SCAR XXXI WP26: Report on SCAR Legal Status
Title: Report on SCAR Legal Status
Author: C. Summerhayes
Relevant URLs or references to other reports: https://www.scar.org/about-us/governance/ (updated link)
Introduction/ Background: ICSU requires all its subsidiary bodies to have independent legal status. SCAR achieved this in 2008, by becoming incorporated as a UK Company Limited by Guarantee, and by becoming registered as a UK Charity. Delegates approved the change in principal in Hobart in 2006, appointing an ad hoc working group to address outstanding questions for the final approval of EXCOM. EXCOM approved in 2007 the changes recommended by the ad hoc group. The former Constitution was translated into the Articles of Association, and the former Rules of Procedure remained substantially unchanged, save that some of the wording of the former Rules was incorporated into the Articles and some of the wording of the former Constitution was incorporated into the Rules, so that the final documents are consistent with UK law. Additional legal language was added to the Articles to ensure that SCAR operates efficiently and effectively as a Company and Charity under UK law, but with no prejudice to the spirit or intent of the former Constitution and Rules of Procedure.
Important Issues or Factors: Although finalization of the change was welcomed by Delegates at St Petersburg in 2008, a group of delegations requested further clarification of several points. It was agreed that their concerns would be addressed intersessionally, which led to correspondence between the President and the Delegations that raised concerns, and to the publication of Notes from the President No 2 (19 August, 2008). These discussion concluded that at present there are no outstanding issues regarding the Memorandum and Articles of Association and the Rules of Procedure. Delegates should note that with the agreement of the meeting of Delegates, Articles can be modified by means of a Special Resolution. At that time the President pledged to address any and all remaining issues and corresponded directly with parties involved.
Recommendations/Actions and Justification: It is recommended that no further modification of the Articles of Association or Rules of Procedure be made at this time. Changes should take place when the issue is substantive rather than minor, and materially affects the way in which SCAR conducts its business. If such changes are to be made it is further recommended that unless they represent a matter of some urgency, changes be accumulated such that a number of changes (if required) can be made together at some regular interval to be determined by the Delegates. Delegates are asked to note the completion of the Rules of Procedure for Subsidiary Bodies (IP 13)
Expected Benefits/Outcomes: The Secretariat’s limited resources and time will be spent on matters of primary and pressing importance to the functioning of the organization.
Partners: (will this involve others both within and outside of SCAR?) Not applicable
Budget Implications: (are funds requested or other commitments by SCAR?) None