Following a postal ballot of IALT members during June/July 2011 a new Constitution was approved in July 2011:
Constitution of the Irish Association of Law Teachers
A. NAME AND OBJECTS
1. The Association shall be called “THE IRISH ASSOCIATION OF LAW TEACHERS”.
2. The objects of the Association shall be the advancement of legal education, as well as legal research and legal scholarship, and of the work and the interests of law teachers, legal researchers and legal scholars in the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland.
It shall achieve these objects through:
• The organisation, promotion and delivery of conferences, seminars and other events promoting the objects of the Association;
• The representation of the Association at conferences, seminars and other events;
• The representation of the Association through membership of and liaison with other organisations with related objects;
• The publication and preparation for publication of research, scholarship and other written works relevant to the objects of the Association;
• Cooperation with international legal academic representative bodies and similar bodies outside the island of Ireland;
• The promotion and adjudication of merit-based competitions related to the objects of the Association; and
• By any other means considered conducive to the achievement of the objects of the Association.
B. MEMBERSHIP: GENERAL PRINCIPLES
3. There shall be four categories of Members of the Association to be called respectively:
(1) Ordinary Members,
(2) Associate Members,
(3) Honorary Members and
(4) Emeritus Members.
Subject to the Rules following hereafter:
• Ordinary members may vote at all meetings of the Association, and may, subject to election or co-option in accordance with these Rules, become members of the Council of the Association.
• Associate members may vote at all meetings of the Association, but may not become members of the Council of the Association.
• Emeritus members may vote at all meetings of the Association, but may not become members of the Council of the Association and shall not be called upon to pay subscriptions for membership of the Association.
• Honorary members may not vote at any meetings of the Association, and may not become members of the Council of the Association, but shall not be called upon to pay subscriptions for membership of the Association.
4. (1) Ordinary Members of the Association shall be such teachers, researchers or scholars of law in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland as shall signify to the Membership Secretary of the Association their wish to become Ordinary Members, shall duly pay their subscriptions, and shall conform to the rules of the Association.
(2) No one shall become an Ordinary Member until his or her acceptance as such has been formally notified to him or her by the Membership Secretary of the Association. Before such notification, the Council may, if it thinks fit, after giving the candidate an opportunity of explanation, refer the question of the acceptance of any Ordinary Member to the next or any general meeting of the Association, whose decision shall be final.
(3) Ordinary Membership of the Association shall be open to all persons who are engaged in the teaching of law and/or substantially engaged in legal research or scholarship in the Republic of Ireland or in Northern Ireland, in
(a) any institution in which law is studied as an academic discipline, whether as a programme in its own right or as part of any other academic programme or
(b) any other place, subject to approval by the Council.
Provided always that, in the case of Ordinary members, such institution or place shall be in the Republic of Ireland or in Northern Ireland.
(4) The Council may require evidence of qualification for membership, and on any question that may arise as to the interpretation and application of this Rule, the decision of the Council shall, unless and until altered by a general meeting of the Association, be conclusive.
5. (1) The Council may elect to be Associate Members:
(a) Any person who has been a member of the Association and who has ceased to be engaged in the teaching of law or in legal scholarship or research;
(b) Ordinary Members who have ceased to be engaged in the teaching of law or in legal scholarship or research in the Republic of Ireland or in Northern Ireland and who have expressed their desire to become Associate Members. Provided that such persons shall, on becoming again engaged in such teaching or research in the Republic of Ireland or in Northern Ireland, cease to be Associate Members, but shall be entitled to resume their positions as Ordinary Members under Rule 4; and
(c) Teachers, researchers and scholars of law who hold or have held appointments outside the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in such institutions or bodies or their equivalents as specified in Rule 4.
(2) Associate Members shall not be eligible for election as officers of the Association, but may vote in elections and at general meetings of the Association.
6. (1) Any person who is or has been engaged in teaching law and/or engaged in legal research or scholarship in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland under the conditions described in Rule 4, any person who is or has been so engaged in other jurisdictions, or who is otherwise making or has made a significant contribution to legal academia or in the field of legal scholarship, or who, in the opinion of the Council, is making or has made a significant contribution to the wellbeing of society may be invited by the Council to become, and shall on giving his or her consent become, an Honorary Member of the Association.
(2) Honorary Members shall not be entitled to vote at any of the meetings of the Association or for the election of its Council and may not become members of the Council of the Association. Honorary Members shall not be called upon to pay subscriptions. In other respects their rights shall be the same as those of Ordinary Members.
(3) The number of such Honorary Members shall not at any time exceed twelve and not more than two such members shall be elected in any one year.
7. (1) The Council may elect to be an Emeritus Member of the Association in recognition of services rendered to legal education, legal research or legal scholarship any person who has been a member of the Association and who has ceased to be engaged in the teaching of law or in legal scholarship.
(2) Emeritus Members shall not be eligible for election as officers of the Association, but may vote in elections and at general meetings of the Association.
(3) Emeritus Members shall not be called upon to pay subscriptions.
8. The Council shall prepare and maintain a Register containing the name, qualifications, experience, and other particulars supplied by Ordinary Members of the Association and by Associate Members.
9. (1) Any member of the Association who, in the opinion of the Council, has been guilty of any conduct which renders his or her membership detrimental to the interests of the Association, or which otherwise may bring the Association into disrepute, may be expelled by a resolution of the Council, subject to an opportunity being given to him or her to explain his or her conduct.
(2) Any such resolution shall require a majority of not less than two-thirds of the Council present and voting.
(3) The expelled member may appeal to a general meeting, which will decide his or her appeal by a simple majority of those present and voting.
(4) In making a determination under this Rule, the Council and the Association will have due regard to the value of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and speech and the principle of academic freedom.
10. (1) The affairs of the Association shall be managed by a Council consisting of a President, a Treasurer, a Membership Secretary, and a Secretary (herein called the Officers of the Association) and up to ten Ordinary Members of the Association elected under Rules 11 and 12 so that at any one time there are no more than 14 members of the Council including officers.
(2) Subject to the control of any general meeting, the Council shall be entitled to take any action on behalf of the Association which it shall deem to be conducive to the interests of the Association. It shall be the duty of the Council to present at each Annual General Meeting a report of its proceedings during the previous year.
ELECTION OF OFFICERS AND OTHER COUNCIL MEMBERS
11. (1) Subject to Rule 10 and 12, the Officers of the Association and the other members of the Council shall be elected from among the Ordinary Members of the Association at its Annual General Meeting by the members present thereat.
(2) No Ordinary Member shall (save as hereinafter provided) be eligible, unless his or her name, together with those of his or her proposer and seconder, shall appear as that of a candidate for the office in question or for membership of the Council in the summons convening the meeting, or in some notice sent to each member of the Association at least ten days before the meeting.
(3) It shall be the duty of the Secretary to circulate all nominations in due time for the Annual General Meeting; and, in the event of no nomination for an office having been received before the issue of the summons convening the meeting, it shall be the duty of the retiring Council to present a suitable nomination at the meeting.
(4) Officers shall, in each instance, be elected for one year only, but shall be eligible for re-election. Any casual vacancy occurring among the Officers or the Council may be filled by the Council until the next Annual General Meeting.
PROCEDURE FOR THE ELECTION OF COUNCIL
12. (1) The Council members shall be elected as follows:
(a) The President, Treasurer, Secretary, and Membership Secretary shall first be elected in turn from the ordinary membership;
(b) thereafter the remaining ten members of the Council shall be elected from the ordinary membership
such that, insofar as it is practicable:
• the Council is representative of the members it represents and of the institutions and type of institutions in which its members are based.
• there is, where available, at least one representative on the Council drawn from each institution with 10% or more of the ordinary members of the Association (as determined at the date of the relevant Annual General Meeting)
• there are at least two representatives on the Council representing institutions in each of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland respectively
• there are no more than two members of Council drawn from any one institution.
(2) For the purpose of Rule 12(1) above, each of the constituent universities comprising the National University of Ireland shall be considered to be a separate institution.
(3) All Ordinary, Associate and Emeritus members present at the Annual General Meeting shall be entitled to vote in the election for any position on the Council.
(4) Where Council membership is below the maximum permitted membership set out in these Rules, the Council may at any time co-opt, for any period not exceeding one year, not more than four Ordinary Members of the Association to serve on the Council, and may renew such appointments from time to time, provided that there are no more than 14 members of the Council (including officers) at any one time.
13. The Council may delegate such of its powers as it deems necessary to committees of itself or to officers.
14. The Association may, at any general meeting, elect such special committees as it may from time to time deem desirable and may prescribe the duties and powers of such committees, including the power to take executive action. Provided that no such special committee shall be empowered to undertake any of the functions hereby specifically entrusted to the Council.
D. GENERAL MEETINGS
15. (1) The Annual General Meeting of the Association shall be held in each calendar year on a date to be fixed by the Council.
(2) The President shall have power to summon a special general meeting whenever he or she may deem it advisable to do so; and he or she shall do so on being requested in writing to do so by at least ten Ordinary Members of the Association. At least ten working days’ notice must be given of any such special general meeting unless, in the opinion of the President, circumstances that have arisen justify shorter notice.
(3) At any general meeting, the President, or failing him or her, the Secretary shall take the chair; but in the absence of both of them the meeting shall elect a chairperson.
16. Notice of all motions, including the names of proposers and seconders and of all papers and discussions proposed shall reach the Secretary at least fourteen days before the date fixed for holding the Annual General Meeting. Exceptionally, motions may be accepted at the Annual General Meeting notwithstanding this Rule. All papers, notices, resolutions and other documents to be considered at any meeting shall normally be circulated by the Secretary to each Member, so as to reach the member not later than five working days before that meeting.
E. FINANCIAL MATTERS
17. The expenses of the Association shall be met from the subscriptions of Ordinary and Associate Members of the Association and from such funds as the Association may by donation or otherwise acquire. The amount of the annual subscription of each Ordinary and Associate Member shall be prescribed from time to time by the Council and shall be payable on 1st October in each year, the first subscription being payable on admission to the Association, to cover the period to 1st October next following. Associate Members elected under Rule 5(1) shall have an option at the time of their election of paying a life subscription of an amount to be prescribed from time to time by the Council. No Ordinary Member shall vote at any meeting or election whilst his or her subscription is in arrears; and a delay of two years in payment of any subscription shall ipso facto in the absence of an excuse satisfactory to the Council be equivalent to resignation by the Member concerned.
18. (1) All subscriptions and other property received for the purposes of the Association shall be kept by the Treasurer under the supervision of the Council. The Council shall have the power to direct or approve the expenditure or investment of the funds in such manner as they think fit in accordance with these Rules, provided the purpose of such expenditure or investment is consistent with the objects of the Association as set out in Rule 2.
(2) The Council shall bank any of the funds of the Association in the name of the Association and may authorise any officer to draw cheques thereon or otherwise to disburse funds, provided that no monies shall be drawn from any account of the Association without the consent of two Officers of the Association.
(3) The Treasurer shall present to the Annual General Meeting a Statement of Accounts audited by two Ordinary Members of the Association, approved for this purpose by the Annual General Meeting.
F. FINAL MATTERS
NOTICE BY ELECTRONIC MEANS
19. (1) Where in this Constitution, any person is required to give written notice of any matter or event, or otherwise to convey written information to the Membership of the Association, or to any officer or member of the Council, this Rule shall apply.
(2) For the avoidance of any doubt, notice may be given or information conveyed by any officer of the Association (or by any other person duly authorised by the Council) by any one or more of the following means:
(a) by regular post,
(b) by means of a courier,
(c) by means of electronic mail (‘e-mail’), or
(d) by any other means (including electronic means) deemed by the Council to be appropriate for this purpose,
And in all such cases such notice, howsoever conveyed, shall be deemed to be full and adequate notice for the purposes of these Rules.
20. Subject to sub-paragraph (3) any of these Rules may be rescinded or amended, and a new rule or new rules may be added by a resolution passed at any Annual or Special General Meeting of the Association by a two-thirds majority of the Ordinary Members present and voting. Provided that
(1) such majority shall consist of not less than ten Ordinary Members;
(2) notice of such resolution, stating the nature of the proposed alteration and the name of the proposer and seconder, shall have reached the Secretary at least ten working days before the date fixed for the meeting;
(3) in the event of a resolution being passed to rescind or amend any part of these Rules, or to add a new Rule or Rules, such resolution shall not be effective until confirmed by a simple majority vote of Ordinary Members voting in a postal ballot to be conducted within two months after the date of the meeting at which it was passed.
21. Notwithstanding any provision in this Constitution and any amendments that have been made thereto, the Council and all Officers thereof duly elected at the Annual General Meeting of the Irish Association of Law Teachers in Limerick in November 2010 shall be deemed for all purposes to be the Council and Officers respectively of the Association for the purpose of this Constitution with effect from November 2010 until the Annual General meeting of the Association first following the Annual General Meeting of 2010, and shall continue to act as Council and to hold the elected positions as Officers notwithstanding any provision herein or amendments hereof.