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Constitution

Constitution of the International Association of Forensic Linguists

 

 Article 1. NAME 

The name of this association is the International Association of Forensic Linguists. 


Article 2. PURPOSE 

The purpose of the Association is to improve the administration of the legal systems throughout the world by means of a better understanding of the interaction between language and the law. More specifically, the Association aims to promote:

  • The study of the language of the law, including the language of legal documents and the language of the courts, the police, and prisons; 

  • The alleviation of language-based inequality and disadvantage in the legal system; 

  • The interchange of ideas and information between the legal and linguistic communities; 

  • Research into the practice, improvement, and ethics of expert testimony and the presentation of linguistic evidence, as well as legal interpreting and translation; 

  • Better public understanding of the interaction between language and the law.


Article 3. MEMBERSHIP 

1. Categories. There are two categories of membership: Individual and Institutional. 

2. Individual Membership. Any individual who has paid dues is an individual member during the time for which dues have been paid. Individual members have the right to vote in Association elections, subject to any conditions set forth by the Executive Committee. 

3. Institutional Members. The term "Institutional Members" refers to libraries, universities, research groups, business organizations, and any similar entity. It does not refer to individuals who are engaged in research, consulting, or business in their individual capacity. Institutional Members receive the publications of the Association but are not entitled to vote. 

4. Dues. The Executive Committee sets the amount of dues to be paid by members. It may, but is not required to, set lower dues rates for students or for members who come from developing countries. It may also establish life dues. 

5. Membership Procedures

The procedure for applying for membership is to be determined by the Executive Committee. Membership may end in three ways. 

First, members voluntarily wishing to end their membership may send a written notice to the Secretary. In that case, membership ends immediately. No dues will be refunded. 

Secondly, if a member has not paid all required dues by June 30th of any year, that person's membership will be deemed to have lapsed for that year. 

Third, in unusual circumstances someone's membership may be terminated by a vote of at least two-thirds of all members of the executive committee, or by a vote of two-thirds of all individual Association members. 

Members who voluntarily end their membership, or whose membership has lapsed, may rejoin the Association without going through the membership application procedure if they pay dues for the year in which they would like to rejoin the association. In addition, if they voted in an election, or publicly held themselves out to be an Association member, or received the Association's journal, or received any other membership benefit during the year or years in which the membership lapsed, or after it was voluntarily ended, they will also have to pay dues for any such year. A person whose membership has been terminated may rejoin only by a vote of two-thirds of the executive committee or of the membership. 


Article 4. MEETINGS 

1. Timing. The Executive Committee must arrange for a meeting of the membership at least once every two years. This meeting will normally be held in conjunction with a conference of the Association. In unusual situations, the meeting may be held by electronic means. 

2. Meeting Agenda. During the meeting, the officers of the association must report to the membership on the current state of the Association, including its financial state. The election of officers must also take place at the meeting. Any other Association business may take place either at the meeting or by a means of a mode of communication (such as conventional mail or by email) that is reasonably calculated to reach all members. 

3. Minutes. The minutes of the meeting must be recorded by the Secretary and must be made available to the membership as soon as possible, including members who did not attend the meeting. The minutes must then be approved by the membership, either electronically before the next meeting, or in person during the next meeting. 


Article 5. VOTING 

1. Ordinary business. Ordinary Association business may be conducted by a majority vote of the membership. During Association meetings, a "majority vote" refers to a vote in favor of an issue by more than half of the members who are present at the meeting and who cast a vote. A vote by mail or electronic means must be conducted by the Secretary, who must give notice of the voting procedures in a way reasonably calculated to reach all voting members. A majority vote in this context refers to a vote in favor of an issue by more than half of the members who cast a vote by mail or electronic means. 

2. Constitutional issues. The adoption of this Constitution, as well as any subsequent amendments, requires a favorable vote by at least two-thirds of those who vote. If the vote takes place by mail or electronic means, the Secretary must, at least one month before the last day on which votes are accepted, give notice of the voting procedures and the text to be adopted in a way reasonably calculated to reach all members. If the vote takes place during an Association meeting, the Secretary must likewise, at least one month before the meeting begins, give notice of the election in a way reasonably calculated to reach all members. Those members who cannot attend the meeting must be allowed to vote by mail or electronic means at any time before the date of the meeting, and their votes must be counted as though they were present and had voted at the meeting. As with a majority vote, a vote by two-thirds of the membership likewise requires a vote of more than two-thirds of those who cast a vote, whether in person, by mail, or by electronic means. 


Article 6. OFFICERS 

1. General. The Association has the following officers: President, Vice President, Secretary, Publicity Officer, and Treasurer. Each serves a term of two years. The Secretary, Publicity Officer, and Treasurer may be re-elected to that office. The Vice President automatically assumes the office of President at the end of the previous President's term. As a result, neither President or Vice President can be re-elected to that office, but any President can be elected to the office of Vice President at the expiration of that President's term. 

2. Elections. The officers are to be elected at a meeting of the Association. If for some reason an officer cannot serve, the Executive Committee may appoint a replacement to serve out that person's term. If the President cannot serve, however, the Vice President takes his or her place. Candidates for office may be nominated by any individual Association member or by the Executive Committee. Officers may be removed before their term expires if they fail to carry out their duties or for incompetence, but only by a vote taken in accordance with the requirements for adopting a constitutional amendment. 

3. Duties. The President is in charge of the overall operation of the Association. The Vice President assists the President in this function, and becomes the President at the expiration of his or her term. The Treasurer is in charge of the Association's finances and must report to the membership on the financial condition of the Association at least once every two years, normally at the biennial meeting. The Secretary is in charge of communications with members and the outside world, must prepare the minutes of the Association's meetings, and must also maintain a list of all current members, including their names, addresses, affiliations, and email addresses. The Publicity Officer is in charge of publicizing the existence and activities of the Association. 


Article 7. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE 

1. Composition. The governing body of the Association is an Executive Committee consisting of seven members. The President, Vice President, Secretary, Publicity Officer, and Treasurer of the Association are members of the Executive Committee by virtue of their office. The President of the Association is the Chair of the Committee. In order to provide some continuity, the immediate past president is a nonvoting member of the Committee. 

2. Election of Additional Members. The two members of the Executive Committee who are not officers ("ordinary" members of the Committee) are to be elected at a meeting of the Association. If for some reason one of these ordinary members cannot serve, the Executive Committee may appoint a replacement to serve out that person's term. Candidates for the Executive Committee may be nominated by any individual Association member or by the Executive Committee itself. 

3. Terms of Office. Ordinary members of the Executive Committee serve for a period of four years and may be re-elected. Those who are members by virtue of their office serve as long as they hold that office. 

4. Function and Powers. The Executive Committee is responsible for the routine day-to-day operations of the Association. In addition, it must arrange for regular meetings of the membership. Committee business and voting may be conducted in person, electronically, or by mail, but any action taken by the Committee requires a favorable vote of at least four members. 


Article 8. OTHER OFFICERS AND COMMITTEES 

The Executive Committee may appoint additional officers, including Regional Representatives to collect dues in different currencies, and any other officers deemed necessary for the proper functioning of the Association. Such officers do not have fixed terms, but continue in their positions until they resign, or are removed or replaced by the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee may also form committees as the need arises. 


Article 9. FINANCIAL MATTERS 

1. Status. The Association is a non-profit institution. 

2. Association Expenses. The Executive Committee may direct the Treasurer to pay the routine operating expenses of the Association, which may include claims by Officers for expenditures incurred on the Association's behalf. The Executive Committee may also authorize and pay for an audit of the Association's finances, but no more than once every two years. Unusual or extraordinary expenditures must be approved by the membership. 

3. Accounting. It is the responsibility of the Treasurer to keep an accurate accounting of the receipts and expenditures of the Association, and also of its assets and liabilities. The Treasurer may open bank accounts and may authorize Regional Representatives to do the same. When properly authorized to do so, the Treasurer may transfer funds to or from those bank accounts on behalf of the Association. 

4. Prizes. The Executive Committee may establish and set conditions for awarding a fellowship or prize to deserving members. 

5. Fiscal Year. The fiscal year begins January 1 and ends December 31. 


Article 10. RESOLUTIONS 

Any individual member may propose that the Association adopt a resolution on any issue concerning language and law. Voting and notification of members must follow the provisions relating to adoption of a constitutional amendment. 

Note: The above text was adopted by the membership at the business meeting conducted in Cardiff, Wales, in June of 2005.




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