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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 can find out more information here.  Short video introductions to each of the Officers roles are also available here.

The President

The SLS elects its President two years in advance. So at the AGM in September 2020 the Society will be electing a Vice-President for the 2021/22 year, who will become the President for the 2022/23 year and the immediate past President for the 2023/24 year. The person so elected will be a member of the Society’s Executive for the four-year period from October 2021/22 since he or she is also a member of the Executive for 2020/21 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 host 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. Although traditionally the host university has been that of the President, this is not a perquisite.  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.
  • 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; and the Annual Conference Advisory sub-committee meeting.
    • Member of the Research Grants Committee, the Small Projects and Events Fund sub-committee, Nominations sub-committee and the Research sub-committee.
    • Representing the SLS at meetings with the Law Commission, Solicitors Regulation Authority, Bar Standards Board and Ministry of Justice.
    • (where possible) Attending the SLS Seminar Series, the SLS Hale 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 should attend the Annual Conference Advisory Committee in November. The Vice-President is one of the judges for the Birks Prize and chairs the annual Officers’ Strategy meeting in the June/July before taking office as President.  The Vice-President is also a member of the Small Projects and Events sub-committee and the Nominations sub-committee.

Honorary Treasurer

The Honorary Treasurer is supported by the Honorary Treasurer’s assistant, Sara Bladon. The Honorary Treasurer’s main tasks are:

  • Liaising with Treasurer’s Assistant to ensure the database which records membership and payment details and the online Directory of Members are up-to-date and accurate.
  • 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.
  • He/she also sits on the Annual Conference Advisory Committee and the Small Projects and Events Fund sub-committee.
  • Liaising with the Society’s Trustees, in particular their annual report for the Charity Commission.

Honorary Secretary

The main responsibility of the Honorary Secretary, supported by the Administrative Secretary, Rosa Bladon, 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 and Small Projects and Events Fund sub-committee.
  • 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.
  • Dealing with the nomination of emeritus and honorary members, consulting the Executive, for approval by Council.
  • 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. There should also be a periodic review of the sections presented to the Executive.
  • 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.