Royal Charter and Laws of the Society
The Society is instituted by a Royal Charter, awarded on 6 May 1783, and governed by a set of Laws, most recently updated by the Fellows on 1 December 2014.
The original Royal Charter of the Society can be found in the Society offices. A transcription of the Latin is available here:
The transcribed Royal Charter of the Society
The Laws of the Society, as agreed by Fellows at the Anniversary Meeting on 1 December 2014 are as follows:
- The purpose of this Society shall be the study of the ANTIQUITIES AND HISTORY OF SCOTLAND, more especially by means of Archaeological Research.
- The Society shall consist of Fellows and Honorary Fellows.
- Candidates for admission as Fellows must sign the Form of Application prescribed by the Council, and must be sponsored by two Fellows. Admission shall be by ballot. In the case of candidates not able to obtain two sponsor Fellows, it shall be open to the Council after consideration of the circumstances and credentials of the candidate concerned, to waive the necessity for two sponsors from among the Fellowship.
- Council shall cause the names of the Candidates and their Sponsors to be circulated to all Fellows at least ten days before the date of the meeting at which a ballot is to be held. Fellows may vote against any candidate by striking out the name from the list and returning the list to the Society before the meeting or placing the list in the Ballot Box before the meeting commences. Candidates receiving ten or more adverse votes will be balloted for individually at the meeting, and any candidate then receiving less than two-thirds of the votes shall not be admitted.
- Honorary Fellows shall consist of persons eminent in any branch of antiquarian study, who must be recommended by the Council and elected in the same way as Fellows; they shall not be liable for any fee for admission or annual subscription. The number of Honorary Fellows shall not exceed twenty-five.
- Before the name of a newly elected candidate is added to the list of Fellows, he or she shall pay to the funds of the Society an entrance fee and the current year’s subscription as provided for by Law 7.
- Rates of entrance fee and annual subscription shall be determined by the Council as required from time to time subject to the approval of the Society given at a General Meeting. The annual subscription shall become due on 1st July in each year for that year then beginning; and if any Fellow who has not compounded shall fail to pay the subscription for one year, due application having been made for payment, the Treasurer shall report the same to Council, by whose authority the name of the defaulter may be erased from the List of Fellows. Fellows whose membership has lapsed, and who wish to re-join the Society, may do so either (1) by payment of all arrears of subscription – in which case they shall receive the relative volumes of the Proceedings, if still available – or (2) on payment of the subscription for the current year and of the entrance fee.
- Every Fellow not being in arrears of the annual subscription shall be entitled to receive the printed or electronic form Proceedings of the Society from the date of election.
- None but Fellows shall vote or hold any office in the Society.
- Subject to the Laws and to the control of the Society in General Meetings, the affairs of the Society shall be managed by a Council elected and appointed as hereinafter set forth. Eight members of the Council shall constitute a quorum, provided that number includes at least two Office-bearers and six elected members of Council.
- The Council shall consist of at least eleven Fellows elected by the Society, the Chairman of the North East Section ex officio, the Society representative of the National Museums Scotland (NMS) ex officio who is already a Fellow of the Society (nominated by the NMS Board of Trustees) and up to two co-opted persons appointed by the Council to fill a vacancy on the Council. The total number of members of the Council shall not exceed fifteen at any time.
- The Office-bearers of the Council shall consist of a President, two Vice-Presidents and a Treasurer.
- The President shall be elected for a period of up to three years and may stand for election as President for a second term, subject to Law 16 below. The Treasurer shall be elected for one year and, subject to Law 16 below, shall be eligible for re-election provided however that the term of office of the President and the Treasurer respectively may not exceed six years in total. The elections of the President and the Treasurer shall be by ballot at the Annual General Meetings upon a list issued by the Council for that purpose to the Fellows at least fourteen days before the meeting.
- The Vice-Presidents shall be appointed by the Council from amongst the elected members of the Council. The Vice-Presidents shall be appointed for an initial term of up to three years and may be appointed for a further term of up to three years, subject to Law 16 below.
- Elected members of the Council shall hold office as Council members for an initial term of up to three years. A retiring Member of the Council who has held office for one term shall be eligible for re-election as a member of the Council and, if so re-elected, shall hold office for a further term of up to three years. The election shall be by ballot at the Annual General Meeting upon a list issued by the Council for that purpose to the Fellows at least 14 days before the meeting.
- A retiring member of the Council who has held office for two terms shall not be eligible for re-election as a member of the Council unless such re-election is as an Office-bearer of the Council, provided however that no person shall be eligible for re-election as a member of the Council in any circumstances if such re-election would result in that person’s period of membership of the Council in any capacity exceeding nine years unless a period of at least two years has elapsed since the date of that person’s previous retirement from the Council.
- A co-opted member of the Council shall be eligible for election as a member of the Council in accordance with Law 15 at the next Annual General Meeting following their appointment as a co-opted member of the Council and shall vacate office at the conclusion of that Annual General Meeting if they are not elected as a member of the Council. Immediately following each Annual General Meeting, the Council may re-appoint under Law 11 any individual who, as a co-opted member of the Council, vacated office under this Law at the conclusion of an Annual General Meeting; the Council may alternatively appoint someone in their place or resolve not to fill the vacancy.
- Vacancies among the elected members of Council, the President and the Treasurer occurring by completion of term of office, by resignation, death or otherwise shall be filled by election at the Annual General Meeting, or, in the case of the Treasurer, at any earlier meeting of the Society as decided by the Council.
- The Council may appoint committees or individuals to advise on the Society’s business. Individuals who are not Fellows and Fellows who are not members of the Council shall be eligible for these duties.
- The Annual General Meeting of the Society shall take place on St Andrew’s Day, 30th November, or on the preceding or the following day if the 30th be a Sunday. The business of the Annual General Meeting shall be notified to Fellows at least fourteen days before the day of the meeting.
- The Council shall have the power to call Extraordinary General Meetings when they see cause. At least fourteen days’ notice of an Extraordinary General Meeting shall be given to Fellows.
- Meetings of the Society, termed Ordinary Meetings, shall be held on such dates and at such places as may be determined by the Council. A minimum of six meetings, in addition to the Annual General Meeting provided for in Law 20, shall be held in each year.
- Every proposal for altering the Laws must be made through the Council, which shall cause intimation thereof to be made to all the Fellows at least thirty days before the General Meeting at which it is to be determined on.