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Constitution

of the German Women Lawyers’ Association in the version of 17 September 2000 / 26 September 2015

 

§ 1  Name, Purpose and Principal Office

(1) The name of the Association shall be the German Women Lawyers’ Association (Deutscher Juristinnenbund e.V.). The Association shall be comprised of graduates in law, economics and business administration.

The purpose of the Association shall be

1. the advancement of scholarship through the development of law, inter alia in the areas of equal rights and equal treatment of women in society, at work and in the family as well as the protection of the living conditions of children and senior citizens,

2. the advancement of equal opportunities for women and men.

(2) The purpose of the Constitution shall be achieved, in particular, by organizing scholarly and policy meetings and seminars, participating in legal policy campaigns and other publicity measures, preparing legal opinions and comments free of charge for legislative bodies, the federal and Länder (state) governments and the Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) and by publishing the results of the work done.

(3) The Association shall work together internationally with similar organizations and promote international relationships.

(4) The Association shall be independent and not aligned with any political party or religious faith.

(5) The purposes of the Association shall be exclusively non-profit within the meaning of the section “tax-privileged purposes” in the General Fiscal Code (Abgabenordnung). The activities of the Association shall not be primarily for its own economic benefit. The Association’s monies may only be spent on purposes authorized by the Constitution. The members shall not be entitled to any shares of profit nor to any other financial benefits from Association monies. No person shall benefit from expenditures which do not conform to the Association’s purposes or benefit from compensation which is disproportionately high.

(6) The principal office of the Association shall be located in Dortmund. The business year shall be the calendar year.

 

§ 2  Membership

(1) Any woman who has studied law or economics may become a member of the Association.

(2) Applications for membership must be made in writing.

(3) Honorary membership shall be possible.

(4) Membership shall terminate if

  • a member gives four months’ notice to the end of a calendar year.
  • a member is excluded for an important reason, in particular, for not paying membership fees over three consecutive years. A member has one month from the time she receives notification of exclusion to appeal to a general meeting against her exclusion.

 

§ 3  Sub-divisions

(1)   The German Women Lawyers’ Association shall include regional groups and state organizations. The regional groups in a Land (state) shall together make up the state organization for that Land. Where a Land only has one regional group, this regional group shall be the state organization. It shall be possible to establish regional groups outside of the Federal Republic of Germany.

(2) The consent of the national board must be obtained prior to the establishment of a regional group. Each regional group shall draft its own rules of procedure and elect its own board. This Constitution shall apply in all other respects mutatis mutandis. Every regional group shall be entitled to send a delegate to represent it at the regional groups’ council (§ 12).

(3) Within the regional groups sub-groups may be established to deal with legal and local issues. Sub-groups which are established to deal with legal issues may encompass the area of several regional groups. The consent of the boards of the regional groups involved is required before a sub-group [encompassing the area of several regional groups] may be established. The boards of the regional groups shall be entitled to dissolve a sub-group if its membership falls below eight.

(4) Every state organization shall draft its own rules of procedure, which regulate, in particular, how its state board will be constituted.

Comments on projects connected with state politics shall require the prior approval of the committee.

(5) The nationalboard shall fix the amount of the prepayment needed for financing the current activities of the state organizations, regional groups and sub-groups biennially. The amount of monies spent must be calculated annually; monies not spent must be repaid.

 

§ 4  Commissions

(1) The German Women Lawyers’ Association shall develop its programme policies in commissions and the standing commissions shall work continuously on the Association’s focal points while the other (non-standing) commissions shall as a rule work at short notice on specific issues.

(2) Standing commissions shall be established for:

  • Labour law, equal opportunities law and commercial law,
  • Private law, family law, inheritance law and law pertaining to other forms of co-habitation,
  • Criminal law,
  • Social security law and law pertaining to financial equalization of burdens for families,
  • Constitutional law, public law, equal opportunities,
  • European law and public international law.


The chairwomen of the standing commissions shall be elected for a term of two years by the general meeting in separate ballots. The votes, however, may be counted at the same time. The chairwomen shall be elected by a simple majority and belong to the national board. They shall not hold office for more than eight years. Each chairwoman shall be the national board member responsible for the area of law for which she was elected. The national board shall be entitled to make a provisional decision on who should chair a commission if there is a vacancy.

The remaining members of the standing commissions shall be appointed by the national board at the suggestion of the chairwomen of the commissions. The national board must ensure that different age groups and professions are adequately represented in the standing commissions.

The term of office of the members of the standing commissions shall end at the same time as the term of office of the chairwomen of the commissions ends.

(3) The national board shall establish (non-standing) commissions to carry out specified tasks during a predetermined period of time. The work of the (non-standing) commissions shall automatically end when their tasks have been completed or at the end of the period for which they were established; it shall be possible for the national board to grant an extension of time.

(4) The national board shall pass a regulation which deals with the number and selection of commission members, work principles and reimbursement of expenses incurred for commission work.

(5) The commissions must first obtain the consent of the national board before they make public statements; in urgent cases they must obtain the consent of the committee.

(6) All commissions must deliver written reports on their work to the general meeting. The commissions must make a timely request to the national board to involve the members (§ 10 (3)) where the report involves a topic which is of fundamental social significance and controversial.

 

§ 5  Organs

The organs of the Association shall be

  • the general meeting,
  • the committee,
  • the national board,
  • the regional groups’ council.

 

§ 6  General Meeting

(1) The general meeting shall be responsible for determining the Association’s policy and determining whether the Association should become involved in certain affairs.

(2) Ordinary general meetings shall be held every two years. Extraordinary general meetings shall be held if the national board resolves to hold one or one-tenth of the members of the Association request in writing that the national board convene one.

(3) General meetings shall be convened by the president giving one month’s notice in writing together with written notice of the agenda. Where the president is unavailable for this purpose, a representative shall convene the meeting on her behalf.

(4) The general meeting shall be exclusively responsible for

  • ratifying the actions of the national board,
  • electing the committee,
  • electing the chairwomen of commissions,
  • electing up to two observers for the national board; one of these shall be the representative of members who are studying and the other observer shall have her tasks assigned to her,
  • electing two auditors,
  • amending the Constitution,
  • fixing the membership fees,
  • raising objections to decisions to exclude a member,
  • dissolving the Association.


(5) The general meeting shall have a quorum irrespective of how many members are present and resolutions shall be passed by a simple majority of the votes cast.

(6) The Constitution may only be amended if members are given one month’s written notice of the intended amendment and a three-quarters majority of the votes cast at the general meeting are in favour of the amendment.

(7) The resolutions passed must be noted in the minutes of the meeting.

 

§ 7  Committee

(1) The committee shall consist of the president, two vice-presidents and the treasurer. The director and the past president shall be advisers to the committee. The past president shall be an adviser for the electoral period following her term of office.

(2) The committee shall be elected for a term of two years. Any person who has been a member for at least two years may be elected [to the committee]. Members of the committee may hold office for two consecutive terms. The treasurer may hold office for several terms.

(3) Votes must be cast in writing and in secret. The president shall be elected in a separate ballot. An absolute majority of the votes cast shall be required for the election of the president. The treasurer may be elected by a show of hands unless members object.

 

§ 8  Management

(1) The committee shall manage the day-to-day business of the Association and make all decisions which need to be taken quickly. It shall decide on requests to reduce or waive payment of the membership fees.

(2) Resolutions of the committee shall be passed by a simple majority. Where the votes are equal the president shall have the deciding vote.

(3) The committee shall draft its own rules of procedure for the duration of its term of office.

 

§ 9  Representation

The Association shall be represented by its president or one of its vice presidents.

 

§ 10 National Board

(1) The national board shall consist of the committee (§ 7), the chairwomen of the commissions (§ 4), the board of the regional groups’ council (§ 12) and up to two observers (§ 6 (4). § 7 (2) shall apply analogously for the observers. The election method for the observers shall be the same as for the chairwomen of the standing commissions.

(2) The national board shall be responsible for all matters unless the Constitution makes provision for the general meeting or another organ under the Constitution to be responsible. The national board may transfer tasks to the committee.

(3)   The national board shall hold a meeting at least once a year; it shall otherwise make decisions through written resolutions passed by a simple majority. Where [resolutions are passed] in written proceedings, the committee must allow a reasonable period of time for comments to be made. Comments received after the expiry of the time limit shall not be taken into account. The national board must convene a board meeting if one-third of its members request it to do so.

In the case of topics which are of fundamental social significance and controversial, the national board must promptly find out the members’ views at a general meeting. In urgent cases, this can be achieved by conducting a survey among the members or holding an extraordinary general meeting where a limited number of points on the agenda are considered.

(4) The national board shall draft its own rules of procedure for the duration of its term of office.

(5) The national board shall appoint a director. The director shall manage the day-to-day business of the Association and be responsible to the committee.

 

§ 11 Business Office

(1) The Association shall have a business office. The business office shall be managed by the director. The national board shall make decisions relating to the personnel and office equipment of the business office.

(2) The director shall belong to the national board and the committee and act as an adviser to both.

(3) The director shall set up a working-group called “Professional Orientation, Career Planning and Mentoring” at the Association’s business office. The chairwoman of the group shall be appointed by the national board upon suggestion by its president.

 

§ 12 Regional Groups’ Council

(1) The regional groups’ council shall represent the regional groups at the national level. It shall be comprised of one representative from each of the regional groups.

(2) The regional groups’ council shall have the following tasks:

  • to ensure that information is exchanged,
  • to make suggestions and recommendations for the work of the Association,
  • to work out recommendations for the responsibilities to be assigned to sub-groups (§ 3) and the procedural matters which need to be taken into account.


It shall be entitled to request reports from the committee and the commission chairwomen.

(3) Meetings of the regional groups’ council shall be held at least every two years. It shall draft its own rules of procedure and elect three of its own members to be its board. These persons shall represent the regional groups on the national board.

(4) The board of the regional groups’ council shall convene and preside over its meetings.

 

§ 13 Dissolution

If the Association is dissolved or its objectives are no longer tax-privileged, its assets shall be divided equally between the "Feministisches Rechtsinstitut e.V." and the „Frauen streiten für ihr Recht e.V.“, which must in turn use the assets for tax-privileged objectives exclusively and without undue delay.