The Constitution of the Open University Law Society states the rules which will govern the organisation of the Open University Law Society (OULS).
Policy documents are appended to the OULS Constitution and contain specific rules and guidance on how matters referred to in the OULS Constitution are to be conducted.
The OULS is a not for profit society.
The name of the society shall be the Open University Law Society which can be abbreviated to OULS.
The aims of OULS shall be:
a) To promote the notion of access to justice;
b) To provide a forum for those interested in the law to engage with each other for social or professional purposes; and
c) To promote passion for law and legal education.
4. EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY
The OULS is a society which promotes equality and diversity and is open to all, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or belief, political opinion or disability.
The OULS is committed to the principle of diversity and believes that diversity amongst its members is to be encouraged as being the basis for a society which is able to reflect the needs and views of not only its members but the general population.
The OULS believes that promoting equality and diversity is fundamental to a functional and successful society.
The OULS is dedicated to effectively representing the interests of all members and accommodating the needs of those members. The OULS will make such reasonable adjustments as it is able or obliged to make.
The OULS will:
a) Seek to ensure genuine equal access to membership and committee posts at all levels;
b) Take into account all needs, wherever practical, when organising and providing activities and events;
c) Seek to ensure that activities of the OULS are planned so that no-one who is entitled to take part is excluded for any avoidable reason.
Membership of the OULS shall be open to all those interested in the aims of the society and will be actively encouraged.
Membership may be refused to persons who are opposed to the aims of the society.
On the recommendation of the OULS Committee, the OULS AGM may grant honorary membership to those persons it wishes to honour, for a specified term or for life. Annually an invitation may be extended to one individual in this category, to be appointed President of the OULS for the following year.
The requirements of the Open University Students Association (OUSA) Constitution may govern membership policies.
a) Fees for membership:
Membership of the OULS is renewable annually and subject to payment of a membership fee. The fee is to be determined by the OULS Committee and may be increased, reduced or waived according to the needs of the society.
All fees paid are non refundable.
b) Termination or Suspension of Membership:
Membership of the OULS and/or the holding of any Office or post may be terminated, or suspended for a stated period of time as a result of disciplinary proceedings pursued in accordance with OULS’s Complaints Procedure.
7. MEETINGS AND BUSINESS OF THE SOCIETY
All meetings and business of the society must be dealt with in strict accordance with the policies of the OULS and, in particular, the policies covering conduct of business at Annual General Meetings (AGM), Ordinary Meetings of the OULS Committee and Extra-ordinary Meetings (EGM).
a) Emergency Powers of the OULS Committee:
In the event of an emergency occurring between meetings of the OULS Committee, the emergency powers policies, as contained in the Conduct of Business policy document, shall be implemented.
b) Absence from OULS Committee Meetings:
All members of the OULS Committee are expected to attend all formal meetings of the Committee whether virtual or face to face and any committee member unable to do so must submit apologies to the Chair.
Repeated failure to attend should be dealt with in accordance with the Conduct of Business policy of the society.
c) Sub Committees:
There may be, if required, sub-committees of the OULS Committee created for any purpose deemed appropriate by either the OULS AGM or the OULS Committee, including but not limited to the purposes of:
• Social events
The members of the sub committees shall be appointed by the OULS Committee and in accordance with this Constitution and appended policies.
d) Sub Groups of OULS: Regional Branches, Groups and Networks:
The Committee of the OULS shall be entitled to form Regional Branches, Groups and Networks which will be sub groups of OULS. Regional Branches will based upon geographical area. Any exceptions will require the approval of the OULS Committee.
Sub Groups will be allowed to undertake such activities as approved by OULS and will provide a forum for liaison and co-ordination between the OULS and those specific Regions, Groups and Networks.
All members of OULS sub groups must also be members of OULS and the business of sub groups shall be in accordance with the society’s Standing Orders and other relevant policy documents.
8. MEMBERS AND OFFICERS OF THE OULS COMMITTEE
The OULS Committee shall consist of the following Officers:
• Vice Chair
• General Secretary
• Membership Secretary
• Mooting Coordinator
• Social Coordinator
• General Coordinator
• Equality and Access Coordinator
In addition to the Officers of the Committee, there shall be Representatives from the sub groups formed by the OULS Committee and Represenatives from Open University Academic courses which are relevant to the aims of the OULS.
Other Committee Member posts may arise from time to time and in accordance with the working documents of the society.
Eligibility of OULS Committee members, term of Office, removal of Officers and the specific duties of the Treasurer should be as prescribed by the OULS policy documents.
The method of voting shall be one member one vote. Here, ‘member’ refers to any category of OULS membership which carries voting rights.
All OULS elections, either for the OULS Committee or for any OULS sub group, shall be held in accordance with the policies outlined in the Election Procedure Policy document, which is in force at the relevant time.
a) Casual Vacancies of the OULS Committee:
In the case of the Chair becoming vacant the Vice Chair shall assume the office and an election shall then take place for a new Vice Chair.
In the case of a casual vacancy for an OULS Officer occurring more than 26 weeks after the AGM, the OULS Committee shall appoint a replacement from amongst the Committee.
In all other cases nominations will be sought from the OULS membership and an election will be conducted in accordance with the prescribed procedures. 2021-2022 OULS Committee election details can be found here.
10. CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS
The constitution – which sets governing principles – is superior and takes priority over any policy documents which exist to provide policies over the workings of the society. Policy documents may be amended with greater flexibility according to the needs of the Society, but the constitution may only be amended by this procedure.
This Constitution may be amended by resolution of the OULS AGM passed in accordance with the provisions set out below. A resolution of the OULS AGM amending the Constitution shall be valid if:
a) Notice of the nature of changes to the Constitution is given by circulating to all members, in a timely manner prior to the AGM, copies of the preliminary agenda containing motions to change the Constitution; and
b) The resolution is carried by a two thirds majority of those voting, provided that the votes cast in favour of the amendment represent not less than one third of the total number eligible to vote.
c) Deferred Implementation:
The OULS Committee may, at the request of the Treasurer, formally resolve that any proposed amendment to the Constitution or to policy documents, or any proposed motion, which has been tabled for discussion by the AGM shall, if approved, not take effect until the start of the next succeeding financial year.
Any such resolution shall be reported to the AGM during the debate on the proposal concerned, and may be challenged immediately after the proposal has been carried.
Unless such a challenge is supported by at least two thirds of those present and voting, the incoming OULS Committee shall be entitled, but not bound, to postpone action on the decision for the rest of the financial year in which the decision was taken, in accordance with the Treasurer’s request.
The following definitions and interpretations shall apply throughout this Constitution and policy documents appended:
a) OULS Committee:
The term ‘Officer(s)’ is defined as one or more of Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, Secretary and any other central OULS committee post as may be agreed;
The Term ‘Office’ is defined as any one or all of the positions identified above.
b) Sub groups:
The term ‘Officer(s)’ is defined as one or more of Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and the relevant sub group Representative;
The term ‘Office’ shall, in the context of a sub group, mean any one or all of the positions defined in this clause of the constitution. Other designated positions may be referred to as those of postholders.
c) Financial Year:
The OULS and OULS sub groups’ financial year will be 1st July to 30th June.
In the event of the society being dissolved or wound up. its assets shall be realised and any sums remaining after settlement at all outstanding liabilities shall be donated to the Open University Students’ Educational Trust (OUSET) or other Charitable body whose aims are to assist students of the Open University.
Any Committee may call upon advisors to assist with the business of the society to intervene directly in the running of the society.
Such advisors must:
a) have legal qualification or professional experience or good standing within the Open University (OU) or OUSA; and
b) have a public reputation for promoting the interests of the society
The OULS shall conform to the criteria for affiliation approved by the OUSA Conference of the Open University Students’ Association (OUSA) which is in force at the relevant time and acknowledges the grounds for disaffiliation.
The OULS shall not make any statement nor distribute any publication nor communicate with any organisation or individual in the name of the OU or OUSA.