

3.3.3.    Any named individual on the Duty Advocate Scheme must be a Full Member of CALA. 

Associate Membership 
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.

Honorary Life Membership
3.5.    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.
Membership Register
3.6.    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 and identify the basis of their classification.
Application for Membership
3.7.    Applications for Full or Associate membership shall be made via the website in accordance with the application process set out therein.
3.8.    Applications shall be considered by the committee at the next meeting following their application being lodged and applicants shall be notified of the decision within 7 days of that meeting. 

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

Complaints Procedure 
3.10.    CALA expects its members to uphold the high standards expected under the Law Society and Bar Standards ethical codes of conduct and to abide by the equal opportunities policy set out herein.  
3.11.    Any person wishing to make a complaint that a member is alleged to have acted in breach of these high standards and expectations, may do so by email to the Chair of the Association setting out the nature of their complaint and providing copies of any evidence they would wish to rely on to substantiate their complaint.
3.12.    Upon receipt of a Complaint, the chair shall institute a subcommittee of not less than 3 Officers who shall be responsible for investigating the circumstances of the complaint and determining whether the complaint is substantiated and shall be at liberty to determine the nature and extent of their enquiries for this purpose.
3.13.    The individual concerned shall have the right to be heard by the committee, accompanied by a third person, before a final decision is made.
3.14.    The subcommittee shall provide brief reasons for any complaint that the determine has been substantiated and shall provide copies of its determination to the member and the complainant.  

3.15.    In the event that a complaint is substantiated the chair shall be responsible for determining whether the complaint constitutes a serious breach of that member’s professional code of conduct and if so shall report the matter to the member’s governing body.

3.16.    Any complaint shall be dealt with on a strictly confidential basis and Officers shall not discuss the nature of the complaint or the identity of the member with any person not directly involved in the investigation of the complaint, save as provided for in rule 3.15 herein.

3.17.    In the event that the complaint raised relates to the chair, the vice chairs shall carry out the process outlined above.

Termination of Membership 
3.18.    Members (Full or Associate) may resign at any time in writing to the Membership Secretary.
3.19.    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.

3.20.    By a majority vote of the CALA officers, membership of CALA may be terminated or suspended for a fixed period in the event that upon investigation by the Committee of a complaint, the Committee is satisfied that a member has behaved in an offensive way and/or is in breach of the equal opportunities policy. 

4.    The Committee shall determine the joining fee and the annual subscription fees payable in respect of both Full and Associate Membership.  By no later than 28 January each year, the Committee  shall publish on the public section of the Association’s website the joining fee and annual subscription costs payable in the following calendar year and applicants and members shall be liable to pay such fees as follows:

4.1.    Within 28 days of being notified that their application for membership has been successful, the new member shall pay the joining fee and the full annual subscription rate for their category of membership for that calendar year.  For the avoidance of doubt this fee will  not be pro-rata and is non-refundable in the event of termination of subscription.

4.2.    Each member (Full and Associate) shall pay such annual subscription (if any) for the year ahead as the Committee determines from time to time having regard to whether they are applying for Full or Associate Membership.  Annual subscription fees fall due on 28 January each year and must be paid no later than 28 February of that year.

4.3.    Honorary Life Members are not required to pay a joining or an annual subscription fee.

 Equal Opportunities
5.    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.
Officers and Committee
6.    The business of CALA will be carried out by a Committee comprised of 10 Officers elected at the Annual General Meeting who shall be full members of CALA and up to 4 additional committee members co-opted to the committee as provided for herein.

7.    The Committee shall meet its obligations as follows:

7.1.    The Committee will meet as is necessary and not less than four times a year.  The dates and agenda for committee meetings will be published on the members’ section of the CALA website not less than 7 days before such meeting takes place.  These meetings may be convened as in person, hybrid or fully remote meetings and details of the venue and link (if appropriate) will be set out in the agenda.  
7.2.    The Committee will consist of 10 elected Officers and up to 4 co-opted 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 14.

7.3.    The Officers’ and co-opted Committee members’ roles are as follows:

7.3.1.     Chair who shall chair all meetings and otherwise perform the duties as provided for within the constitution;
7.3.2.    Vice-Chair(s) (the committee may elect up to two vice chairs) who shall assist and support the Chair and chair any meeting in the absence of the Chair.
7.3.3.    General Secretary, who shall be responsible for:    Preparing the agenda for all Committee and Open meetings of the Association;     taking of minutes of all meetings
and providing these to the website officer for publication on the members’ section of the website with the timescales provided for in this constitution. 
7.3.4.    Membership Secretary, who shall be responsible for:    keeping records of members;    ensuring membership applications are considered at meetings and notifying applicants of the outcome of their applications    liaising with the Web Co-ordinator to ensure that membership details published are kept up-to-date.
7.3.5.    Treasurer, who shall be responsible for:    Servicing the on-line bank account    Preparing the annual budget and making recommendations as to any change in the joining and/or annual subscription fees.    maintaining accounts and preparing a closing account for publication on the website at the end of each financial year for publication on the website;
7.3.6.    Events Co-Ordinator Officer, who shall be responsible for organising and arranging events; 
7.3.7.    Policy Development Officer, who will be responsible for:    coordinating CALA’s written response to consultations;    Placing before the Committee any proposal that CALA seeks intervenor status in proceedings within the UK or otherwise; and    ensuring the Constitution is kept up to date;
7.3.8.    Marketing Officer who shall be responsible for the general marketing and social media publishing relating to CALA.
7.3.9.    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.
7.3.10.    Data Protection who will be responsible ensuring CALA complies with its date protection and privacy obligations under the GDPR and any subsequent amending legislation.
7.3.11.    Website Co-ordinator who will be responsible, whether directly or indirectly, for the construction, maintenance and updating of the CALA website including the publication in the members section of the agenda and minutes for all Committee and Open meetings.

7.4.    The Committee may, by a majority vote elect two Vice Chairs and/or two Chairs.  If two Chairs are appointment they shall agree as between themselves who will chair each meeting during the term.

7.5.    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.
7.6.    All officers shall remain in post until the next AGM.
7.7.    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.

7.8.    Additional or different roles may be allocated to the Officers and co-opted committee members by the Committee as necessary.

7.9.    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.
7.10.    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.
7.11.    Any Committee member not attending a meeting without apology for two consecutive meetings or three meetings in any year will be contacted by either the Secretary or the Chair and asked if they wish to resign.
Annual General Meetings
8.    An Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held within fifteen months of the previous AGM.
8.1.    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.
8.2.    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.
8.3.    The quorum for the AGM will be 10% of the membership of CALA or 10 members, whichever is the greater number.
8.4.    The following will take place at the AGM:
8.4.1.    The Committee will present a report of the work of CALA over the year.
8.4.2.    The Committee will present the accounts of CALA for the previous year.
8.4.3.    The officers for the next year will be elected by ordinary majority of those Full Members attending and voting; and
8.4.4.    Any proposals given to the Secretary at least 7 days in advance of the meeting will be discussed
Special General Meetings
8.5.    The Secretary will call a Special General Meeting at the request of the majority of the Committee or at least eight other Full Members of CALA giving a written request to the Chair or Secretary stating the reason for their request.

8.6.    A Special General Meeting (SGM) will take place within twenty-one days of the request.

8.7.    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.

8.8.    The quorum for the Special General Meeting will be 10% of the membership or 10 members, whichever is the greater number.
General meetings
8.9.    General Meetings (GM) are open to all members and will be held when necessary.

8.10.    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.

8.11.    The quorum for a General Meeting shall be 10% of the membership or 5 members, whichever is the greater number.
Rules of Procedure for Meetings
8.12.    All questions that arise at any meeting will be discussed openly and the meeting will seek to find a consensus.
8.13.    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.
8.14.    If the number of votes cast on each side is equal the Chair shall have an additional casting vote.
8.15.    Any Full Member present who does not believe a consensus has been reached may call for a vote.

8.16.    Honorary and Full members are entitled to attend, speak and vote at the AGM, SGM and any GM meeting.   

8.17.    Associate members of CALA are entitled to attend at the AGM SGM and any GM.  Associate members may speak provided they have given at least 48 hours’ notice to the Secretary of the issue about wish they wish to speak.  

8.18.    For the avoidance of doubt, Associate Members are not entitled to vote at meetings.
9.    An account will be maintained on behalf of CALA at a bank agreed by the Committee and shall be operated in compliance with the following rules.
9.1.    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.

9.2.    Where internet banking arrangements are made with any bank, the Treasurer shall be appointed as the Service Administrator. The bank mandate approved by the Committee shall identify a number of Officers who will be authorised to approve transactions on those accounts. The bank mandate will state clearly the amounts of payments that can be instructed by the use of the Service Administrator alone, or by the Service Administrator with a stated number of approvals. 

9.3.    Access to any internet banking accounts will be directly to the access page (which may be saved under “favourites”), and not through a search engine or e-mail link. Remembered or saved passwords facilities must not be used on any computer used for CALA banking work. Breach of this rule will be treated as a very serious matter. 
9.4.    Records of income and expenditure will be maintained by the Treasurer and a financial statement given to each AGM.  The account shall also be published on the Members site on the Association’s website. 

9.5.    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.
Amendments to the Constitution
10.    Amendments to the constitution may only be made at the Annual General Meeting or a Special General Meeting and the following conditions shall apply:

10.1.    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.

10.2.    Any proposal to amend the constitution will require a two thirds majority of those present and entitled to vote.
11.    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.

12.    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.
The original 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
This current constitution was adopted at a SGM held on 7 December 2024.

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