The University of York Law Society Constitution
A society shall be recognised by YUSU, provided that a constitution, code of practice, an equipment list, risk assessment and up-to-date membership list are provided.
The trustee board will begin the re-ratification process in the summer term for the following academic year.
Societies who have not requested to be re-ratified by week 10 of the summer term are considered no longer in existence.
Every member of the society agrees to abide by the YUSU bylaws, the YUSU constitution and the society's own code of conduct. The society remains responsible for the actions of its members in the course of their society duties.
YUSU retains the right to suspend or refuse recognition to any club or society that contravenes the standard society constitution, the YUSU constitution, or the YUSU byelaws.
Membership shall be open to any member of the university, and any associate member, as defined in the union’s constitution.
Membership may be offered to people who are not connected with the university but they may not hold office in the society.
Only members of the union may be signatories.
The Society shall have the right to terminate the membership of any member that has
taken any action that brings the Society into disrepute or that has caused any serious problems in the general running and functioning of the Society. This decision shall require the consent of at least 75% of the elected committee.
We aim to provide help and guidance to all members with regard to their careers.
We aim to establish solid links with top practices and chambers, but also provide insights into the many other sides of the legal profession to the benefit of all our members.
We are equally committed to providing lively and enjoyable social events, where our members can enjoy meeting like-minded individuals in a safe and convivial environment.
Code of Practice:
- A member must not participate in or omit to mention anything which might cause injury/damage to themselves or others.
- All members must adhere to the health and safety rules and procedures of YUSU, the society and the University.
- No members should attend workshops, activities and meetings under the influence of drink and/or drugs.
- No member should undertake any action that may bring the reputation of the society, YUSU or the University into disrepute.
- Respect the different viewpoints of the society members if different from your own.
- Respect the property of the university, YUSU, the society, UoY student’s and society members.
- All members should have access to the contact details of the whole committee.
- The Committee shall oversee health and safety, coordinate safety checks and PAT test electrical goods owned by the society.
- Participant selection for society activities should be objective.
- Keep all records of the society up to date such as membership lists and contact details.
- Socials (and the activities within) arte opt-in only and shall have no bearing on any status within the society, and/or society elections.
- Drinking should not be the theme of the social and members should be able to take part in all activities whether drinking alcohol or not.
- Members of YUSU will not apply what may be perceived as peer pressure upon individuals in any social situation.
- Breaches of this code of practise may result in a disciplinary hearing carried out by the Student Activities Officer.
- The Officers of the Society shall consist of a President, a Vice President, a Treasurer and a Secretary. These shall be elected every year.
- The Committee members shall consist of 2 Social Secretaries, 2 Sports Secretaries a Press & Publicity Officer, a Careers Secretary, a Head of Non-Law Activities, 2 Faculties Liaison Officers, an Ebor Lex Editor, a Pro Bono Officer, a Web Master, a Head of Bar Society, a Careers Dinner Organiser, a Master/Mistress of the Moots and an Ambassador for Aspiring Solicitors.
- The role of the President shall be to run the Society during his/her term. The President shall oversee the day-to-day running of the Society. The President shall be responsible for representing the Society to sponsors, speakers and members; where necessary by appointing a proxy. The President shall set the agenda for all Committee meetings as well as the Annual General Meetings (AGM) or any Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM). The President and Treasurer shall have joint- responsibility for securing sponsorship. The President shall have the power to delegate any further duties throughout the term to any members of the Committee. All Committee members are accountable to the President for their actions.
- The role of the Vice President shall be to assist the President in his/her duties. These duties shall vary depending on the direction of the President. In the absence of the President, the Vice President shall fulfil the President’s role and duties.
- The role of the Treasurer shall be to manage the accounts of the Society. The Treasurer shall be jointly-responsible for securing sponsorship with the President. The Treasurer’s duties involve ensuring that invoices are sent out and paid as soon as possible. All invoices shall be signed only by the Treasurer and either the President or the Secretary in accordance with their roles as signatories.
- The role of the Secretary shall be to take minutes of all Committee meetings, the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and any Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM). He/she shall circulate the minutes of the previous meeting to all Committee members.
- The role of the Social Secretaries shall be to organise all social events including ticket sales and booking venues and entertainments. They shall also be responsible for ensuring venues are ready for events and that they run smoothly.
- The role of the Pro Bono Officer is to organise volunteering projects which are legally related.
- The role of the Careers Secretary is to oversee and organise all non-Bar-related events including presentations on behalf of Law firms as well as advertise alternative legal careers available to all members.
- The role of the Publicity and Press Secretary shall be to keep all members of the Society informed of Society events. This shall include ensuring that flyers and posters are printed and distributed and that emails advertising the events are sent out to the members.
- The role of the Web Master is to oversee the running of the Society's website. His/her role includes designing and regular updating of the site.
- The role of the Ebor Lex Editor is to represent the needs of the student law journal to the current Committee members.
- The role of the Head of Non-Law Activities will be to be responsible for the overall management of the Society's non-law degree discipline efforts in making the Society approachable and accessible to non-law students. This position is open to students not studying Law (either undergraduate or post-graduate), but is not closed to any other degree discipline.
- The role of the Faculties Liaison Officers will be to assist the Head of Non-Law Activities in their efforts to increase accessibility to the Society to non-Law students. They will be responsible for the promotion and outreach of the Society and its’ events. These positions are open to any member not studying Law (either undergraduate or post-graduate) but is not closed to any other degree discipline. These positions will ideally occupied be occupied by members from separate degree disciplines to maximize the potential for outreach, but this is not a strict requirement.
- The role of Head of Bar Society is to act as head of the Bar Society. They are responsible for arranging funding for the society. They are also responsible for promoting the Bar as a career path through the organisation of relevant events and by liaising with the Inns of Courts.
- The role of Careers Dinner Organiser is to assist the Careers Secretary and President in the organisation of our Annual Careers Dinner.
- The role of Master/Mistress of the Moots is to act as head of the Mooting Society. They are responsible for arranging funding for the society, entering and training teams for external mooting competitions, and holding internal mooting competitions.
- The role of Aspiring Solicitors Ambassador is to act as the head of the Aspiring Solicitors sub-society.
- The role of the Sports Secretaries is to recruit members for sports teams to represent the law society, organise sporting events with other law societies around the country and to order kit for sports teams.
- All Committee members are jointly-responsible for the maintenance of all social networking pages that represent the Society.
The power to appoint:
The President shall have the power to appoint (Co-Opt) necessary positions left unfilled after the general election.
Positions may only be filled by members of the Society.
Necessary positions shall be defined as necessary to the correct functioning of the Society with particular regard to the requirements of the Society over the summer months.
This power shall require the approval of 75% of the elected committee.
The President may put forward members of the Society for appointment or the Society may advertise the position and individual members may nominate themselves.
In the latter instance it shall be the Committee’s decision as to which member to appoint.
Officers are responsible to the members of the society.
Three committee officers must be signatories of the society.
No committee officer shall serve for more than 12 months without re-election.
An officer is subject to a vote of NO CONFIDENCE by a meeting of the Society.
Societies can hold committee meetings, general meetings, AGMs (Annual General Meetings) and EGMs (Extraordinary General Meetings).
All meetings are open and must be advertised to all members.
EGMs shall be advertised to the society members and the YUSU Student Activities Officer seven working days before the meeting.
Motions must be passed by a simple majority of those present and voting.
The quorum for all meetings shall be 10% of the membership of the society.
If quoracy cannot be met at a society general meeting, called in accordance with its constitution, union council can ratify the decisions taken.
Abstentions shall count towards quoracy but shall not count for or against.
An AGM of the society will take place at least once in every 12 month period.
This meeting shall be called by the chair and be advertised to all members of the society and the YUSU Student Activities Officer with at least seven working days notice.
All members should be made aware of their ability to stand for election and vote.
Non-members and non students’ union members shall not be permitted to vote or stand for election.
Election rules require candidates to leave the room and a choice of either STV or simple majority voting.
The YUSU Student Activities Officer can call a general meeting of any society, at which elections can be held, with significant cause to do so.
This constitution may be amended by a two thirds vote at a society general meeting.
If amended, the constitution shall be re-ratified by the YUSU Student Activities Officer before coming into effect.
Any proposed amendment must be notified to the members seven days before a meeting.
All the Society’s funds will be lodged with the Students’ Union; all monies should be banked with the YUSU Finance Office.
The treasurer, chairperson and secretary shall automatically be signatories to accounts opened by the society, but this can be altered with the committee’s approval. YUSU must always have an up-to-date signatory list.
Two of these signatories shall be required for each expense claim and for any contract or undertaking, financial or otherwise, on behalf of the society.
The society’s own funds accounts shall be available for inspection at any reasonable time by any member of the society on the online membership list, or by the YUSU Student Activities Officer or the YUSU Democracy & Services Officer.
Every officer of the society shall be entitled to be indemnified out of the assets of the society against all losses or liability which he or she may sustain or incur in or about the execution of or in relation to his or her office.
No officer of the society shall be liable for any loss, damage or misfortune which may happen to or be incurred by the society in the execution of the duties of his or her office in relation thereto.
Providing that nothing in this clause shall affect their liability for the consequences of any negligent act on their part.
1. All committee members are required to attend YUSU training relevant to their role.
Appendix 1 - Delegation of Powers to the Bar Society
1. Subject to clauses 2 and 3, the Law Society delegates to the Bar Society all power relating to the areas listed in 1.1 – 1.7 below. These areas shall be known as the Bar Society’s “areas of exclusive competence”.
1.1. The promotion of the Bar as a career path (including the promotion of the Bar Society);
1.2. Court visits;
1.3. Liaison with the Inns of Court;
1.4. Visits to the Inns of Court;
1.5. All matters relating to the Bar Society and its functioning (financial or otherwise);
1.6. All matters relating to any Constitution adopted under clause 5;
1.7. Any other area the Law Society decides to select by committee resolution.
2. The Law Society or any other sub-society shall not exercise power that falls within the Bar Society’s areas of exclusive competence without prior consultation with the Bar Society, and the Bar Society shall act with autonomy.
2.1. The Bar Society may permit the Law Society to act within the areas outlined in clauses 1.1 - 1.7, but such permission shall be granted expressly, in writing and shall be on whatever terms the Bar Society sees fit (subject to clause 2.2).
2.2. Any permission given under clause 2.1 shall be revocable at any time.
3. This delegation of powers may only be amended by the Law Society by written resolution with the consent of 75% of the Bar Society committee, excepting amendments made under clause 1.7 which may be made by written resolution with the consent of 50% of the Bar Society committee.
4. The Head of Bar Society shall be elected at the Law Society Elections. The Head of Bar Society will sit on the Law Society Committee.
5. The Bar Society shall have the power to create, adopt and operate under its own constitution.
6. The Bar Society shall have a YUSU bank account to hold any monies deposited (intended for use by the Bar Society, or for purposes falling within clauses 1.1 – 1.7) for the Bar Society absolutely.
6.1. Any monies so held shall be called the “Bar Fund” and shall not be for general use by the Law Society, and shall not be spent or withdrawn by anybody other than the Bar Society or its authorised representatives.
6.2. The Bar Society may only use the Bar Fund for matters within its areas of exclusive competence.
6.2.1. Any decision made by the Bar Society (or any person to whom decision making power is delegated under any constitution adopted under clause 5) under clause 6.2 may bind the Law Society as if the decision was made by the Law Society.
6.3. The Bar Society shall have access to the Bar Fund as soon as can be reasonably facilitated.
6.4. The Law Society Treasurer will also act as The Bar Society Treasurer. They shall be a signatory on the Bar Society account together with the President and Secretary.
6.5. Decisions to access and spend the Bar Fund shall not be opposed by the Law Society.
6.6. The Law Society shall facilitate such adjustments or arrangements as are necessary to allow the Bar Society to access the Bar Fund freely and expeditiously.
7. Any questions surrounding the interpretation of any clause in this delegation of powers shall be resolved jointly by the Bar Society and the Law Society. A decision under this clause is only valid if it receives support from half the Law Society Committee and half the Bar Society Committee.
Appendix 2 – Distinction of Delegated Powers between Mooting and Bar Society
Mooting Society is to have control of all moots.
Bar Society is to have control over other forms of advocacy in a court context.
These activities are defined as follows and both societies agree to operate under these definitions
3.1. A moot is defined as an event that argues points of law to a judge within a context of established facts.
3.2. Advocacy is defined as all other forms of public speaking in a court context, be it cross-examination, mock trials or other forms of addressing a court, such as a bail application.
Applying the definitions under (3)
4.1. Bar Society is to hold all advocacy workshops
4.2. Mooting Society is to retain all mooting workshops.
In the event of one of the societies being approached by an organisation with the request to hold an event, and the event in question raises a reasonable level of ambiguity/doubt over whether it falls into either definition in (3), the society that was approached has an active duty to consult with the other.
Duty to consult is taken to mean6.1. That the society approached gives written notice to the other society setting nature of the proposed event.
6.2. The recipient of notice has 2 working days to respond to the notice and if no objection is raised it shall be assumed that they consent to the approached society holding the event.
6.3. If an objection to the notice is served, both societies have a duty to attempt to resolve the disagreements amicably themselves. If no agreement is reached following this the Law Society Executive shall act as a mediator to resolve the disagreement. If no agreement is reached then the Law Society Executive shall have the absolute discretion to resolve the matter as they see fit.
7. Both societies may not actively seek funding from the other’s existing sponsors. Bar Society, has exclusive rights to solicit sponsorship from; Inns of Court, Barrister’s Chambers and Bar Associations. Mooting society may not solicit sponsorship from any of these classes of sponsor.
7.1. Neither society may seek sponsorship from an organization that has previously sponsored the other society unless said organization has ceased sponsoring them and do not want to continue sponsoring them in the future.
8. If one of the classes of sponsor mentioned in (7) wishes to sponsor both Bar Society and Mooting Society, this is acceptable.
Appendix 3 – Delegation of Powers to Aspiring Solicitors
Subject to clause 5, the Law Society shall consult Aspiring Solicitors on the running and organisation of any event concerning the promotion of diversity within the legal profession. Aspiring Solicitors shall be involved as far as possible with any event, if not their own, that falls within this bracket.
Aspiring Solicitors is an organisation which is committed to increasing diversity in the legal profession by;2.1. providing free access, opportunity and assistance to students from underrepresented groups
2.2. educating and informing the next generation of the legal profession about the importance of diversity; and
2.3. promoting and encouraging diversity from within the profession
3. “Diversity” as referred to in clauses 1 and 2, refers to underrepresented groups in the legal profession. Aspiring Solicitors consider “underrepresented” groups to include, but not limited to, the following;
3.1. state educated aspiring solicitors;
3.2. disabled aspiring solicitors;
3.3. aspiring solicitors with accents;
3.4. senior female aspiring solicitors;
3.5. lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender aspiring solicitors;
3.6. black and minority ethnic aspiring solicitors;
3.7. aspiring solicitors entering the legal profession from “non-traditional” routes; 3.8. first generation undergraduate aspiring solicitors; and
3.9. aspiring solicitors from non-redbrick/Russell Group universities.
4. Aspiring Solicitors will provide a variety of opportunities for students including but not limited to:
4.1. events; and
5. This delegation of powers may only be amended by the Law Society by written resolution with the consent of 75% of the Aspiring Solicitors Committee.
6. The Ambassador shall be appointed by Chris White, the founder of Aspiring Solicitors.
The ambassador forms a non-voting member of the Law Society.
7. The committee is appointed through an application and interview process.
7.1. Applications are sent to Aspiring Solicitors and reviewed externally.
7.2. Those selected for interview are then interviewed and selected by the Ambassador and Vice-Ambassador.
8. Aspiring Solicitors shall have the power to create, adopt and operate under its own constitution.
9. The role of “Aspiring Solicitors Treasurer” shall be carried out by the Ambassador.
10. The Law Society will hold any monies deposited with the Law Society (intended for use by Aspiring Solicitors, or for purposes falling within clauses 1 - 4) for Aspiring Solicitors absolutely.
10.1. Any expenditure that falls outside of this remit is subject to review by the law society executive committee at its discretion. The law society may reject the proposed expenditure that falls outside of the purposes specified under 1-4.
10.2. Any monies so held shall be called the “Aspiring Solicitors Fund” and shall not be for general use by the Law Society, and shall not be spent or withdrawn by anybody other than Aspiring Solicitors or its authorised representatives.
10.3. Aspiring Solicitors may only use the Aspiring Solicitors Fund for areas set out in clauses 2-4.
10.3.1. Any decision made by Aspiring Solicitors (or any person to whom decision making power is delegated under any constitution adopted under clause 8) under clause 10.2 may bind the Law Society as if the decision was made by the Law Society.
10.4. Aspiring Solicitors shall have access to the Aspiring Solicitors Fund as soon as can be reasonably facilitated.
10.5. Decisions to access and spend the Aspiring Solicitors Fund shall not be opposed by the Law Society.
10.6. The Law Society shall facilitate such adjustments or arrangements as are necessary to allow Aspiring Solicitors to access the Aspiring Solicitors Fund freely and expeditiously. For the avoidance of doubt, subject to any objection from YUSU, this includes making the Aspiring Solicitors Ambassador a signatory (or equivalent) on whichever bank account(s) the Law Society uses to store the Aspiring Solicitors Fund.
10.7. The Aspiring Solicitors Ambassador will notify the Law Society Treasurer whenever money is deposited or withdrawn from the Aspiring Solicitors Fund. The Aspiring Solicitors Ambassador will provide the Law Society Treasurer with accurate accounts, from time to time, to evidence Aspiring Solicitors expenditure.
11. Any questions surrounding the interpretation of any clause in this delegation of powers shall be resolved jointly by Aspiring Solicitors and the Law Society. A decision under this clause is only valid if it receives support from half the Law Society Committee and half the Aspiring Solicitors Committee.