New Structure for SCL

January 1, 2002

The proposals are justified in great detail in the letter, which summarises the position as follows:

“People are our greatest resource and we are conscious that the present, rather cumbersome and outdated structure means that we are not making the best use of this resource. Moreover, the present structure does not give rise to clear lines of responsibility and function.

We have therefore designed a new structure which we feel will ensure that there is much greater cohesion between the active members of the Society and the Executive than is the present case. We are conscious of the increased commercial pressures on all of us. It is of fundamental importance that those who wish to be involved with the Society feel that they have a direct input into the work of the Society and that the time they spend on Society work is put to the greatest benefit of the membership.

An analysis of our present membership has shown that the majority of our members are interested in both arms of the Society. The majority of those joining SCL over the last 18 months are mainly lawyers whose primary interest is IT Law but who are also interested in the applications side.

Drawing from the wide experience of the Executive and Council, it is felt that it would be more beneficial to the Society if each member of the Board was given direct responsibility for a specific area of the Society’s activities.

Now is the time to streamline the structure of the Society as the present structure is outmoded. What is proposed retains, we think, all that is good and helpful whilst improving those aspects which are not working well or have no obvious benefit.”


The structural changes that follow from these observations involve the creation of a new Trustee Board, consisting of six directors (the Society is an incorporated charity). Each Trustee (1 or 2 of whom would also be Chairs, and 1 or 2 Vice-Chairs) would take direct responsibility for one or more of the following:

1. IT Law

2. IT applications for lawyers

3. Media (magazine and web site)

4. Groups (north)

5. Groups (south)

6. Membership, External Relations and Finance

It is not proposed that those subdivisions be set in stone but, initially at least, it is envisaged that any person standing for election as a Trustee would identify and stand for one of the specific posts.

President and Vice-Presidents

The role of the President would change, with a switch from an executive role, which places an unrealistic burden on the President, to that of a consultative role. The concept of having a list of establishment figures as Vice-Presidents is considered outmoded and Honorary Vice-Presidents would be appointed from among those who have in the past offered, and are prepared to continue to offer, their expertise to the Society. It is envisaged that distinguished former Presidents and Chairmen would take on this role.


While at present the SCL Council has an important function in helping the Executive prioritise and focus on matters of importance to members, the new structure looks to address the criticism of the remoteness of the Executive under the present structure. Since two members of the Trustee Board are to be charged with responsibility for SCL Groups and another aims to deal with external organisations, it is thought that the considerable efforts of Council members in preparing for and attending Council meetings would be better used in contributing to the work of SCL through the new structure.


The lack of activity at local level, in some places, has been one of the features of the Society in recent years, as has been the frustration expressed by individuals in trying to run Groups with inactive or absentee committee members. The basic premise of the proposals is that people are the Society’s greatest resource, and that lines of responsibility need clearly to be defined, monitored and achieved. There are detailed proposals for the structure to be adopted by SCL Groups.


The proposals are put forward ahead of the SCL AGM on 6 February, which will provide an opportunity for further discussion about the proposals. An EGM will be called which will consider the special resolutions necessary for the new structure to take effect. The new structure could, if the EGM endorses the proposals, which have the support of the President, the Executive and the Council, take effect early in 2002.