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Section Guidelines

Section Guidelines

Subject areas

The Society has subject sections in the following areas:

Banking and Financial Services Law
Company Law
Comparative Law
Conflict of Laws
Contract, Consumer and Commercial Law
Criminal Justice
Energy Law
Environmental Law
EU and Competition Law
Family Law
Health Law
Human Rights
Intellectual Property
International Law
Labour Law
Legal Education
Legal History
Media Law
Migration and Asylum
Practice, the Profession and Ethics
Property and Trusts
Public Law
Tax Law

The Executive has established an ‘Open’ section (formerly known as the ‘Gibraltar Section’) to put on at Conference sessions. This is designed for papers that do not fit elsewhere in the programme, for papers for which there is no space elsewhere, and to test the demand for new sections.


The objects of sections are:

  • to promote the development of the subject
  • to stimulate discussion of reform proposals (in particular, those emanating from the Law Commissions) and to formulate responses on behalf of the Society
  • to communicate with the Society’s wider membership by centrally-maintained emailing lists
  • to organise meetings of the section’s wider membership at least once a year
  • to encourage publication

Certain sections may be regarded as having more limited objects.


Convenors and Co-Convenorship

  1. Appointment of convenors
  • Convenors are appointed by the Executive. The standard term is three years, and can be extended or renewed.  The term of office commences on 1 October.
  • Each year in July, the Honorary Subject Sections Secretary will notify the membership of those convenors whose terms of office end in September and their Section. Any convenor who wishes to step down before the end of their term should notify the Honorary Subject Sections Secretary by the end of June so that their name can be included on this list. Copy of the call is here: https://mailchi.mp/legalscholars/call-for-nominations-for-convenorships-of-sls-subject-sections.  The Honorary Subject Sections Secretary then sends individual calls to each of the Subject Sections needing to elect a new convenor.  Copy of this call is here: https://mailchi.mp/legalscholars/banking-finance-subject-section-convenor-call-for-nominations. The outgoing convenor may invite someone to put their name forward for nomination. Nominations are asked to be submitted by the first Monday in August.
  • During August, the Honorary Subject Sections Secretary will liaise with outgoing convenors about any necessary elections or, if there are no nominees, about continuing in the role or identifying a potential successor.
  • At least two weeks before the start of the Annual Conference, the Honorary Subject Sections Secretary will e-mail members of the section to inform them of the names of the person or persons (if any) who have put themselves forward for nomination.
  • Where it is established by the end of July that a number of persons wish to offer themselves for selection, an election to identify a nominee must be held by the section at the Conference.
  • Where no person comes forward for nomination, the Honorary Subject Sections Secretary will be responsible for identifying a suitable person, after consulting the outgoing convenor and such other members of the Society as he or she thinks appropriate and forwarding that name to the Executive for approval. (It is not practicable to organize elections outside the Conference).
  • Outgoing convenors may seek the advice of the Honorary Subject Sections Secretary as to the operation of this process, and the process can be varied to take account of exceptional circumstances with the prior agreement of the Honorary Subject Sections Secretary.

2. Criteria

Where the Honorary Subject Sections Secretary is required to propose to the Executive a suitable person as convenor, it is relevant to consider the record of contributions to the Section, for example by acting as Co-Convenor, by chairing Conference sessions, by responding to Consultation Papers, by giving papers, and by attendance at Conference.  The criteria for Executive Committee membership in the Directory might also be considered so far as they are relevant.

3. Elections

  • Nominations can be made on an individual basis or as a joint two person (max) application.
  • Where convenorships are contested, an election is required. The Honorary Subject Sections Secretary will arrange for an electronic vote to take place.  The results of which will be reported to the Section members electronically by the close of the conference.
  • Once nominations have been approved by the Section at the conference, they will be presented by the Honorary Subject Sections Secretary to the Executive Committee at the annual November Committee meeting for final approval.

4. Convenors and Co-Convenors must be fully-paid-up members of the Society at the time of their nomination and throughout their term of service.

5. Overseas members of the Society are eligible to stand as Convenors, but only as part of a team of 2 so that the Society has at least one team member at a UK or Irish Institution.

6. Convenors are expected to register for the Annual Conference and to pay the relevant registration fee. Save in exceptional circumstances (to be determined by the Treasurer, Honorary Secretary and Honorary Subject Section Secretary), the Society does not provide financial assistance to convenors for their attendance at the Annual Conference.

7. Convenors should normally attend the Annual Conference in person. If they are unable to do so, they must arrange for a subject section member to attend each subject section session on their behalf.

8. Open Section

The Executive Committee will appoint the convenor of the Open section. The standard term is three years, and can be extended or renewed.

9. Co-convenors

A section can appoint co-convenors, either generally or for specific functions.  Where an elected Convenor requires support in the performance of their role, for example during periods of parental leave, illness, or compassionate leave, a section can request that the Executive appoint a co-convenor to act alongside them. Any such co-option would not last longer than the original convenor’s term. The standard term is three years. In the first instance, a co-convenor should be appointed from those who were nominated or nominated themselves for the initial election. Where this is not possible, a co-convenor can be nominated to the Executive by the section convenor.  What is said above about openness and criteria applies.

10. Qualification of Convenors

It is necessary to check that candidates are members, confirmed as such by the Treasurer.

In accepting a nomination, or nominating themselves, nominees are taken to have the necessary IT and administrative skills to respond promptly to emails and to use Mailchimp, Dropbox, Googledocs, or other IT tools as required.

11. Notifying Heads of School and/or appropriate financial lead

Prior to being nominated or self-nominating, members should discuss the role and its implications with the relevant financial lead within their department. Convenors are expected to book and pay for the conference, and associated expenses.

Functions of convenors

  • The convenor should arrange for a meeting of the section at the Society’s annual conference, and may arrange other meetings as appropriate. The SLS rules require each subject section to meet at the Annual Conference. This may be immediately after one of the subject sessions or at some other convenient time. The convenor should notify the membership of the section of the timing of the meeting via Mailchimp in advance. Where practicable, members who wish to attend by email should be permitted to do so. Where a conference has a virtual element, the subject section meeting should therefore be held at the end of a session to which virtual delegates have live access. Meetings should cover the following, as a minimum: Review of subject section activities over the past year (including the Annual Conference); Plans for the subject section for the coming year, including EDI Action Plan; and Approval of new convenor(s) (if applicable).
  • Convenors should report annually to the Executive on the activities of their section.
  • The membership of the Society should be kept informed of the work of the sections through the SLS Reporter, the website and centrally-maintained email distribution lists.
  • Convenors may arrange for a Co-Convenor to undertake specific parts of the work of the section, for example as Conference Convenor or Treasurer or to co-ordinate responses to consultation papers.


  • Sections are primarily self-financing. The convenor is responsible for organising section finances in a manner directed by the Honorary Treasurer and for pursuing avenues of potential support outside the Society. Members attending meetings (including speakers) should seek financial support from their own institutions.
  • The Society may annually make limited funds available for section activities, currently a total of £20,000. These funds may be utilised by convenors in accordance with rules agreed from time to time by the Executive and in accordance with the directions of the Honorary Treasurer.
  • Organisers of some annual conferences may sometimes have special funds available to them for section purposes, in which case the conference organiser will circulate details to convenors.
  • In exceptional circumstances, special applications for additional financial support may be made to the Honorary Subject Sections Secretary for submission to the Executive.  The maximum amount that may normally be awarded in relation to a particular project, event or activity is £3000.

Rules for section funds

Funds can be used to organise meetings or support activities of the subject sections, including: to promote the development of the subject and to stimulate discussion of reform proposals (in particular, those emanating from the Law Commissions) and to formulate responses on behalf of the Society.

Applications for an award from the fund may be made by subject convenors on a rolling basis.  Please go to the Subject Sections Fund page on the website here https://www.legalscholars.ac.uk/subject-sections-fund/ to find out how to apply to the fund.

Rules for the use of the SLS logo

We ask convenors to request permission to use SLS logo for an event – permission to be sought by email to sss@legalscholars.ac.uk, with a brief explanation of how the event will benefit members of the section. Applications will be considered by the Honorary Subject Sections Secretary, Honorary Secretary and President.

Law reform

  • The convenor of each section should ensure that the section considers and responds to matters referred to it by Council as well as Law Commission Consultation Papers and similar items.
  • The Honorary Subject Sections Secretary will represent convenors and their sections at the annual meeting between the Society and the Law Commission.
  • Where relevant, convenors are invited to maintain contact with individual Law Commissioners and their teams.


  • Council appoints (for renewable periods of three years) an Honorary Subject Sections Secretary.
  • The Honorary Subject Sections Secretary should report annually to Council on the activities of the sections.
  • Council will annually review the existence, activities and membership of sections and will as part of that review consider whether the number of sections should be increased or decreased.
  • Where a Section fails to fill its programme at the Conference for two years running, (or twice in a three year period), it should be considered for suspension or merger.
  • Where a Section has attendance of below an average of ten people for its programme at the conference for two years running, (or twice in a three year period), it should be considered for suspension or merger.
  • Merger could either be with another section, or by expanding the programme of the section to include other new fields.
  • This procedure should be added to the Section Guidelines. The first set of data should be from the 2018 Conference.

New sections

Proposals for new sections should be discussed with the Honorary Subject Sections Secretary: any proposed section would first have to organise a thematic session as part of the Open programme at the conference.

These guidelines were revised by the Executive in November 2019 (with the endorsement of Council).  Addendums to these guidelines were agreed by the Executive in November 2021 and updated in January 2022. 

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