Queensland Law Society

Details of the changes

Update - At Queensland Law Society’s 85th Annual General Meeting, members voted on governance changes to register Queensland Law Society as a company limited by guarantee and change the Council governance model. Both motions passed. Members:

  • Approved 3a. Registration as company limited by guarantee
  • Rejected the motion raised regarding “nine elected members and three appointed members”
  • Approved 3b. Changes to governance structure of QLS in its original form.

Registration as company limited by guarantee

At our AGM on 28 November 2013 we gained member endorsement for registration of Queensland Law Society Incorporated as a company limited by guarantee under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). This is expected to reduce some of our government compliance regulations including gazetting membership fees, lodging the annual report with Queensland Parliament, and compliance with state government document retention and purchasing guidelines and the Government Information Technology Contracting Framework.

The change will improve the Society’s corporate agility and align us more closely with the operating structures of law firms and with other similar professional membership organisations. We will continue to access value for money arrangements through established relationships with vendors and suppliers, acting with integrity aligned to requirements of the Corporations Act 2001.

Changes to governance structure of QLS

In addition, members endorsed the proposal to move to a governance structure that can best meet the needs of the profession now and in the future.

In preparation, Council was assisted in its governance considerations by:

  • engagement of Dr Sally Pitkin to guide Council through the process;
  • comparable models in other States including Law Society of NSW and Law Institute of Victoria; and
  • the processes and models used by similar professional membership organisations.

The Society consulted with members and sought feedback on the proposed changes during September-October 2013 via a variety of channels, publishing this on QLS's website. Council considered members' feedback and clarified aspects of the changes particularly in respect of the appointment of non-elected members to Council.

Changes include:

  • A Council consisting of nine elected members and three members appointed by Council.
  • The election and/or appointment of a Councillor for a term of three years, provided that one third of Council must retire or hold themselves for re-election or re-appointment on an annual basis according to their date of election or appointment.
  • The election of a Councillor for a maximum of two consecutive terms, after which time the Councillor must wait 12 months before he or she may stand for election.
  • Council will appoint elected members of Council to the executive positions of President, Deputy President and Vice President for a term of one year, after which time the Deputy President will succeed the President, and the Vice President will succeed the Deputy President.
  • Council will elect the Vice President each year and confirm by resolution the positions of Deputy President and President.
  • The executive positions of President, Deputy President and Vice President by Council may only be held by elected members of Council and not by appointed members of Council.
  • The President will become the Immediate Past President at the completion of their term as President and remain on Council for a further 12 months. The Immediate Past President will be able to exceed the maximum term of six years in order to serve in the position as Immediate Past President for the seventh year before retiring.
  • There is flexibility for the President to serve a second consecutive term.

We will keep members informed of these matters as they progress.