1. The Association shall be called the Belfast Solicitors’ Association (hereinafter referred to as “the Association”).
2. (i) The Association is established to promote the welfare and interests of the legal profession in general and the solicitors profession in the greater Belfast area (hereinafter referred to as “Belfast”) in particular, and to take such steps as are available to the Association to ensure the provision of ethical and efficient legal services to the community in Belfast.
(ii) In furtherance of the above objects the Association may
(a) promote, organise, sponsor, conduct (or Cooperate with any other person, Association or Organisation in so doing), lectures, seminars, meetings, conferences and other educational events.
(b) publish, print, distribute and issue books, literature and information.
(c) organise, arrange, run functions, outings or meetings of a social, sporting or leisure nature, designed to promote social intercourse among members of the Solicitors profession in general and among the members of the Association in particular.
(d) maintain contact with and make suggestions and representations to all appropriate bodies, including other similar associations and the Law Society of Northern Ireland, with a view to the better regulation of the legal profession and the better provision of legal services.
(e) make recommendations and issue guidelines to its members in relation to all matters of professional conduct and etiquette in the provision of Solicitors services and the rate of fees or charges applicable thereto.
(f) make donations to such charitable objects in connection with the Solicitor’s profession as may be approved by the Committee and to such other charitable objects as may be approved at General Meeting.
3. (i) Membership of the Association shall be open to all persons whose names appear on the Roll of Solicitors and who practice or are employed in Belfast, or are members or employees of a firm whose principal place of practice is in Belfast. The extent of Belfast for the purposes of this clause shall be decided in any case of doubt by the Committee whose decision shall be final.
(ii) Persons who have a special interest in or have rendered a special service to the Association may be elected to honorary membership of the Association from time to time by the Committee, either for life or for such period as the Committee may think fit. Honorary members shall be entitled to all the privileges of membership and shall not be liable for subscriptions.
(iii) The annual subscription for membership shall be decided by the Committee each year and such subscription shall be payable in advance immediately the same shall have been demanded or upon any member joining the Association. Any person who has failed to pay the annual subscription within three months of the same being demanded shall not be entitled to the rights, benefits and privileges of membership, including the right to vote.
3. (a) the Committee may from time to time decide to offer Associate Membership, to such class or classes of person associated with the Solicitors’ profession in Belfast, upon such terms with regard to rights and privileges of membership as the Committee shall, in its absolute discretion, decide PROVIDED ALWAYS that an Associate member shall not be entitled to vote at any meeting of the Association, nor to stand for election as an Officer, or member of the Committee of the Association.
4. (i) The Association shall have a Chairman, an Honorary Secretary and an Honorary Treasurer who shall be Members or Honorary Members of the Association. Election for such offices shall be by ballot of the Members of the Association present and voting at the Annual General Meeting provided however that in the event of any such offices not being filled at the Annual General Meeting or in the event of vacancy in any such office occurring during the course of any year the Committee may appoint from amongst its number an appropriate person to hold such office until the next following annual General Meeting.
(ii) The affairs of the Association shall be managed and directed by a Committee which shall consist of; a) the office bearers appointed in accordance with clause 4(i); b) not more than seventeen other members all of whom shall either be elected at the Annual General Meetings of the Members present and voting; c) any past serving Chairman being a Member, with continous uninterrupted service on the Committee and who is elected at the Annual General Meetings of the Members present and voting; Provided always that the Committee shall never exceed twenty five in number.
(iii) If the number of Committee members at any time is less then seventeen the Committee shall have power to co-opt a Member or Members of the Association to fill such vacancy or vacancies.
(iv) The quorum at a Meeting of the Committee shall be five.
(v) The Committee shall have the power to approve or reject applications for membership, to fix the amount of all subscriptions, and, for good and sufficient reason, to terminate the membership of any Member of the Association provided that any Member shall have the right to be heard by the Committee before any decision to terminate his membership shall be made.
5. (i) An Annual General Meeting of the Association shall be held at such time (not being more than fifteen months after the holding of the preceding Annual General Meeting) and place as the Committee shall determine. At such Annual General Meeting the business shall include the consideration of Reports on work done by or under the auspices of the Committee and of the Account of the Association, the election of the Office Bearers, the election of Members of Committee and the transaction of such other matters as may from time to time be considered necessary or which may be considered by the Committee to be desirable.
(ii) The Committee may at any time at its discretion and upon the request of not less than 20 members giving reasons for the request shall call a Special General Meeting of the Association either for the purpose of altering the constitution in accordance with clause 7 hereof or of considering any matter which may be referred to the Meeting by the Committee or the requesting Members.
(iii) All Meetings of the Association or of the Committee shall be presided over by its Chairman or failing him the most immediate past Chairman present or failing him those present may elect one of their number to take the chair.
(iv) All questions arising at any Meeting shall be decided by a simple majority of those present and entitled to vote. In the case of an equality of votes the Chairman shall have a second or casting vote.
(v) Minute Books shall be kept by the Committee and the Secretary or any acting Secretary shall enter therein a record of all proceedings and resolutions.
(vi) The quorum at any General Meeting of the Association (including the Annual General Meeting) shall be ten Members or Honorary Members.
(vii) At least fourteen days notice (exclusive of the date on which notice is served and inclusive of the day for which notice is given), specifying the place, day and hour of any general meeting and the business to be considered shall be given to each member. A Notice of General Meeting sent by post shall be deemed to have been served at the expiration of 24 hours after the letter contained and the Notice has been posted. The accidental omission to give notice of a meeting to, or the normal receipt of notice of a meeting by, any member shall not invalidate proceedings at the meeting.
(viii) In case any irregularity shall occur in the convening or holding of any General Meeting, or in any election or other proceeding at such Meeting, and the same shall not be publicly noted and objected to at such meeting, all proceedings at such meeting shall be of the same force and validity as if no irregularity had occurred; but if any irregularity shall be publicly noted and objected to, the meeting shall decide thereon, and such decision shall be final and conclusive.
6. (i) All monies raised by or on behalf of the Association shall be applied to further the objects of the Association and for no other purpose.
(ii) The Honorary Treasurer shall keep proper accounts of the finances of the Association.
(iii) An audited Statement of Accounts for the last financial year shall be submitted by the honorary Treasurer to the Annual General Meeting.
(iv) The Association’s Bank Account shall be maintained at such Bank as the Committee shall from time to time decide. The Association’s Office Bearers shall be the authorised signatories to cheques and all cheques shall be signed by not less than two of the Office Bearers.
7. Any alteration of this constitution shall recent the Assent of not less than two-thirds of the Members of the Association present and voting at a General Meeting provided that notice of any such alteration shall have been received by the Honorary Secretary in writing not less than twenty-eight days before the Meeting at which the alteration is to be brought forward. At least fourteen clear days notice in writing of such a meeting setting fourth the terms of the alteration to be proposed shall be sent by the Honorary Secretary to each Member of the Association.
SERVICE OF NOTICES
8. the name and professional address of every members of the Association shall be entered in a book to be kept by the Honorary Treasurer. It shall be the duty of every Member to inform the Honorary Treasurer of any change of address. A Member shall be deemed to have received all Notices addressed to him and posted to him at his registered address or delivered to the Delivery box provided for him or his firm by the Law Society of Northern Ireland.
9. In this constitution (wherever the context requires or admits) words importing the singular shall be deemed to include the plural and words importing the masculine gender shall be deemed to include the feminine.