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Constitution of the Law Student Association (LAWSA)

Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law University of Liberia,
Capitol Hill, Monrovia, Liberia


Adopted In a Referendum
August 4, 2008

I. Preamble……………………………………………………….2

II. Name…………………………………………………………..3

III. Membership………………………………………………….3

IV. Rights & Responsibilities……………………………..4

IV. Governmental Structure…………………………...5

V. Executive……………………………………………………5-8

V. Legislature………………………………………………...9-12

VI. Judiciary…………………………………………………12-14

VII. Amendments………………………………………………14

VII. Adoption………………………………………………….14

VIII. Oath of Office…………………………………………...15


Preamble

Acknowledging, the historic and significant contribution the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law has made to the University of Liberia, the Liberian society and the World at large;

Believing, in the responsibility to prepare ourselves academically in order to face the challenges of Nation building;

Committed, to the tenets of democracy and the universality of the principles embedded in the concepts indispensable to the rule of law;

Realizing, the need for a student leadership established by and through the collective will of the students of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law;

Dedicated, to the fostering and promotion of a learning environment conducive to the academic process;
Conscious of the cultural, social, political and intellectual upliftment and needs of the students of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law;

Abiding, by the principles enshrined in the constitution of Liberia and the Charter of the University of Liberia along with the rules and regulations found in the student handbook;

Sensitive, of the spirit of academic freedom, fair play, mutual respect and development;

We, Students of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, therefore make, establish and proclaim this constitution for the governance and development of the student body.


ARTICLE ONE

NAME
The name of the student government shall be the Law student Association (LAWSA);

ARTICLE TWO

MEMBERSHIP

Section 1. Membership in LAWSA shall comprise three Classifications:

(a) Students enrolled, registered and certified by the Records Office of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law shall become active members of LAWSA entitle to all rights and privileges of students of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law as enshrined in this constitution;

(b) Students, who have graduated from the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, shall become associate members of LAWSA for a period not exceeding an academic year after their graduation. Associate members are to affiliate and may provide consultancy for the student body when requested by the LAWSA or Administration. They do not enjoy voting rights;

(c) Honorary Membership shall be conferred on any outstanding citizen and non-citizen of Liberia for their contribution to the Liberian society and the World at large. An Honorary Member of LAWSA shall be recommended by the President of LAWSA and approved by the Dean of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law. Honorary members do not enjoy voting rights and do not have to be lawyers. An academic membership may be lost for cause determined by LAWSA and the administration.

ARTICLE THREE

RIGHTS AND REPONSIBILITIES
LAWSA is the official organization with the expressed power to represent the student body and carry out the rights and responsibilities as enshrined in this constitution. The principle responsibilities of LAWSA are:

Section 1.To work with the Administration, faculty and between students and administration.

Section 2.To promote and improve relations between students and administration and students and faculty.

Section 3.To promote an atmosphere conducive to learning for the student population.

Section 4. To organize campus activities of an educational, cultural, athletic, social and political nature and the accreditation and involvement of other organizations and groups at the Law School.

Section 5.To urge and promote the respect for the rule of law and human rights.

Section 6.To formulate and represent students position on issues of National and international nature.

Section 7.To promote the participation of class leadership in the decision making process.

Section 8.To administer, expend and account for LAWSA funds in accordance with accounting practices and procedures.

Section 9.To encourage students to realize the full potential of their experience at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law.

Section 10. To develop loyalty and enthusiasm for the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law.

Section 11. To provide leadership training in an environment that permits the expression and examination of a wide range of ideas.

Section 12. To conduct elections for LAWSA in accordance with the bye-laws.

Section 13. To carry out the day to day running of LAWSA and other functions relative to the representation, administration, and implementation of student programs and projects

ARTICLE FOUR

GOVERNMENTAL STRUCTURE
LAWSA structure shall comprise three branches that shall be separate, independent and coordinate, and whose tenure shall be one academic year, meaning two academic semesters, which is distinct from a calendar year. The branches of LAWSA shall be its Executive, LAWSA Legislative Assembly (LLA), and LAWSA Committee on Judicial Affairs (LCJA).The positions, term of references of the branches of LAWSA Governmental structure, along with the elections or appointment of officials of the Government shall be as follows:


THE EXECUTIVE

Section 1. All executive powers granted herein shall be vested in a president of LAWSA. The President of LAWSA shall be assisted by a vice-president, a cabinet, and such Staff Personnel as he or she shall appoint in accordance with this constitution and by laws.

Section 2. The President and Vice- President shall be elected for a term of one (1) academic year by plurality vote in the general election held in the second semester of every academic year.

Section 3. If the office of the President shall become vacant, it shall be filled by the vice-president. If the office of the vice- president should become vacant, it shall be filled by appointment by the president, with the approval of two-thirds (2/3) of LAWSA LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY membership present, where a quorum for the convening of such meeting shall have been established. In the event the offices of the President and Vice- President should become vacant simultaneously, for any reason, the speaker of the LAWSA LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY shall immediately succeed to the office of President and appoint a vice- president under the provision set forth herein.

Section 4. (a) To be qualified to contest the presidency and vice- presidency of LAWSA one must have an accumulated Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 2.7, completed forty-five credits at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law in addition to the credits said candidate has registered for and is doing during the election semester which must be added to the completed forty-five credits and summed up to not less than sixty credits.

(b)Said candidate must be a Liberian citizen by birth or naturalized;

(c) Said candidate must not have been convicted for the crime of felony under the Liberian law or any other jurisdiction.

Section 5. The President of LAWSA shall have the following duties and powers:

(a) to execute the laws enacted by the LAWSA LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY(LLA);

(b) to call and preside over meetings of the Executive Committee;

(c) To submit to the LAWSA LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY(LLA) for approval the proposed budget for the year;

(d) To appoint students to the Executive Committee;

(e) To nominate students to the President's Cabinet with the approval of two thirds(2/3) of the LAWSA LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY(LLA)members present;

(f) To call cabinet meetings at his or her discretion;

(g) To appoint such other Staff Personnel as he or she may deem to be in the best interest of LAWSA;

(h) To remove at will any member of the President's Cabinet, his or her Staff Personnel;

(i) To nominate for confirmation by two-thirds (2/3) of the LAWSA LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY(LLA) membership present the Chief Justice and Associative Justices of LAWSA COUNCIL ON JUDICIAL AFFAIRS(LCJA).

(j) To call special sessions of the LAWSA LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY(LLA);

(k) To veto any acts of the LAWSA LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY (LLA). If the President does not veto acts of LAWSA LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY within ten (10) days after passage, such act becomes law without the President's signature. The President shall not have the powers to veto articles of impeachment;

(l) To nominate to the LAWSA LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY (LLA) class Presidents, Vice- Presidents and other class officials.

(m) To nominate to the LAWSA LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY (LLA) a five(5) member election commission; said nomination shall include a chairman, vice - chairman and secretary from the third year class and two other commissioners from the First and Second year Classes respectively. They shall be confirmed by two-third (2/3) of the membership of LAWSA LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY Present.

(n) To give an annual report on the state of affairs of LAWSA to the LAWSA LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY(LLA) the last Friday of the third month in the second semester of every academic year. In the event that it becomes impossible for the President to give said annual report during the period stipulated, the LAWSA LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY (LLA) by a joint resolution by not less than two-thirds of its entire membership shall set a time within the second semester of that academic year when the message shall be delivered. The message shall be delivered in the auditorium of the University of Liberia, palava hut of the law school, or any other place that is stipulated by the University of Liberia as the official address of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law;

(o) All administrative matters not expressly delegated to the legislative and judicial branches of LAWSA, shall be vested in the office of the President.

Section 6. The Vice- President of LAWSA shall have the following responsibilities:

(a) The Vice-President is the principle deputy of the President. He or she shall execute the duties and powers of the Presidency delegated to him or her in the absence of the President. Whenever the office of the President shall become vacant by reason of death, resignation, impeachment, or the President shall be declared incapable of carrying out the duties and functions of his office, the Vice President shall succeed to the office of the President to complete the unexpired term. In such a case, this shall constitute a term.

(b) To preside over the first meeting of LAWSA LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY or until such time as the Assembly elects a speaker;

(c) To expedite all programs and policies emanating from the President's cabinet.

Section 7. The President's Cabinet shall comprise: the Vice- President, Secretary, Treasurer, Program Organizer, Director of Sports and Social Affairs, Director of Information and Publicity, Ambassador Extraordinary and plenipotentiarary, Attorney General. The functions of these members of cabinet shall be as follows:

(a) The Secretary. The Secretary shall record and keep minutes of all meetings. The Secretary shall be responsible for records relevant to his/her duties and shall pass notices and reports of activities to the Director of Information and Publicity;

(b) The Treasurer. The Treasurer is responsible for the disbursement and accounting of LAWSA funds. Records of all financial transaction shall be kept by the treasurer. The treasurer shall prepare a monthly report of all receipts and expenditures to the President. The treasurer shall prepare a budget for the succeeding financial year and present same to the president.

(c) Program Organizer. The Program Organizer shall plan, organize and execute any project or project activities that have been agreed upon and approved by the President. He or she shall also have the task to analyze projects which are beneficial to the student body.

(d) Director of Sports and Social Affairs.
Upon taking office, the Director, shall appoint three (3) student representatives from the student body: one (1) from each class or level to a sports committee. The committee shall work with the Director who is responsible for planning and organizing sport and social-related activities that promote the physical and social development of the students.

(e) Director on Information and Publicity.

The Director for Information and Publicity is responsible for the publication of all objectives, plans and proposals and to ensure that they are disseminated to the student body and general public when appropriate. He or she shall supervise and coordinate all LAWSA communication and publications.

(f) Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. Is the chief Presidential emissary. He or she assists the President in the formulation of the LAWSA foreign policy and coordinates interactions and fosters a good working relationship with domestic as well as international universities and partners.

(g) Director Ways and Means. Shall identify sources of funding for LAWSA and spearhead all fundraising activity of the student body.

(h) The Attorney General.

The Attorney General is the President's legal advisor. The Attorney General shall represent LAWSA in all matters of legal disputes or controversies. The Attorney General shall produce a written opinion of any provision of the Constitution or by-laws of LAWSA.

Section 8. All persons nominated to the President's cabinet to fill Cabinet positions must be confirmed by two-thirds (2/3) of LAWSA Legislative Assembly (LLA) membership present.
Section 9. Laws which amend acts concerning the Cabinet in any manner (i.e., abolishing posts, creating posts, altering duties) shall be initiated only by LAWSA President for passage by the LAWSA Legislative Assembly.


ARTICLE FIVE
LAWSA LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

Section 1. All legislative powers granted herein shall be vested in LAWSA Legislative Assembly.

Section 2.
a) Membership for the Assembly shall be taken from the three classes of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, namely: first, second and third year classes.

b) LAWSA Legislative Assembly shall comprise a total membership of fifteen (15) Legislators. Each class shall have a representation of five (5) Legislators to the Assembly.

Section 3. LAWSA Legislative Assembly membership shall be chosen for a term of one (1) academic year by a plurality vote at LAWSA general elections.

Section 4. The Speaker of LAWSA Legislative Assembly shall be chosen for a term of one (1) academic year by a plurality vote of the Assembly in which said speaker shall serve. Only a second year or third year student is qualified to be speaker. The Speaker shall be the chief officer of the Legislative Branch and shall exercise the following duties and powers:

a) Preside over all meetings of the Assembly;

b) In the event that the office of the President and Vice- President become vacant simultaneously, the Speaker shall immediately assume the office of the President and complete the rest of the unexpired term;

c) To appoint the members of all committees of the Assembly and serve as ex-officio and shall serve as a non-voting member of all committees;

d) To appoint a parliamentarian for all regular and special meetings of the Assembly, and to remove such persons at his discretion;

e) To call special sessions of the Assembly; and

f) To comply with all duties and powers of the Assembly as provided in the constitution;

Section 5. The Deputy Speaker shall be elected from the membership of the Assembly by majority vote of those present, for a term of one year. Said election shall take place by the third regular meeting of the Assembly. Only students in the Assembly who are in their second or third year are qualified to be Deputy Speaker. The Deputy Speaker shall have the following duties and powers:

a) To preside over the Assembly in the absence of the speaker;

b) To assume the office of the speaker in the event said office shall become vacant; and

c) To perform such duties as the Speaker of the Assembly may assign.

Section 6. The Clerk of the Assembly shall be a non- Legislator and appointed by the Speaker. The Clerk shall have the following duties:
a) To be present at all Assembly meetings,

b) To be responsible for the accurate recording of the minutes of all regular and special meetings of the Assembly, and

c) To be responsible for, under the direction of the Speaker of the Assembly, all administrative functions pertaining to the Legislative Branch.

Section 7. If a legislative position shall become vacant, the Assembly shall notify LAWSA election commission which shall conduct a by-election for the completion of the unexpired term that resulted from said vacancy.

Section 8. LAWSA Legislative Assembly shall adopt its own rules that shall define her quorum for regular sessions, committees and their functions, and other procedural matters relating to the day to day running of the Assembly that is not expressly defined in this Constitution.

Section 9.
a) The Assembly shall meet not less than once(1) each month during each full month of the regular semester, at the call of the President of LAWSA in a special session, at the call of the Speaker of the Assembly, or upon the written request of a majority of the Assembly.

b) All enactments of the Assembly, shall be passed by a majority vote (a tie vote shall not constitute majority and thereby fail), unless otherwise specified in the Constitution.

c) The term "membership" shall be defined as the total number of representatives in office at the time.

Section 10. The Assembly shall have the following duties and powers:

a) To select from among the representatives in the Assembly, a Speaker in the first item of business during the first meeting, the Assembly may remove the Speaker by two-thirds(2/3) vote of the Assembly membership, at which time the Deputy- Speaker will preside over the selection of a new Speaker. If the Deputy Speaker desires to contest for the Speaker's position when it becomes vacant, he or she must resign as Deputy Speaker and the Assembly, shall appoint a Presiding Officer from its membership for the purpose of selecting a new Speaker;

b) To set up permanent or temporary committees from within the Assembly as it sees fit;

c) To approve by its quorum defined in the Rules of the Assembly all cabinet appointments;

d) To approve by its quorum defined in the Rules of the Assembly all appointments to LAWSA Council on Judicial Affairs(LCJA);

e) To override the veto of the President of LAWSA by a vote by its quorum defined in the Rules of the Assembly;

f) To enact or revise the rules of the Assembly;

g) To propose, with two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Assembly membership by a quorum defined in the Rules, amendments affecting LAWSA Constitution. Such amendments must be proposed in writing (i.e. published in LAWSA official medium of communication);

h) To vote by a majority affirmation of the Assembly membership, articles of impeachment against any Executive Officer, Legislator, or justice of LAWSA Council on Judicial Affairs. A two-thirds (2/3) affirmation of the Assembly's membership shall result in conviction and removal from office. The Speaker of the Assembly shall preside in all cases involving impeachment of Legislators, Justices and of the Chief Justice. The Chief Justice shall preside in all other impeachment cases;

i) To fully execute all powers established for the Student body in the constitution and to comply with the by-laws of the Assembly; and

j) To approve the budget for the year.

ARTICLE SIX
LAWSA Council on Judicial Affairs (LCJA)

Section 1. All judicial powers herein granted shall be vested in a High Court named LAWSA Council on Judicial Affairs composed of the Chief Justice and Four Associate Justices nominated by LAWSA President to the Assembly for individual confirmation by two-thirds(2/3) vote of a regular quorum established in the Rules of the Assembly.

Section 2. The Chief Justice and four Associate Justices shall be nominated by the President of LAWSA. They shall hold offices until they graduate from the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law. In the event the Chief Justice resigns or is removed from office, the senior Associate Justice shall become Chief Justice. Only students who have completed Criminal Law, Civil Procedure and Constitutional law courses are qualified to serve as Justices. A Students nominated to serve as Chief Justice and senior Associate Justice must have done the courses mentioned supra and must be a student registered for and attending classes in the courses of Criminal Procedure and Moot Court the semester of their nomination.

Section 3. The Chief Justice shall be responsible for the enforcement of such rules which are necessary for the maintenance of high standards and practice within the Court as well as the following:

a) To preside over all court sessions and hearings;

b) To call special meetings when deemed necessary; and

c) To represent the Court, or appoint a representative from amongst the Associate Justices in all business involving the Legislative and Executive branches of LAWSA.

Section 4. The High Court shall have original jurisdiction in the following cases:
a) In all cases involving constitutional matters. The High Court has the power to interpret LAWSA constitution;

b) In cases where a student with standing brings a complaint where he believes or alleges a constitutional violation of his rights; and

c) In all cases involving interpretations of Election Laws.

Section 5. In all cases brought before it, the High court shall at all times conduct itself in accord with the following procedures:
a) A written notice shall be issued at least three (3) days prior to the date of the hearing which shall state the time and place of the meeting;

b) Written statements of the violation in sufficient detail as to enable the accused prepare a defense;

c) The right to be accompanied or assisted by an advisor of the accused choice.

d) The right to present witnesses on the accused behalf and to question any adverse witnesses presented against the accused;

e) The Court shall report in twenty-four (24) hours to the Administration of the Law School all decisions reached by it;

f) The Court shall render a decision on all cases involving offenses against the provisions of the constitution and interpretation of Election Laws on which its decision is based within seventy two (72) hours;

g) At least the vote of three justices shall be sufficient for a decision and constitute the majority opinion of the High Court; and

h) The Court shall make available its written opinion in cases heard by it within two weeks subsequent to the rendition of its decision.

ARTICLE SEVEN
AMENDMENTS

Section 1. All amendments to this constitution must be proposed by one of the following methods:
a) By a vote of two-thirds(2/3) of the LAWSA Legislative Assembly's membership;

b) By a Petition bearing the signatures of five (5) percent of the students of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law. This Petition must be presented in writing to the President of LAWSA and must state the issues upon which action is being requested; and

c) Proposed amendments to this constitution shall be adopted upon a majority of the members of LAWSA voting in a regular election.

ARTICLE EIGHT
ADOPTIO
N

Section 1. This constitution shall come into force by upon a referendum by the student populace of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law.


ARTICLE NINE
OATH OF OFFICE

Section 1. All elected members of LAWSA shall repeat the following oath before taking office:

"I, _____________________ do solemnly swear or affirm that I will obey and uphold the Constitution of LAWSA. I am aware of the duties of my office and will maintain scholastic, moral and ethical standards. I will also, to the best of my abilities, uphold my office as described in LAWSA Constitution. So help me GOD.

Constitution Committee Members:

1. Michael I. Diggs (3rd year) Chairman
2. Arthur T. Johnson (3rd year) Co-chairman
3. Michael C. Itoka (3rd year) Secretary
4. Abraham B. Sillah, Sr. (3rd year) Member
5. Jura Lynch (3rd year) Member
6. Emmanuel Reeves (2nd year) Member
7. Janniedel M. Haider (2nd year) Member
8. Prince Yeakehson (2nd year) Member
9. Garrison Bahr (2nd year) Member
10. Wonderr Freeman (1st year) Member
11. Nester Urey (1st year) Member
12. Nya S. Gbaintor (1st year) Member

 

 
 
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