Council reports 2016

Council Meeting, 24 June 2016

EU referendum

The Society will keep members informed about the implications of the referendum vote to leave the European Union, the Council heard.

In welcoming members to the Council meeting, the President, Eilidh Wiseman, said she would write to all members about the vote. She added that the Chief Executive, Lorna Jack, had contacted Society staff, including those working in the Brussels office.

Eilidh said that consideration may be given to establishing a Society working party to look into the issue in more detail.

She later described the vote as the start of “monumental change for the UK and our relationship with the rest of Europe”, adding that full effects were not yet known.

She added that the Society would continue to monitor the issue as negotiations took place with the EU, keeping members informed throughout to ensure they can properly advise their clients.

The Society has published a referendum discussion paper, which highlights a number of areas where the law would have to change following withdrawal from the EU, and also a series of Q&As.

Governance Working Party

The final report of the Society’s Governance Working Party was considered by Council members.

The working party, which was set up in autumn 2015, considered:

  • the Society’s governance arrangements, including the establishment of a new Public Policy Committee
  • the remit of the Council
  • the roles of Council members, the Board and Board members, the president and vice president
  • induction training for Council members

The arrangements were described as principally a “tidying up” exercise. A proposal that all Council members should serve on at least two committees or working parties during their three-year term was debated and will now be considered in more detail.

Subject to some minor changes, the Council approved the governance structure, the role of the Board and Board members, the role of the president and vice president and induction training for Council members.

Council members

Tribute was paid to retiring Council member Lynda Towers, whose contributions over the past four years were described as “vast”.

The meeting heard that Lynda had joined the Council in 2012 as a co-opted member in her role as Chair of the In-House Lawyers’ Group (ILG). She led the work to bring ILG into the full governance arrangements of the Council and is stepping down as convener.

The President, Eilidh Wiseman, said she had carried out this work for the Society’s in-house members with her usual mix of diplomacy, tact and diligent attention to detail. She thanked Lynda for her exemplary service to the in-house community and the Council.