The LAF Constitition
1.0 - The name of the group is “Lawyers Against Fraud” (LAF)
2.0 - The OBJECTIVES of the group are to prevent and actively combat fraudulent personal injury claims, to consider and discuss general questions arising from personal injury claims where allegations or suspicion of fraud arises, and to minimise members’ financial losses to those connected with fraudulent claims.
3.0 - MEMBERSHIP
3.1 - Firms eligible for membership are law firms of one or more solicitors registered and practicing in England and Wales, as a Limited Liability Partnership or as an Incorporated Practice under the Solicitors’ Incorporated Practice Rules 1988 as amended.
3.2 - The Management Committee may in their absolute discretion admit as a member any person/firm/entity which whilst not strictly eligible to become a member under 3.1 is nonetheless regarded by them as having appropriate experience and a common interest in combating fraudulent claims.
3.3 - Should the circumstances of a firm, at any time so change or the conduct of a Member firm or any staff, be such that in the opinion of a majority of three quarters of the members present at an extraordinary general meeting called (with notice of the resolution to expel that Member), and at which there shall be a quorum (for this purpose alone) of at least 14 firms, it would not satisfy the requirements for membership or would be refused membership on general grounds if it were to apply at that time, the Management Committee shall have discretion to suspend or terminate its membership.
3.4 - Any firm which wishes to be considered for membership of the group shall submit an application form (in the prescribed format) which will be considered by the Management Committee.
3.5 - In deciding whether or not to admit a firm to membership the Management Committee shall be obliged to give a reason for rejection.
3.6 - Immediately upon a firm being admitted to membership the Treasurer shall request the firm to pay within 14 days from the date of the request the amount of it first subscription, which will be £500 per calendar year. In the event that a firm joins part way through the year, the full fee of £500.00 is required to cover the remainder of the year to December 31st, and the new member will not have access to the LAF website until the fees have been paid in full.
3.7 - The new member will not be permitted to access the group’s website or other resources, or attend any meeting of the group until such time as the appropriate subscription has been paid to the treasurer.
4.0 - OFFICERS
4.1 - There shall be a Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Membership Officer, Media/Press Information Officer (“The Officers”) who shall be elected annually by the Society at the annual general meeting and who shall hold office until the following annual general meeting. All Officers shall be eligible for re-election. Candidates for office must be partners or employees of a Member firm.
5.0 - THE MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE
5.1 - The Society shall be administered by a Management Committee which shall consist of the following:-
5.2 - The Chairman, Vice – Chairman, the Treasurer, the Secretary, Membership Officer, Media/Press Information Officer, plus three other elected committee members.
5.3 - No more than two Members of any firm may be on the Management Committee at the same time.
5.4 - The Management Committee shall meet at least quarterly and seven members of the Management Committee shall constitute a quorum.
5.5 - The Management Committee may continue to act even though the number of its elected members is reduced by death, retirement or otherwise below the number of seven, but if at any time the number is reduced below seven, the continuing members of the Management Committee shall act only for the purpose of filling vacancies until there are at least seven members of the Management Committee.
5.6 - The Management Committee may appoint sub committees with such membership powers and functions as the Management Committee shall prescribe.
5.7 - In the event of a vacancy occurring in any of the Offices between one annual general meeting and another, the Management Committee may appoint a member of the Management Committee to fill the vacancy, but the member so appointed shall hold office only until the next following annual general meeting unless at such meeting he/she is re-elected for a further period.
5.8 - The Management Committee may spend funds on any necessary expenses as and when the Management Committee sees fit.
6.0 - Voting
6.0 - At every general meeting eleven Members shall form a quorum. Each Member (firm) shall have one vote and except in the cases otherwise specifically provided for by this Constitution all questions shall be decided by a majority of the Members present and voting must be in person. The Chairman is entitled to vote in his capacity as a member only, however in case of equality, shall have a second or casting vote.
7.0 - ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
7.1 - The group shall in each year hold a general meeting as its annual general meeting in addition to any other meetings in that year and shall specify the meeting as such in the notices calling it. At least twenty –one clear days notice of every annual general meeting shall be given. Notice may be given by email. Notice shall be deemed given on the day after the email was sent.
7.2 - At the annual general meeting the report of the Management Committee and the accounts of the previous year shall be considered; the Officers and other elected members of the Management Committee for the following year shall be elected; and such other business shall be transacted as the Management Committee thinks fit. All general meeting other then the annual general meeting shall be called extraordinary general meetings.
8.0 - CONVENING EXTRAORDINARY GENERAL MEETINGS
8.1 - The Management Committee may convene EGMs whenever it thinks fit, and it shall upon a requisition made by Members representing not less than one half of all Members at the date of requisition.
8.2 - Any such requisition shall set out the object of the meeting proposed to be called and shall be forwarded to the Chairman.
8.3 - On receipt of such requisition the Management Committee shall proceed to convene an extraordinary general meeting. If the Committee should not proceed to convene the meeting within 21 days from the date of the requisition, the requisitionists may themselves convene such meeting by giving at least 14 days notice to the Management Committee.
9.0 - INCOME AND EXPENDITURE
9.1 - The Management Committee may if it deems necessary appoint an auditor and any such appointment shall be confirmed at the next following annual general meeting.
9.2 - The Treasurer shall keep an account of the income and expenditure of the group and of its assets and liabilities and shall submit such accounts at the annual general meeting.
9.3 - The banking account shall be in the name of the group and withdrawals and payments shall be made on the signature of the Treasurer if for less than £600, and by the Treasurer and either the secretary or Chairman if more £600.00, or by such persons authorised by the Management Committee.
10.0 - SUBSCRIPTIONS
Every Member shall pay to the funds of the Society an annual subscription of £500.00, and this may be changed at such times and according to such scales as shall from time to time be determined by the Management Committee.
11.0 - FORFEITURE OF MEMBERSHIP
11.1 - Any Member who shall not have paid his subscription (or any special levies) for three calendar months after the same shall have become due may be struck off the roll of Members by resolution of the Management Committee.
11.2 - Any Member so struck off the role of Members shall be eligible for re-admission on payment of all arrears due from the Member.
12.0 - BREACHES OF THE CODE OF CONDUCT
12.1 - In the event of a formal complaint being raised against any Member firm or their staff the Management Committee shall have the power to expel any Member who:
a) Has failed to abide by the terms of the LAF Constitution; or
b) Has failed to comply adequately, in the Management Committee’s view, with the group’s Code of Conduct, or
c) Has failed to provide a representative to attend two consecutive quarterly meetings
d) Has acted in any dishonourable or improper manner or has displayed unprofessional conduct contrary to the interests of the group; or
e) Has been disciplined by its governing body in relation to any matter relevant to its membership of the group.
12.2 - The formal complaint must be put in writing promptly to the Committee so that a fair investigation can be conducted. Initially details of the alleged breach will be forwarded to the partner/sole practitioner of the member firm. A response to the allegation will be requested and on receipt of the response the committee will then meet and decide what further course of action will be taken.
12.3 - The Committee has the power to either impose a sanction at that stage or conduct further investigations as it sees fit.
12.4 - The sanctions that can be imposed include expulsion from the group, suspension, a reprimand, and/or reporting of the member to any relevant professional body.
12.5 - In the event of a formal complaint being raised against any Member firm in relation to any breach of Professional Codes, the Member firm may be immediately referred by the Management Committee to the relevant authority for investigation.
12.6 - The Management Committee shall have the power, after consideration of the decision of the relevant authority, to impose any sanctions of such Member as though a breach of the code of conduct or constitution had occurred.
12.7 - If the member wishes to appeal a decision of the Management Committee to impose a sanction, then the member may request that an EGM is called on not less than 21 days notice in order for the member to give oral submissions to the group. At that meeting, in the event that the member has at least three quarters of the votes of the members present who are eligible to vote, the member will be entitled to relief from any sanction that may have been imposed. The member will not be eligible to vote on its own appeal. The quorum for such a meeting will be 14 firms as with 3.3 above.
13.0 - MINUTES
Minutes of the proceedings of every general meeting of the Society and of every meeting of the Management Committee or any sub-committee shall be recorded either in a minute book or books to be kept for that purpose or stored electronically and be signed by the Chairman of that or the next following meeting and such minutes when so recorded and signed shall be receivable in evidence of the proceedings therein recorded without further proof.
14.0 - CHANGES IN CONSTITUTION
The Constitution of the group may be amended by a resolution passed by a three quarters majority of the Members voting in person in any general meeting, subject to notice of the change having been given to the Members at the same time as the general meeting is convened;
15.0 - INDEMNITY AND INSURANCE
The group will expend a sum each year for the purpose of insurance against liability in defamation for any Officers and Members acting within the group’s rules, in respect of claims by members of the public and other members of the group.