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Vanuatu Law Society Act 2010

REPUBLIC OF VANUATU


VANUATU LAW SOCIETY ACT NO. 3 OF 2010


Arrangement of Sections


PART 1 PRELIMINARY


1 Interpretation


PART 2 THE VANUATU LAW SOCIETY


2 Establishment of the Vanuatu Law Society
3 Objectives of the Society


PART 3 CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION AND MEMBERSHIP OF THE SOCIETY


4 Continuing Legal Education Program
5 Membership
6 Renewal of Membership
7 Register of Members


PART 4 EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE SOCIETY


8 Composition of the Executive Committee
9 Functions of the Committee
10 Powers of the Committee
11 Vacancies
12 Meetings of the Committee
13 Committee may regulate own procedures


PART 5 DUTIES OF COMMITTEE MEMBERS


14 Duties of the Chairperson
15 Duties of the Secretary
16 Duties of the Treasurer
17 Removal and resignation of members of the Committee


PART 6 MEETINGS OF THE SOCIETY


18 Annual General Meeting
19 General Meetings


PART 7 FINANCIAL MATTERS


20 Funds of the Society
21 Audit of the Accounts of the Society


PART 8 MISCELLANEOUS


22 Regulations
23 Transitional Arrangement
24 Commencement


________________


Assent: 15/07/2010
Commencement: 17/09/2010


VANUATU LAW SOCIETY ACT No. 3 OF 2010


An Act to provide for the establishment, operation and regulation of the Law Society in Vanuatu.


Be it enacted by the President and Parliament as follows-


PART 1 PRELIMINARY


1 Interpretation


In this Act, unless the contrary intention appears:


Associate member means a person who is registered under subsection 5(3);


Chairperson means the Chairperson of the Committee;


Committee means the Executive Committee of the Society;


Member means an Associate member and an Ordinary member of the Society;


Minister means the minister responsible for Justice and Community Services;


Ordinary member means a person who is registered under subsection 5(2);


Registered member means an Ordinary member and Associate member of the Society;


Secretary means the Secretary of the Committee;


Society means the Vanuatu Law Society established under subsection 2(1) of this Act;


Treasurer means the Treasurer of the Committee.


PART 2 THE VANUATU LAW SOCIETY


2 Establishment of the Vanuatu Law Society


(1) The Vanuatu Law Society is established.


(2) The Society:


(a) is a body corporate with perpetual succession; and


(b) is to have a common seal; and


(c) is capable of suing and being sued.


3 Objectives of the Society


The objectives of the Society are:


(a) to promote the rule of law and the principles of good governance; and


(b) to promote high ethical standards in the practice of law in Vanuatu; and


(c) to promote the notion that every ordinary members of the Society are officers of the Court and have a duty to the Courts; and


(d) to adopt the Rules of etiquette and conduct of legal practitioners made by the Law Council under paragraph 15(2)(h) of the Legal Practitioners Act [CAP 119]; and 


(e) to assist the Government and the Courts in all matters affecting legislation and law reform and the administration and practice of the law in Vanuatu; and


(f) to aid and give countenance to law reform and to represent the views, interests and intentions of the legal profession; and


(g) to represent, protect and assist members of the legal profession in Vanuatu as regards to conditions of practice of the law.


PART 3 CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION AND MEMBERSHIP OF THE SOCIETY


4 Continuing Legal Education Program


(1) The Society must establish a continuing legal education program.


(2) The Committee is responsible for the administration of the continuing legal education program.


(3) A registered member must undertake:


(a) at least 10 hours of approved continuing legal education in each calendar year if the person’s unconditional practising certificate came into force before 1 July of that year; or


(b) at least 5 hours of approved continuing legal education in each calendar year if the person’s unconditional practising certificate came into force on or after 1 July of that year.


5 Membership


(1) A person who:


(a) has been admitted to legal practice under the Legal Practitioners Act [CAP 119]; or


(b) has obtained a degree in Law (LLB), licence de droit or equivalent qualification from a recognised tertiary institution,


must register with the Society as an Ordinary member or an Associate member (whichever applies) under section 6.


(2) A person is to be registered as an Ordinary member of the Society for the current calendar year if he or she:


(a) is a citizen of Vanuatu or the holder of a permit to reside in Vanuatu; and


(b) has obtained a degree in Law (LLB) or licence de droit or equivalent qualification from a recognised tertiary institution; and


(c) is currently admitted to practice as a Barrister and Solicitor in Vanuatu; and


(d) has paid the membership fee which is to be prescribed by the Minister upon the advice of the Committee.


(3) A person is to be registered as an Associate member of the Society for the current calendar year if he or she:


(a) is a citizen of Vanuatu or the holder of a permit to reside in Vanuatu; and


(b) has obtained a degree in Law (LLB) or licence de droit or equivalent qualification from a recognised tertiary institution; and


(c) has paid the membership fee which is to be prescribed by the Minister upon the advice of the Committee.


6 Renewal of Membership


(1) A member must renew his or her membership with the Society before 31st January of each year.


(2) The Committee must not renew a person’s membership with the Society unless the person has paid the prescribed renewal fee.


7 Register of Members


(1) The Committee must establish and maintain a register of all members of the Society.


(2) The register must include the following information in relation to a registered member:


(a) the person’s full name and address; and


(b) the date of the person’s registration; and


(c) any other information the Committee considers necessary or appropriate to be included in the register.


(3) The Committee must remove from the register the name of a member who has:


(a) died; or


(b) had his or her name struck off the roll of Barristers and Solicitors of the Supreme Court; or


(c) ceased to satisfy the criteria for membership as set out in Section 4.


PART 4 EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE SOCIETY


8 Composition of the Executive Committee


(1) The Executive Committee of the Society is established.


(2) The Committee consists of six members who are:


(a) the Chairperson; and


(b) the Secretary; and


(c) the Treasurer; and


(d) three ordinary members.


(3) Subject to the provisions of this Act, the members of the Committee are to be elected at a general meeting of the Society.


(4) A member of the Committee is to hold office for a term of 2 years and is eligible for re-election.


(5) An Associate member is not eligible to be elected as a member of the Committee.


(6) Despite subsection (5) an Associate member may serve on any other committees formed by the Committee under paragraph 9(c).


9 Functions of the Committee


The Committee has the following functions:


(a) to be responsible for the proper administration and good management of the Society and its affairs; and


(b) to organize and facilitate continuing legal education for members; and


(c) to organise social gatherings for the members of the Society; and


(d) to organize general meetings of the Society; and


(e) such other functions as may be imposed on the Committee by this Act or any other Act.


10 Powers of the Committee


(1) The Committee has the power to do all things that are necessary or convenient to be done for or in connection with the performance of its functions.


(2) Without limiting subsection (1), the Committee has the power to do all or any of the following:


(a) to make rules not inconsistent with this Act for the control, management or good governance of the Society;


(b) to authorize all expenditures of monies belonging to the Society;


(c) to raise or borrow money for all or any of the objectives in such manner and upon such security as may from time to time be determined by the Society;


(d) to invest and deal with monies of the Society in such manner as may from time to time be determined by the Society;


(e) to acquire, hold, develop or dispose of property of all kinds, whether real or personal, and to derive capital or income therefore, for all or any of the objectives;


(f) to appoint any practitioner to appear before any court or tribunal in any of the matters under this Act or in any other matter in which the Society is concerned or interested;


(g) to form such other committees to carry out some of its functions.


11 Vacancies


(1) If a vacancy occurs in any of the positions within the Committee, the Committee is to call a general meeting of the Society to elect a person to the vacant position.


(2) If a member of the Committee is going to be absent from the Country for a period of more than 2 months or is for any reason unable to perform his or her duties, the Committee is to appoint within 2 weeks from the date on which the vacancy occurred, an ordinary member of the Society to act in that person’s position in the Committee for the period of absence.


12 Meetings of the Committee


(1) The Committee is to meet at such times as it considers necessary for the performance of its functions.


(2) The Secretary after consultation with the Chairperson is to notify the other members of the Committee of the venue, time and date of the meeting.


(3) At a meeting of the Committee a quorum consists of 4 members. The Committee may meet despite any vacancies in its membership so long as a quorum is present.


(4) The Chairperson is to preside at all meetings of the Committee. In his or her absence the Committee is to nominate from amongst its members a member to preside at the meeting.


(5) All resolutions of the meeting must be reached by a majority vote of the members present and voting at the meeting.


13 Committee may regulate own procedures


Subject to the provisions of this Act, the Committee may regulate its own procedures for its meetings.


PART 5 DUTIES OF COMMITTEE MEMBERS


14 Duties of the Chairperson


The Chairperson has the following duties:


(a) to ensure that all resolutions carried in any general meeting or on annual general meeting of the Society is being executed; and


(b) to ensure that the affairs of the Society are conducted in accordance with the provisions of this Act; and


(c) to be the spokesperson of the Society in any matters affecting the Society.


15 Duties of the Secretary


The Secretary has the following duties:


(a) to keep and maintain a proper record of all the:


(i) Correspondences of the Society and its Committee; and


(ii) minutes of the meetings of the Committee and the Society; and


(b) to take minutes at all meetings of the Society and its Committee; and


(c) to keep and maintain a register of all the registered members of the Society; and


(d) to send notices of all meetings:


(i) of the Society - to all registered members of the Society; or


(ii) of the Committee - to all Committee members.


16 Duties of the Treasurer


The Treasurer has the following duties:


(a) to maintain and keep proper records of the funds of the Society; and


(b) to keep books of such bank accounts as are determined by the Committee; and


(c) to pay into the bank accounts of the Society all monies received by him or her for the Society; and


(d) to receive membership fees from registered members of the Society; and


(e) to prepare and present a financial report at all annual general meetings of the Society.


17 Removal and resignation of members of the Committee


(1) A member of the Committee may be removed by a majority vote of the members of the Committee present and voting at a meeting of the Committee if:


(a) he or she fails to attend 3 consecutive meetings of the Committee without any valid reason given to the Committee; or


(b) he or she is not performing the functions of the position that he or she is elected to it, to the satisfaction of the members.


(2) A member of the Committee may resign at any time, by giving 2 weeks notice in writing to the Chairperson of the Committee.


PART 6 MEETINGS OF THE SOCIETY


18 Annual General Meeting


(1) The Society is to have an annual general meeting before the 31st of December each year at a place and time to be determined by the Committee.


(2) The Secretary must provide to the registered members at least 2 weeks before the date of the meeting, a notice of the date, venue and time of the meeting.


(3) The notice of the meeting must be provided in writing to the members.


(4) The quorum for an annual general meeting is a simple majority of the members of the Society present at the meeting.


(5) If there is no quorum on the day appointed for the annual general meeting, such meeting is to be reconvened 3 days later and one third of the members present shall constitute a quorum for that meeting.


(6) Resolutions at an annual general meeting must be approved by a majority vote of the members present and voting at the meeting either by a show of hands or by secret ballot.


(7) An ordinary member may vote by proxy at an annual general meeting. However the member must, before the meeting commences, provide to the Committee valid reasons for his or her absence at the annual general meeting.


(8) Subject to subsection (9) a person who is not a registered member of the Society is not eligible to vote at an annual general meeting of the Society.


(9) An Associate member of the Society is not entitled to vote at any annual general meetings of the Society.


19 General Meetings


(1) The Committee may from time to time decide and convene such number of general meetings of the Society in each year as it considers necessary to deal with matters of importance to the Society.


(2) At least one third of the members of the Society may by written notice request the Chairperson to convene general meetings of the Society to deal with a matter.


(3) The quorum for a general meeting is a simple majority of the members of the Society present at the meeting.


(4) If there is no quorum on the day appointed for the general meeting, such meeting is to be reconvened 3 days later and one third of the members present constitutes the quorum for that meeting.


(5) If there is still no quorum as specified in subsection (4), the Committee is to make a decision on any matter that required a resolution at such general meeting.


(6) Resolutions at a general meeting must be approved by a majority vote of the members present and voting at the meeting either by a show of hands or by secret ballot.


(7) The Secretary must provide to the registered members at least 2 weeks before the date of the meeting, a notice in writing of the date, venue and time of the meeting.


(8) An Associate member of the Society is not entitled to vote at any general meetings of the Society.


PART 7 FINANCIAL MATTERS


20 Funds of the Society


(1) The funds of the Society consists of:


(a) money received by the Committee by way of membership fee and renewal of membership fee; and


(b) any other money received by the Committee from donations and any fundraisings organized for the Society; and


(c) any other money received by the Committee.


(2) The Committee is to open and maintain such bank accounts on behalf of the Society.


21 Audit of the Accounts of the Society


The Committee may from time to time engage a qualified accountant to audit the accounts of the Society.


PART 8 MISCELLANEOUS


22 Regulations


The Minister may, on the advice of the Committee, make Regulations prescribing all matters:


(a) required or permitted by this Act to be prescribed; or


(b) that are necessary or convenient to be prescribed for the carrying out or giving effect to the provisions of this Act.


23 Transitional Arrangement


(1) A person who was elected by the members of the Society as a member of the Committee immediately before the commencement of this Act is to continue to hold office as a member of the committee until 31st of December 2010.


(2) A member who was registered as an Associate member or Ordinary member immediately before the commencement of this Act is to renew his or her membership on or before 31st of January of each year.


(3) On and after the commencement of this Act, all monies held under the name of the Vanuatu Law Society before the commencement of this Act is to be transferred to the account of the Society.


24 Commencement


This Act commences on the date on which it is published in the Gazette.


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