How the SLS Operates
Administration in Short
The plenary body of the Society of Legal Scholars is the Council which is composed of one representative from each qualifying law school. The Council controls the affairs of the Society. The management of the Society’s affairs vests in the Executive Committee which also has the power to direct or approve expenditure of the Society’s funds. The Executive is accountable to the Council for its decisions. The officers of the Society include a President, a Vice-President, an Honorary Treasurer, an Honorary Secretary, an Honorary Membership Secretary, a Secretary of the Subject Sections, a Convenor for Scotland and a Convenor for Ireland.
The Officers of the Society
Any Ordinary Member of the Society who is interested in becoming an Officer is invited to contact the Hon Secretary.
The SLS elects its President two years in advance. So at the AGM in September 2017 the Society will be electing a Vice-President for the 2018/19 year, who will become the President for the 2019/20 year and the immediate past President for the 2020/21 year. The person so elected will be a member of the Society’s Executive for the four-year period October 2018/21 since he or she is also a member of the Executive for 2017/18 as the Vice-President elect. After appropriate consultations the Society’s Officers put forward a nomination to the AGM at the Annual Conference in September.
To assist members considering nominating someone or accepting nomination for the post, the following sets out the broad nature of its duties:
- Organising the Annual Conference in their year of office as President. The conference will normally be held at the university at which the President is employed at that time. That university must be able to provide space for the academic sessions but not necessarily comprehensive residential facilities as hotels can also be booked for that purpose. The SLS provides website support and a £10,000 float (if required) but does not have the resources to provide general administrative support for the conference. In recent years, Presidents have made increasing use of professional conference organisers. The Subject Sections Secretary plays the key role in co-ordinating the work of the subject convenors and their conference streams. Note that the conference follows the President so if the President moves institutions after having been elected, so too does the conference.
- Acting as judge for the Birks Prize and the Annual Conference Best Paper Prize.
- Organising the plenary sessions for the conference. Invitations to keynote speakers often need to be issued at least a year in advance.
- If at all possible, attending the Annual Conference the previous year. It is the tradition for the Vice-President to introduce the President at the annual dinner. Attending the previous conference should help planning the President’s conference.
- During the year of office, chairing three meetings of the SLS Executive; two meetings of the SLS Council; the Annual Conference Advisory sub-committee meeting and the annual Officers’ Strategy meeting. He/she also sits on the Research Grants Committee, the Nominations sub-committee and the Research sub-committee. All SLS meetings are held in London. He/she also participates in the Forum meeting of SLS, SLSA, ALT, CHULS and the HEA; represents the SLS at meetings with the Law Commission, Solicitors Regulation Authority, Bar Standards Board and Ministry of Justice and if possible, attends the SLS Seminar Series, the SLS Centenary lecture, the ALT Annual Lecture (Autumn) and Conference (spring) and the CHULS meetings (Autumn and Spring).
- Hosting the President’s reception in London in February/March and hosting any regional reception held during the year.
- Undertaking a range of PR functions eg. congratulatory etc. letters on behalf of the SLS.
Vice-President and Vice-President Elect
The main responsibility here is to begin and continue work in preparing for their Annual Conference. They are members of the Executive and Council and the Nominations Committee. The Vice-President is one of the judges for the Birks Prize.
The Honorary Treasurer is assisted by two people. The Honorary Treasurer’s main tasks are:
- Maintaining the database, which records membership and payment details
- Dealing with routine expenditure matters
- Reporting on the Society’s current account and membership figures to the Executive, Council and the AGM
- Formulating, recommending and implementing policy for the Society’s financial stability
- Filing the Society’s Annual Return to the Charity Commission
- Commissioning the annual audit of the Society’s accounts
- Liaising with the Society’s Trustees, in particular their annual report for the Charity Commission
- Preparing and overseeing the collection of updated information for and the publication of the Directory
The main responsibility of the Honorary Secretary, supported by the Administrative Secretary, Sally Thomson, is to ensure the proper conduct of the Society’s business. Duties include:
- Overseeing the development of the Society’s activities
- Overseeing the production of papers for meetings of the Council and Executive, including preparation of reports from Executive to Council
- Organising, and representing the Society at meetings with a range of other bodies
- Preparing or organising the preparation of responses to consultation documents
- Overseeing arrangements for succession planning for Officers and Committees
- Member of Executive and Council and the Nominations Committee and chair of the Research Sub-Committee
- Dealing with the nomination of emeritus and honorary members
- Attendance where possible at the Annual Conference
Honorary Membership Secretary
- Receiving and processing applications for membership, supported by the Honorary Treasurer’s assistant, Sara Bladon.
- Reporting new members, deaths and resignations to Council and the AGM
Subject Sections Secretary
The Subject Sections Secretary oversees the work of the subject sections. Duties include:
- Convening an annual meeting of subject section convenors to plan arrangements for the next Annual Conference
- Liaising with convenors
- Reporting annually to Council on section activities
- Representing subject section convenors at the annual meeting of the Law Subject Associations with the Law Commission
- Acting as a judge for the Annual Conference Best Paper Prize